Grand Theft Auto III

aka: GTA 3, GTA III, GTA3, GTA: Liberty City, Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 92% (based on 102 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 437 ratings with 27 reviews)

The best version of one of the most addictive games in history.

The Good
You know what the great thing about arcade style gameplay is? If it's done correctly, it can prove to be terribly addictive. There's often little to no story and the gameplay is repetative but you just can't stop playing to see if you can top your last game. Games like Crazy Taxi are a perfect example. And do you know what's great about plot driven long term titles? You have a story to play out that unfolds as you progress through a game that often takes tens of hours to finish. Grand Theft Auto 3 manages to blend the best of these two worlds into an extravagant cocktail of murder, mayhem and assorted carnage as you once again reprise the role of street thug and get up to all manner of law breaking activities. If you've played the original GTA games then you'll know the setting but the third outing is so much better in every conceivable way that it's a whole new experience. It's so good in fact that it's almost... dare I say it, criminal. There is so much to do in the game, beginning with a plot driven mission based game in which you have to complete tasks such as assasinations, robberys and high speed chases for various gang leaders. This alone is loads of fun but the game is so open ended that it allows you to just go and explore as much or as little as you want to. Also on offer are such activities as finding hidden packages around the utterly HUGE city, mini games in different vechiles such as chasing down criminals in the cop car, putting out fires in the fire engine and in true Crazy Taxi style, picking up passengers in the cab (Although I must point out that this sub game is no substitute for the real Crazy Taxi.) and just causing general carnage or racing around the city doing stunts which is always great fun thanks to the fantastic car physics models. Sports cars zip along, vans are heavy on top and can roll easily while beaten up bombs don't do a lot of anything. While inside a car you can listen to the brilliant radio stations that the game contains, each one has a different musical style and unique DJ as well as a boot load of hilarious commercials. GTA3 depicts a very dark subject matter but is also very funny. For once in a game the black humour is much more than excessive violence (although that does play a big part) and most of this comedy comes through the radio stations. Of course even though each station has loads of stuff on it, it's going to repeat eventually and that's where the MP3 player comes in. This new PC only feature allows you to put your own MP3's into the game which is a simple yet great idea that works perfectly. Another great addition to the PC version is the aiming system. On the PS2 you locked onto enemies with most weapons. This usually resulted in you being killed because the lock-on didn't do what you wanted it to. In the PC version you aim and shoot much like a first or third person shooter. This makes the on-foot aspect of the gameplay infinately better than it's PS2 counterpart. Rounding out the PC updates are better textures and some improved weather effects such as some very cool fog.

The Bad
Some of the missions are very frustrating. You'll often find yourself cursing the person who came up with the mission as you once again end up a splat on the sidewalk. The PC version is a very faithful version of GTA3, IF you have a very fast system to go with it. Sadly the requirements on the box are highly inaccurate and are way below what you actually need. You'll want a very fast video card to enjoy this game at all. I had a system that was above the recommended requirements on every level let alone what was required and the game chugged at the lowest of the low detail settings in a state that was unplayable. However I later upgraded the video card to a Geforce 3 128 meg Titanium and suddenly everything was running perfectly. Once again, if you don't have a very high end system then don't even bother getting this game. It breaks my heart to say this as it is such a brilliant title but you really won't have any fun with it chugging along at 10 frames a second.

The Bottom Line
If you have an interest in games at all, are not offended by over the top digital violence and have a high end computer then run, drive, hitch, whatever just make your way to your local software store immediately and buy this game. One of the greatest and most addictive games ever made it's just a shame that the requirements are so steep.

Windows · by Sycada (177) · 2002

A game beyond all my expectations - a definitive must-play!

The Good
The game has really good graphics which remind me of Max Payne - they have the same style, the same dark mood. And the game's level of detail is simply stunning: there's life everywhere - people walking around, occasional carjacking, gang fights... not to mention the seedy looking, dark alleyways where the typical backdoors to the sex clubs are... the gang members with their tattoos and cruel faces... simply unbelievable. All the cars drive different, and if you collide with an object, the car WILL break down (and explode if you do it really bad). There are brave people who will try to beat you when you steal their car, others just cry or run away; there are people running to help when someone gets killed (or, in one case, stand there just watching and crying when I squashed some gangster with his own car :) Sunsets, sundowns, rain, fog, night... the weather is simulated with great detail, too.

The sound is the like: when in a car, you can hear radio from quite many really different stations, and the sound effects are cool aswell. All dialogues are dubbed with speech which is credible and well spoken. Foreign versions have subtitles, retaining the original english, curse-littered gangster-talk.

Best of all is the variety. Don't like to do another "kill-this-guy" job, but still need money? No problem: either get some other job - there are tons of sub-plots which can be followed. Or maybe just get normal, "borrow" a taxi and drive some stupid people around? You will get cash from them and you learn how to drive, so that's a good idea. Too easy? Get the ambulance and rescue wounded people - that's MUCH harder! Or do some crazy stunts with a stolen hod rod, or even - kids, that nothing for you! - get yourself some whore girls, f*** them and steal their money afterwards! Everything goes, just don't mess with their pimps since it could be deadly for you :) But the normal jobs are cool, too - blow some mafia guy's car up (with him behind the wheel :), help some poor dog food company owner in murdering his wife (a sub-plot with a surprising end!)... your possibilities are virtually endless.

The coolness factor is very important in this game. In which else game you can wake up (load a saved game, you only can save "at home"), go to your garage next door, jump in your (stolen) car, turn on some cool muzak and drive outta there like Satan on wheels, crashing some cop's lame vehicle in the process? See, no other game gives you this!

The Bad
Some clipping errors are quite visible, but it's not that bad. And there is no blood at all, this is more bad since it's an adult game with a very violent theme (and where's violence, I expect blood). Controls are really good, but the automatically following camera is sometimes a bit jumpy.

The Bottom Line
Strictly for adults - this stuff contains quite explicit expressions and you can do too much you never should in reality. But if you are adult and want to swap the real, boring world of work and worries for some very entertaining hours of racing, raping, cop-killing mayhem - it's simply the greatest game you will have ever played! Absolutely worth the money!

Windows · by phlux (4294) · 2002

An excellent free-form game with some flaws.

The Good
The sheer HUGENESS of the world is enough to draw most people in. I really enjoyed the free-form gameplay, as well. It's pretty fun to run from the cops, and the graphics are very good...notice how the lights leave trails and rainy days leave reflections on the ground. The missions are very varied, and, technically, you can do anything you want. The physics are excellent, as well. The gore is pretty good, too. The MP3 player is a GREAT addition!

The Bad
Well, the graphics are kind of Playstation-ish (minor clipping and stuff). There is no multiplayer, although it was planned! There isn't NEARLY enough things to destroy, and the cops are pretty stupid (I got onto the boat via ramp and they just went into the water...LOL). What's up with the "Trails" option?! You can't save your game during a mission. Cars get screwed up too fast, in my opinion. Finally, there is no in-game map, only a radar, and you can get lost quite easily. Oh, yeah, and it gets a bit repetative after a while, but not enough to hinder gameplay.

The Bottom Line
An excellent game, although flawed, which I could recommend to any action gamer (over 17)!

Windows · by Archagon (108) · 2002

I'll mess you the heck up..... and laugh for days about it!

