Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned

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Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned
Grand Theft Auto IV coverart.jpg
Developer(s)Rockstar North[N 1]
Publisher(s)Rockstar Games
Producer(s)Leslie Benzies
Programmer(s)
  • Adam Fowler
  • Alexander Roger
  • Obbe Vermeij
Artist(s)Aaron Garbut
Writer(s)
Composer(s)Stuart Hart
SeriesGrand Theft Auto
EngineRAGE
Platform(s)
ReleaseXbox 360
  • WW: 17 February 2009
Windows, PS3
  • NA: 13 April 2010
  • PAL: 16 April 2010
Genre(s)Action-adventure
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned is the first of two episodic expansion packs developed for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows versions of Grand Theft Auto IV, developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was first released for Xbox 360 on 17 February 2009,[2] and for PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows on 13 April 2010.[3] It is the third expansion pack in the Grand Theft Auto series (the first since Grand Theft Auto: London 1961, released in 1999), and the twelfth release overall.

The protagonist of The Lost and Damned is Johnny Klebitz, vice-president of the Liberty chapter of The Lost MC, a motorcycle club which, along with himself, featured in a number of missions throughout the course of Grand Theft Auto IV. The main storyline of the episode focuses on Johnny's efforts to keep the chapter running, while dealing with internal conflicts, gang warfare, drug running, and various enemies. It also shows Johnny's perspective in regard to the infamous diamond storyline from Grand Theft Auto IV.

A combined standalone disc-based package titled Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, which does not require the original Grand Theft Auto IV game to be played, was released and contains both The Lost and Damned and Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony.[4]

Gameplay[edit]

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned is an action-adventure game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective. It features similar gameplay to that of Grand Theft Auto IV, and takes place in the same setting of Liberty City, the game only features around a third of the number of missions from that game, as was stated in an interview between IGN and the president of Rockstar North, which thus places the amount of time to complete it at approximately 10–15 hours, depending on how focused the player is on the storyline.[5] The game also features new additions, some in regard to Johnny's connection to the Lost MC, and some minor changes.

The most prominent of these additions is the availability of mid-mission checkpoints, which can spare the player repeated trips to a given location in order to trigger and replay a failed mission again — an often criticised aspect of the Grand Theft Auto series. Checkpoints are only available by retrying the mission after it has been previously failed — going to the mission start point begins the mission from scratch. Alongside the Checkpoint system, The Lost and Damned features the inclusion of new weapons and vehicles, including Johnny's custom-made motorcycle (Johnny himself is more proficient with any bike than with any other vehicle), the ability to call on aid from members of the Lost MC, a new but small collection of random characters, additional side activities, and unique side jobs including Gang Wars and Bike Races. In addition, the game has a few changes to that of Grand Theft Auto IV, in that Johnny can access the whole of Liberty City from the start of a new game, but cannot change his clothing or enter clothing stores. The city's comedy club, Split Sides, also features a brand new comedian doing routines there, while gun stores do not stock any of the new weapons featured in The Lost and Damned; they can only be bought through the club's gun vendor.

Two of the new side jobs featured in The Lost and Damned – Gang Wars and Bike Races – require Johnny to be on a bike to trigger them. In Gang Wars, Johnny battles against rival gangs in a few variations – taking them out at a hangout, or while cruising the streets, or destroying a vehicle they are escorting – earning money from each war completed and unlocking a weapon at the Lost clubhouse (and a safehouse acquired later in the story) with every 10 subsequent Wars completed. Each gang war becomes tougher, the more Johnny continues engaging in them. Meanwhile, Bike Races play out like the Street Races of Grand Theft Auto IV, except both Johnny and his opponents carry a baseball bat to attack their rival racers while making their way to each checkpoint of the race, with each capable of dislodging a racer from their bike depending on the strength of their swing. Other side jobs see Johnny either stealing bikes or working for a congressman met during the game's story. Meanwhile, the new additions to the activities from Grand Theft Auto IV, include Arm Wrestling (which differs in difficulties and wagers between various spots), games of Hi-Lo cards, and Air Hockey (found at the city's Bowling Alleys). The new weapons featured in the game includes the sawn-off shotgun, assault shotgun, pool cues, grenade launchers and pipe bombs.

