If you know me, you know I get infatuated with a video game for a bit and then just turn it off, for whatever reason. Most games I can just put down and leave for a while. This game, Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, is just not that game. If you are into Graf, you will be into this game. If you are into loads of action and free roaming environments, you will be into this game. If you are into Hip-Hop's 4 (5?) elements, you will be into this game. It's not for the casual gamer, but it can be. It definitely got me moving, and I'll let you know why...
In this game, you play the character Trane (voiced by Talib Kweli), a graf writer who has gotten a bit too deep into the scene. He lives in a city called New Radius (which seems to be modeled after NYC), a place where not only is graf a CRIME, but you will get stomped the kcuf out for even being SEEN with fat caps. You get drawn into the lovely intro, showing Trane today, ducking the CCK (the crew that patrols New Radius), speaking about the good ol' days. This game works just like a movie, with Trane narrating certain pieces. You get dropped at the beginning of his ascension, as a "toy", or a writer with no real recognition. You encounter the Vandals of New Radius, a crew headed up by some cat named Gabe (voiced by legendary MC Serch), who does not take to "toys" painting over his pieces. Once they embarass Trane, he goes loco and makes it his mission to get back at THEM! Along the way he forms a crew (SFC - Still Free Crew), and makes a serious name for himself, meeting tons of legends -- T-Kid, Cope2, Smith, the dude who did the "OBEY" pieces, Futura, SEEN... the list goes on and on. You pick up different abilities and techniques that help you further your progress. You go on a journey, hitting "heaven spots" (aka spots that are really hard to find, usually way up on buildings and train tracks)... it's a dreamer's true dream. I've been into graf ever since I was little, and always wanted to do what they did, but alas, my lettering sucked, even though I have a hot lil tag name. This game makes it possible for me to live out my dream...
The action in this game is fast and can be furious. You can tag with spray paint, markers, and later on, stencils and big wheat paste pieces. The game is good with letting you know where you can throw up pieces and murals, how big you can do them (the bigger, the more REP you attain), and other things. The controls are easy to pick up -- all you need is one level of practicing how to put up a tag and you will be a pro. The fighting engine is good to, with you being able to pick up different combos and "insult" moves to use on the various cats who will try and cramp your style. And the graphics? INSANE! Did you hear me? INSANE! There are spots where you get caught on camera and the whole screen morphs to what it would look like on a security cam monitor... nice, nice. The majority of the environments are free to move, and you can climb gates, ladders, walk on edges, dangle off of things, jump off walls... and all to attain certain missions objectives. The gameplay can be frustrating sometimes, but you will pick up on what you need to do relatively quickly. Once you hit a check point, you can go back to it if you make a mistake and die on a level. If you have common sense, you can get a grasp for what you need to do, which makes diving into the game very easy.
One of the strongest points in this game is the attention to detail. The click/clack of the spray can, the sounds of the slums and alley ways, right on to the music used in each scene. At times when you are running away from the law, you get a nice rock-influenced track on there... other times, you are in murky underground lairs, and the right, moody tune just accents the feel so perfectly. With heavy hitters on the voice work (which includes Charlie Murphy, Diddy, Brittany Murphy, The RZA, and others), as well as the different musical talents on the soundtrack (from Nina Simone to Pack FM to Talib Kweli and Rakim to Jane's Addiction to Mobb Deep, as well as tons of beats and original tracks from RJD2), you are treated to great aural pleasures to ride longside the beautiful visual experience. This game was obviously created to be a sort of mini-movie, and each piece makes the whole package and concept gel.
All in all, if my words don't inspire you to go out and check this game, this will: Amazon has it for $20 for the PS2. You can pay more, and you will get a package that includes tons of goodies, but it's not too necessary -- all I would really want is the Soundtrack, and well, I have no problem getting that (wink). Lovers of action and graf; Hip-Hop and good stories; art and passion... you all will find something to latch onto in this game. You don't believe me? Ask Gamespot.
rock the dub gives this game a 9.5 for attention to detail, overall gameplay, and the entrancing story.
Want more info on this game? Check out the official website. And for more graf-specific sites, check out Bomb The World, Art Crimes, Style Wars and Graffiti Warz.