GBAtemp game of the week #90 - Payback (GBA)

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by FAST6191, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    [h2]GBAtemp book game club #90[/h2]

    Payback (GBA)
    Continuing our unintentional run of would be homebrew (or in this case the older term "public domain") type developers that have otherwise made it we have Payback on the GBA. As with most of these games there is a story behind it and this one was the desire make a GTA style game for the Amiga, unlike most would be clone a game projects this actually happened and 2001 saw a release of it. 2001 was just shy of a decade since the last Amiga computer so efforts were made to port it to other systems and that meant the GBA saw a version in 2003. Now we have covered most of the efforts to bring GTA to the handhelds and a few offshoots like COP- the recruit, however we overlooked this title despite it being one of the better options so we have it now.
    The term clone has had various connotations over the years so we are hesitant to use the term "GTA clone" for fear it will cast an undue negative light. Here clone is very much the case and at a pace away you could be forgiven for thinking this was GTA1, however "clone and improve" was very much the order of the day; the game actually includes a rampage mode. However, much like a joke retold by a nine year old, a lot of the trademark humour that otherwise follows the GTA series was largely absent, a problem with some of the other handheld efforts.
    It also appeared on the amiga, mac, IOS and, surprisingly, the GP2X. The IOS sequel Payback² is still getting regular updates. We should note this is one of the games that the DSTwo/ISMM GBA emulators are less than brilliant with so full emulator, proper GBA flash card or, despite it possibly being one of the more desirable GBA games, it does not go for a lot second hand (in Europe at least- North America technically did not get this owing to ratings issues so it is technically an import there).

    Some gameplay footage​


    People that have issues with the game usually cite the controls (the GBA does not have so many buttons after all) and 3d camera (it can rotate as you can see in the video above) but several have found it greatly amusing and have said superior to the GTA games on the GBA. Other than GTA and COP there are not an awful lot of alternatives, some got along quite well with the Driver games on the GBA but others really did not care for it.

    We are working on getting a new searching mechanism working with the new forum software now our tag system has been changed. In the meantime all the editions are in this section and hopefully GBAGOTW should get you the other entries in the series. gbagotw.

    The GBAtemp book game club/GBAtemp game of the week feature is part of GBAtemp's efforts to bring more than news to the site. "GBAtemp recommends!" is something of a sister project but we hold they are different as this aims to promote discussion and reviews in the comments where GBAtemp recommends! is very much about the person writing that edition doing a review.
    In the past and for the foreseeable future we will largely be sticking to games with a proper entry on the GBA, the DS and the Wii and if we do stray from that then the DS will be able to emulate it. However games have been around for a while and have many options as far as things to play them on so we will try to mention ports, sequels and other franchise entries on other devices. Those consoles mentioned have a wealth of commercial releases, leaked betas/unreleased games, ROM hacks and homebrew and we will look at all sorts there.
    We do wish to note that we have no desire to be a "hidden gems" or "the best games in a given genre/platform" feature. They do well enough where they happen but usually miss out on all sorts of interesting things that fell short of greatness.
  2. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004
    This game was fucking awful, a perfect example of how technical "advancements" can get in the way of gameplay.
  3. Veho

    Veho The man who cried "Ni".

    Former Staff
    Apr 4, 2006
    Payback is by far the most impressive title out there when it comes to squeezing every last drop out of the very limited hardware. The game has a full (and pretty impressive) 3D engine, an actual physics engine, particle effects, lighting effects, transparency and reflection effects, 3D sound mixing, streets full of pedestrians and vehicles, all in real time. Actual video cutscenes (well, cutscene), huge environments (ten large, detailed cities), day/night, weather conditions, tons of details (you leave footprints when you walk, each vehicle has its handling characteristics, each individual wheel leaves a separate skidmark when you break or skid, sparks fly when you scrape another car on the road, cars receive visible damage, emit smoke, and handling gets worse, cars have working headlights with lighting effects in real time, explosions have lens flare and project shadows) in full 3D (that you don't get to fully enjoy... until you get the helicopter). From a tech standpoint, this game is absolutely mind-blowing.

    I had been following the dev blog up to the release, and they talked about all the optimization work and tricks they found to cram even more content into the game, like reworking the way city layouts were saved in memory, and managing to fit 11 cities instead of the previous 5, etc. etc., and it was nice to see it all in action.