Because of Johnny's position in the Lost MC, some missions and Gang Wars can see him accompanied by a team of bikers who, if they survive through either, can improve and gain experience and thus become more battle-hardened in later missions/Gang Wars. If, at any time, a biker is killed in a mission or gang war, they will be replaced by another in the next. Johnny can receive further support from two members of the Lost – Terry and Clay; both can be taken out for friend activities, but have their special abilities active from the beginning of a new game. If Terry is called, he will drive to a location near to Johnny and sell him weapons and armour, while Clay can deliver a bike of the player's choice to him directly. At a later stage in the game, Johnny can call one or the other, while on a mission, to gain back-up from them, with both capable of gaining experience that increases their health, combat abilities, and grant them better weapons.

While the single player has new additions, multiplayer is also given new modes, connected to the Lost MC, some of which improve on those featured in Grand Theft Auto IV:

  • Witness Protection – One team is The Lost biker gang and they must try to eliminate a bus carrying witnesses while the other team is NOOSE who try to protect the bus as it delivers the witnesses to police stations around Liberty City.
  • Races – Racing on bikes with racers carrying bats and smashing each other, similar to the video game Road Rash.
  • Lone Wolf Biker – Free for all style mode where one player is the Lone Wolf and all other players must chase and kill that player to become the Lone Wolf. At the end of the game, whoever was the Lone Wolf for the longest time, wins.
  • Own the City – Try to gain control of the city section by section, based on San Andreas' gang wars.
  • Club Business – Like the original Mafia mode in GTA IV, but with a total of 8 players riding together as one gang. The player receives calls from Angus who tells you to carry out certain tasks for The Lost.
  • Chopper vs. Chopper – Helicopter vs bike. Bike rider tries to get through checkpoints while the helicopter tries to stop the biker.

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

The Lost and Damned takes place within the same setting of Liberty City used for Grand Theft Auto IV, although with players able to explore the city from the start after completing the DLC's first mission. The events of the DLC's story takes place alongside those of the main game and of The Ballad of Gay Tony, with the game's missions intertwining with both of these, some of which involve events seen from Johnny's perspective.

Characters[edit]

As an expansion to Grand Theft Auto IV, the game features both new and returning characters. The protagonist is Jonathan "Johnny" Klebitz (Scott Hill), a veteran member and vice-president of the Liberty chapter of The Lost Motorcycle Club, which is led by Billy Grey (Lou Sumrall), a reckless and selfish leader, whose actions negatively affect the club and all its members, causing him to often come into conflict with Johnny. The club also includes secretary Brian Jeremy (Adrian Martinez), who is often blinded by his loyalty towards Billy, Jason Michaels (Bill Burr), and Johnny's friends: treasurer Jim Fitzgerald (Chris McKinney), road captain Clay Simons (Keith Randolph Smith), arms dealer Terry Thorpe (Joshua Burrow), and Angus Martin (Brian Tarantina). Throughout the game, Johnny works for various individuals to assure The Lost's wellbeing, including drug baroness Elizabeta Torres (Charlie Parker), corrupt congressman Thomas Stubbs III (John Lantz), and Pegorino Crime Family caporegime Ray Boccino (Joe Barbara). Other notable characters include Johnny's ex-girlfriend Ashley Butler (Traci Godfrey), and Malc (Walter Mudu) and DeSean (Craig "muMs" Grant), two members of the Uptown Riders biker gang whom Johnny befriends.

In addition to Johnny, Jim, Jason, Ashley, Boccino, and Elizabeta (who all appeared in GTA IV, albeit the former four played a minor role and had diffrent character designs), more characters from the base game return, including protagonist Niko Bellic (Michael Hollick), his cousin Roman (Jason Zumwalt), drug dealer Playboy X (Postell Pringle), Jewish diamond dealer Isaac Roth (Modi Rosenfeld), nightclub owner "Gay" Tony Prince (D.B. Cooper), and his bodyguard Luis Lopez (Mario D'Leon); the latter two would go on to be the main characters of The Ballad of Gay Tony. GTA IV's main antagonist, Dimitri Rascalov, is also mentioned in the game.[6]

Plot[edit]

In 2008, Billy Grey is welcomed back by his fellow Lost members following his release from a court-ordered rehab. Although Johnny is eager to resume business, Billy annoys him by breaking a truce he arranged with The Lost's rivals, the Angels of Death. After Jason Michaels is killed in Broker,[N 2] Billy blames his death on the Angels, despite the lack of concrete evidence, and orders The Lost to retaliate by burning down of their clubhouses. When Johnny spots Billy and Brian Jeremy stealing a stash of heroin from the clubhouse before it is burnt down, he questions the nature of Billy's orders on the attack. Billy arranges for Johnny to meet with Elizabeta Torres, who provides him a buyer for the heroin. Although aided by Niko Bellic and Playboy X, the exchange turns out to be a police bust.[N 3]

