The Getaway (video game)

The Getaway (video game)

Infobox VG
title = The Getaway

developer = Team SOHO
publisher = Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE)
designer =
engine = Kinetica
released = flagicon|UK: December 11, 2002 [ [ "The Getaway"] at IGN] flagicon|USA: January 21, 2003 [ [ "The Getaway" (IMDb) - release details] ] flagicon|Japan: November 20, 2003
genre = Action
modes = Single-player
ratings = flagicon|UK: 18 flagicon|USA: Mature
platforms = PlayStation 2
media = DVD
requirements =
input = DualShock 2

"The Getaway" is an action-adventure video game developed by Team SOHO, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe for the Playstation 2. The first game of "the Getaway" series, it was released in the United Kingdom on December 11, 2002 and considered to be inspired by British gang-land style movies such as "Get Carter" and "Snatch".cite web|url=|title=Sony backs US launch of The Getaway with ad blitz|publisher=Brand Republic|date=2003-01-15|accessdate=2008-08-01] It was initially meant to be released to co-incide with the launch of its platform in 2000, the "Playstation 2", but instead was delayed by 18 months, [cite web|url=|title=Review of "The Getaway" (undertaken in 2003)|publisher=Ace Gamez|accessdate=2008-08-01] due to the nature of re-creating extensive areas of London in high-resolution.

With play set in London, the game is split into two plots with different characters appearing, typified by the background of each; one a suspended police officer seeking revenge on a crime lord, the other an ex-bank robber has been drawn back into the underworld through the shooting of his wife. The plots run in parallel and often intersect, coming together completely at the end of the game in the last mission entitled "Sol Vita", in which most of the main characters and gang supremos die.

A sequel to "The Getaway", entitled "", was released in 2004.


"The Getaway" is a sandbox-style game, where the player is put into a version of London. During missions, the player is able to go anywhere they like, although many missions have strict time limits and will be failed if the player wastes too much time. However, after having finished the game completely, players are then able to select an additional option from the main menu: "Free Roam", which gives the player the option of driving freely around London without mission objectives, time-limits or threat of attack by gangsters and/or law-enforcement officers (unless provoked by the player).

The game allows players to use around forty different vehicles. Unlike vehicles available in other games, such as those used in the "Grand Theft Auto" series, "The Getaway" features real vehicles, created by real manufacturers such as MG Rover, Saab, Renault, Citroën, Brabus, Lotus, Nissan, Lexus, FIAT, Optare, Mazda, Honda, and Toyota and takes players across a sprawling virtual representation of London. Compared to similar games, the variety of weaponry available to the player is limited. Weapons include: the Glock 17 pistol, the AK-47 assault rifle, the Remington M870 Tactical shotgun, and the Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine gun. Some of these weapons, such as the Glock 17 and the AK-47, are extremely common, whilst others, such as the MP5, are very rare. Melee weapons are also available, although these are usually very ineffective in combat as the majority of opposing gang members and police officers carry firearms.



The first half of the game follows Mark Hammond (played by Don Kembry), a Retired Member of the Soho-Based "Collins Crew", an Organised Crime Mob Lead By Nick Collins, who was recently released from prison and has settled down with his wife, Susie and their son, Alex. One day, Hammond awakes to find his wife murdered and son kidnapped by members of a gang known as the "Bethnal Green Mob". Rushing to his family's aid, he picks up the murder weapon (incriminating himself: for the rest of the game, the police suspect that Mark is responsible for the murder of his wife) and witnesses his son being forcefully dragged into a nearby car. Consumed with rage, Hammond frantically tails the car, a red Rover 75 to a warehouse where he is ambushed by Charlie Jolson (played by Ricky Hards), leader of the Bethnal Green Mob, who is holding Hammond's son hostage. Jolson, who was once the #1 mob boss in London in years past, is seeking to return to that position while wiping out all of the rival gangs in the process. So he uses Alex to coerce Mark into his "employment", forcing him to undertake virtual suicide missions of attacking all of these rival gangs with Mark taking blame for it. If Hammond complies, he is promised his son's safe return. Charlie Jolson, explains the "game" he intends to play with Mark:

Some of the missions Mark undertakes included burning down a restaurant owned and operated by his former colleagues The Collins Crew, attacking the London branch of the 14K Triad, as well as the Yardies, getting them to fight each other, ambushing a Prison Transport Convoy to free Jolson's nephew, Jake Jolson (Dave Gold) and attacking the Snow Hill Police Station to assassinate a corrupt police inspector Clive McCormack and Yasmin (played by Anna Edwards), a female assassin of Charlie's who participated in the kidnapping of Mark's son. Yasmin joins Marks side after seeing Charlie's loyalties and to help Mark get his son back. Charlie was using Mark to essentially lure the Gangs to his Ship, the "Sol Vita" at St. Saviour's Dock in Central London where Charlie Jolson was to wipe them all out at once along with Mark, his son and Yasmin.

