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The Getaway (PlayStation 2) artwork

The Getaway (PlayStation 2) review

"If the vibrating function of my dual-shock controller was still alive today (which it isnít, thanks Sony!) then Iím sure it would quake uncontrollably every time my copy of The Getaway finds its way into my PS2. "

If the vibrating function of my dual-shock controller was still alive today (which it isnít, thanks Sony!) then Iím sure it would quake uncontrollably every time my copy of The Getaway finds its way into my PS2.

And rightly so.

I am not an angry man; I find puppies cute and cross the road to avoid anyone with facial hair (yes, even old ladies). But when a game such as The Getaway crosses my path I transform into a hulking beast, tearing off my shirt in a delirious rage and smashing anything I can lay my flailing limbs on. This alleged ďGrand Theft Auto beaterĒ had me doing just that when it drove me to putting my foot through my games cupboard. Itís the kind of game - so addictive, yet so painfully, unyieldingly irritating - that will haunt you up until itĎs wearying completion.

So why play it?

The Getaway has an alluring, almost irresistible charm. Placing you in the capable hands of Mark Hammond - ex-gangster and full-time mopey bastard - this title sends you careening through the streets of London in a quest for rescue and redemption. Hammond has just witnessed the murder of his wife and the kidnap of his son, and heís willing to do anything it takes to rescue the fruit of his loins from the gaping jaws of crime-lord Charlie Jolson. Using narrative techniques of unrivalled class, The Getaway offers lengthy, atmospheric cut-scenes in an effort to immerse the player as much as possible, all the while telling a heck of a story. With all of the foul language and drama of a beauty pageant, one canít help but be drawn into this game of cockney Cops & Robbers.

This charm seeps through into the actual body of the game. Cruising through the gloriously realistic streets of London, having police and gang cars on your tail and a never ending supply of traffic to weave through provides an adrenaline rush rarely matched in the video game world. When The Getaway decides to shine it sparkles ever so brightly, UNFORTUNATELY when youíre not sitting through an epic cut-scene or racing around town things tend to get a little dull.

Over the course of the game you will be sent on 24 missions (thereís no arguing, youíre getting 24 and thatís that). The real joy of the game comes when youíre flying through these missions and sending the story hurtling along (much like a movie). However the difficulty and monotony of a certain few of these missions means that eventually your progress will be stopped in its tracks the enjoyment factor is going to dip. The entire gameplay is comprised of your character driving around along with shooting things on foot. There is a distinct lack of variety here, however The Getaway gets away with it by providing a pulsating atmosphere that will distract you from the mundane objectives.

The sections on foot complement the blistering pace of the driving nicely with the cool, calculated precision that a gun battle generally requires. Hammond, as a rule, is always hopelessly outnumbered. To help the poor blighter out thereís some nifty and acrobatic stealth moves at his disposal. Imagine youíre creeping through a dingy warehouse, pistols in hand (although with the weight of numbers against you, you might as well be holding something else), playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a swarm of angry gangsters. Echoing through the silence comes the steady beat of footsteps, thereís three of them in the next aisle, and theyíre after your blood. You press your bullet-riddled frame up against the stack of boxes and wait for the right moment to strike. It doesnít come, so you pop out anyway, and quickly line up your shot....

You know the rest of the story; bullets fly, heads explode, blood stains donít come out, Hammond wins. Weíre not seeing much here that hasnít been done elsewhere. The thing about The Getaway is that it does these things with such class that you could be forgiven for thinking youíre experiencing something truly unique. The key to the success of this game lies in its immaculate presentation and movie-class plot, the disappointments lie in the actual execution.

Iím sorry, I canít wax lyrical about The Getaway any longer. You must know the full story! For although Hammond has access to an array of agile moves, he does in fact move around like a lumbering dinosaur. In the middle of a torrid shootout heís likely to lean against a wall or aim in the completely wrong direction, and letís not forget the turning circle the size of Buckingham Palace! And when youíre controlling a character of such a nature the last thing you want to be doing is ducking and weaving around a complicated series of laser beams; thanks Team Soho, that was the best 3 hours of my life I ever spent. All of the above problems will often prove fatal for Mark, and will always be an annoyance, even if you keep your protagonist from death. Have fun!

Problems can also arise when driving. Itís not all high-speed chases down wide, sweeping highways. London seems to have an awful lot of one-way streets, and that infernal guidance system (your snazzy little indicators) will send you down every single one of them the wrong way at one time or another. Thatís if theyíre not sending you around and around in circles.

Thatís about it for the negatives. They may sound insignificant now, but try coping with them repeatedly for the gameís entire lifespan. Perhaps itís lucky that The Getaway is a little bit less than open ended, and the finale will come a lot sooner than most expect. Donít expect any Herculean GTA-like replay value with this baby. Itís just not worth the effort. When The Getaway swings into action it provides some truly memorable moments of gaming, however in this case the negatives are too prevalent to ignore. Itís certainly a game that each and every one of you should try, just to see what it is and even what it could be.

Play the game, like the game, but donít believe the hype. This baby took 5 years to make, and Iím just going to be mean and say that the developers have just all wasted a big part of their lives.

Oh yeah. If you buy this game you get to see naked ladies. Itís why I did.

kingbroccoli's avatar
Community review by kingbroccoli (April 25, 2004)

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