Product Type: Rockstar PS2 games
Newest Review: ... hour before I had to switch off (eventually my brother got interested in the game so I was able to carry on longer). The driving mechanics... more
Grand Theft Auto 3 (PS2)
Grand Theft Auto 3 (PS2)
Member Name: m_illie
Grand Theft Auto 3 (PS2)
Advantages: Lots to do, entertaining, creative
Disadvantages: Poor graphics that are to be expected of a game of this calibre at this time
Grand Theft Auto 3, or III as it is actually shown on the cover of the game, is a game made for Playstation 2 in 2001. It is an open world adventure game which basically means that you as the player have the control to navigate a map and enter into 'missions' or activities whenever you choose.
With somewhat dodgy graphics at time, an inability to swim, jump fluidly or step foot in water without drowning, whats not to love! Of course I am being overly cynical as funnily enough, GTA 3 (as it is quite sensibly abbreviated to) was and remains one of my favourite Playstation games, one that I still consistently play and will continue to so long as my ancient Playstation 2 console holds out.
The basic premiss of the game is that you are hardman Claude, living in Liberty City, a fictional city loosely (and I mean very loosely) based on New York City. Claude escapes with 8-Ball (a fellow criminal) from prison once he is left for dead following on from a bank heist and subsequent time in prison, when the Callahan Bridge is blown up. This is how the story begins, with you led by actions in the top right of the screen that tell you to press triangle to open the car door for example, and briefly explain breaking and accelerating as you drive a getaway type car to a 'safehouse' location. Claude's name is never disclosed in the game and it is not until following games that you really find it out until Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, another game of the GTA franchise.
The gameplay is has components from driving games, as well as third person shooter games, especially in the main character's ruthless interaction with the public (who you may freely shoot or beat, a somewhat disturbing concept outside of the context of the game) and with enemies and mob bosses. Crimes, such as car theft, murder and theft will result in increasing levels of resistance from the authorities. If the player's "wanted" level reaches certain levels, the police, FBI, and army will respond accordingly. When I was younger, and sometimes even now, I was prone to purposefully increasing my wanted level to test how long I could survive a pursuit by the police with a huge number of squad cars, helicopters and even tanks following me.
It is possible to 'die' or collapse your from injuries as many times as possible although this does come at a price. The game itself doesn't end and there is no ominous 'game over' warning across your screen, but instead you respawn at a local hospital, with all of your weaponry (of which you can store and access by pressing the L2 and R2 buttons to scroll through a menu) taken and a large sum of your money gone.
To navigate the town you can walk, sprint, ride the monorail or steal a car that is either parked or perhaps stopped at traffic light, providing you are swift enough to speed away and avoid any police suspicion. As well as this, you are able to use weapons and perform basic hand to hand combat. As mentioned previously however, you cannot swim, and in my exploration of the city, I have found that if you step into a pool that may be present in some of the more expensive housing in one part of the city, the main character will simply stand about knee deep in the water, whilst the generic sound of water movement is heard.
You can obtain cash which helps with buying weaponry and houses (but this comes much later as huge sums of money are needed to do this) through completing a number of missions wherein you follow the instructions that appear on the bottom of the screen, or by listening carefully to a cut-scene. Missions fall into two categories, that is storyline based missions, and side missions. The latter are typically much shorter and have no real involvement in the progression of the plot, whereas the former can sometimes limit what you can do next if you fail to succeed, and it becomes necessary to re-do certain missions a number of times if you are not good enough to complete them. Additionally, you are also able to gain money through committing petty crime such as robbing a civilian
Weapons involved in the game include: the M1911, the Micro Uzi, an AK-47 and an M16A1, rocket launcher, flamethrower, shotgun and thrown weapons (Molotov cocktails and hand grenades). There is an auto aim feature that you can utilise by pressing a button, so that the character will automically follow a target across the screen. However, you must be careful with this as sometimes it can arouse police suspicion as some civilians in particular, are prone to running and screaming (understandably!) when they notice you are waving a gun in their direction!
Perhaps one of the most humourous aspects of GTA 3 as well as the other GTA games in the franchise, is the inclusion of radio stations which you can listen to in cars or on motorbikes. This was always a favourite aspect of mine, and sometimes I'd become easily distracted, particularly by the somewhat ridiculous chatshows you could listen to. The radio stations include, with a brief description:
Double Clef FM - classical genre, in the game, Double Clef FM is the favorite radio station of the Leone Mafia Family, and the DJ Morgan Merryweather is your typical pompous music snob.
Flashback 95.6 - plays 1980s pop music, and is hosted by "Toni", a fictional DJ who also features in the previous GTA fames.
Game Radio FM - hip hop genre, hosted by DJ Stretch Armstrong and Lord Sear (who are apparently real life DJs playing themselves)
Head Radio - A contemporary and soft rock radio station hosted by DJ "Michael Hunt".
K-Jah - dub genre (a branch of reggae) that features slower tempo songs, hosted by DJ Horace "the Pacifist" Walsh.
Lips 106 - a typically pop genre station hosted by "Andee", another station to feature in previous games
MSX FM - a drum and base channel hosted by MC Codebreaker and DJ Timecode (a real life UK DJ
Rise FM - This is a trance radio station hosted by Andre The Accelerator that features electronic dance music.
Chatterbox FM - Perhaps my favourite channel, hosted by a rude, back talking talk station host Lazlow, who belittles the callers in of his channel and interviews local 'stars' with subtle jabs made at their lack of success, which sometimes gets him into trouble. Lazlow is somewhat bitter at his fate as a talk station host and claims he is simply doing it because he "got kicked off the rock station". This is revisted in the following game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, (set 15 years previously) where he is the host of the radio station "V-Rock".
The game was an unexpected hit, and is a very marmite-like, in that there are people who love and swear by this game, and others who consider it much to violent or simply too poor spec. Regardless, it is undoubtedly entertaining, and there is always plenty to do, which is valuable as many games that are simply pushed out onto the market these days lack any originality and are simple to complete within a short time span, thus making them much less worth the money in my opinion. It is a game that for its time, excelled my expectations, and perhaps looking back is not as graphically excellent as I once thought, but it is easy to overlook this in terms of the variety of entertainment it offers.
Summary: A decent action/shooter game that marks the peak in the GTA series