Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Past and Times of Yore: GTA4, The Lost and the Damned, blacktop rollin'

Also Known As: Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned, Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City
Also on: PS3, X360
Genre: Compilation
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar North

I may have mentioned this ”expansion” in a previous post but only very briefly, The Lost and the Damned does deserve more recognition then just a few lines in a post mainly about the other one. I had never really bothered purchasing any of the previous GTA ‘Episode’ i.e. the previous Liberty City stories or the Vice City stories but because they were given such high praises by both my friends and the critics and also because GTA4 has been one of my favourite games ever, so I had to comply. GTA4 had a lot of intertwining storylines in fact it could have made 2 or 3 more ‘spinoff’ games based on just that game world alone as they are a great way of getting more play out of a game rather than just doing the main storyline again and again.

Johnny Klebitz and his custom "Hexer" bike which is new to GTA I might add as well as a whole heap more
Anyway, the Lost and the Damned is the story behind a Motorcycle gang who featured in GTA4, the protagonist is Johnny, a veteran member of the gang and it’s Vice President the story basically tells of the returning of Billy, the reckless and volatile club president and the violence and chaos that ensues both inside the club and with the clubs main rivals: The Angels of Death. You may remember Johnny from such GTA4 missions as ‘Blow your Cover’ and ‘Museum Piece’ and yes you do go through those missions again from Johnny’s point of view. I must admit though, the times you briefly see Johnny in those scenes he seems quite a bit different from what he is in the instance it’s almost like Johnny was just another crazy friend-of-a-friend that Niko meets but now he’s the protagonist and therefore one of the only calm and collected characters in the game. Apart from the members of the lost motorcycle club there is a few new faces but most of the characters that Johnny interacts with outside the club are characters that you have seen before.

From left to right some of "The Lost MC" members: Terry, Angus, Brian, Jimmy and Johnny
You start in the Alderney Island this time around largely based around the Lost Clubhouse situated there. The main difference that The Lost and the Damned (TLAD) has to GTA4 is that throughout most of the game you will be riding a motorcycle. This is possibly the main reason I enjoy this game as I loved the motorcycles you had in GTA4 and this one gives the same and much more, motorcycles give a different feel than cars and apparently you could even notice that when you drove cars with Johnny that he didn’t handle them as well as Niko did and vice-versa with the bikes. Almost every mission involved bikes in some way including gang wars while riding with your crew and motorcycle thefts for profit even the racing missions where you have a baseball bat and could knock other opponents off their bikes (which was immense fun I can assure you). One of the problems though is that sometimes the slightest thing on the road, for example a piece of wood can have odd results, sometimes you just run over it but other times it launches you 5m in the air in a full on frontflip often resulting in you crashing and losing the race, but I guess it’s all the more spectacular. The episodes games are obviously fairly short (only a third of the missions available in GTA4) but there’s still a decent amount of fun to be had, there’s the usual line of side missions and random encounters throughout the story, Congressman Thomas Stubbs who you didn’t see in the previous game makes an appearance and provides some comic relief from the otherwise dark and gritty storyline.

Being on a motorcycle and riding with others on motorcycles, I just can't get enough
Checkpoints are a new feature in the game which allow you to continue a mission from different points rather than starting again. This time around you can call on your biker buddies Terry and Clay to come help you on certain missions in which the way they help you changes each time, sometimes giving you in instructions for tactics or to set up ambushes (who would have thought?) also your ‘The Lost’ gang members will gain experience and be better at fighting. You can also use your fellow gang members for delivery of guns and bikes if you may happen to lose your motorcycle in some way and god forbid you don’t want to be seen driving a car. As well as the new motorcycles (and some cars) that were included in the game there are a few new types of guns including a very useful automatic pistol, a very powerful but short range sawed off shotgun, an even more powerful rapid fire assault shotgun a grenade launcher, pipe bombs and pool cues (of course).There is thankfully new music around this time to give a more biker feel to things, I especially love listening to “You’re going to Hell” by Alice Cooper. 

The Sawn-off Shotgun, very powerful, as long as you're only two metres away or less
As I said before I loved riding bikes in GTA4 and that’s what makes this one so good for me, it’s nothing complicated just good old gang wars, in fact it’s probably even less action packed then GTA4, not to mention TBOGT which is a veritable orgy of explosions. There’s something to be said about cruising down the highway on your chopper with the sunset in the background and music on your, er stereo, it’s something I really want to do if I ever have enough money for it. The Lost and the Damned is essential if you’ve played and liked Grand Theft Auto 4 as it’s the same city just a different story and cast and if you happen to like Motorcycles it’s even better.


I can apparently backflip a motorcycle without trying, or meaning to in the first place

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