LONDON, THROUGH THE EYE OF AN ENGLISHMAN
This is about the fifth time i have tried to start this review and well I don’t where to begin so lets start from story from when i placed the CD into my CD-ROM. Seconds after my PC started to churn to life as the autorun cut in and promptly crashed. A quick reboot and walk upstairs and get changed out of my work clothes curse my PC. I return downstairs to the usual Windows login prompt and smash return. Once again my PC churns to life and just about survives the task of loading explorer.
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[ Click to enlarge ]
Then I loaded up TMA2 and look on the CD for setup, and start up the install. It worked!, then i run the program and get finally into the game. Quickly i find the much-talked about London Crash course, and start playing. I sit down and pick up my much trusted joypad, which I have always used for play racing sims and push the accelerator. With that my London cab pulls off with at an impressive speed (well at least for in London), and I drive full speed towards an open Tower bridge which I then jump over a terrifyingly long queue of traffic and head though the check point. Having completed this rather easy task I quickly move on to the next now completely addicted to find out what happens next. I then get to my first “follow that car” level. As soon as I see it I start laughing having watched too many films based in London in the past which have all have at least one car chase film involving a Hudson cab. Then came the most amusing level yet “river dancing”, which requires you to drive full speed toward traitors gate (in the tower of London) and trying to jump onto a barge, then proceed along the Thames jumping from barge to barge to the final check point. Though unsurprisingly nothing is ever as simple as it sounds and I spent the rest of the evening try to crack the level (much to my girlfriends disappointment) and eventually had to give up end up having no girlfriend. It was not until 1am then next morning did I sit down and eventually finish the level in the required time, after plenty of near misses. I suppose you now ask what did I think of the level design.
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[ Click to enlarge ]
Well after a cruise or 2 I was very impressed the however underground seem almost completely incorrect. The rest of the level seemed on the other hand accurately done and gave a good feel of the city and the curved rounds are amazing compared to the rigid block structure of the American cities as they allow much higher speed cornering. The other great thing about London is Cops and Robbers is far more of a challenge and hence more fun. This is because it can no longer be just a 4 blocks down and 2 across but you have to actually check the map or you might end up in completely the wrong place or miss a massive shortcut across the parks. The Thames also provides a great deal of interest to the game however it is little different from Chicago in this way and is hence easily over looked. One thing I definately is on going round the City of Westminster recently I was very surprised that I could recognise where I was (or would have been in the game), suddenlly I realised how well the levels where scaled compared to what it feels like when you actually walk round the city. One floor is that very roughly oposite the Houses of Commons/Big Ben there is now the Millenium wheel filling the sky line which is sadly not included. The game also gave the feeling of a hundreds of little streets all over London perfectly even though they had no hope of mapping every single one, the inclusion off cobble textured roads also brings the feel the age of the city back to life. However in places the skyline looks as if was taken straight out of America and soom of the lesser know landmarks are missing, for example Whitehall as seen in James Bond is missing or badly detailed so it cant be made out.
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[ Click to enlarge ]