The Good
I'll summarize a story. I was being chased by a cop after doing some sort of crime that did not go over well. I decided to turn into an ally instead of continuing on the road. I realize, too late, that I am entering the territory of the Mafia, who I've angered enough that they open fire whenever they see me. There is a goon at the end of the ally, but there is a huge cop car behind me, so I hit the gas. As I approach the goon, he opens fire, but realizing I am not being swayed, begins to dive out of the way. He does not see the wall there. After he hits the wall face-first, he bounces off. Then, as I begin to pass the goon, his head smacks the side of my car, an falls to the ground where he is run over by the cop chasing me. These are the types of stories you will come away with from this game. You are introduced to a living city, which is a bit rare in a computer game. You can go anywhere and do anything, within limits. The game is truely open ended. The graphics are amazing. The sound of amazing. This game is truely amazing, and you can do the things you want to do in real life, but would feel terrible for doing, like pulling the guy out of the car next to you and beating him to death, then running over his body with his own car.

The Bad
The game has high system requirements, though that is easily forgetable once you start playing. I thought the game ended abrubtly. I wished I could do more, find another 100 missions, even random ones. I didn't like that the game was banned in Australia.

The Bottom Line
The best game I've played in ages, and extremely free-form. You can be as evil or nice as you want, kill more or less people than the next guy, and play chase with the cops. This game is everything you'd expect and more. It is what you WANT to play.

Windows · by Eduardo Gabrieloff (23) · 2002

Guns, violence, harsh language and ice cream trucks. What more could you want?

The Good
As an Australian who missed out on the original GTA3 on PS2 before it was replaced with a cut-up version, the fact that the PC version has every little detail as it was originally intended is a big bonus.

Anyway, the game itself is a real blast. Although at first I was a little worried that the transition to 3D might hurt the series, after a few hours blasting my way through the biggest virtual city I've played in, those doubts were thrown out the window, shot to pieces, left on the road and run over by an incoming ice cream truck.

Gameplay itself is varied, very varied. There's so much to do in the city, it's crazy. There are, of course, objectives to be met and thankfully DMA and Rockstar have allowed for some form of open ended adventures since you can complete the objectives to open new areas and items, or just blast around the place ignoring everyone and everything.

Nothing tops grabbing a rocket launcher and blasting everything in the world the to bits. Only Red Faction comes close to creating an environment that can be totally destroyed with pleasure beaming on the players face.

The Bad
There are some slight problems with the graphics (only slight, nothing really to worry about) and you need a fairly strong computer to get the most out of it.

Oh, and if you don't like Ice Cream trucks, stay well away.

The Bottom Line
I'm sure it will get a fair share of "Kids should not play this game, it is a disgrace". What a minority of people don't understand is that this game was never built with kids in mind, therefore developers and publishers should not be put to shame over their ideas, but parents who allow younger children to play it. Not that I want to fight over this.

GTA3 is a sign that the older generation of gamers (from the 20-30 onwards range) don't want to be left out in the cold. DMA and Rockstar should be proud of this achievement. I certainly am.

Now if you will excuse me, I have an Ice Cream truck waiting for me.

Windows · by Kartanym (12382) · 2006

Computer asks man: "Is that what you want?" Man replies "Hell yes!"

The Good
Rockstar games have made some pretty intriguing titles in the past. The Grand Theft Auto series has a cult following to rival Doug & The Slugs, at least among the computer saavy. Well, Grand Theft Auto just fell out the window. Whether this game is allowed to even wear that moniker is still under debate for me.

I don't know what game engine this runs on, but it's awesome. There is linearity in the story and gameplay, but you can mess around with Liberty City as much as you feel you need to. It's a living, walking, talking, and driving city. Realism? You don't even have to go outside anymore, if you're a criminal.

Just as in the real world, there are consequences. If you steal a car in front of a cop, don't expect the cop not to notice. If you punch someone, they punch you back, and they may even pull out a gun. Don't screw with the mafia, or they'll screw with you. Same goes for the gangs. You steal a gang car, and you're in deep.

But damn, is this addictive. Hours can fly by just painting the town red. You steal a sports car, bomb around until you trash it, steal a cop car when they're not looking, cause havoc with the cops, kill some pedestrians, and whadya mean it's eleven o'clock? I don't wanna go to bed yet.

The Bad
As with almost every game, it could use some improvements. Along with this strenuous realism comes a cost, and that cost is PC hardware. You need a real decent system to run this game. Celerons, video cards with 16mb ram, of computers with less than 256mb RAM need not apply. Windows XP beahviour with NVidia cards sucks, but thats because Windows XP sucks. I run AMD700 with 64MB Geforce4 and 320Mb RAM and I just squeeze by at a decent frame rate, for instance.

The Bottom Line
Overall, this is probably the best game for game addicts to come along in a long time. Just don't apply with anything more than a year old, or like me, you'll be frustrated that this fictional world suffers a devastating case of frame-rate indigestion.

Windows · by The Cheshire (5) · 2003

Bringing Crime and Action Game-Play to a Whole New Level: No Levels!

The Good
GTA3 brings a strong and irreverent sense of humor, making fun of the stereotypes people have of gangs and city life. Each neighborhood lampoons neighborhoods straight out of various gang movies such as the Godfather, Colors, and Do the Right Thing. The people walking along the street throw out humorous epithets. And the cut scenes can be a riot, standing the stereotypes on their head.

And the Radio… this is the best produced game sound ever. It fits perfectly in the game, sounding just like real radio, yet with an ironic twist. Even today, I listen to my radio in the car and realize how right on the comedy was. Statements such as “Music you were tired of when they were hot” and “Calling out to any sane people in Liberty City” still sound familiar and leave a smile on your face. And the music is well done, with the correct variety for each station and none sounding out of place. This game device is one that definitely will be emulated, but never reproduced.

One of the strongest points of GTA3 is the big and alive world of Liberty City. The world draws you in with its gritty cityscapes, adding to the campy feel. The constant Chinese decoration of Chinatown, the upscale feel of Staunton island complete with modern gyms, and the obvious uphill rich living over the hood in Shoreside Vale, all examples of the stylized world you are exploring.

What really brings the game world to life is the background characters. Each neighborhood carefully has placed the crowds with the stereotypical people of the neighborhoods. And they act realistically with some gang members grabbing purses, hookers and pimps having fights, and humorous little comments from each group. It feels like they have their own lives. And it really works when your character, the carjacker, get jacked by a bystander. Now you are a victim of your own kind of crime!

The game-play depend on mixes of two kinds of game-play, driving or third person shooter. But, they really have some creative ways of making the game-play interesting. Some of the games are in the main missions, which advance the story. They have missions such as get to a place in a certain time, guard a van going to an appointed place, snipe some bad guys so a friend won’t die. More like these can come from the phones, which will be pointed to by your “pager.” They mix up the types of missions, and they can be somewhat challenging, but never too difficult.

Then, the city has tons of hidden missions. You can collect packages hidden around the city to improve the weapons you get at the home. Police, taxi, fire trucks, and ambulances each have their own missions you can complete. There are Rampage icons that give you a brief amount of time to kill a certain number of gangsters or destroy a certain number of gangster vehicles. There are the creative “Toyz” missions where you drive an RC car, which will destroy gangster vehicles, and the more you destroy, the higher the score. Really, this is a lot of game-play, enticing you to explore the city and see the detailed areas.

On top of this is the freedom you have to do what you want, creating your own challenges. You can cause your own mayhem. You can rob people or chase down muggers. You can find unique jumps and try various vehicles to see how they jump. You can take the subway across the city or explore the tunnels once they are open. You can steal a boat and float around the city. You can steal a Dodo plane and learn how to fly it (difficult, but fun). You can go on your own rampage and see how dangerous the cops can really be, especially as your wanted level goes up. GTA3 really sets the standard on freedom in an action game and every activity has its own rewards.

