Grand Theft Auto: London 1969
|Release date||April 29 1999|
|Platforms||PC and PlayStation|
Grand Theft Auto series
1961 – London 1961
1997 – Grand Theft Auto
1998 – Liberty City Stories
1999 – Grand Theft Auto 2
Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 (official title Grand Theft Auto Mission Pack #1: London 1969, often shortened to GTA London '69 or simply GTA London) is the second installment of the Grand Theft Auto franchise in the form of a extra mission pack to the original Grand Theft Auto game.
GTA: London 1969 was released in 1999 for the PlayStation and the PC. It offered 32 brand new missions, as well as a total of 30 new vehicles, relative to the time period. The game is very similar to the original Grand Theft Auto because it uses the same game engine and is presented in the same format of missions, sections and cutscenes. On the PlayStation, the disc for the original GTA game is needed to play London 1969, and on the PC, the original is also needed to be installed to play with mods.
As the name implies, the game takes place in London, the capital city of the England in the United Kingdom, and is set in the year 1969. The player chooses the role of one of a group of stylish young hoodlums looking to work his or her way up the career ladder of London organized crime.
The temporal setting has been exploited through a number of cultural and historical references, such as Get Carter, The Italian Job, the appearance of a James Bond-like character and a Bond-like villain, and the usage of more or less authentic Cockney slang. In addition, the cars drive on the left, as is the case in Britain.
A second expansion pack, Grand Theft Auto: London 1961, was later released featuring younger versions of the same characters featured in 1969, set eight years earlier in 1961. 1961 was released solely for the PC version and offered as free download from Rockstar. It requires GTA London 1969 to play, which in turn requires GTA 1.
The gameplay is almost the same in GTA 1, including the dock cranes for import/export, Kill Frenzies, police bribes, and Pay 'n' Spray and bomb-fitting garages of the original, except the location and British specifics such as driving on the left hand side of the road. Navigating the game menus causes sounds such as the chimes of Big Ben.
Successfully completing a mission will result in a Cockney-accent saying "Nice on myy Beauty!" If the protagonist attracts too much police attention, the London police will pursue, identified on the HUD by police heads with "English bobby helmets". When arrested by the "cozzers", the police will say "You're Nicked!". If the protagonist is killed, a message will come up saying "You're Brown Bread!", which is Cockney rhyming slang for "you're dead".
Similar to how running over a group of similarly-clothed pedestrians would earn you a bonus in score in the original GTA (such as a group of Hare Krishnas would earn the famous "Gouranga!"), running over a group of similarly-dressed pedestrians (apparently football hooligans) will result in a "Keep London Tidy!" bonus.
The weapons in GTA London: 1969 are identical in function and performance to the original GTA, although their HUD icons are changed to be given a retro, somewhat primitive, 1960s aesthetic.
- Fist - People cannot be killed with the back hand. However, it can immobilize enemies for a few seconds.
- Pistol - Slow firing rate, but kills with one shot. Lots of ammo can be found around the cities. It is always near hospitals and police stations, and is the standard weapon of cops and criminals.
- Machine Gun - Rapid rate of fire, but it is only in specified places and it doesn't have much ammo. It is used by police when player has wanted level of four.
- Rocket Launcher - Only used for destroying vehicles, but buildings will also catch fire when shot. It is found only in rare places.
- Flamethrower - Can easily blow up a car or catch people on fire. It is most useful for killing groups of enemies, but it is a rare weapon.
These weapons and 1960s HUD icons were retained for the second expansion pack Grand Theft Auto: London 1961.
Over 30 missions are added in the GTA London 1969 expansion pack. The missions are similar to the GTA 1s missions: usually you get jobs from red telephone boxes, walkie-talkies, and a "telegram pager", or if you activate a mission when you enter a certain vehicle.
After choosing from a group of potential protagonists, the player will do jobs for bigger and bigger London crime lords, removing rivals, gaining wealth and reputation. Missions start with Harold Cartwright and his gang, and get mixed up with a football team, secret agents and international terrorists.
After a series of double-crosses on both sides, the protagonist will be asked to remove Cartwright for "the firm". Eventually the player will do jobs for firm middle-man Jack Parkinson, who will lead the player onto London's biggest kingpins, Archie and Albert Crisp (based on the real-life Kray twins), and the player will finally take over London underworld from the Crisp twins for yourself.
Over 30 new vehicles were added to the GTA: London 1969 expansion pack. These feature many new vehicles to steal and drive, including those common to the London of that era such as vehicles based on Minis, London double-decker buses, and black taxi-cab Hackney carriages. There are also designs based on many famous British cars of the era, such as Volkswagen Beetles, Bentleys, Jaguars, Aston Martins, and Rolls Royces.
The vehicles of GTA: London (both the vehicles in GTA: London 1969 and the vehicles in GTA: London 1961) were designed by Ray Larabie, who also designed the vehicles for GTA 2. There are numerous similarities between the vehicles in both games, since although many of the GTA 2 vehicles are futuristic there are also a large number of the GTA 2 vehicles that are based on classic British cars, such as the Aston Martin, Volkswagen Beetle, and Allard P1, among others.
The soundtrack cycles through at least ten radio stations, including Blow Up Radio, Heavy Heavy Monster Sounds, Westminster Wireless, Sounds of Soho, Radio Andorra, Kaleidoscope, and Bush Sounds. Each radio station only plays a few tracks (like Head Radio in the original GTA), before moving onto a new station. Every station has a different DJ, with the voices over-exemplifying stereotypes of the era; none of the DJs are named except "Doctor Peter Pants-On, the Premier Purveyor of Primary Pop" of Radio Penelope.
The music tracks are comprised of primarily three kinds of music. These include late 1960s reggae/ska, psychedelia, and bombastic Swinging Sixies big band/jazz instrumental pieces. The former is taken primarily from the catalog of Trojan Records and the latter are taken primarily from the scores of 1960s Italian heist movies, especially those composed by Riz Ortolani. A listing of the licensed musical material used in the game can be found on the GTA forums here.
There are also a number of tracks which are original material, developed in-house by Rockstar, such as "GTA Pomp", "GTA Spy Theme", "Saturday Nite at Dirty McNasty's", "The Queen's Theme", and "Austin Allegro Chase", which are played during certain missions, or when entering specific vehicles.
The radio is occasionally interrupted by news flashes warning of the crime and carjacking spree taking over the capital. There is also a track of ambient London streets sounds, and a humorous police radio channel (entitled "Book 'em") for the Metropolitan Police Service.
- GTA: London 1969 was the first expansion pack and downloadable content (DLC) for any PlayStation game, also the first expansion pack in the GTA franchise. A second expansion pack, GTA: London 1961, followed.
- GTA: London 1969, along with GTA London 1961, are the only games in the GTA series to be set outside the United States and be featured in a real life location.
- The number 69 in 1969 could be Rockstar's humor referencing to the 69 sex position. If that's true, then GTA London 1969 is the first GTA game to use this reference.
- This game was released in the same day as Grand Theft Auto IV (April 29), but nine years before the latter.
- The GTA London games and Grand Theft Auto 2 are the only GTA Games to use the GTA abbreviation on the front cover.