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The Getaway: Black Monday Review

Developer: SCE Soho Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: January 11, 2005 Also On: None

Decisions, decisions, decisions. It’s a genre in itself. The free-roaming gameplay of the Grand Theft Auto series is overwhelming. The Getaway provides you with both optional side modes and a structured storyline. You’ll be given enough freedom that you won’t complain of linear design.

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Though most of the game’s run-and-gun missions are meant to be beat in a certain way, driving in the streets of London will give you optional sub-routes. Set in modern-day London, The Getaway: Black Monday portrays the city as a haven for various gangs, including the Jamaicans, Cossacks, and a….boxing club.

Where Streets of L.A. had grannies carrying cocaine, The Getaway places you on the street as a cop and boxer. As you drive through town, you’ll get flanked by gang members and chased by cops, if you’re playing as the boxer. As I said, this is a game of decisions, but not on the level where you feel like you’re micro-managing (i.e. lifting weights from San Andreas).

You can carjack all the vehicles on the road, including double-decker buses, cop cars, sports cars, bank vans, even motorcycles. The speed, acceleration, and response for each vehicle is unique, giving the game a sense of realism that Grand Theft Auto seriously lacks. After taking serious damage, your car (and the cars of computer-controlled drivers) can catch fire, but not explode.

You won’t see cars flipping down hills, hookers selling themselves, or mob riots. The Getaway is a much classier version of Grand Theft Auto. You have an enormous London landscape, the freedom of the road, and graphics that make San Andreas look prehistoric. Not to mention, the voice acting has top-notch British talent. For a game that loans itself as an interactive movie, voice actors are desperately needed. Thankfully, Sony delivers.

The play mechanics in The Getaway are simple. You play from the 22 missions, with the ability to replay them once they’re completed. The decisions you make in the game, the moral decisions you make (shall I let the girl drop to her death, being crushed by a metal platform, or save her?) will alter the ending. Being the good guy that I am, I was rewarded with an ending where the Russian gets his, and the boxer, alive with the girl, walks away free, after the cops storm the building that he’s in.

The Getaway: Black Monday is a 3rd person shooter, ala Mafia. If I were to compare this to any single game, it would be Mafia. In several respects, except for the Chicago 1930’s location of that game, Black Monday feels and plays a lot like Mafia. You’ll be supplied with weapons, hide behind corners, leap over fences, and do a lot of bloody killing.

Playing as Eddie, you’ll be encouraged to use your fists. As the police offer, Mitchell, you’ll be equipped with automatic weapons and a pistol. As you go, you can obtain new weapons, such as dual pistols, shotgun, dual machine guns, etc. The third character that you can play as is Sam, a female thief and computer hacker. Her levels are confined to stealth missions, such as collecting her laptop computer from a top floor of a skyscraper.

Once you beat the single-player completely, you’ll have a nice number of options. First, you’ll be treated to a ‘making of’ video. Second, you have the option to replay whatever missions you deem worthy of replaying. Last, there are bonus modes, such as a racing, car chasing, free roam, etc. What would have been cool is an online mode of some sort, enabling you to play the same offline modes with strangers. As brainless as some of the computer AI can be in this game, it would be nice to play humans.

All in all, The Getaway: Black Monday wins over San Andreas for the simple fact that it’s less insanely open-ended, the graphics are spruced up, and it’s not as degrading as San Andreas. I prefer structure, with a few options, not the ability to do everything, and at the same time, not do anything particularly well. The Getaway: Black Monday doesn’t over-extend itself like most games in the GTA-clone genre. If Sony can fix the glitches, add some online modes, and tone down the death rate that your character will incur, a sequel to Black Monday would be a must-buy.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8
Written by Kyle Review Guide