The Italian Job, based on the 1969 film of the same name, was released in 2002 for the Playstation, nearly 2 years after the launch of it’s big brother the PS2. Playstation games by this point were often sold at bargain prices just to make room for the successor’s software. Many titles, such as this one, were released and received no promotional backing but were still remarkable titles. The game was published (in-part) by Rockstar Games, so you would expect great things and while some parts shine, other aspects fall flat on their face.
The Italian Job is a driving-based mission game much like the Driver series. In the game there are a number of different modes to play through, such as; timed races, destruction races, obstacle races and a free ride mode, but the story mode is where you might be spending most of your time. In the game you take on the role of Charlie Croker, a conman who was just released from prison but isn’t quite finished with his life of crime. He devises one final plan to steal $4 million in gold in Turin Italy and escape the wrath of the Italian Mob and police.
The story missions follow the movie quite well and for the most part it is very respectful in it’s recreation. Some parts are changed around a bit for challenge purposes and others possibly due to programming reasons, but all-in-all whether you’ve played the game or watched the movie first, you won’t have a hard time adapting to the other. Even though this was a late released for the system the graphics aren’t changed much, although they are a bit smoother than other Playstation games. Sometimes during gameplay the frame rate can get quite sluggish and due to that fact you will end up crashing into things. While each of the cars have different acceleration, handling is always pretty frustrating. Turning is highly based on your speed, the slower you’re going the harder it is to turn and if you hit something, your car will bounce around in an almost comical fashion. What turns this into frustration is the fact you’re almost always under pressure from the time limit.
In the free ride mode you get a chance to drive around in either London or Turin, in one of a few different vehicles which are unlocked during the story mode. The cities are quite expansive and there are many things to see and do within free ride, but watch out for the polizia! In both cities the police are present and will chase you down if you are caught speeding, which seems to be the only crime they don’t tolerate. The police will read your license plate, which will appear on the lower left of the screen, and once they know it completely it’s game over. You can however evade them and continue on your way, which will slowly take letters away and the police will give up.
With the story mode being cut up into 24 missions, The Italian Job will keep you busy for quite some time. Even after completing the story mode there is still so much left to complete with the other challenges and free ride mode, you may not put this game down for a while! I often find myself replaying certain story missions over and over because they were so much fun the first time around. For a game that was released well beyond the normal life span of it’s system, The Italian Job is a very underrated game in most respects. Exceptionally long load times and handling issues aside, The Italian Job was worth far more than it’s bargain price! Prior to picking up this game I knew nothing of the movie, I know own and enjoy them both!