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2009 Car Jack Streets now available
Top Down GTA - General News | @ 06:06 PM MDT | By Neil
If you're waiting for the next Grand Theft Auto title to be announced or have been wishing for even more missions in Chinatown Wars, Car Jack Streets might just be for you. It could be considered a 'spiritual successor' to some of the early Grand Theft Auto titles. The company which makes it, Tag Games, was founded by two ex-DMA Design employees who both worked on GTA. Moreover, they've remained in the city where it all began - Dundee, UK.
The most striking thing about this iPhone game is that it's an almost carbon copy of Grand Theft Auto titles of old, and it bears many similarities to the recently released Chinatown Wars. Most notably, the game is presented from an almost (but not quite) top-down angle, with the odd object flying past you reminding you that this is indeed 3D. Presentation is top notch - the game looks crisp at all times and there's clearly been an effort to ensure that it runs at a good framerate. The excellent interface means that there are few times when your fingers will block the action - surprising for such a small screen. Icons are semitransparent and most only appear when you need them.
The game's story focuses on Randal, the blonde haired protagonist who you'll control for your time in Jack City. He's a million dollars in debt and of course, this is to a very stern looking mob boss. His demands for $50,000 per week have led Randal to crime in order to pay his dues. By a week, the game really does mean a week - it runs in real time, a decision which I'm not entirely sure is the right one.
There's always a clock on screen, so if you're waiting for a bus then you'll always be able to see what time it is now. But that's about where the merits of this system end - if you're a daytime gamer, then you'll never get to see the city under lights, something that makes it look even more impressive. It also means that time is never frozen in the game world - if you stop playing the game for a week and miss an instalment of your repayment you'll have to start the whole game again. It's not ideal, but the company defends its choice by saying that they expect players to easily meet the targets by playing frequently in short bursts.
Overall, you probably won't find a handheld game which does such a good job of mimicking GTA elsewhere. The depth and longevity are incredible for a game of this price, as is its superb presentation. The flaws are minor and can easily be missed when looking at the whole package. The developer's Managing Director told GTAGaming that if players aren't happy with the real-time elements and game structure, they'll allow them to play freely in an update. They're keen to "appeal to everyone" and even in this first release they've come very close to doing just that.
Car Jack Streets is available now for iPhone and iPod Touch. It's priced at a very reasonable US$4.99 / £2.99 / €3.99.
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