    It's a shame most of the details are too subtle to notice and most people missed them completely.

    Gameplay-wise, yep, like FAST said, I have to reluctantly admit it's a GTA clone, and while the gameplay is arguably better, the story is nonexistent. Really. There is none. Walk up to the phone booth, receive mission briefing, complete mission, rinse, repeat. It gets really really tedious after a while. There's no humor (apart from the, you know, mowing down innocent bystanders and so on), there are no dialogues, there's no advancement, progression, nothing to reward the grind but more grind. The rampage mode is always good for some random mayhem, but that's about it.

    Never managed to run a multiplayer game, so I wouldn't know about that.

    All in all, it's an extremely impressive tech demo for the GBA, too bad they never created a game in the engine :ha:
  4. Bladexdsl

    Bladexdsl ZOMG my's over 9000!!!

    Nov 17, 2008
    is porter in this? :creep:
  5. XDel

    XDel Author of the Alien Breed Odamex Projekt.

    Jul 25, 2012
    United States
    I still have the original installed on my Amiga 1200's hard drive. :)
  6. nl255

    nl255 GBAtemp Addict

    Apr 9, 2004
    Well if you want to see another example of squeezing every last drop out of limited hardware check out some of the early Ultima series (1 through 5, both of which ran on an 8086 though Ultima V does require 256K of RAM), especially Ultima Underworld 2 (by the same people who made System Shock and the original Deus Ex) which has a 3d engine that kicks Doom's ass and only needs a 386 to run, not a 486.
    tbgtbg likes this.
  7. tbgtbg

    tbgtbg Shaking the ring ropes up in the sky

    Nov 27, 2006
    United States
    Ultima Underworld 1 has a 3D engine that kicks Doom's ass, and it came out a few months before Wolfenstein 3D.
  8. XDel

    XDel Author of the Alien Breed Odamex Projekt.

    Jul 25, 2012
    United States
    Ultima Underworld did kick the unmodified DOOM engine's ass for sure! Well it would be a horrible engine to pull of DOOM's style of game play, but served perfectly for the purpose it was intended for!

    A few more interesting titles to check out that press hardware to their limits would be Amiga titles:

    Alien Breed 3D I and II

    Genetic Species.
  9. pasc

    pasc GBATemps official GBA Freak

    Sep 9, 2006
    Gambia, The
    That game was one of those games that I played the hell out.

    GTA Advance was just boring in comparison to this one.

    It even had helicopters, rocket cars, night level citys and a multiplayer !

    EDIT: Regarding the "squeezing every last of performance out of hardware thing": This game here has got some amazing explosion effects and the matrix like pause screen was something you could watch quite some time.

    Has anyone ever played the Gamepark version of this game ? Seemed rather interesting to look at.

    Orly ? It was to say the least: fun. A bit of tinkering and then turning the GBA off. Thats what it was definitly good for, even if you were bored by it.

    Sidenote: I wish the GBA Games Ballistic 1&2, Duke nukem, Ice Nine and Max Payne Advance would appear on here (Kurukurukururin was also a neat GBA Game)
  10. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    Ballistic (Ecks vs Sever?) might appear but I will first have to wash my memories of the film. I agree they were great little games and one of the few things that stopped me from dismissing FPS games on the GBA entirely.
    Ice Nine.... I see it when looking through the lists to make sure I did not miss something out, I recall trying it but I can not remember much which is good in that I did not hate it but bad in that I found nothing to remember.
    Duke - assuming you do not mean the 2d platformers then I might include the DS version in a DS FPS roundup but GBA ports of those doom era games are not my favourites and especially not when they were ported to the DS and other systems in a manner that does far better.
    Max Payne- recommends already did it . It was back in 2009 I know but I do try not to repeat stuff (probably why I do far fewer GBA games than I might for this series). It is definitely one of my favourite GBA games to play in an emulator though (got to have flawless savestates or I get really bored with being cheapshotted).
    Kururin..... I did the series in one of the earliest editions- and recommends did the English one as well
  11. beatsbydresale
    This message by beatsbydresale has been removed from public view by TwinRetro, Feb 25, 2013.
    Feb 25, 2013
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