Fun driving games involving mayhem
April 10, 2006 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Is there another video game that captures the fun of driving around in Grand Theft Auto, crashing into things and running from the police? I have a ps2 and a PC.

I have spent countless hours in Grand Theft Auto just driving around getting into high-speed wrecks, and running from the cops. Now I'm wondering what other games would have similar action. I remember hearing that Crazy Taxi was pretty lame. I also remember hearing about a racing game that gave you a 'daredevil bonus' for coming very close to other cars without colliding, and that sounded kind of fun.

My ideal game would have very realistic graphics and at least plausibly realistic physics. (I found the physics in GTA a little weak.) I also hate the games where, when you crash, your car does a dozen flips, then you just keep driving. Ideal gameplay would include crashing into other people, and/or evading pursuit.

Does anything like this exist?
posted by agropyron to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (28 answers total)
I would absolutely recommend Mafia. It has a huge amount of action in the form of numerous car chases, shoot-outs and has a nice story, and it all takes place in a very well designed 1930s-40s city based loosely on NYC. Lots of fun, slightly different format, but great all the same.
posted by Acey at 11:42 AM on April 10, 2006

Also, on the subject of damage physics, in Mafia the car damage is free-form (is that the right description?) and you can die from a particularly bad accident. Much more realistic than GTA, and equally as fun.
posted by Acey at 11:43 AM on April 10, 2006

Best answer: The Burnout series offers crazy car crashes and a great sense of speed. It isn't the "open world" of GTA so gameplay is much more limited, but it is all about some high-speed car crashes.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:45 AM on April 10, 2006

I'm a fan of Burnout.
posted by radioamy at 11:46 AM on April 10, 2006

Third Burnout.
posted by togdon at 11:47 AM on April 10, 2006

Best answer: Plenty of people have tried, but hitting the GTA sweet spot must be harder than it looks. Off the top of my head, there's True Crime and NARC. Both are somewhat free-roaming, and, in both, one plays as a police officer. Neither will be knocking GTA off its pedestal any time soon.

The Need for Speed games combine racing and evading the police, though you never get out of the car. What they don't have, however, is much of a sense of speed, at least not when compared to a lot of other racing games, and the physics are pretty crummy as well.

The Burnout series is also all driving, but it's definitely worth considering, if only because the series (by which I really mean Burnout 3 and Burnout Revenge) does crashing better than any game I've ever played. And it's probably the 'daredevil bonus' game you're thinking of.

Maybe Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction? It involves a lot of running around destroying things, anyway.

187 Ride or Die, the 50 Cent game, The Warriors and Gun are also fairly recent, and I haven't played 'em. If reviews are any indication, all try to do the GTA thing, and all fail significantly in major areas.

Here are a few crazy suggestions: if you like the free-roaming part and aren't attached to the cop-killing and so forth, you might like the Harvest Moon games (or Animal Crossing, but that's Nintendo-only). If you like the part of GTA that involves endlessly customizing your lowrider, you might enjoy Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition. If you like games that are crummy, disappointing and available for, like, five bucks, you might try State of Emergency. And have you played a Tony Hawk game? I can't even articulate why, but I feel like some of the appeal is similar to that of GTA.

On preview: Burnout Burnout Burnout Burnout!
posted by box at 11:52 AM on April 10, 2006

Come to think of it, Crazy Taxi also has the 'daredevil bonus.' But, yeah, it's probably not what you're looking for. And if it is, try Simpsons Road Rage, which is basically the same game, except that the egregious branding is all Simpsons-related.
posted by box at 11:54 AM on April 10, 2006

Carmageddon - I haven't played it for several years, but was a heckuva lot of sick and twisted fun. Nothing I've tried has come close!
posted by pretzel at 12:01 PM on April 10, 2006

I'm a big fan of Midnight Club 2 by Rockstar. Not only is it as much fun, but things blow up more satisfyingly than in GTA. However, the graphics aren't quite as good.
posted by SpecialK at 12:02 PM on April 10, 2006

Web-slinging through the city in Spider-Man 2 is awfully fun. It's got the same "explore a city at high velocity" entertainment, but doesn't have the cops-chasing-you AI aspect. Overall it's not as good a game as GTA, but it's still unusually good. Note: I'm takling strictly about the Xbox/PS2 game, not the awful PC game with the exact same name and packaging.
posted by Nelson at 12:22 PM on April 10, 2006

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is an amazing game in terms of graphics and gameplay. It's not violent towards any people, but the graphics are amazing, the police are intelligent and the game is a good challenging. It's available for both the Xbox 360 and the PC.
posted by disillusioned at 12:41 PM on April 10, 2006

Driv3r was along the same lines as GTA and very underrated. Be that as it may, the game was still very difficult and full of bugs. The saving grace was it's film director mode, allowing creative types to have endless fun choreographing their car chases.

True Crime was terrible, and although Burnout was enjoyed by many, it revels in being super-unrealistic, so it might not be what you are looking for.

And don't forget, there are 3 recent GTA games: GTA 3, Vice City and San Andreas. Backtracking through the series will only appear to remove features however, so could be disappointing.
posted by Acey at 12:44 PM on April 10, 2006

"The Getaway" was also a GTA rip-off, but most people would tell you to avoid that.
posted by Acey at 12:46 PM on April 10, 2006

Mafia is indeed very good, but keep in mind that it will take awhile before you can do what you can in GTA. Cars were very expensive and very wimpy in those days. In the first 'car chase', you could probably be outrun by a determined bicyclist.

