Grand Theft Auto: The Director's Cut
Have you ever just wanted to throw any and all morals you have out the door and steal cars, commit crimes, blow up buildings, and cause general destruction? Well, here’s your chance: Introducing Grand Theft Auto: The Director’s Cut. This package contains both the original uncut Grand Theft Auto in its entire splendor and the London: 1969 expansion pack, and will provide so much fun it should be illegal.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
So what is the object of the game? In a nutshell, wreak as much havoc as possible without getting caught. Unlike most games these days, Grand Theft Auto is based on points. In order to move to the next level, you typically need to achieve a certain number of points. Points are obtained mainly from missions that come from calls at pay phones or on your pager where some member of organized crime will hire you to do something. The missions come in the form of carjacking, larceny, murder, blowing up buildings, etc. You name it, it’s there. While mainly an action game, you do need to occasionally use some brains and/or good judgment to outrun the authorities or to keep them from chasing you in the first place. For instance, it’s not always a good idea to run down a parade of people if you are on your way to set a car bomb in a police station. If you do, however, you can still evade the cops by pulling into a spray shop and getting a new look for your car. There are lots of different vehicles available and some contain secrets that allow you to go on a killing frenzy for some type of extra bonus such as points or an extra life. You have the ability to go wherever and do whatever you like as long as you don’t get caught or killed in the process.
This game has it all and plays like a dream. The top-down perspective always has you as the center focus, whether you are on foot or in a vehicle. Given the perspective of the game, the controls are a little odd until you get used to them, which shouldn’t take too long. For instance, rather than pressing the controller or arrow keys to walk or drive in a certain direction, there is a forward and reverse button used in conjunction with turning or steering right and left. The rest of the controls are pretty self-explanatory except maybe the "special" button. Depending on your situation, this button will perform different functions such as honking the horn, making rude noises or detonating a bomb. The controls are very responsive and handle well. Unfortunately, the Windows version of the game will only use the keyboard or a Microsoft SideWinder game pad; there is no support for any other controllers. The DOS version has generic joystick support. The general interface and menu system is simple and doesn’t require much effort to figure out. You will probably want to check the manual to see what all the different on-screen numbers (score, lives, multipliers, etc.) are, though.
The three different maps in the original Grand Theft Auto are quite large and fashioned after real U.S. cities. The London: 1969 expansion contains, surprisingly, a London map complete with famous landmarks. Fortunately, an actual map is included for each city, which is extremely helpful when you need to get somewhere quick (or if you get lost). In addition, a free download expansion (London: 1961) has been made available at Take 2 Games' website for use with the London expansion pack!
While this is a great game, its multiplayer capabilities are lacking and detract from the game immensely. While the game supports IPX and serial connections, the IPX connection is choppy. The Windows version of the game also supports TCP/IP and is even worse. When playing through the Internet on a 56K modem, I found the game was virtually unplayable due to running too slow on several different computers. I checked with Take 2’s technical support department, and their response was simply that the game was designed more for IPX and no patches are expected. As you can imagine, this is very disappointing, as this really would make a great multiplayer game.
Two-dimensional or Three? Take your pick. Grand Theft Auto and London: 1969 can both be played with either a 2D or 3Dfx Voodoo video card at several different resolutions. Unfortunately, this was not handled as well as it could have been. In order to take advantage of the 3Dfx card, you must play the DOS version of the game, which doesn’t support Windows-based controllers. 3Dfx isn’t everything, though. The 2D version of this game is fluid in movement and still plays quite nicely. In fact, about the only difference I noticed between the 2D and 3D graphics was the crispness.
Very nice in all aspects. There are lots of good general sound effects including gunfire, screams, people swearing at you, horns honking and explosions. The background music is handled really well in that it kicks in when you get into a car (as if you’re listening to the radio). The music played depends on what type of car you get into, although it can be changed on the fly. For instance, if you hop into a big rig, you’ll probably hear country music whereas if you get into a sports car, you’ll likely hear some type of dance mix. I found it interesting that when driving a car under an overpass, the music would cut out temporarily (like an old AM radio). The sound in the London: 1969 expansion is handled the same, but with pseudo late '60s music.
Minimal for these days. If you can’t run this, you need a new computer, period. 486 DX4/100, 16 MB RAM, 1 MB VESA compliant video card, DOS 6.0 or Windows 95, 80 MB hard drive space, any major brand sound card. Optional: Hayes compatible modem, IPX network, null modem cable.
Reviewed On: Pentium 233MMX, 6.4 GB hard drive, 64 MB SDRAM, Orchid Righteous 3D (w/ 3Dfx chipset), Diamond Stealth 2000, Microsoft SideWinder Game Pad.
There isn’t much in this department other than the basics. Still, you’ll probably want to read it anyway as it’s quick and you’ll probably learn something you wouldn’t have by just playing the game. The best part of the docs is that Take 2 graciously (and I do mean graciously; it’s really easy to get lost) included a map for all the cities for both the original Grand Theft Auto and London: 1969.
If you like to cause mayhem and want to do everything your mother told you not to, this game is for you. It is a ton o’ fun in all aspects and will literally give you hours and hours of enjoyment. I would not, however, recommend this game to anyone who has problems with violence in video games. I also would not recommend this game to anyone who only wants to play a buddy through the Internet as this feature does not work properly and no fix is planned, which is why I give this game a score of 83.