If you have the pc edition, you have some nice treats. You can add your own music to the radio and have it as an extra station. I found Shaggy was a good addition to my stations. Also, you can get different skins for you character make a more customized look from the Elvis impersonator you seem to be playing. Finally, the graphics are much improved from its PS2 brother, with cars looking sweet and city blocks having much more detail, though character models are still unimpressive, as I will describe.

The Bad
Even though the game-play is pretty varied, it can be somewhat repetitive as they are mostly variations on the same themes. I went about halfway through the game before I needed to take a break from it. The complete-est in me wanted to get all the mini-missions before moving to the main missions, and that became drudgery before too long. Its better to take advantage of the varied missions and not redo the same ones over too often.

The illusion of the vast city can be easily ruined by the way the game handles it various pieces. Turn one direction and then back again will change the type of people and cars at a certain radius from the player. This is useful when you need new people to shoot at when reaching a mission quota, but rather weird to see. When the game needs to add people to the mix, they can be caught dropping from the air (kind of funny when you see it). Cars you collect and leave as blockades will just suddenly disappear if the world has too many cars. This can be inconvenient when you need to the set up roadblocks or create cover if you’ve got a five star wanted rating.

And despite these tricks to save on processing speed, the graphics still must suffer to make the game work. Character models are extremely blocky, especially the Lego hands everyone has. Many of the characters are so ugly; it’s hard to match them to the nice hand drawn characters in the map.

Another issue is the way missions can be cheated easily. On one mission I need to avoid the police by being chased around and keeping alive. I found I could run into a garage to hide until the timer expired, not the desired point of the mission. And this can be found in many missions where all you need is luck to win. Some races or chases were made obscenely easy when cars would destroy them selves by falling off cliffs or get trapped in ally’s you could navigate but they can’t.

Now, the next big problem is the story. It’s a simple get revenge on the former lover story that has some promise. But much of the time what you are doing does not make much sense. You just get told do this or that and don’t see why you are doing it. Then you start helping out new bosses with no real reason of how or if they are furthering your goals. It does not help that the main character is silent, so his motives are always his own. And it ends suddenly, feeling like they ran out of time and had to end it.

And this is my final gripe. The final area, Shoreside Vale is poorly used. They made a complex place to navigate that seems ripe to create new challenges for the game-play, and then they never really use it. Sure, you get to go there for a few missions, but part of a go all over the city mission. If it weren’t for the rampages and the police missions, there would be no reason to go to Shoreside Vale.

The Bottom Line
GTA3 is a genre breaking action game that really creates a gritty yet over-the-top world to leisurely explore or rigidly complete all tasks. Now, I am somewhat biased, in I discovered GTA when it first came out and loved its game-play and non-conformist view of gaming. Really, they took the game-play from 2d to 3d, but it works so much better.

With a massive amount of things to do, the game keeps you interested. It then sells itself with a live feeling world, full of people and cars that act like you’d see in a real city. And on top of this it goes so over the top that you realize every action is a parody of real life, so you can go about this world with a smile at the wit.

Certainly, it is not perfect, as the game styles are used again and again, the illusion of the world lowers the graphics level and uses cheap tricks to populate it, and there are certain levels if the story missions can. But GTA3 succeeds despite its limitations, and its sense of humor successfully covers for these limitations.

What GTA3 achieves is something RPGs were already doing. It brings to the action table the ideas of moving beyond levels and exploring a world, with action at the core. It proves that action game-play can work within a much larger frame of reference than levels.

Windows · by Dwango (298) · 2005

this is the greatest game ever accept no substitutes EVER !!!!!!!

The Good
the entire game was and is great i bought the game last november 2001. and i am still playing it to this day no other game has been as addictive to me like this one has the controls and game play are great simple and after about 5 or 10 minutes of cruising around town youll be at home with the controls. i was kind of put off before i played it because i thought the other 2 sequels were and are cr*p but the look it had made me buy it and im glad i did .

the size of the areas you can explore in each part of the city is amazing (area 1) portland (area 2) staunton island (area 3) shoreside vale. the best car to drive is the banshee (dodge viper) its fast and has great handling. it can be found in area 1 at the car show room and in area 2 at the car park of kenji`s casino and at the car park of the building where you work for the japanese chick next to the water and in area three at the car park on the way down the snake like road to your hide out in shoreside vale(after you cross the bridge in the third area)or if you see one in the street (tax it - steal it).

the missions are fun and some of them are a challenge but if you keep at it youll figure out a way to get past it. missions range from simple ones like picking someone up and droping them off to drive by shootings to assassinations basically everything all those mafia guys do and other criminals do its fun and addictive. i have been playing this game since nov 2001 when it was released and i am still playing it today you dont know the meaning of the word addiction till you play this game . the story has a kind of moovy feel to it it draws you in to it and makes you feel as if you are in a hollywood moovy which is partly to blame for it being so addictive. i could go on and on about this game but i will not this is the best game ever and its the best game on the ps2 better looking than it`s pc version. i hope the next one gta-vice city is as good as this little beauty.



The Bad
the radio stations were and are cr*p not one decent station. they should have included a metal/rock station after all that is what you call driving music it gets you all worked up and ready to kick rearend. and also makes you want to drive faster which in this game is exactly what you need.

the company are called - rockstar - so why did they not put a station on that was rock ?.

thank christ they gave you an option to turn the crp off if you did not like it . it`s because they gave you this option that the game is still great . if you never had this option then i would not have it in my collection.

The Bottom Line*
if you are looking for a decent game i.e not rpg or strategy or platform or sports then this is for you . if you like a game that involves cars then look no further because this is one hell of a good game the handling of the cars is good unless you tax a bus or a bucket lorry(trash collector) :). and you be kicking arse in no time at all controls are easy to get the hang of .

PlayStation 2 · by Iced Earth (9) · 2002

A great game, beaten only by Vice City

The Good
This game is fantastic, the possiblities are literally endless, you can walk, drive, and fly (a little) for hours on end. the whole mindless violence side of the game was very appealing. The fact that you can pick up a weapon, and just roam and kill was a right laugh. Doing the missions was great fun, organised mindless violence - muy bien!

The Bad
Although its not as big as Vice City, it is still a massive game, and I have gotten lost on several occassions, that was a bit time consuming when you've lost the map.

The Bottom Line
A fab game, topped only by its sequel.

PlayStation 2 · by David Lafferty (11) · 2003

Mindless Violence, Repetitive gameplay, but its fun

The Good
The graphics engine is a work of art, which you CAN confuse and end up in untextured areas, but this is just a minor problem when faced with the prospect of texturing an entire city like is done here. As a driving game the physics are good, and are aimed at making the game actually fun to play but keeping semi-realistic properties.

The Bad
I am not a big fan of the sheer mindlessness of the violence, there is no punishment for killing the innocents in the game (State of Emergency at least as this). The gameplay gets very repetitive very quickly, sure theres loads of different things to do, but they all boil down to kill this, blow up this etc etc. There are some very good missions which i enjoyed, but they are few and far between.

The Bottom Line
My one-line summary sums up the game pretty well i believe. It is a lot of fun, and you can do anything you desire in the game, but there are limits to the variety in the missions, and the graphic engine, while very beautiful and a technical masterpiece on the PS2, has flaws which enable you to end up looking down an untextured street and occasionally slows down quite a lot.

