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Grand Theft Auto

aka: GTA, Race 'n' Chase
Moby ID: 417
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

In Grand Theft Auto, the player takes the role of a small-time criminal trying to make it big with the mob. Stealing cars, doing jobs for the gangsters and behaving generally anti-social are the way to success.

The action moves through six levels spread over three different cities, each based on a real US city: Liberty City (based on New York City), San Andreas (based on San Francisco) and Vice City (based on Miami). To finish a level, a certain score must be reached. Stealing cars and crashing into traffic, driving over pedestrians and killing cops all raise the score, but the big points are made through jobs. Answering phones or entering special cars brings mission assignments, from simple "ditch-a-hot-car" jobs to supporting bank robberies or carrying out assassinations. Completing a mission will raise the score substantially and also increase the score multiplier, so that completing the next felony will gain even more points.

Criminal behavior comes with a price of course: if policemen witness a crime, the player's wanted level rises. At the lowest level, a single police car might give chase, whereas at the highest level whole car squads hunt the player, the police set up roadblocks and shoot to kill. The only way to evade the cops is to find a respray shop and get a new paint job with new license plates. This costs money which is deducted from the score, however. But even dying or being arrested are not the end. The player has several lives, and ending up in jail simply results in being stripped of all weapons and armor and the score multiplier being lowered.

The entire action is viewed from a top-down perspective, which zooms out while driving a car, for a better overview at high speeds. The cities are many screens large and can be freely explored. Crates are scattered over the cities, which might include weapons (from pistols to rocket launchers), armor or other bonus items: extra lives, police bribes (used to reduce the wanted level to zero) and get-out-of-jail-free cards (used to retain score multiplier and weapons when busted). Dozens of different vehicles are available for the taking, each with unique characteristics: a bus will handle very differently than a sports car.


  • 侠盗车手 - simplified Chinese spelling
  • 俠盜獵車手 - traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

86 People · View all

Team Leader
Lead Programmer
Lead Artist
Map Design and Mission Programming
Music Written, Produced and Performed by
Audio Programming
Sound Effects
[ full credits ]



Average score: 75% (based on 52 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 277 ratings with 13 reviews)


The Good
Concept of doing very bad things: stealing cars and killing cops and civilians. Audio fairly crisp.

The Bad
Horrendous game play due to the crappy controls.Graphics are terrible. I've seen better on 8 bit systems. When you answer the phone it sounds like you are talking to a chipmunk.

The Bottom Line
Back in the 90's this game was very popular with the die hard sony fanboys who were totally caught up in the concept that they were blinded by how terrible the game actually was . I found this game and it's sequel total rubbish. If you want a gta game steer clear of this dud and get gta3, gta vice city and san andreas for the ps2.

PlayStation · by attilathehun (3) · 2005

In one word, brilliant!!

The Good
This is for me the most original game I ever have played. Everything runs smooth, even on a slow computer. The gameplay is more then excellent, the mission are great and fun to play several times. It is possible to drive a car and squash people or run and shoot at them. It fun to drive fast and avoid every other car and lose the cops. And every time you get in n other car, the music will change, just like a radio.

The Bad
What is good for the game, is also the bad side of the game it kept you playing for hours, what do I say, I ment for years. The fun will never stop.

The Bottom Line
The best part of the game is, you can decide how to play it. Or you do the missions or you driving around and make a big mess in town. Every gamer who respects himself must have played GTA.

Windows · by Buuks (197) · 2001

A mixed bag.

The Good
GTA is bizarre. Given my computer programming background I can't help but gawk at how bad its engine is, but on the other hand it's just hours of pure fun.

To summarize:

  • Decent graphics. Nothing to write home about, but they do the job, and they do it well.
  • Good controls, unlike the extremely crappy Carmageddon. The controls here are fairly smooth and efficient and won't outright frustrate you.
  • Decent level and mission design; the missions are dull at worst, and hillarious at best ("My brother's found out I'm f***ing his wife. F*** the f***er before he f*** me"), but I can't help the feeling that they were an afterthought - some of them are practically impossible to do, while others require that you race around the city to deliver all sorts of crud to all sorts of places you normally wouldn't bother with.
  • The freedom in this game is a great deal more obvious than in other games; if you get bored with the default missions, why not just run around town and wreak havoc? Personally I like the police chases best, and if things get too sticky you can always "autospray" your car and move on.
  • Decent music. Not great, not bad. Just enough.

