previews\ May 19, 2003 at 8:00 pm

The Italian Job - XB - Preview

E3 2003 - Hands On


The job in Venice was botched. Sure, the gold was stolen, but Charlie Croker and his gang were involved in a double-cross and left for dead. Bad thinking on the part of the perpetrator. Charlie and his gang are back in the world and hungry for a little revenge.


The Italian Job, a pending GameCube, PlayStation2 and Xbox release from Eidos Interactive, is not your “based on the movie” game. This is a racing game, pitting players against the clock and drivers on the chaotic streets of Los Angeles.


The game features 15 missions in the story mode, 10 different vehicles and four modes of play. It is based on the 2003 movie of the same name.


The driving mechanics of the game will take some time to get used to. The cars are, for the most part, Mini Coopers that have quick acceleration, but the reaction time from wheel acrobatics to actualizing them on the streets was a little slow in the preview demonstrated at E3 in Los Angeles. (Of course, that could have been driver reaction worn down rather than game mechanics.)


The locations are based, more or less, on actual L.A. locales, and the courses are not linear. There are many places that you can take your vehicle, even up ramps and across the tops of buildings. However, errant landings or mishaps with other vehicles will take its toll on your car. The wheels will wobble, steam will pour from the busted radiator and smoke will billow from the damaged engine. Sooner or later, your machine will give up the ghost.


The hairpin looms and you must crank that wheel to make it. To facilitate the turn, you yank on the hand brake. The car skids, the rubber marring the road and smoke rising from the tortured tires. Release the brake and tromp on the gas and the Cooper surges ahead.


The heroes in this game are the cars. Each car represents a character and situation from the movie. This is an all-out race with the winner getting the big prize.


The Italian Job is a fast-paced game with non-linear driving lanes. You can almost go anywhere on the huge maps, though if you wish to complete the game’s missions you will need to go from point A to point B. How you traverse the streets to get there is up to you.


This game is smooth and seamless and fans of mission-based race games will likely find this an enjoyable ride.

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