PlayStation 2 · by Jason Walker (1695) · 2002

An excellent game

The Good
Grand Theft Auto 3 simply is amazing. The freedom to do almost anything you want is what gives it it's edge. You're not held down by rules, you can basically do anything you want. Do a mission or just walk around. Steal a car or shoot a pimp. The choice is yours. The music's also amazing. Everything was created for the game and it sounds simply amazing. Opera, rap, rock and talk, you can listen to what you want, basically when you want. DMA Design has left little out and have done an amazing job.

The Bad
Not much. Actually, basically nothing. The game does go a little overboard with some mature stuff, but that's about it.

The Bottom Line
A very violent and mature game that features addictive gameplay, good graphics, and amazing sound. One of the best games made in a long time and should be played by all mature enough to own it. DO NOT RENT THIS GAME, JUST BUY IT

PlayStation 2 · by SamandMax (75) · 2002

Quite simply the finest game on PS2...a must-play!

The Good
Literally, everything. GTA3 places you in the shoes of a nameless thug, whose piddling criminal career is seemingly cut short after his girlfriend, Catalina, doublecrosses him. However, he escapes the clutches of the law, and subsequently farms himself out to every pimp, mob boss and gangster of Liberty City. You'll find yourself partaking in nearly every illegal activity under the sun, including car-bombing, hijacking, murdering selectively and wantonly and engaging in a little premarital intercourse with some choice ladies of the night. The sheer amount of things you can do in this game is immense, meaning that if you get tired of the linear missions, you can simply drive around the city, looking for secret passages, insane jumps and hidden rampage icons.

The Bad
Nothing, really. While some might complain about the difficulty level of some of the missions, I found the hard ones to be refreshing in this age of digital indulgence. So many games hold your hand and swaddle your butt that it's almost impossible to find a genuinely challenging experience. Kudos to DMA Design for kicking my ass several hundred times!

The Bottom Line
Two parts driving, two parts third-person action game, two parts felonious guilty pleasure, mix and bake. I should note that this is the kind of game that makes non-gamers sit up and take notice.

PlayStation 2 · by Lucas Schippers (57) · 2002

AHEAD OF ITS TIME

The Good
OPEN WORLD, EXCELLENT STORYLINE, SHOWED WHAT THE MAFIA WAS ABOUT TO AN EXTENT

The Bad
COULDN'T KILL PEOPLE THROUGH THE GLASS OR WINDOW IF YOU WILL

The Bottom Line
FOR THE TIME AND SEASON THE GAME CAME OUT, THE TIMING WAS PERFECT 9/11 HAD JUST OCCURED SO IT WAS A WAY, TO EXPRESS ONE SELF WITHOUT HURTING PEOPLE IN REALITY FOR THE BIRD BRAINS 🧠 IT WAS AN EXUSE TO GO HURT SOMEBODY

PlayStation 2 · by T DAW · 2023

Groundbreaking in 2001, dated in 2005

The Good
Okay kids, set the wayback machine for late 2001.

A somewhat nascent PS2 had been available in the United States for about a year, and while some major titles had been released already (Final Fantasy X, for example) the platform had yet to see a truly revolutionary title.

Enter Grand Theft Auto 3.

Your nameless character, wandered the tough streets of Liberty City, taking jobs from various underworld bosses, all the while trying to take out the partner who (metaphorically) stabs you in the back at the beginning of the game.

Those of us who had played the PS1 religiously saw this one coming from a mile away. Back in the summer of 1999 there were three games constantly spinning in the PSs of the world, Grand Theft Auto 2, Driver, and Syphon Filter. Grand Theft Auto 3 was a combination of the best features of all three of these, inside of a car, the game was basically an update of Driver; your action on foot was almost identical to that of Syphon Filter; finally, the whole thing was tied together by the open ended, kill-em-all, gangster/gangsta style of Grand Theft Auto 2.

It was a veritable wet dream for PS1 fanatics; and a defining moment for the PS2 platform.

Part of the success of this game is due to the fact that back in 2001, open ended (or “sandbox”) games were virtually unheard of; they just were not as popular or technologically feasible as more linear games. This game changed all that, not only was the mission structure non-linear, but the missions themselves almost without exception, totally non-linear. Instead of the player completing a mission by following pre-determined paths or utilizing a highly rare resource at the exact moment the programmer desired, the player could play through a mission HIS way.

This carried over to the rest of the game; you could play through the mission structure in the order you preferred, using whatever tools you happened to find.

It was new, it was fresh, and everyone ate it up. The success of GTA 3 made “sandbox” games an industry standard, and a slew of them followed, for every type of platform and every type of situation; but it all started with GTA 3.

The Bad
Okay, back in 2001, when this game was first released, the only real complaints that one could have about this game were because of the 1) shoddy camera system and 2) the shoddy targeting system. Even 4 years ago these systems were hard to use/control and glitchy.

Circa 2005, however, there are a whole host of complaints one could make about this game.

Graphics: This game looks pretty ugly by modern standards, the graphics are only slightly better than what one could expect from a PS1. Textures, resolution, etc. all bite the big one, and just can not compete up with anything released in the last 2 years.

Sounds/Music: Unlike modern games or any of the later GTA games, the music in this game is generally pretty awful. Most of the tunes in this game were created in-house at Rockstar/DMA and do reach the standards set by the soundtracks of Vice City or San Andreas.

Control: As mentioned above, the camera and targeting control in this game was bad back in 2001, it is HORRIBLE by today’s standards. You will constantly fight against these systems during this game.

Story: This game has a very thin storyline, nowhere near as developed as later GTA games. I believe that DMA purposely created the game this way to accentuate the open-endedness of the gameplay, but it is lacking nonetheless.

Gameplay: This is the one category where GTA 3 matches up with later games. You can do basically whatever you want, to whomever you want, wherever you want. As long as you don’t want to fly a helicopter, the gameplay is almost identical to Vice City.

The Bottom Line
This game was an instant classic when released. It has become a bit dated in the following years as newer games have refined and revamped it's basic formula.

PlayStation 2 · by Edward Beezy (27) · 2005

It may be the bad boy of the videogaming world, but it's also a well-deserved classic.

The Good
There's really not much else I can add to the tons of praises and accolades that everyone and his sister has already written about the revolutionary third installment of the Grand Theft Auto series. Basically it's THAT good.

If you've played any of the GTA titles before, then you might have a good idea of the main concept behind the game. You are a thug/hitman/getaway-driver/criminal that gets dropped in a city and works for several seedy characters doing their dirty work which most of the time involves using the many different vehicles of the city to your advantage. Clever as it was, that concept didn't really make it big time until the series got to this sequel, were thanks to the next generation gaming power of the PS2 and subsequently the PC, it finally got to strut it's stuff and fully develop it's concept of playing the role of a criminal in your own virtual city.

Changing to a 3rd-person perspective the game basically thrusts you in a living, breathing polygonal city crafted with an impressive engine that allows seamless spawning of gigantic buildings, rush-hour like traffic made up of fully detailed cars complete with realistic damage and physics models (to an extent, remember it's not a sim) as well as fantastically animated pedestrians that react to your behavior in different ways and whose models sport such niceties as localized damage for creative murders and different textures/models. The game also features decal textures for nice details such as skid marks, bloody skid marks, reflective surfaces, realtime lighting and realistic weather effects that allow the city to have it's own day/night cycles and everything in between with fog and rain effects as well.

