THE ITALIAN JOB (PSX) REVIEW
The Italian Job is a great little game that is based on a 1960's British movie of the same name. You'll play the part of a guy named Charlie Croker who just spent the last 3 years of his life in prison and is now attempting to pull off a 4-million dollar heist under the noses of the police and mafia. The game revolves around various driving sequences that require you to perform tasks like meeting a particular person at a certain location within the time limit or reaching the Swiss border before the coppers take you out. Considering the fact that this game can be had for a mere ten dollars its surprising how much game you get for your buck, there are multiple modes of play and lots of unlockable goodies to be found. The various missions included in the game are all very entertaining and even follows the plot progression of the movie fairly accurately. There are 16 missions spanning three different cities in total.
The control mechanics of The Italian Job are very simplistic and straightforward, X will accelerate while the D-pad or analog-stick will change the direction of your car. That is all there is to it, with the exception of hitting the R1 button that allows you to honk. There are other variables to contend with however, for instance the toughness of your vehicle plays a large part in the game: mess it up too badly and you will have to restart the mission. You'll also have to deal with the cops, if they spot your rig be prepared to be aggressively pursued until you have either lost'em or they have copied down your license-plate number. Until you ditch the police, you will not be able to complete the required objectives. As you cruise the streets of London, Turin, and the Swiss Alps you will be guided by a floating arrow at the top-middle of your screen, not unlike Crazy Taxi. While it is quite necessary to use the arrow indicator it can, at times, be somewhat misleading since the direction it is pointing and the most efficient route to take aren't always the same. Becoming intimately familiar with the expansive locations is fundamental for successfully progressing through some of the later stages in the game. Some paths may be cop-ridden or have large amounts of progress stunting traffic and knowing where these locations are will help considerably to achieve objectives in the usually short amount of time you are allotted.
Control is, for the most part, respectable in The Italian Job but the game would have done well to be tweaked a little more in the physics department. For example, in some areas if you hit a corner in a certain way your car will be flung 30feet in the air causing you to come crashing down on the pavement below. This actually looks pretty cool but considering the fact that it damages your car like nobodies business and steals precious seconds from your run it is not at all a beneficial stunt to pull.
Graphically The Italian Job is fairly impressive given the fact that not only is it limited to the confines of the now outdated PSone capabilities but is also a budget title. The three included cities are fully rendered in 3D and sport detailed surroundings like rogue garbage in the streets, pedestrians, and lots of traffic. As you inevitably crash into other cars sparks and pieces of your vehicle will fly off, much like in the driving sequences of GTA3, even going so far as to allow for tires that can be smashed off your car, and while driving around on 3 wheels isn't exactly recommended it sure does look cool. The backgrounds are, as expected, quite pixilated and suffer from washed out textures and erratic movement. At times, you will experience some slowdown when the action heats up on-screen but it is nothing that considerably detracts from the overall enjoyment of the game. Music consists of upbeat harmonic down-home tunes that help to give the game personality but are not overly unique.
While the main single-player game isn't terribly long (it'll take the average gamer around a day to complete it) there are a handful of other modes that successfully increase the overall lifespan of the game. Like Challenge Mode, which consists of ten driving trials that include exercises in jumping, racing, and overall car control. Free Ride which allows you to roam the streets of the game's cities without the added pressure of a time-limit, you'll be able to polish up your driving skills and scope out various locales followed by a panoramic view of the location. Checkpoint Mode is a slalom-esque race through the city streets, you'll have to get from point A to point B within the designated time limit, each stage will require that you drive through multiple checkpoints in order to keep the clock running. There is also Destructor Mode, in which lines of cones snake through the city streets indicating the direction to go, running over traffic-cones will add an additional second to your clock. Lastly there is Party Play Mode, you and up to six other people can participate in Challenge, Checkpoint, or Destructor games, taking turns of course. Not too shabby for a 10 dollar game, eh? The Italian Job has a lot going for it and despite the few glaring lasting-appeal and physics issues it is well worth the price of admission. I recommend this game to all Playstation owners without exception.
The Italian Job has been deemed WORTHPLAYING