The Getaway is split into two plots with various different characters. The plots run in parallel and often intersect with each other.
The first part of the game follows Mark Hammond, a retired member of the Soho-based Collins Crew. Mark was recently released from prison and has settled down with his wife, Susie and their son, Alex. One day, Hammond awakes to find his wife murdered and son kidnapped by members for a gang known as the Bethnal Green Mob. After following them to a warehouse he is ambushed by Charlie Jolson, leader of the Bethnal Green boys, who is holding Hammond's son hostage. Mark is blackmailed to doing jobs for Charlie to get his son back.
The second half of the game lets you play as Flying Squad officer, DC Frank Carter as he attempts to take down Jolson and his gang. Carter's scenario takes place parallel to the events of Hammond's scenario, causing the two to come into contact on several occasions.
In The Getaway you can drive and shoot on foot. The game features no HUD so the player doesn't know things like ammo count or health however you can rest against a wall when hurt until you recover. You can free aim with any weapon or lock on and can pick up new weapons dropped by people you have killed, However the weapons in the game are fairly limited. The game allows players to carry out each mission with about forty available vehicles. The Getaway features real vehicles, created by real manufacturers such as MG Rover, Saab, Renault, Lotus and Mazda. The game takes players across a sprawling virtual representation of London.