|The Italian Job|
Release Date: Out Now
Hey look! It's a game based on a movie!- You don't see many of those do you? The game of the remake of the classic Michael Caine movie sends you on mission-based car racing all over virtual teeny weeny interpretations of Los Angeles and Hollywood. Sound good so far? - well yeah, I thought so too. Trouble is that the game's graphics are of the bland, generic detail lacking kind that wouldn't have impressed anyone on the PS2 two years ago, let alone on the Gamecube in 2003.
Driving a variety of vehicles from the old-style Minis through US muscle cars and vans to the new BMW Mini, you get to race, chase (or get chased) all over the place with a terrible 'radar' to show you vaguely the way to go so you don't get lost.
Although the game never looks more than bland as far as scenery and buildings go, the cars look nice (but I use the bonnet cam so never get to see them) and the physics and handling are believable and fun, allowing for lots of skiddy, slidey handbrake action.
The game eases you gently in and uses a grading system (A, B and C) to let you know how well or badly you did. Like most racers of this kind, success is all about learning the routes, driving quickly and avoiding collisions. The time limits seem to vary hugely, some are ridiculously easy and some seem impossibly tight, but I had the 'story mode' finished in 4 hours so there's obviously nothing too taxing in here.
Circuit racing allows you to compete against some AI drivers with or without a friend (2 players max.), and the Stunt Driving sets you a series of tight, twisty courses through a warehouse, across a railway yard and through a factory to test your driving skills to the limit. You'll need to be quick, accurate and be able to do perfect handbrake turns to complete the courses.
The Italian Job: L.A. Heist's story mode seems a bit unfinished with its lack of movie clips, rubbish link sequences and lack of pedestrians to immerse you in its version of Los Angeles, but it'll certainly supply some no-brainer driving action as long as you don't require too much in the way of eye candy. The bottom line is that although there are plenty on PS2 and Xbox, there aren't many games of this kind on the Gamecube so this may be just the thing for you. I kind of enjoyed my time with the game, but then, I didn't have to pay for it.
- Simple, straightforward driving fun.
- Poor graphics and link sequences.
- Sparse versions of L.A. & Hollywood.
- Little use of the movie licence or footage.
- Poor 2-player game.
- No replay facility.