The second half of the game involves Dirty Harry-esqe Flying Squad officer, DC Frank Carter (Joe Rice), as he attempts to take down Jolson and his gang. Carter's scenario takes place parallel to the events of Hammond's scenario, causing the two to come into contact on several occasions. Carter's partner, Joe Fielding (Vic Robinson), is shot by Jake Jolson at the beginning of the game, leaving Carter alone and without immediate armed assistance. He reports to several disturbances ( Those caused by Hammond, like the burning restaurant) and due to his "Rambo ways" is suspended by his boss, a corrupt Inspector working with Charlie Jolson (whom Hammond would later assassinate), Carter sets off on his own and discovers the truth about Mark Hammond, and decides to help him. He later confronts them all at the "Sol Vita" at the conclusion of the game. At the conclusion of the game, Jolson goes mad and explodes his own ship, killing most of the gangsters, while Carter is seen jumping from the ship alive. Mark, his son, and Yasmin escape the ship alive and leave London.


*Mark Hammond: A former member of the Soho-based Collin's Crew, Mark Hammond is now on the run for the suspected murder of his wife Susie. Desperate not to be captured so he can free his kidnapped child, Mark is trying recklessly to maintain his sanity and freedom.
*Frank Carter: A determined member of the elite Flying Squad, Frank Carter's ambition is to nail Charlie Jolson. Some of his superiors, however, do not share his obsession, so Frank must bend the Law to bring the Bethnal Green Mob to justice.
*Charlie Jolson: An ageing East End gangster and head of the notorious Bethnal Green Mob, Charlie has a taste for the finer things in life, such as classic Bentleys, Savile Row suits and Cuban cigars. But history has passed Charlie by and London is one he no longer recognises. Time to turn back the clock?
*Yasmin: A stunning brunette and former escort girl, she has a kick out of killing men. She has never known a man who has not been intrested in her and uses her allure to lead her contacts to destruction. Beneath this icy pretence, however, lies a hurt little girl.
*Jake Jolson: Crazy Jake is the nephew of Charlie Jolson, and the heir to becoming boss of the Bethnal Green Mob. He is also good friends with Paul 'Eyebrows' Burfoot and Sparky.
*Harry Preston: Charlie Jolson's right hand man Harry, is another crazy guy who likes to be aggressive. He owns a Sawn-Off Shotgun and he isn't afraid to use it.
*Paul Burfoot: Nicknamed Eyebrows, he is one of Jake Jolson's good friends and is an excellent driver.
*James Frost: Nicknamed Grievous, he is a low-ranking member of the Bethnal Green Mob. He can be easily frightened by Jake's sneaky style.
*Sparky: Sparky is the second good friend of Jake Jolson and has a taste of electrocuting people.
*Liam Spencer: Liam Spencer is a member of The Collin's Crew, he is Mark's best friend and helps him find his son Alex.
*Nick Collins: Slick Nick epitomises the modern business ethic of 'Work Hard, Play Harder'. The Collin's Crew controls Soho's bars and are the only modern crew that has come near to the notoriety of Charlie's Bethnal Green Mob.
*Shan Chu Lee: Shan Chu (Bobby) Lee is a recent immigrant from Hong Kong and heads up the London based section of the 14K Triad. The Triads are responsible for Protection Rackets enforced on the Chinese community, immigrant smuggling and heroin importing.
*Jamahl: Jamahl is the head of the Yardie gang responsible for most of London's crack cocaine problems. Heavily involved in arms dealing, these guys are vicious and determined to abide by none of the 'Old Code' that Charlie Jolson pays lip service to.
*Clive McCormack: DCI Clive McCormack is the head of the Elite Flying Squad, he is a corrupt policeman who has been working for Charlie Jolson for ten years.


The Collin's Crew is a Soho-based Organization led by Nick Collins. They own three properties in the City of London: The Republic Restaurant (destroyed), A Touch of Class (sold), and The Collin's Print Works (abandoned after Jimmer Collins' death).

The 14K Triad is a Chinese organisation based in Hyde Park and Chinatown, led by Shan Chu Lee. They own the Reptilian Gallery in Hyde Park, and the Sei Fung City Restaurant in Chinatown.