Billy later assigns Johnny to provide assistance to Thomas Stubbs, who needs help with his re-election campaign. Impressed with Johnny's abilities, Stubbs vows to return the favour in the future. Jim Fitzgerald later arrives with news that the stolen heroin belonged to the Triads and advises that the gang return it to them. Billy agrees, but secretly arranges for the Triads to kill Johnny and Jim.[N 4] While the pair escape when the exchange with the Triads turns ugly, despite being forced to leave the heroin behind, Billy is arrested by the police during the chaos. Johnny takes over as club president, but faces new problems from Brian, who is still faithful to Billy and holds him responsible for his arrest. While contending with a civil war started by Brian, Johnny does his best to make money for the club, taking on jobs from Elizabeta alongside Malc and DeSean. He also helps out Ashley from her debts by kidnapping Roman Bellic for Russian mobster Dimitri Rascalov.[N 5]

Ray Boccino, who often does deals with The Lost, soon gives up Brian's hideout in exchange for the club's assistance in the future. Johnny uses the information to track Brian down and deal with him, ending the war. Boccino contacts Johnny to return the favour, and hires The Lost to steal a shipment of diamonds about to be purchased by Tony Prince,[N 6] and then pass them onto Boccino's men to later retrieve.[N 7] Although the theft is successful, the subsequent exchange with the Jewish mob, overseen by Johnny and Niko, finds itself ambushed by Luis Lopez.[N 8] Johnny escapes with the money in the chaos, leading to Boccino having both him and Jim captured for their betrayal. The pair manage to escape, but after Johnny deals with assassins sent by Boccino, he quickly learns from Ashley that Jim was killed after they parted ways.[N 9]

With the gang virtually weakened, Johnny receives a visit from Stubbs at the clubhouse with important news. Although Boccino is under observations by federal law enforcement and is no longer a threat, Stubbs reveals that Billy plans to turn over state's evidence against the gang in order to enter Witness Protection Program. Johnny and the last remaining Lost members assault the Alderney State Correctional Facility, where Johnny kills Billy for his betrayal. The Lost then return to their clubhouse, only to find it vandalised by Boccino's men. The group decide to burn down the remains of the clubhouse and find new pastures. Afterwards, Johnny firmly cuts all his ties to Stubbs and Ashley, while intending to give financial support to Jim's widow and child.

Soundtrack[edit]

Apart from the original Grand Theft Auto IV soundtrack, several new tracks were added to the radio stations in the expansion. LCHC - Liberty City Hardcore and Liberty Rock Radio saw the biggest addition of new tracks, to fit with the expansion's biker theme. LCHC also got the addition of a new radio show dedicated to extreme metal, hosted by Max Cavalera (ex-Sepultura, Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy).

Additional tracks were added to the rotation of The Beat 102.7 (with DJ Statik Selektah & Funkmaster Flex) and Radio Broker as well as a new radio show on the talk station WKTT; The Martin Serious Show (a parody of Shock jock style radio programs, in particular The Howard Stern Show).

Development[edit]

The content was first announced during Microsoft's 2006 E3 press conference on 9 May 2006.[7] Peter Moore, then head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division, described downloadable content as "epic episode packs", and not just an extra car or character. A press release during the conference said that the expansion packs, both The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony would add "hours of entirely new gameplay" to the game,[8] with Jeronimo Barrera, Vice-President of Product Development for Rockstar Games, explaining that the episodes were experiments because they were not sure that there were enough users with access to online content on the Xbox 360.[9] Take-Two Interactive's chief financial officer, Lainie Goldstein, revealed that Microsoft was paying a total of $50 million for the first two episodes.[10]

On 20 February 2008, it was initially announced that the extra content would be introduced starting August 2008.[11] Dan Houser, vice-president of creative development at Rockstar Games, claimed that through this episode, it would show "a different side of Liberty City".[12] As part of its second quarter financial reports Take-Two announced that the downloadable content had been delayed and would be released during the first quarter of its 2009 financial year (November 2008–January 2009).[13] On 13 November 2008, Take-Two executive chairman Strauss Zelnick warned that while they were aiming to release the first episode pack by January 2009, the date may have had to change to the second financial quarter of 2009 (February–April) depending on the completion date.[14][15] 17 February's release date was eventually announced one week after Zelnick's warning.[16]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankingsPS3: 94%[17]
X360: 89.73%[18]
MetacriticX360: 90/100[19]
PS3: 88/100[20]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Eurogamer8/10[21]
GameTrailers9.2[22]
IGN9.0/10

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned received "universal acclaim" reviews for the Xbox 360 and "generally favorable" reviews for PlayStation 3 from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.

