The original Grand Theft Auto delivered a new type of experience. The overhead "crime spree on a disc" managed to be more than just a shocking, violent game. It was just plain fun to drive around, get into a four-car pileup, hop out of your stolen car, mow down four or five pedestrians with a machine gun, and blow up a few cop cars for good measure. GTA: London 1969 bridges the gap between the first game and GTA2, scheduled for release later this year. As one would expect from a mission pack, there haven't been many changes made to the formula, so only those who still enjoy aimlessly driving through the streets of Vice City in search of a new car to steal and blow up need apply.
Though mission packs have long been a part of PC gaming, there really hasn't been any solid add-on technology on consoles. GTA London requires that you own the original GTA disc (Rockstar is selling the two discs together under the name Director's Cut, in case you don't have the full game) and makes you put it in while starting up as part of its bizarre swap trick-esque startup sequence. You boot up the system with London in the unit. It'll tell you to put in the original disc, spin for awhile, and then tell you to put the London disc back in the drive. Whether this is because it's actually using game code from the original disc or just trying to keep people from playing the cheap add-on without buying the more expensive full game is unknown, but I'd suspect it's the latter.
The differences between the mission pack and the old GTA levels are minimal. If you want to stay legal, you'll want to stay on the left side of the road. You'll also be entering and exiting vehicles on the right side of the car. This will initially cause a bit of confusion. I know it caused me to get caught by the cops (er... nicked by the bobbies... whatever) more than once. All the speech has been replaced with the slang and accents you'd expect to find in London around 1969. The music has also been completely revamped, and it fits the scenario nicely. The graphics are mostly new as well, providing new textures for buildings (there were a lot of pubs in London back then, I guess) and new cars, including an Austin Powers-esque ride, complete with accompanying secret-spy music.
The GTA London mission pack really doesn't hold a candle to GTA's original three cities, but it still manages to be reasonably fun. If you've still got that itch to jack fools for their rides and smoke cops (and honestly, who doesn't?), then GTA London should make the wait for GTA2 a little bit easier to bear.