The original Grand Theft Auto was released in 1997. At that time, a
friend was raving about this game and insisted I try it, so
innevitably I did; I was hooked instantly. For those who are not
familiar with GTA, allow me to introduce the premise behind it:
You’re a criminal in a big city viewed from a 2D helicopter angle,
who wants to grow in the crime scene. Doing jobs for cash, you
earn enough money to get to the next stage. When you complete a
mission, your multiplier increases, so you will earn money faster.
That’s how you proceed through the game by "playing by the
book". The fun really begins when you start breaking the law in
ways you would have never imagined possible.
Walking down the street hitting somebody for no reason or
belching and farting in someone’s face is hilarious. You can steal
someone’s car and run him over or pick up one of the numerous
power-ups you can find and shoot masses of innocent pedestrians.
Of course the more people you kill, the more the cops want you
GTA London 1969 was just an addon which brought you music
mainly from the 60’s, when you were driving, and gave your
character a 60’s look. GTA2 is a real improvement in many ways.
Instead of the 4 weapons you had in GTA, you now have
dual-pistols, molotov cocktails, handgrenades, an electric gun and
a silenced machine gun, providing a more diverse killing
experience. The police AI has improved as well. They are still kind
of stupid, but there are more cops than ever and they are fast. The
old running the cop over by pushing his own car over him, doesn’t
work anymore. The physics have changed too. You can no longer
push vehicles to crush people because they will jump over the car.
There’s a short period between driving normally and going into
reverse, which makes getting out of a tight place with cops around
quite difficult. Collisions are made more arcadish. When hitting a
car, it’s like you are the cueball with a topspin hitting another ball
on the pool table, so you maintain your speed, but your direction is
slightly altered. You no longer get stuck in an alley and finally you
Just like in GTA, the graphics are simple, but greatly improved
over GTA. You can choose between noon and dusk when you start.
At noon, GTA2 almost looks the same as GTA, but in dusk you
notice the lighting effects used in traffic lights, police sirens and
explosions. In GTA, explosions were just like a 5-framed sprite, but
now it actually looks like something explodes and is on fire.
Everything looks more detailed. Gameplay-only games won’t
survive now for the masses, but don’t expect real eye-candy. The
scores you get for blowing stuff up, hitting cars or running over
people, explode in your screen, creating an arcadish feel. If you
shoot someone with a rocket launcher or a hand grenade, he’s
blown into the air towards you, creating a hilarious, cartoonish
The sounds are good in GTA2. Still, cars don’t sound like cars, but
that is not a big problem for this game. The comments people
make with you blasting and driving recklessly, are well done,
suitable and hilarious. The suprised ‘huh?’ when jacking
someone’s car always makes me laugh. In GTA, you had CD-audio
when you were driving a car, but now you have music on a lower
sample-rate, so there is a lot more music in this game. It sounds
more like a radio, meaning it’s not as crisp, but that again it’s not a
bad thing in this game. It has commercials for a new drug, a car
that should make your sex-life better and it has tracks in all kinds
of music, randomly chosen.
Despite all I’ve said so far, GTA2 is not a big improvement over
GTA. It basically is the same game only better looking and some
minor bugs, which you could use to get out of situations, are fixed
so you have to change your tactics. The cops are quite good, but
there are too many of them.. In GTA, you could outrun the cops,
but not anymore. Cops alone are not the worse part, a whole
SWAT-team comes after you if you are behaving too badly. If
they’re not enough, the FBI pumps you full of lead and if you are
able to survive them, try to outrun the army and their tanks.
Impossible. You have to play by the rules or you get busted.
Fortunately, the shops are easier to find than in GTA 2.
Navigating the city is more difficult, because you don’t know
where you are. For exemple, you are in Avalon, but you don’t
know which part, north, east, west, like in GTA. A major
improvement is the ability to save. In the first city, you start out at
your savepoint, a church. You can save your game for $50,000, so
now you can take 4 days completing a level instead of having your
computer staying on for days.
A different approach is the presence of gangs. You can do missions
for a gang now, but you have to earn respect to get to the better
missions. Running over gang members, makes you loved by
another gang, but there are no ‘hidden’ missions. Having too little
respect for each gang means you won't get jobs, unless you ‘pay a
visit’ to a gang and run some guys over. In GTA2 ,you are not the
only criminal. Sometimes a guy steals your car or a guy whose car
you stole, steals it back, making the city more ‘realistic’.
A very cool feature in GTA2, are the bonus levels. I’ve played the
first one a thousand times. You have to shoot ice cream vans and
blow them up within a time limit. That is pure, plain fun!!! You get
arrested or blown up really easy, so you have to adjust your tactics
for this mini-level as well.
In conclusion, if you played GTA and you like it and are not bored
with it, get this game NOW! If you are new to this game, like
arcade style games, and have a good sense of humor, this could
be the game of the year for you. The graphics are early 1998, the
sound is ok, but the gameplay and fun factor are outstanding.