Critics cited its improved motorcycle mechanics in comparison to the previous games, dramatic storyline, quality voice acting, addictive multiplayer component and other new content which added many hours of game time. Complaints with the game have included auto-aiming issues and weak gang AI, which were a noticeable problem in the original game.

Controversy[edit]

In the opening cutscene for the mission 'Politics', Tom Stubbs exposes his genitals in a full-frontal shot facing towards the camera after getting off a massage table and discussing his plans with Johnny. Parental advisory group Common Sense Media issued a public warning about the expansion pack due to a full-frontal male nudity scene during the cutscene. They claimed the game was "even more controversial than its predecessors" because it featured "full frontal male nudity".[23]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rockstar Toronto ported the game to Microsoft Windows.[1]
  2. ^ As depicted in "No Love Lost" in Grand Theft Auto IV.
  3. ^ As depicted in "Blow Your Cover" in Grand Theft Auto IV.
  4. ^ As revealed in "Chinese Takeout" in Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony.
  5. ^ Which is continued in "Hostile Negotiations" in Grand Theft Auto IV.
  6. ^ As depicted in "Frosting on the Cake" in Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony.
  7. ^ As depicted in "Taking in the Trash" in Grand Theft Auto IV.
  8. ^ As depicted in "Museum Piece" in Grand Theft Auto IV, and "Not So Fast" in Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony.
  9. ^ As depicted in "No Way on the Subway" in Grand Theft Auto IV.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rockstar North (13 April 2010). Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned (Microsoft Windows). Rockstar Games. Level/area: Credits.
  2. ^ Bramwell, Tom (22 January 2009). "Rockstar prices GTA: The Lost and Damned". Eurogamer. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
  3. ^ Greg Miller (18 March 2010). "Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City Gets Delayed – PlayStation 3 News at IGN". Ps3.ign.com. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Reports Second Quarter Fiscal 2009 Financial Results". Take Two. 26 May 2009. Archived from the original on 30 May 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  5. ^ Surette, Tim (16 February 2009). "GTA IV: The Lost & Damned In-Depth". IGN. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  6. ^ Rockstar North (17 February 2009). Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned (Xbox 360). Rockstar Games. Scene: Staff credits.
  7. ^ Gibson, Ellie (11 July 2007). "E3: Microsoft'sConference". Gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
  8. ^ Surette, Tim (27 September 2006). "X06: Duo of XBL GTA4 packs confirmed for 360". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2007.
  9. ^ "Grand Theft Auto IV: Rockstar Experimenting with Episodic Content". Kotaku. 11 February 2008. Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  10. ^ "Take-Two F2Q07 (Qtr End April 30, 2007) Earnings Call Transcript". SeekingAlpha. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2007.
  11. ^ "GDC: GTA IV Episode 1 – August, 360 exclusive". ComputerAndVideoGames.com. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
  12. ^ Snider, Mike (20 November 2008). "'Grand Theft Auto' yields road to the 'Lost and Damned'". USA Today. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  13. ^ "GTA IV DLC for Xbox 360 delayed". Eurogamer. 6 June 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2008.
  14. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (13 November 2008). "Chinatown Wars gets temporary cease-fire". GameSpot. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
  15. ^ Graft, Kris (13 November 2008). "Take-Two: GTA IV DLC "May" be Delayed". Edge. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
  16. ^ Gibson, Ellie (20 November 2008). "GTA IV DLC to be released in February". Eurogamer. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  17. ^ "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned for PlayStation 3". GameRankings. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  18. ^ "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned for Xbox 360". GameRankings. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  19. ^ "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
  20. ^ "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned for PlayStation 3 Review". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  21. ^ "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned Review". Eurogamers. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
  22. ^ "GTA IV The Lost and Damned Review". Gametrailers.com. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
  23. ^ "Parents Group Warns Against Lost And Damned Nudity", Wired.com, 21 February 2009

External links[edit]