The Getaway, or How to be a Boss British Thug on Thirty Clips a Day

March 10, 2003 By Glenn Turner

Recently unitdaisy and I rented The Getaway and spent a few drunken hours laughingly slamming our PS2 controller into the ground. The end result are snippets of dialogue extracted from the experience.

peccaui (inserts game, boots up): Why did 'Team Soho' rip off the 'Sonic Team' logo? And did you see in the manual that they proclaim themselves to be 'Stupidly Ambitious'?

unitdaisy: Because they think they are clever?

peccaui: Stupidly clever!

Welcome to London!

peccaui (menu appears): Hey, Extra Features! How do you select it? Is there an R4 button hidden on the inside of the controller that I don't know about?

[editor's note - Extra Features are not selectable until you have completed the first 12 missions.]
[peccaui's note - S-M-R-T.]

unitdaisy: That controller has too many buttons as it is, i insist on
spending time reading about every single one before I'll play.

peccaui: Wanna read up on the PS2 DVD Remote while you're at it? It's gotta be at least about two hours worth of gripping material!

unitdaisy (end of cut-scene): Ok, so exactly why was he lying in bed fully clothed? Wouldn't it have been a better game if he had to accomplish all these missions in his pajamas? If the lead had been a woman they would have put her in pajamas (or less.)

peccaui: I bet his pajamas has one of those butt-flaps. Or maybe
bunny ears. Or both! That would be better.

peccaui (in-game play starts): How the hell do I get into a car?
(wanders around for a few minutes) Oh. How the fuck do you drive this thing? It handles like shit. Reverse is triangle? Christ, I can't handle that. Hours of GTA have warped my fragile fingers. Where's the damn manual?

unitdaisy: yeah, maybe if you read the manual ahead of time, you
wouldn't get so frustrated, you know that is why they print these things...

peccaui: I looked at the pictures before popping it in. Is that not enough?

peccaui: Are the streets in London really this small? And is every street a one way street? Why drive when I can just put on some rollerblades and skate around in a coffin instead?

unitdaisy: Yes...and yes. And somehow i think rollerblades are handled much better in Jet Grind Radio, than cars are here... and for goodness sakes it sounds like they stole the car sound effects from Spirit of Speed 1927!

peccaui: Okay, so I go into this factory eh? Wait - watch my guy try duck around a corner and shoot: WAAAHOOO I'm a GUNSLINGER!! WAAAHOO-- Fuck. They shot me.

Just one of many classy blokes in the game.

unitdaisy: Wait - go back and shoot the pallets of bottles again!

peccaui: No.

unitdaisy: Yeah! Just empty the entire gun so the whole thing starts shooting water! Whee!

peccaui: No. And it's beer.

unitdaisy: Hmmm your stubbornness upsets me, but not enough to actually make me want to play.

unitdaisy: No, run! Go lean up against a wall! Wait, are you even shot? I can't tell, that suit is too dark for the blood stains to show up properly... bleedy suit ... shadow ... bleedy suit?

peccaui: Maybe it's just sweat. Or a grease stain. He might moonlight
as a car repairman.

unitdaisy: Maybe he should find a better dry cleaner, that should be
top priority for a gangster...

peccaui: Yeah, let's see GTA do buses this well. *HONK* *HONK* It's like 18 Wheeler! And no one can touch m-- damn. Apparently they can shoot you through the windshield.

unitdaisy: Why does you character go all twitchy when you drive a bus? It's not like you have to use extreme physical force to turn the wheel... maybe he's dancing in his seat? I don't know, but it's just weird.

peccaui: You try sitting still while driving when one of your tires are shot out. Oh wait - you can't drive! You don't have a license!

unitdaisy: Hey, i could, i just chose not to. Anyway i like the music, except for the part of the soundtrack where it sounds like they are mapping out the bottom of the ocean floor.

