This is the third time I have reviewed a Grand Theft Auto title, being a huge fan of the game on the PC platform. This time it is the GBC's turn to take your one man/woman crime machine onto the streets.
Steeped with controversy upon its original release, the GTA series has raised many an eyebrow. Like it or not though GTA is one of the most addictive and successful top-down drivers of recent times.
Imagine then all the violence, the chaos, pedestrian casualties, gang warfare and police chases of the original game, but all inside your tiny GBC. Sounds good? Read on.
You Talkin' To Me?
The idea behind the game is simple - earn yourself enough money by carrying out various felonies to move on to the next increasingly difficult area of the city. In GTA 2 you get to choose between three gangs to ally with per zone, receiving differing missions depending on your choice.
Play revolves around the respect you have with the three gangs, and you begin each zone with neutral respect from them all. Once you start doing work for one of them that annoys another your respect with that gang will lower, and they will try that much harder to snub you out if you enter their territory.
You begin life on foot, without any money or weapon, and most importantly without a set of wheels. You need a car to get around the city, and there is only one way of getting one .. nick it! You have a fairly nice choice of vehicles to pilfer which include coaches, police cars (guaranteed to get you noticed) and even ice cream vans.
Care has to be taken not to attract the attention of the local police. Stealing cars is just one way of getting yourself noticed, but a definite way is to run over innocent pedestrians! If you are concentrating on a mission, you are best off trying as much as is possible to stick to the road and traffic systems.
If you die, it isn't the end of the world as you will simply lose one of your five lives, and restart outside of the local hospital. However, you may have annoyed the gang you are working for once too often with your failures, and have to find work elsewhere.
The Bad Stuff
Theft of the cars is extremely finicky requiring you to be positioned just right to be able to hit the "Select" button to take control of the vehicle. You can walk in front of a car to make it stop, but by the time you have moved around to face the side of it, the car has often already moved off.
There are also times where you try to enter a vehicle, your character disappears as if to have entered, but it speeds off leaving you with no character to control! Another frequent annoyance is where you exit a car and can't move in any direction, or the car can become stuck between another car and a piece of scenery.
These glitches usually mean you have to restart the game, and you can only hope that if you have got a fair way into the game that you have noted down the save game passwords. Unfortunately these annoyances happen too often to be ignored.
Graphics and Sound
The top down view of the buildings, road and traffic is very nicely done, with all the vehicles being easy to distinguish from the other. There is a surprising amount of detail, with air conditioning fans twirling on the top of buildings and pedestrians going about their business.
When the game gets busy you will often find that it will struggle to keep up and move into go slow mode, while in the next minute you will zip along when there's little animation going on. This can get a little irritating, particularly when you are being chased down by the police, but it is by no means a show stopper.
Sound is limited to very few spot effects, chiefly when using a gun or being fired on, but apart from that the game is virtually silent. Music plays whenever you enter the cars attempting to simulate the radio station style of the PC, and the tunes are not that bad, but you will soon want to turn them off!
The game has made the transition to the GBC quite nicely, with neat graphics and the same addictive gameplay of the original. Unfortunately the various problems entering and exiting the vehicles occur too often to keep an even flow to the gameplay.
A shame really as it is not that far from being the perfect pocket crimewave!