The Italian Job
|a game by||Pixelogic Limited|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 1 review, 2 reviews are shown|
|User Rating:||9.0/10 - 2 votes|
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Method reviewing. That's the way forward my friends. Just as actors will sometimes spend months getting into character by emulating someone in real life beforehand, so I figured the bes' way to really get in the right frame of mind to review a particular game is to immerse oneself in the surrounding paraphernalia as much as possible first.
Which, as far as reviewing SCi's take on The Italian Job goes, basically involved watching the video several times, listening to the soundtrack a lot and talking in shouted exaggerated cockney until friends and family threatened to whip me with chains UNTIL I BLOODY WELL STOPPED (you'll have to imagine the voice).
Taking The Michael
Now, steeped as I was in all things Caine you can imagine how the most important thing on my mind was how well the man himself made the transition to the interactive arena. Unfortunately SCi couldn't persuade the genuine article to show up, but personally I think we've got the next best thing. Hidden away in the credits is the name Phil Cornwall -professional impressionist, star of Stella Street and Dead Ringers and one of the best Caine voices around.
For legal reasons I expect that SCi would have it that Cornwall isn't 'doing' Michael Caine himself, but an impression of the film's lead character Charlie Croker. No matter, it's still bloody good and just about lifts this incarnation of The Italian Job above the level of average arcade racer. ONLY JUST, MIND (sorry, I'll stop that now).
Plates Of Meat
The game is essentially a reworking of Midtown Madness (even down to the dated graphics), but with a more controlled gameplay structure and story-based missions running through the main campaign. The film's spirit is fairly well captured in the missions directly related to scenes from the film, with most of the main characters putting in an appearance and plenty of variety in things to do (albeit all of a driving nature).
Unfortunately, what most comes across is how those levels not directly based on moments from the film do feel like mere padding. Slogging my way through interminable 'tests' such as Lorna racing with one of the chinless wonders, or Bill trying to ram Charlie off the road were soon dull and repetitive when forced to replay a dozen or so times.
Of course, as soon as the gold is in the Minis and the getaway ensues, the thrill is right back up front. Same when you're driving the bus around the Alps or trying to get the three Minis into the back Spy Hunterstyle. As grand finales to games go, I have to admit that these latter few levels are indeed very playable (especially the Minis' getaway) and standard as they are, the FMV clips played as rewards do leave you with a grin on your face.
Nuts To Yer Watches
Sensibly, the developers seem to have realised that a single campaign would hardly provide a lasting experience and have included a number of alternative game modes to try and liven things up. As well as a Free Ride option in either of the two main locales, you can play timed checkpoint races, cone-bashing challenges and a sort of mission 'training' section that parallels the middle section of the film. And, in true console style, many of these options or a greater choice of cars to play them in can only be opened when levels from the main game are completed. Unfortunately there's a problem with this sort of reward structure as well. It's too basic to really be worthwhile. Since this is an arcade racer and not nearly as detailed as Gran Turismo 3 or Project Gotham Racing where new cars have a major impact on the main gameplay, the 'rewards' here just aren't really worth the effort, rendering the alternative game modes as little more than novelties that soon wear thin.
It's not SCi's or Pixelogic's fault that The Italian Job underperforms in the long run. Both companies have done the best with what they had, and all the non-campaign game modes show that there's no shortage of effort on display. The real problem is that the limitations of programming for a dated console such as the PlayStation are just all too apparent when you do a straight port across to the PC.
I hate sounding snobbish about console games (some of my best friends are console games) and the developers have clearly achieved what they set out to do - make a simple arcade racing game based on the film. But while that kind of thing might be acceptable over in PlayStation land, let's not forget that that particular audience will accept anything as long as it has lots of primary colours and flashing lights to distract them from the hell of their real-world existence. We demand a little bit more class here in the world of the PC.
Still, it's hard to totally slag the game off. Amazingly, just the fact that it is The Italian Job will be enough for most fans to forgive some of the simplicities. It won't exactly last a lifetime, hardly even a whole weekend, but if you think 20 quid is decent value for a couple of days' play, then you're probably not going to mind too much. The final few levels are worth it alone - it's just a shame that the rest of the game isn't up the job. Your best bet is to stick with the video and play The Italian Job drinking game instead. You'll feel better in the long run.
Download The Italian Job
This Job, not to be confused with the first Italian Job game (PS1), is loosely based on the recent Italian Job movie remake. I know this because of the approximately five seconds of film footage they show at the start. Once that's out of the way, the game consists of a series of missions, most of which involve driving a Mini, finding a Mini, or driving a Mini in search of more Minis. If you are, say, in the Guinness book as the world's biggest fan of Mini Coopers, this could conceivably be quite enjoyable--like a dream, even. If you're anybody else (well, aside from G. Ford), it gets boring fast. You'll soon stop caring about the mission objectives, since they're almost all the same: The red dot on your radar is where you need to go. So get there. While the arcadey driving physics aren't too bad, there's nothing else about Job that's particularly fun. Not the meager Stunt or Circuit modes, and certainly not the stage where you have to chase another car for six and a half minutes. Go see the original '69 Italian Job movie instead, and let us never speak of Italian jobs again.
Gee guys, you're being awfully rough on The Italian Job. I know it's nothing revolutionary, but this racer offers simple, responsive controls, neat stunts, and story bits lifted from the movie's cool plot--enough to keep me entertained until the end. The Story, Circuit, and Stunt modes are all solid, sending you through an impressive-looking L.A. in some sleek cars (with no noticeable graphical hit in two-player matches). My biggest beef? You'll most likely polish off this game in a weekend. A great rental.
I think Ford's letting his crush on Marky Mark cloud his judgment, 'cause I wouldn't even rent this game if it were free. My big problem is that the radar in Italian Job is completely useless. Including a rough street layout map (like in Vice City or Midnight Club II) would have improved the gameplay dramatically. As it stands, the boring, repetitive, and annoying missions will only frustrate you. If you must drive a Mini, buy the much better (and much cheaper) Italian Job on PS1.
Snapshots and Media
- Driver 2
- Grand Theft Auto
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- The Godfather: The Game
- True Crime: New York City
- Battle Grand Prix
- Big Red Racing
- Cross Country Racing
- GTR 2: FIA GT Racing Game
- Kyle Petty's No Fear Racing
- OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
- The Spirit of F-1
- Total Immersion Racing
- Trackmania United