Later ...

peccaui: The pause screen says 'Lost.' Should I just give up now?

unitdaisy: Haha! It's funny how the character makes 'grrr - i'm frustrated with my driving' noises at the same time you do! They really should have given you an option to get around the city on the tube, now _that_ would be innovation in game design!

Even later ...


unitdaisy: Keep following the turn signals, one blinky go, two blinkies stop.

peccaui: You've been to London. Where am I supposed to go?

unitdaisy (driving): Have you seen a map of london? They make cab drivers pass a test before they give them a license... hmmm can't recall seeing a cab at all so far, now that would be another good way to get around! Dammit, i can't control the wheel, hate this joystick.

peccaui: You were able to drive in Crazy Taxi.

unitdaisy: um, no i wasn't... i don't think i ever got above a D license.

unitdaisy: Wait - why did it stop, i'm not dead yet.

peccaui: That's what happens when you spend 15 minutes trying to travel three city blocks. You run out of time.

unitdaisy: Fine - you drive again

An hour later ...

peccaui: I give up.

unitdaisy (asleep): zzzzzzzzz


unitdaisy: I give it a 10 for being set in London! 10! 10! 10! I just wish it had been a good enough game that we cared about finishing it so i could just drive lazily around the city all day.

peccaui: Maybe you should play No One Lives Forever 2 - one of the missions takes place in Akron, Ohio. Then you could give that a 10 too.

unitdaisy: Yeah, but they even put a pret a manger on the corner! the voice acting was pretty good, they made sure the thug element had that saf [sic] london lilt, they just needed more of it... this, like every other game i've seen suffers from not having enough off-the-cuff dialog/comments, hearing the civilians yell 'oh my go! oh my god!' when you are shooting up a restaurant is amusing the first 40 times you hear it, but even that loses it's charm, and heck, you've paid the voice actors to come down to the studio and record atmosphere lines, why not give them a whole page rather then three lines, for goodness sakes this game was in production for how long? they certainly had the time... speaking of voices, the lead's voice always sounded like it was coming from a distance, just like the other characters, nit-picky, but since they touted their game uber-realistic, perfectly valid...

As easy to play as a slide ruler.

peccaui: I agree. The presentation is pretty appealing. Visually, it's not the sharpest but at least the playahs in The Getaway have fingers instead of GTA's brickhands. Clearly a lot of work went into the characters, even down to the lipsyncing - if Hammond makes an in-game quip, his mouth actually moves - with his words. It's a nice touch.

There are a lot of little details like this in the game - breathing, ducking behind items, how your character's movement suffers when he's hurt -

unitdaisy: or on fire

peccaui: - and some impressive amounts of vehicle damage. The amount of stealth options are, for the most part, tightly done and make the experience more akin to The Mark of Kri than GTA.

unitdaisy: My favorite visual part was the barrel of oil that exploded when you shot it and collapsed the fire escape, nice... and i agree the stealth capabilities gave a good tension to the missions.

peccaui: With the good, there's always the bad - and boy is there a lot of it. Let's just say that everytime you pick up the controller feels like it's the first. The AI is dumber than your average AOL user. That's really the only way to put it. 90% of enemy action feels poorly scripted and implemented. Local drivers will rarely react to you plowing into the front of their car except to say one of the three lines they're been programmed with, and then they try to continue driving ahead. What's worse is when you're playing an on-foot action mission and the civilians will actively get in your way during a shoot-out. Sometimes they even follow you, or further obstruct your viewpoint. Killing them is a nice solution at that point in time.

unitdaisy: That and you can spend inordinate amounts of time breathing up against a wall because none of the bad guys ever seem to come find you to investgate all the gunfire... they just wait. Still overall i liked it, i think they should use the city maps again in another game, just fix all the problems we listed and it would be great!

peccaui: While The Getaway is an admirable attempt at an interactive "lad's film," when push comes to shove it's just not all that fun to play. My score: 7.0 out of 10.

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