The Bad
But then we have the ludicrously bad engine. I don't see how Martin should think that it runs well on a slow PC, because it doesn't. On my P166 it was completely unplayable on anything higher than the lowest, 320x200 resolution. Adding a Voodoo2 helped a lot, but even then the game wasn't actually smooth because of a horrendous timing mechanism; it seems that the programmers chose to simply limit the framerate (F8 is enable/disable framerate limiter) instead of produce a functional timing loop. This results in jerky motion even with my Voodoo2 - not unplayable, but not smooth either. Disabling the framerate limiter (the afformentioned F8) would result in completely smooth gameplay - but absolutely no timing, so the game basically runs impossibly fast ("Ludicrous speed! GO!") and is completely unplayable.

Furthermore the physics engine is an absolute joke. OK, so they didn't implement actual collisions, rather plain momentum conservation, so your car doesn't actually get damaged by, say, running into a wall at over 70 MPH. Furthermore, what physics laws actually governed have a great deal of bugs, but since it makes the game even funnier I guess I could let that pass. But I will NOT forgive the stupid pixel-perfect collision bug, which happens when you graze a wall when you're directly parallel to it; often times this would result in your getting stuck to the wall, not being able to move your car and even occasionally not being able to get out of the car. When it happens it's absolutely frustrating and unacceptable.

Basically, the software engine is SLOW. I don't understand it; it doesn't do that much besides scroll-zoom-putsprite. I would expect seasoned programmers - especially ones from a company that produced the amazing Amiga game Blood Money - to be able to write a better engine. Maybe I'm being too critical, but I don't think so. There were plenty of games that came out years before, did more and did it better too.

The Bottom Line
If you ignore the obvious technical faults of this game, what you have is basically an extremely fun little slaughterfest.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4538) · 2001

[ View all 13 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Weird bug: Endless chases Daniel Saner (3503) Oct 27, 2008


1001 Video Games

Grand Theft Auto appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Grand Theft Auto was banned from stores in Brazil.


The game takes place in the cities Liberty City, Vice City and San Andreas. These cities are also the showplaces of the following 3D games of the series.


When Take2 bought BMG Interactive, they re-released Grand Theft Auto in Europe with another box-cover, which looked more attractive than the previous one, which was quite boring.


The original concept for GTA was that the player was supposed to be the police and he had to go around catching car looters, robbers, gang members and so on. In the late design stages, the team argued among themselves that it would be better if the players role be reserved. After a heated battle they all agreed on reversing the players role.

Doubled Player Glitch

Go to a bike, without weapons.

Press "ENTER" and hold "Ctrl" at the same time.

Take the car behind and smash the bike.

Now you will see a copy of your self.

Dont drive over him, you'll just die :)

Freeware Release

As a way of saying thank you to the many fans of the series, Rockstar released a freeware version of GTA on its website, http://www.rockstargames.com/classics/, updated to support the latest operating systems and Direct X software.

German version

When playing the game with German language settings, it is not possible to choose the female protagonists.

Police Trick

The streets of GTA maintain a finite supply of police cars in the face of escalating crime levels (largely thanks to the singlehanded effort of the player); an ex-roommate discovered that if you can put aside the gratification at delivering the coup de grace, blowing up their vehicles, and instead leave the coppers with barely-functional, heavily-damaged wagons, you can move through traffic largely with impunity -- whenever a police presence would be triggered, instead of dashing to the scene of the crime in powerful cruisers they would stagger on to the screen in the same fleet of dented Chitty-Chitty Bang Bangs you mercifully spared.

Should the police cars blow up, the department appears to instantaneously replace the exploded car with a brand new one with everything in top condition; cultivate their deprivation, however, and you can cause the entire force to limp along while you cruise by in the fastest ride that you can grab.


  • In Vice City, you often see clothes that have been hung out to dry above alleyways and roads. Some of the blankets say "GTA" or "CM" - the initials of artist Craig Moore who worked on the game's textures.
  • In San Andreas, one of the missions assigned to the player by Uncle Fu's crime syndicate is the killing of mob boss Don Traegeri. This is most certainly a reference to Don Traeger, who was involved in establishing publisher BMG Interactive in 1995.

References to the Game

The cover of heavy metal band Megadeth's album Rude Awakening features vehicles from Grand Theft Auto.


  • PC Gamer
  • April 2000 - #50 (tied with Caesar III) in the Reader's All-Time Top 50 Games Poll

Information also contributed by Daniel Saner, Itay Shahar, Kartanym, Karthik KANE, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual, Steve . and Zovni


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Grand Theft Auto III
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Grand Theft Auto IV
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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by robotriot.

Game Boy Color added by Brolin Empey. PlayStation added by Grant McLellan.

Additional contributors: Erwin Bergervoet, Unicorn Lynx, Apogee IV, Paranoid Opressor, Sciere, Havoc Crow, DreinIX, Paulus18950, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, Victor Vance, FatherJack.

Game added November 12, 1999. Last modified March 6, 2024.