Later in the game, you start getting access to the most powerful cars of the time, which are fast enough to be a lot of fun. The last and most powerful cars, ones that cost the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars, are probably about equivalent to 1960s standard muscle cars.... ie, damn fast, but at high speed you're not so much driving as aiming. :)

It's a *great* game. If you play it on the PC, it's best to have a joystick, preferably one with force feedback. If you have an actual wheel, I think it'll support that too, but I played with a joystick.
posted by Malor at 1:11 PM on April 10, 2006

Carmageddon 2, not Carmageddon. Just as much fun, and much better looking. I'm particularly partial to the level where you have to run over the clowns. Or any level where you can get an Pedestrian Electro-Bastard Ray and drive around electrocuting any peds that get too close. Good for cows, that one.

You want the bulldozer. Oh, yes, you want the bulldozer.

Carmageddon 3 is el crapo grande.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:12 PM on April 10, 2006

I am playing Godfather right now, and it is a greatly inferior version of GTA set in the movie. It is free roaming, and you can run from the cops and crash into things, but like I said it is no GTA. GTA had hundreds of types of cars, Godfather has about four, that kind of thing. I am enjoying it, but it does not come out very well in comparing it to the game that it is ripping off. You might like it though.
posted by ND¢ at 1:14 PM on April 10, 2006

The new Godfather game heralds from the GTA school, but I liked the now dated Mafia better. If you can, I would rent the Godfather and see if it appeals to you, if this is a console we're talking about. To me it didn't feel as immersive and was somewhat repetitive, but it does allow you to beat up shop owners for extortion money -- and to do so in creative ways (slamming them against a cash register, threatening to put them in a fire). While it will definitely take up your afternoon, I didn't spend months playing it like GTA. It lacked a certain environmental aspect that made me feel as if I was in San Andreas (or New York in Mafia) and it felt very cookie cutter. I felt as if staying within the confines of the movie hindered it somewhat, but I was expecting more out of the budget that EA probably put into it.

I'm not an RPG gamer, but I do like Oblivion. I do use cheats, have little regard with exploring caverns or meeting AI characters, so I basically max out my stats and took some of the assasination missions. Even with cheats and playing only missions that I find interesting (completely ignoring the main quest), I'm still playing it two weekends after I got into it.
posted by geoff. at 1:17 PM on April 10, 2006

Response by poster: Burnout looks cool. Do I want to start with Burnout, then play Burnout: Revenge?

Currently downloading the Need for Speed: Most Wanted demo.

I liked Mafia, but I couldn't get past the damned race. I searched for clues, and all I could find were people complaining about how they couldn't pass the race.
posted by agropyron at 1:21 PM on April 10, 2006

To add to Nelson's suggestion, you can also try Ultimate Spiderman, which gives you the option to freeform play as Venom through New York once you finish the storyline. This means you get to smash things up, escape the cops, do races, etc. It's a lot of fun just flying around the city in the game and discovering new tricks to do around the buildings and landmarks. A friend of mine got it for $10 at Best Buy.
posted by spiderskull at 1:29 PM on April 10, 2006

if you're going to start playing burnout (you should!), start with burnout 3, or just go straight to burnout: revenge (on xbox 360 if possible).
posted by subclub at 1:47 PM on April 10, 2006

"Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2" is not quite the same genre, but has an entire tournament mode based on outrunning the cops (or occasionally arresting other people as the cop).

The physics hit a sweet spot, making the driving relatively realistic while dealing with the crashes in a get-it-over-with-quick-and-get-back-on-the-road ethic.
posted by tkolar at 1:52 PM on April 10, 2006

Re: Burnout versions, I would suggest grabbing Burnout 3: Takedown for the experience you're looking for. If you want the high of weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds, that's you're best bet. It's typically about $20, rather than Burnout Revenge, which costs more, and allows you to plow through same-direction traffic with impunity, which is simply not as satisfying for me personally.

I haven't played the earlier version, but I understand they're pretty much the same only not as pretty.
posted by Durhey at 2:06 PM on April 10, 2006

I just got The Warriors, and it isn't nearly as fun and immersive as GTA. Gameplay is fairly linear, there's no driving, as far as I can tell, and the plot is essentially “beat up a bunch of thugs,” or “do x, y times in z seconds.”
posted by ijoshua at 3:04 PM on April 10, 2006

I can't believe no one's mentioned driver: parallel lines yet. It's improved upon the previous one, driv3r (which was mentioned), a great deal. It's still not a patch on GTA, though.

I agree on burnout to the nth degree. It's a lot of fun.
posted by iamcrispy at 3:20 PM on April 10, 2006

posted by zouhair at 6:11 PM on April 10, 2006

"I liked Mafia, but I couldn't get past the damned race."

I know there was a trick to getting past the race, but I can't quite remember what it was. That damned race stumped me for a while too. I think I had to change my controller setup, from standard WASD to a gamepad. I think that worked.

Or, you can just cheat: (via gamefaqs)

Okay, after you've been driving awhile and you've passed your first check point, you should see a road blocked off by boulders on your left. Dodge the boulders and drive down the road. As you're doing this you should see on the screen "Wrong Way!" once you're aboout twenty feet away after that blocked off road ended, hit 0 on your number pad. You'll be back at the finish line. Continue doing this until you've won the race.
posted by graventy at 8:50 AM on April 13, 2006

Response by poster: FYI: I've been loving Burnout 3 and Burnout Revenge.
posted by agropyron at 11:22 AM on June 25, 2006

One of the James Bond games for the PS2 (forget which...maybe I'll go check) had some amazing driving scenes, about half of the gameplay was car-based in fact. You got to drive Bond's cars and they were really quite realistic both in terms of how they looked and how they drove.
posted by dance at 2:30 AM on August 22, 2006

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