Dale and I are in total agreement on this one. I was really looking forward to GTA2 because I'm a big fan of open-ended games like the classic Elite for the PC or the low-profile Escape Velocity for the Mac. I never cared for the original premise of car-jacking and thuggery for the sake of being able to do so, but in the sequel, the idea of operating in a consequential world with gangland loyalties was intriguing to me. Too bad the whole notion goes totally wasted on a game with so many defects that I barely know where to start.

Dale's already mentioned most of them, so let me just highlight the ones that offended me the most. I'll start with the irrational controls. Not only are the controls unconfigurable, but all the offered schemes are terrible. It's also painfully obvious that when a player is 'on foot', the control scheme should switch to a simple directional method rather than still using a rotating axis, which is better suited for vehicular motion. Then there's the lack of any map feature which is so desperately needed since navigating the streets is a total bumper-car-style nightmare and finding the 'safe house' for game-saves is an exercise in fustration. The game does offer directional compasses, but they are confusing, poorly implemented, and not much help other than for locating gang turf.

Yet the worst thing for me boiled down to how the whole 'respect' and gang loyalty thing never played out convincingly throughout the game. All switching sides meant was having to drive over to a rival gang's hood and run over dozens of members until I was in good favor with an opposing gang. Gangs are notorious for being harsh on defectors, but I never felt that there was any real, long-lasting consequences for siding with one gang over another in GTA2. That made running the already tedious missions for particular gangs even more pointless. This really disassociated my level of involvment in the game. That last statement pretty much sums up my feelings towards the game. I wanted to 'get into' everything GTA2 offered, but the game's many flaws served as a severe mental roadblock. Rating: 4 out of 10

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers GameCritics.com his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that GameCritics.com will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui
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