Grand Theft Auto was released .. ooh .. back when it was safe to leave your door unlocked at night, and you could wander down the middle of a road wearing an orange robe and banging a tambourine without fear of being run over by some homicidal maniac in a flash car.
Since then the game has remained in the charts pretty much constantly, racking up the kinds of sales figures that would make the Spice Girls jealous.
Flash forwards to 1999, and Grand Theft Auto 2. It's more of the same, but with even more sick features, and a whole bunch of twisted tweaks to the original's design. How can you go wrong? The City Loves You
One of the biggest improvements for GTA2 is in the way the city behaves. It's a much more believable setting than before - the streets are still full of pedestrians to run over and vehicles to ram, but it's all much deeper.
There are subway trains and buses that you can ride or even hijack. Drive a stolen bus down a street and pull over at a bus stop, and people will get on board. Of course, when you drive through a red light at 80mph and pile through a crowd of pedestrians, your passengers will soon realise their mistake and pile out the door as soon as they can.
Hang around and you'll see an ambulance turn up to tend to the wounded, and police cars will arrive to chase you. Of course, you can steal any vehicle in the game, so there's nothing to stop you hopping out of your bus and making off in the ambulance while the paramedics scrape your last victims up off the floor. Turn the sirens on and other road users will try and get out of your way.
You can even make a living as a taxi driver by stealing yourself a cab .. which is easier said than done, taxi drivers are the one thing in the city more evil than you. Once you've got your ride you can pick people up in it and drive them around the city, watching the meter rack up their fare. Drop them off where they wanted to go and you might even get a tip...The Sweeney
The law enforcement system has also been given a shot to the arm. If you manage to avoid the cops and their road blocks, eventually SWAT teams will be called in. With their armour jackets, these guys are a little harder to kill than the normal cops.
Eventually the police will call in FBI agents to help hunt you down, and if you evade them .. well, then the kid gloves come off. Like something out of "The Siege", tanks and jeeps full of soldiers take to the streets and try to blow you up. At this point you'll get points just for surviving - with an entire army trying to track you down you don't stand much chance. Unless of course you steal one of their tanks.
"World's Wildest Police Chases 7" has nothing on this... Gang Warfare
The gang system has been improved as well. There are now seven gangs ranging from the "American Patriots", a bunch of heavily armed rednecks who live in a little trailer park, to the Yakuza and the Russian Mafia. Even the Hare Krishna guys have their own gang now - obviously they got sick of being run over by you in the first game and decided to fight back...
Each of the gangs will offer you missions, though you will need to earn their respect first. Kill or steal from their rivals and they'll be your best friend. Go on a rampage in their own turf though and they're more likely to "put a cap in yo ass".
There are also more loose cannons in the city. No longer are you a one man crime wave. Wander around the city and you'll see other criminals murdering, stealing and mugging. Definitive proof that your actions in the world are a bad influence on impressionable young people, no doubt... Conclusion
And that's only a fraction of it! We haven't mentioned the Elvis impersonators who replace the Krishnas now they've got their own gang. Run over a row of Elvises (Elvii?) and you'll get a fat bonus as the words "Elvis Has Left The Building" flash up on your screen.
Then there's the host of new weapons and vehicles, the updated graphics engine, the new save game system, and much much more... You'll just have to wait to see for yourself when the game is released for PC and Playstation on October 22nd. As soon as we get hold of final code we'll be bringing you a full review!