The Yardies is a Jamacian Street Gang led by Jamahl. During the year when Charlie Jolson was sending Mark Hammond on suicide missions the Yardies were making drugs. Two years after the Sol Vita event, Jamahl began buying guns from Viktor Skobel, leader of the Skobel Group.

The Bethnal Green Mob is the Gang that used to have London in fear, and now their leader, Charlie Jolson, wants to destroy The Yardies, The Collin's Crew and The 14K Triad, so it could be just like the "Good Old Days", so he has his boys murder Mark Hammond's wife, kidnap his son and keep him hostage so he could use Mark for his plans. His gang is "wiped out" when Charlie is killed on the Sol Vita when it explodes.


The game's soundtrack is complimented by a title song and cutscene soundtrack which can only be described as a jazzy and unmistakably "gangster" sound, performed by the London Session Orchestra while portions of the soundtrack were written by Shawn Lee, who would later compose music for another sandbox-style game, Bully. The story unfolds through the well-scripted, acted and detailed cutscenes mentioned above, with the player assuming control of the currently selected character after each cutscene.


The game originally began life on the 32-bit PlayStation, off the back of "Porsche Challenge". After having made an acclaimed circuit driving game, Team SOHO - like many other developers at the time - felt that a free roaming vehicle game was an interesting concept worth exploring. The title was prototyped [] and playable missions were made, but it then evolved into a Playstation 2 (PS2) project. However the original code was kept and there was talk of including it on the finished game, which would ultimately not happen. Apart from several screenshots printed in the "Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine", the original version would never see release.

In moving over to vastly more capable hardware, the scope of the title expanded--as did its ambitions. Bizarre Creations were generating a lot attention due to their successful result in reproducing the streets of central London for their Sega Dreamcast racer "Metropolis Street Racer" (or "MSR"). As "MSR" was being hyped and primed for release as one of the Dreamcast's so-called "killer games", SCEE felt compelled to attempt to steal Sega's thunder by promising the creation of a PlayStation2 title which would re-create a massive 113 square kilometres (70 square miles) of London, displaying the ferocity and length at which SCEE was willing to attempt to challenge its veteran competitor. The final creation actually only yielded an area of 16 square kilometres (10 square miles).

However, re-creating even 16 kilometres proved a daunting task and a technical nightmare--factors which may have delayed the release of "The Getaway" by several years. In the case of the latter, the programmers had to perfect an engine that could constantly stream and render three-dimensional geometry and texture data representing the areas of London in which the player is in close proximity to. At no point was the entire city loaded into memory, as it simply wouldn't fit. Unlike Rockstar North's "Grand Theft Auto III", it was not an acceptable option for the Team SOHO developers to break the city up into separate regions and impose a loading time delay when crossing between areas.

The hype surrounding the project began in earnest just before E3 2000, when a series of screenshots [] [] [] [] were published online. They revealed an amazing level of detail, clearly showing the very identifiable streets near Team SOHO's studio. Though it has been argued that these shots were actually mock-up pre-renders, it is possible that they were taken from actual PS2-spec hardware running in real time. However, it is clear that these early screen shots include vehicle and character models which are more detailed than those in the final game, as well as higher-resolution textures and a much greater level of anti-aliasing than may be possible on PS2 hardware.

Although the prototype game was constantly shown behind closed doors, the public was not privy to its results for at least another year. It was only finally made playable at E3 2002. By then the project had ballooned, exceeding its development budget many times over. SCEE however had a range of other titles in development, but the decision was taken by Phil Harrison to cull many of them; perhaps to allow yet more funds to be poured into "The Getaway". As a result of this, the axe was to fall on two of its studios, SCEE Manchester and SCEE Leeds.

But this "all eggs in one basket" gamble did pay off. When the game was launched in December 2002, it received rave reviews and was a huge seller across Europe; especially in the United Kingdom. Worldwide and particularly in the United States, the game received mixed reviews and sales. The fact that it was released around the same time as the hugely popular (to which the game was often compared) also hurt sales despite a large marketing campaign in the United States.



One alteration that Team SOHO had to make was the removal of a vehicle and phone box logos which appeared in the initial release of the game. During one of Hammond's missions, a British Telecommunications van is used in a mission in which Hammond must kill the driver and take the van to assassinate a corrupt police officer. BT was far from impressed with the role its vehicle played in this mission and the BT van was replaced with the Ford Transit. The earlier version of the game containing the BT van can still be purchased second-hand.



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