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The The West is the Best Issue

Games

We review the Getaway and Vietcong.
December 1, 2003, 12:00am

THE GETAWAY
Publisher: Sony
Developer: Team Soho
Platform: PS2
Genre: Action
Rating: Mature Right, then. The first thing you should probably know about this game is that it has nothing to do with the Sam Peckinpah film of the same name. Too bad, cuz that would have ruled. The next thing you should know is that no matter how many people try to tell you otherwise, this game has very little in common with the Grand Theft Auto series. There are some similarities in gameplay, in that missions are divided into driving around parts and walking around parts, and yes, you can jack cars, but that’s it. Where GTA offers cartoonish mayhem, The Getaway offers gritty realism with a more cinematic approach. The game begins with a trio of thugs who shoot your wife and then kidnap your son. Of course you, a former bank robber in a stylish Mark Hammond suit, follow them, only to become the local crime boss’s pawn in his bid to take over the London underworld. The gameplay is a nice combination of the driving elements from the game Driver and the shooting elements (minus bullet time) from Max Payne. The driving part of the game is nuts. The developers at Team Soho have gone to insane lengths to model twenty square miles of London. It’s so realistic that friends of mine who are familiar with the streets of London actually know shortcuts, and how to avoid one-way streets and the like. Also, all the cars are real. There are Minis, Vauxhalls, Land Rovers, and Citroëns. No Banshees or Sentinels here, kids. The graphics kick ass too. The cars have an amazing reflection on them just like in Gran Turismo A-Spec, and London looks great. The walking-around-wasting-guys part of the mission is pretty cool too. You can sneak up stealth-style, plus you can grab anyone in the game and use them as a human shield. My only gripe here, and it seems all too common with PS2 games these days, is the wonky controls. I found that I was sometimes walking into walls or in circles. As for just hanging out and causing mayhem, they expect you to finish the game before you get to unlock the free roam mode. Here’s a tip: Once you get to the second level you can freely walk or drive around London, as there’s no time limit on that level. Another interesting aspect of the game is its complete and utter disregard for classic video-game conventions like health packs, health meters, maps, and ammunition gauges. There is absolutely zero screen clutter to be found. How do you know if your health is low? Look at your guy. If he’s bleeding to death, hunched over and limping, odds are he’s hurt. On paper, this is brilliant, but Team Soho’s solutions are sometimes less realistic than the clichés that they’re trying to avoid. For example, when you want to heal up, you lean against a wall and chill out for a bit and your health replenishes. Sure, health packs and giant turkeys are gay, but do these guys have a mutant healing factor or what? The music is the one true disappointment here. There are no radio stations. What you get is some weak-sauce techno that sounds like the Killing Zoe soundtrack, only less French. Give me some Clash tunes and throw in a street map so I know where the fuck I am, and you’d have a classic. THX 1138 VIETCONG
Publisher: Take-Two
Developer: A Gathering Of Developers
Platform: PC
Genre: Action
Rating: Teen I like war. It makes men out of boys, it’s very good for our military industrial economy and, most importantly, it makes great TV. If, like me, you’re a lazy coward with a homoerotic attraction to men in uniform, then there’s nothing better than kicking back and watching the coolest new weapons systems blowing the fuck out of bunkers and missile sites in some raggedy third world cesspit on CNN. The Americans have always been pretty good at war but since the last real war ended in 1945 all us Brits have had to get our teeth into is a little bother over in Belfast and that incident in the Falklands back in ‘82. Meanwhile, our Colonial cousins managed to get themselves into a total clusterfuck back in the 60s in South East Asia. Let’s face it, Vietnam had everything you could possibly ask for in a good war:proper assault rifles, attack helicopters, whores everywhere, massacres, The Doors, slow-motion helicopters and zapped-out kids from the midwest exchanging flower power for firepower and losing their minds. What fun! I’d much rather have been with the Marines at Khe Sahn than fannying around with the hedge monkeys at Woodstock. So it’s taken a while for a game to appear that attempts to capture the heat and swift violence of the first rock’n’roll war, but here it is. In this first person shoot-‘em-up you get to do cool things like ratting down the tunnels at Chu Chi and machine-gunning ancient Buddhist temples at Hue with amazing graphics and a pretty high gore level. There are twenty different missions, tonnes of vehicles and you can play as American or a VC, depending on your political persuasion. Recently, my ex-girlfriend called me up in the middle of an eight-hour session and, instead of blurting out sickly and soul-destroying niceities which leave me sick with twisted nostalgia, I told her to fuck off and leave me alone so I could get back into my tour of duty. I was loving the sound of M16 bullets ricocheting off tin roofs too much to listen to her whining voice any longer. PURDY VACANT