You can take to the streets of Liberty City anytime you want, exploring the many locations to be found and cruising around on foot or in your favourite car (obtained through the time-honored technique of carjacking the series is known for). Of course, this by itself could become unimpressive pretty easily, and quite frankly isn't so much of a feat, as similar "sandbox simulators" that failed to provide the gamer a significant gameplay experience besides that of being left to wonder around on your own were already around (see: Shenmue). No sir, GTA3 is much more than a simple city-cruising game, and it is once you start playing that you realize just how far it's scope extends.

Basically speaking the game covers almost all the bases you can think of when you think of arcade/action gaming. There's every variation of racing gameplay possible, 3D action shootfests, sniping sequences and more, all based around simple yet lovingly crafted missions that always involve you doing shady works for opposing ganglords. This missions mostly follow a main plot, but you have also optional missions that you can tackle or not, (which often yield a bonus of some kind) as well as amuse yourself with the extra minigames/professions such as running fares as a cabby or chasing crooks as a cop which can be as much fun on it's own as the main game in some cases. You can also try to find the extra challenges sprinkled through the city in the form of hidden packages, jump locations or "rampage" missions that involve disposing of a given number of persons/gang members or whatever using a specific weapon or tactic... all without getting the attention of the city's cops, which start tracking you once they see you do messy stuff such as stealing a car or running over someone and whose number and aggressiveness increases with the level of mayhem you cause. And boy can they get vicious! (those FBI dudes would run over their own mothers if they got in their way!). The possibilities are pretty much endless and given the nearly gigantic size of Liberty City (sprawled across 3 different sections) the game offers nearly unlimited gameplay experiences even after you passed that 100% completition mark.

Another key factor in the success of GTA3 is it's use of humor to compensate what was at the time a major concern in the gaming industry and which was it's mature content. Yes, GTA3 is violent and mature, and it deals with criminal organizations, has lots of bloody moments on it as well as plenty of mature situations such as being able to pick up a whore and taking her to do "her thang" in order to regain health (don't you just love that?!). But it's all laced with such a distinct sense of humor that nowhere does the game seem as grim or dark as it is made out to be. The gangmembers are all clever caricatures of the many stereotypes surrounding their particular condition (guess how the Italian mafia or the Yakuzas are portrayed) and practically every element in the game sort of winks at you and tells you not to take it seriously and just have fun. After all, what sort of reaction is one supposed to have when one bombs and murders a group of mafia members with an Ice-cream truck??

The comedy doesn't just work as means to compensate the mature themes of the game, but also gets to strut it's stuff on it's own thanks to the wonderfully scripted radio advertisements, billboards and talk shows that take potshots at everything that composes American pop culture, even taking a jab at the videogame industry with such things as the ads for Pogo the Monkey "Just what the world needs, another cutey platform game!!".

These radio ads and talkshows are just a small part of the other fantastic element in GTA3, and which is it's full fledged collection of fictional radio stations, which you can switch at any moment to cruise around to whatever music you want to, be it teeny-booper pop, 80's classics, hip-hop, rock, classical music or any of the other radio signals that include exceptionally well produced material presented by excellently stereotyped DJs, or lenghty comedy bits such as "Fernando's New Beginnings" in the city's most important talkshow station. All voice-acted with exceptional quality and talent that matches the title's stellar production values.

As a clever extra for the PC version, the game allows you to import your own MP3 files and use them as your very own custom radio as well as other PC-only additions such as being able to customize and change your player's skin (I played my GTA3 as Ben from Full Throttle and a friend of mine did so as Snake from The Simpsons!!) as well as improved control that allows the use of the mouse/keyboard combo we PC users so favor. Quite frankly I have no idea how the hell the PS2 crowd got to enjoy this game using their stupid gamepads and the shitty "classic" controls with auto-aiming and camera-dependant movement, but thanks to the nice guys behind the PC port I don't have to find out and get to rejoice with the freedom my mouse gives me.

The Bad
Minor quirks mostly, those are the only real problems that one can point at the exceptional work of game design that GTA3 is. Everyone has their pet peeve and I'm no exception, but make no mistake, they are all just bitching:

No equalization for the MP3 playback which means some of your files may sound too weak and others too loud. Can't your guy swim?? I understand the use of water as a means of limiting the gaming area, but why does it have to mean instant death? The plane sucks ass pure and simple. Some missions are rather weak, and the plot could be more interesting and involving (see the sequel, Vice City for that). And last but not least, the developers neglected to include a little feature that makes the PC version take a substantial performance hit, I'm talking about the shitty idea of keeping the gargantuan audio files in the game CD.

Not many people took notice of this as being the cause of the game's poor framerates, and even fewer realized that the solution to it is really simple: just download a No-CD crack from your favourite crack site (no I don't know of anyone as all my games are original.... uh...yeah, right...) and then copy all the audio files of the 2nd CD to the Audio directory in the game's root and presto! See? GTA3 can fly even on a P3! But it sure sucks when pirates have to do the developer's work...

The Bottom Line
A fantastic game that using creativity and clever gameplay concepts managed to carve it's place as one of the best titles ever developed for any platform. Plus it's probably the first mature title (understanding "mature" as something more than blood and guts) to attain such a blockbuster/instant classic status and not be relegated to the murky pits of cult-fandom.

If we want to really, really understand GTA3's success we should probably trace it all the way back to the classics of the videogame world, and in fact one can better understand the concept behind the game once one realizes that this is probably the first game to be spawned by the Nintendo generation as an homage to itself. Yes, GTA3 acknowledges such gameplay classics as Super Mario Bros. and the titles every 20-something freak like us grew up with, but does so with the mature interests that we now have, and the result is just fantastic.

This game is a must for anyone, if you really are on a budget and want to play the perfect game then you should probably skip it and get GTA: Vice City which is like the ultra-polished version of GTA3, but still this one is a fantastic experience enjoyable by anyone that loves videogaming at it's best.

Windows · by Zovni (10504) · 2004

Not actually THAT great

The Good
This game has received insane amounts of praise from virtually every possible place. However, after playing through it, I must say that I am actually dissappointed.

The playing arena, Liberty City, is large and life-like. At morning, the rising sun shines to your eyes, partially blinding you, while people rush to their job. Later, it starts to rain, and you turn the shiny new sports car of yours off the main road, and drive through a Yakuza-owned casino, holding your breath when the awesome neon lights reflect from the wet asphalt. At night the police patrols around the harsh areas of the city, while you go pick up the nearest hooker and have a little midnight fun. Unfortunately for her, you are low on cash - so she must be killed.

The graphics, as you probably know are quite good. Especially the car models are awesome, just look at that Cartel Cruiser... all that chrome. And the reflecting wet asphalt... and that really evil looking spotlight from the chopper just overhead. And weather & time effects are extremely beautiful. All those orange-colored sunrises and gloomy, foggy nights... Unfortunately the console history shines through in very low quality, blurry textures.

There are very many things to do in Liberty City. You could do the story-missions. Or you could try to help people by putting out fires or being a vigilante cop. Or you could try to find all those Unique Jumps or Hidden Packages. Or you could just get the biggest guns possible and cause some serious mayhem.

The game is much more down-to-earth than GTA2. No more busloads of people for hot dog factory, or trashing entire corporation construction yards because they are on Krishna holy ground. Just ordinary pimping, drug-pushing, assassinations and general driving here. Not sure if thats good or bad. I kinda liked the insane neo-retro style of GTA2.

And yes, continuing the GTA tradition, the game is a parody of the USA, and pretty much the whole western culture. Radio ADs for 12-seated family cars, Pogo the Monkey for president of USA, Belly-Up fish marketing, mafia bosses calling radio shows, pop-music parody (that sounds frighteningly similar to "real" pop-music)... everything is twisted, and you can easily spend time just listening all the nine radio shows through. Just to make sure you won't miss anything when you start blasting your own mp3's.

