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  PlayStation 2
  Release Date:
  January 21, 2003
  Studio Soho


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The Getaway
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On the plus side, the complexity of London's streets and the sheer volume of traffic almost always ensure for a thrilling, if challenging, chase sequence. Clever programming ensures that loading is only necessary for cutscenes, doing away with the ability to lose enemies through a loading screen. In particular, swerving left and right through crowded traffic while a passenger shoots out the window at enclosing gang members makes for an interesting experience.

Complementing the driving and auto-jacking sequences are a series of on-foot segments. Keeping with the realistic feel, Mark can only take so many hits before keeling over, and can actually be run over by traffic. In addition, Hammond can only carry one weapon at a time in addition to two pistols, discarding weapons when they run out of ammo. Health can be recovered - an absolute necessity, given the number of enemies he comes up against - but only by leaning against a wall and resting, a process which can take up to about two minutes to restore all his health. Hammond also has the ability to slide along walls and take cover behind corners or boxes, and this kind of vulnerability gives the game a vague kind of Metal Gear feel to it.

If there's one area of the game that deserves comparison to GTA, however, it's the targeting system, which can be an exercise in frustration. Hammond has the unfortunate tendency to target enemies further away from him as opposed to closer enemies, and unlike GTA III, the only way to toggle between enemies is to press and repress the R1 button. The worst offender, though, comes in the latter half of the game where players take on the role of DC Frank Carter. Here, the enemy AI is intelligent enough to surrender to the cop, but Carter will still target them if they're closer. With no ability to arrest them yourself, they detract valuable fire away from enemies shooting at Carter from a distance.

These sequences also highlight some strange clipping problems that might be ignored in a high-speed chase. Cars themselves have absolutely no such problems, but civilians can be seen wandering through door frames rather than doors, bodies lying halfway through walls, and on two occasions AI characters disappeared entirely - once through the wall during an arrest, and on the other inexplicably through the road itself. It's rare that this detracts from the gameplay, but especially when combined with the occasional delayed or misplaced voice clip, a game that's been in development as long as The Getaway should feel more polished.

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