After the huge success of Grand Theft auto 1, fans soon had Grand Theft Auto London to enjoy, but we all knew that London was just an expansion. It was great for British fans to have something that was set in their own country and it was also refreshing to play a game that felt as if it was made by people who actually knew something about the British. Of course, the more avid followers of the GTA franchise would have known that the game was developed in Scotland. For the rest of us, a game that was so quintessentially British was an unexpected treat.
Although GTA London was a good game, the release of GTA 2 was a much anticipated event and the interest that it garnered was tangible within the gaming community. As soon as gamers switched on their Playstations they were treated to a new world that drew them in immediately. The graphics still weren’t 3D, but they were a lot sharper than those on GTA 1. The setting, although never truly stated, was somewhere in the future, and that meant that all of the established normalities of city life could be re-invented. The stage was set for a fascinating world of violence, narcotics, gun play, and all out pandemonium.
All of the playability of the first game was still present, but the developers added more features in order to add to the value. Other inhabitants of the city now interacted with each other, as muggers and other car jackers were operating on the streets. The player’s character could now get his cash stolen and even be ripped out of his own stolen car. Pedestrians would sometimes get into fist fights and cops could be seen in gun battles with gang members. Added to the sidewalk action was more depth in programming when it came to driving. You could earn cash by doing driving missions in trucks, picking up passengers on bus routes, or becoming a taxi driver. The aim of the game had stayed the same since GTA 1, the idea was to earn cash on your way to opening up the next level, but now you could earn it in many more creative ways.
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Rampages were back, as the player picked up Kill Frenzies. Mass carnage could be achieved with flame throwers or mini guns and other rampages could be attempted by simply stealing specially hidden cars. It seemed like every day we would find another feature, and that replayablility kept interest alive.
Of course the ambience of GTA is one of its most amazing features, and GTA 2 was no exception. The radio soundtrack was, once again, top notch for its time. A lot of fun could be had by simply cruising along the streets and innocently listening to the radio stations on offer. This time the rival gangs even had their own stations, which gave the game yet another layer of depth, and still more depth could be found when stumbling upon the side missions. It was clear from GTA 1 that regular missions weren’t the only way to progress, but GTA 2 showed us that, if we really wanted to, we could play for hours without touching the story missions while still making good progress.
It may have been a stretch to come up with a new concept, when creating GTA2, if the developers had tried to keep the game set in a contemporary city environment. The idea of putting it in a futuristic setting negated any such concerns, and the game seemed fresh when it was released in 1999; only a couple of years after GTA 1. Many gamers recognize GTA 1 as being a powerhouse of the 1990s, but there is less love for the second installment of the series. If we look back at GTA 2 with a more discerning eye, however, we can see how important it really was. With the success of both games came a progression in marketing, revenue, and development skills that we would see in the much more brilliantly polished sequel. The GTA 2 movie shows us that DMA Design, later Rockstar Games, was going along the right lines with marketing and the income that the games produced allowed the franchise to expand and create one of the most influential games of all time; Grand Theft Auto III.