And last but not least, the ending of the game is both hilarious and very grim. One of the best endings for a game I've ever seen.

The Bad
The biggest mistake is seen immediately in the beginning. While GTA2 was pretty much 100% non-linear, and you could make almost anything you wanted to complete the game, here you absolutely have to complete certain missions (something like 40 that you absolutely must do, and a bit under 80 in total). To make things worse, most of the missions are utterly stupid and boring. Now just WHY do I have to shoot those gang members with UZI from my car? Why can't I go on the streets with my flame-thrower? Why must this honour-debt be paid in six minutes? Is that "old oriental gentleman" just stupid, when he selects the longest possible route through hostile territory? Why can't I handle those death-squads all by myself? In GTA2 this was not such a problem, and most of that game's missions were generally much funnier. Of course, there are a few cool missions (All three area-finishing missions are great!)

The original console controls are really bad. There are two ways to control the game. Either 100% keyboard, with automatic aiming, or the standard FPS-style controls with mouse aiming. In the first method turning and running in circles was very hard, and when you auto-aimed, the camera usually didn't really show, who you were shooting at, causing too many dead grannies piling on the sidewalks. The latter method is pretty good otherwise, but it felt slightly clumsy to first drive the car with keyboard only, and then suddenly rushing to get the mouse when you exited the vechile. I got used to it, so it wasn't that much of a problem.

Another problem is the range limitation on many weapons. Especially with the rocket launcher and sniper rifle you might see someone or something that you want to shoot, but can't, because the target is not in range. When I can see someone in the sniper scope, I should be able to shoot him.

Another huge annoyance is caused by the other drivers in the city. They don't really follow the traffic at all, causing zillions of crashes by switching the lane, or making U-turns with no apparent reason. They ARE, however, much more realistic that in GTA2. And you can always drive close to that annoying truck filling the whole street, and shoot it with the Uzi without even leaving your own car.

The sound effects in the game are very lame. Choppers sound like choppers, but even the large V-8 engines sound like little scooters or something. The guns are lacking bass and so are almosta all of the radio songs.

And finally the system requirements. I'm not sure, if my computer is somehow super-fast, or does everyone else have a really crappy computer. My friend with a 1800+ Athlon XP complained about choppy framerates, and I've heard many people with Radeons and GeForce3's accompanied with 1500+ MHz processors complaining that the game is almost unplayable. I have a 750 Athlon, with a GeForce 2 MX 200, and the game runs pretty well. Not silky-smooth, but easily playable - and the framerate is quite constant. Are people forgetting that there is a menu called "Display Options", where you can decrease the viewing distance and turn off the "trails"-motion blur effect. Of course, the 450 MHz minimum is most likely a really bad joke, and there is really not much to do, if you cannot achieve acceptable frame rates.

The Bottom Line
Well... this is the hard part. After seeing this game receiving dozens of "Game of the Year"-prizes and very good reviews, I cannot really say that they are deserved. Of course, this is a great game, and your money certainly won't be wasted with it, but it really isn't the best game out there. It might get into my personal top-10, but not in the top-3. Of course, it's the second-best console game I've played.

Windows · by Aapo Koivuniemi (41) · 2002

GTA3 is the game that GTA1 and 2 wanted to be

The Good
I'm not that much in modern action or driving games but I always kept a watching eye for the GTA series. The first was good, the second a bit crappy, and well, the third was a revolution in the series, let's see why:

Fun and original missions.

Being in 3D really adds to the experience, it's very realistic, maybe after playing that game, taking a walk through the city at sunset in real life, you will think to yourself: "Damn, those are good graphics".

The plot itself gets more serious, the first GTA games were too humoristic and ridiculous, also there is an objective for your main character, not only going and doing missions for the sake of it.

The music also is very well chosen, you can run through the city listening to some trance tunes, the soundtrack to the classic 80s film 'Scarface', or even some Opera!

The Bad
Some missions are a bit hard or stupid (why shall i kill X number of gang members shooting them from a car? Can't I go there and make them eat some grenades?)

The car fisics sometimes feel a bit odd, but just sometimes.

I have also found some bugs too (which don't happen very often), when driving too fast some graphics don't have enough time to load and just appear in front of you, "ghost cars" that got trapped trying to walk through a wall, and a few more.

The Bottom Line
That's maybe the only action/driving game I have really enjoyed in my life.

PlayStation 2 · by Depth Lord (934) · 2005

Great game...IF you can get it to run smoothly

The Good
Awesome 3D graphics, realistic vehicle handling, hours upon hours of fun, freedom to do almost ANYTHING, a great game for today's die hard gamer

The Bad
whether or not the game will work is pretty much luck, tech support doesn't help much, game and sounds lag, lack of multiplayer

The Bottom Line
BUY AT YOUR OWN RISK. The specs listed on the box mean nothing at all. My system (AMD Athlon 1300, 256 DDR RAM, ATI Radeon 9000Pro 64megs, 52xcd/dvd, WinME, Sound Blaster 16) fully exceeds recommended specs, and the game is barely playable. Tech support suggested I get a new video card (i had a 32mb Rage Fury Pro previously), which i did and still the game lags beyond playability. R* is slow with patches and their customer service department is slow with help. Many people I know have had many many problems with this game to this date. HOWEVER, if you can get it to run right, enjoy :) because this game kicks some serious rear-end!

Windows · by Nevoc (2) · 2002

Addictive as smack. Funny as hell. Best damn thing to happen to my hard drive.

The Good
You've been capped by your girlfriend and left to die. The cops pick you up, but you're out again fast than you can say "Jailbreak". Your only friend leads you to work for a Mafia pimp chauffering a hooker. Thus begins one of the most addictive games I've seen in my life.

Grand Theft Auto 3 is pretty much Grand Theft Auto 1 on drugs. It's present day Liberty City and (thank god) the Zaibatzu Corparation (remember GTA2) isn't in power. The people in Liberty City seem as real as they can be, talking about things from how their mother is also their sister, to humming tunes from the radio.

Speaking of the radio, it is one of the best game improvements I've seen in the GTA series. Head Radio, for example provides Rock and Pop music, while the DJ Michel Hunt, Mike Hunt, says cheesy cliche after cheesy cliche. My favorite is Chatterbox, a talk radio channel that's hosted by Lazlow, a DJ who seems to be the one sane person in Liberty City. Everyone calling in is messed up, such as a guy who makes his seven-year-old child work for a living or a Englishman who's looking for a nanny, because he's been a very naughty boy. Also you can add in your very own mp3's and listen to them as you cap grandma's or pick up hookers.

The meat and potatoes of the game are the missions. Many of them are varied and exciting, from driving around hookers and bank robbers, to acting as bait for the National Guard to chase as the real crooks get away. These chases are a mix of World's Wildest Police chases and The Blues Brothers. Helicopters, and massive car crashes kick ass. If you don't get an adrenaline rush and you're probably not playing it. That's why there is a button that makes a 30 second replay of you just did. You can also moonlight by jacking cars to make cash. Jack a Police Car and you can play Vigilante, killing criminals to save innocent civilans. Jack a Taxi and rush around Liberty, using every available shortcut to make sure that the hooker gets to Ammu-Nation or that grandpa gets to Sex Club Seven in less time than it takes you to deliver a pizza (im looking forward to GTA: Vice City for the PC). Also you can do all of this with your own face on the nameless character. Rock on!



The Bad
Of course, this game has it's flaws. My main problem is that all of Liberty City's islands weren't immediately available. It wasn't a real problem to finish my missions on dreary, dirty Portland Island to get to colorful, corrupt Stauton Island, but there were times I thought that it was a bad idea to seprate the two in the first place. Another problem is that running Stauton Island is slightly laggy on my machine, but it could be my car mods, but it still shouldn't happen.

My last problem is that even after porting it to the PC, it still isn't as graphically improved as I'd hoped.

The Bottom Line
One of the best games I've ever played.

Windows · by Jason Lee (10) · 2002

Ahh...to live in a world without sin and restrictions...Oh yeah!

The Good
This probably is one of those games your mom and dad didn't want you to play :) But, it is the taboo that every kid even adults think about (which is why the Simpsons was a hit). This game is the first GTA series I've played and my brain still can't get over it. How in the hell did they manage to create a game this big, this magnitude? If they can create technology like this now, I'm waiting in awe of what they'll think of next.

Where to start...that's hard. This game is big, that's one. I remember the days when you only play a computer game for a whole week then finish. This usually applies to adventure typed games such as this one. This game however takes a loooooooooong time to play. Here's the background:

You appear to be some criminal that was busted out (you weren't the target) en route to a prison. Now your stuck in liberty city trying to make ends meet by doing odd jobs for the local crime lords. The game tries to give a wide variety, for instance the crime lords. You have the Italian Mafia, the Japanese Yakuza, the Chinese Triads just to name a few. Each are in the city is divided into territories between those crime lords, just be sure not to be around when a gang war starts, or just join in the fun!

As most of the perspective used is 3rd-Person Perspective similiar to games like Tomb Raider, these adventure type games acquire a lot of real-time movement. Considering the immense size of the city, that probably a lot walking. It would probably take more than 3-5 hours to walk from one city edge to the other. That's why God invented the sports car!

On that city size subject, the city itself is divided into 3 major areas. The first time around, you can't access the other parts of the city, later on in the game if you follow the storyline, you'll eventually get access to it. My amazement is, after I finished the first area of the city that was barely 25% of the game...which is more than I can say for other games I've played for the same period of time. This game is totally your time and money's worth!

Oh, now the taboo part. In this game, there are no restrictions, no morals and possibly no brains...you can shoot anyone you want, drive anyway you want, blowup anyway and anyone you want. This game has total respect to violence. I really love driving down the road and hitting every pedestrian while I'm at it. Sometimes watch a car blow up and seeing those body parts flying (yes, body parts). I do understand why this game was banned in some countries. Some people aren't stable enough to handle this kind of "reality".

One thing I like that almost makes this game a kind of RPG (but it's not), is that it has a record of all the thing's you've done. How many people you've killed, how many cars you've blown up, even how many police helicopters you've downed with your handy rocket launcher.

And the most important thing is, it gives the player a lot of freedom of choice. It's not to rigid in the storyline, you can do thing's in a manner of different ways....well most of the time. GTA is probably in the great line of freedom of choice such as legendary series of Ultima and Final Fantasy. But I do agree, GTA has certainly began a new cult of its own.

The Bad
All great games with great ambitions usually have its downsides. Unfortunately for GTA, due to the immense creativity intended for the players leisure, it also created a lot of irritating creative bugs.

One thing I really hate is the "refresh rate" of people and cars in GTA, which is also by the way very stupid and unrealistic. For example, you look in one direction and see a grandma walking very slowly towards you, and yellow taxi cab behind her. Just look at another direction and look back...they're gone! And replaced by another citizen and different car maybe. What's wrong with that? Nothing wrong, unless you've broken the law or involved in a gang war mission. Unless you have a brick wall behind you, baddies have an irritating way of showing up behind your back, when you know and you just checked there was absolutely no one behind you. I hate the idea that they materialize in thin air. It's just not real and logical.

In this game, you really loathe cops. Probably because they only chase after you. I had this gangster shooting pot shots at me...hey, he fired first...why doesn't that cop do anything? Impatient at his passiveness, I fire back...the cop runs after me. Now I got the mob and the police up my beep.

I hate dying. Although in this game, you can't actually die...but if your health reaches zero...you wind up in the hospital...with all of your hard earned equipment gone. So it's not worth dying for...although this game gives you a lot of reasons: (1) You can't swim. Doh. If you even "touch" water to a certain level, you decrease your health. They should've changed the title to "grand vampire auto" or "grand didn't learn to swim in 1st grade auto". I can't recall countless times I fell of the edge of a boat by accident or run my car off into the big wide sea. There is one time, I was on a boat, I accidently blew up the boat with a grenade. I survived, the boat was ash, non usable. Now what? Stuck in the middle of the ocean, with a black ash boat...and you can't swim? Restore game. Totally stupid. (2) Your car blows up...with you in it. Not a problem really...you only need to get out...if you can get out. The idiot hero has to wait until the car reaches a full stop, to finally open the door. Did he know the car was on fire? Yes...but he's to afraid he'd hurt himself while jumping from a moving car. Might as well wait for the car to stop with the possibility of the car blowing up your body parts. Just brilliant. Another thing I hate is the view point. I have had numerous incidents where I was trying to get out of the car, but ended up running to the car instead of AWAY from the car and having the darn thing blow up in my face. (3) Grenades and Rocket Launchers. You throw the grenade to softly it blows in your face. Should've made a safety restriction there. Rocket Launchers are irritating. They're destructive, but you don't wanna get stuck with a rocket launcher with your pants down. If you have a rocket launcher, you can't kill guy next to you without a possibility of blowing yourself up...so you have to change you weapon...if you could. Not in rampage missions though. They give you one weapon and your stuck with it until the mission is over or failed. The fact that you can't run or jump while wielding a rocket launcher makes you a sitting duck in melee combat.

Another thing I reeeeeeeealy hate is missions with time limits. Now this is where I draw the line. Creativity ends when you put a deadline. I have enough deadlines in real life...don't need to be bothered in games. There are a lot of missions that have time limits...so this game can be pretty frustrating.

There are a lot of bad thing's I haven't yet mentioned...but it's really not that important to the gameplay. Just irritating.

The Bottom Line
I must admit, this is one of those games that you totally get what you paid for! If not more...

Windows · by Indra was here (20635) · 2003

A realistic, revolutionary title that gets passed off a mindless violence

The Good
As a teenager, this was one of my favorite games. The idea that there was an entire 3D city open to me to do anything I wanted to was a completely new thing to me at the time. No game ever offered me a chance to do this, and as a result, I spent a huge amount of time playing it.

I am, however, disappointed at the fan base the GTA series has created. Most casual gamers see this as the game to shoot a bunch of people while stealing cars and having sex with hookers. As a result, most serious gamers see the game as mindless, repetitive, and boring with nothing to offer but mindless violence and thrills. I am tired of the title this game carries as nothing but a violent, overrated game from 2001. It is way more than that and it deserves more.

The game has one of the best storylines I have seen from a sandbox game. The player is presented with a typical situation of rising up into the crime ladder to get revenge on your girlfriend who shot you during a bank heist and left you for dead. As the story progresses, you will notice things like how gang members will respect you and help you throughout the game. You will be backstabbed by multiple groups of people, and as a result, the groups you have betrayed or have been betrayed by will take it upon themselves to shoot you on sight. The game has some of the most memorable characters and lines of dialogue in any game.

The main character, named Claude Speed (revealed to us in GTA: San Andreas) is the “silent protagonist”. The game developers felt that a personality and voice for the character would get in the way of your own personality. As a result, you can picture that main character any way you want, whether he’s a ruthless killer, or a loyal servant, or just a guy looking out for himself. It doesn’t matter which way you look at him because there is nothing in the way of telling you what to think of him.

The openness of the game is perfect for anything. If you want to do missions, then you are fine to do so. But you can also do a number of sub-missions like firefighter missions, ambulance missions, collecting hidden packages, driving people around in the taxi, and finding cars to deliver to the garage. You can entertain yourself with all of these things (and plenty more ways!). Or just do the simple thing and go on a rampage. The possibilities are endless when it comes to game play and the replay value is through the rough!

The controls are smooth and easy to learn after a few seconds of playing. Driving feels natural and is easy to get a hang of even after a few minutes of driving.

The missions in the game are NEVER the same. One mission you may be partaking in a gang war, another time you are shooting cops off of high-rises, and another time you’re just collecting the protection money that you need. To list every type of mission would take forever because nearly every mission is new, which makes sure the game play never gets stale.

The gangster atmosphere is very realistic in the game. The good parts are that enemy gangsters will recognize you either as an enemy or a friend in the game. When you are a friend, they will sometimes help you out by shooting a pursuing cop, or maybe an enemy gang member. As enemies, though, they shoot at you or your car on sight. This gives you diplomacy towards other gangs, and gives a nice gangster atmosphere with themes of loyalty and betrayal.

The greatest attention is pad to the tiniest of details to make the world seem as real and immersive as possible. Attention is paid to small details like billboards, cars, road signs, and traffic cones to make the city seem like a living, breathing world that you could destroy. Graphics on cars are relatively good for their time. People say things like “watch it!” or “Are you blind!?” when you hit them or are driving poorly. They yell and scream when you begin to shoot in the streets. The fact that the radio not played in certain vehicles like the police car or plane because they don’t have them in real life adds more immersion to the game and the illusion that this is all a real place with real people. Randomly it will rain or be foggy to make it seem like the city has weather. Day and night cycle around (with a real 24 hour clock to aid you) combined with the weather makes the city seem alive and moving and not just a city put on repeat mode every time you turn on the game. It is a great detail that, unlike the previous titles, every car is different in their own way. Sports cars, while fast and sleek, break easily and blow up quickly, while trucks and vans, which are slow and have poor turning, can take quite a beating from cars. All of this adds up to one cool experience in a realistic sandbox world.

Music, though taken directly from real life, is played cleverly through the system of the radio. Instead of making the game seem shoddy by taking songs from real life artists, it makes it seem MORE realistic by putting them on the radio and only played when you’re in a car or vehicle. The songs on the radio are taken directly from the time period, with the exception of the 80’s and classical music stations, both of which have songs taken directly from that era. This, again, adds to the immersion of the game.

Finally, the fact that these types of games were nearly unheard of at the time of this game’s release makes this game a great must-have for any fan of the series. Not only did it make sandbox games a standard industry practice, but it set in motion a new genre of gaming which no one had ever heard of before.

The Bad
A lot of this game’s problems come with AI and graphics. The AI, while it is smart at some parts, is very stupid at other parts. If you stand atop a high rise and fire at the crowd below, police will ram into the wall where you are standing and fire at it. They make no attempt to even aim upwards, which really makes things like rise sniping a very boring and easy task. Also, the people in the city, while seeming extremely life-like an animated, go nowhere in the city. They mindlessly wander streets, and if you follow one person, you will notice that they circle the city for hours with nowhere to go. This really takes away from some of the realism that the game has to offer.

The graphics aren’t perfect for the time. In a time where games like Final Fantasy X were coming out, this game has some lack-luster graphics. It is understandable though that the graphics were stripped down a bit to make sure the game runs without any lag at all. However, the graphics when compared to other games are satisfactory enough to deliver a realistic sandbox game while not completely concentrating on the eye candy. However a lot of good can come out of this. From the lowered graphics I have never ever experienced slowdown or lag, even when the screen is flooded with bodies, FBI cars, and people running and shooting everywhere.

A huge gaping detail they left out is the fact that you can’t interact at all with people or buildings in the city. The only building you can go into is the ammunition and guns store. People won’t talk to you if you go up to them, and nothing can be picked up except guns and other icons lying around that give you missions or hidden packages. Had this been included in the game, it would have made this game even more revolutionary for its time.

The game unfortunately has a limited amount of guns. The two sequels to this game came with three sets of guns, all of them equally interesting and fun to play with. This game had a relatively small amount of guns in its arsenal compared to some other shooters on the console which limits some of the replay value of going around just shooting anything that moves.

Another tiny annoyance that the game has is the fact that it has no easy way of returning to a contact point when you die or get busted. Unlike Vice City, where the game made a taxi show up to bring you to your last mission spot, you have to travel all the way back to the mission spot to get to try the mission again. Sometimes this an get so annoying that you will end up dying on the way there trying to find shortcuts through all of the traffic.

Another problem does not lie with the developers, but with the parents and people who play them. This game, because it displays such a realistic portrayal of violence and crime in the big city, is unsuitable for children. As a result this game carries a bad name with Christian and parenting groups. The truth is that this game is completely acceptable to play if you are not able to handle the type of violence depicted in this game. I do not think violent video games belong in the hands of children, and in order to enjoy this game you need to be mature enough to know the difference between real and fantasy. It is strongly recommended that children do not play this game.

Finally, a huge problem with the game is again not the developer’s fault, but the gamers’. The fact is that this game NEVER gets taken seriously enough to be considered a deep game where in fact that it is one of the most realistic and deep sandbox games of its time. The fact that this game allows players to do nothing but shoot up pedestrians and ride of curbs does not mean that that is the entire game. In fact, it is very far from it.

The Bottom Line
Not only did GTA 3 have a profound effect on the gaming industry, it had an effect on the gamers as well. GTA 3 is just as entertaining as it was 4 years ago. Its influences on modern games are hard to ignore in today’s video games. Too many times this game has not been taken seriously as a revolutionary title because it is known for its mindless violence and its controversy. GTA 3 is undoubtedly a revolutionary title that is worth a try, as long as you can truly appreciate it.

PlayStation 2 · by Matt Neuteboom (975) · 2005

Kudos to Rockstar and DMA

The Good
Everything about this game is amazing, the 3d graphics (A first for the series), the sound and music, the missions (A real storyline this time around), great AI, a real sense of a living city...to cause havoc in, addictive gameplay, the list goes on and on. Rockstar and DMA have put a lot of work into this one, and it shows.

The Bad
Well, nothing much really, just that some of the missions are difficult, very difficult.

The Bottom Line
An amazing next generation game. This is one game you HAVE to play.

PlayStation 2 · by JL3001 (17) · 2002

Quite possibly the best game ever

The Good
This game is just great, from just messing around killing cops to the actual missions that are quite fun. The game was improved in every aspect over GTA2, especially in graphics. Now there's about 6 views which are all in 3D. The music is great to, even though the songs might get a little old after a while it's still enjoyable. There's 8 radio stations each has 30 minutes to 2 hours in soundtrack time. The best is Chatterbox 109, it will keep you laughing over and over again. There's a pretty good selection of weapons, baseball bat, pistol, Uzi, AK-47, Shotgun, M-16, Rocket Launcher, Grenade, Molotov Coctail, and probably the most entertaining, the flame thrower. Another part that adds a little more to the game is the ability to do a drive by with the Uzi.

The Bad
There's not much bad with this game, some missions are a little hard but never impossible. There's very little slowdown even with FBI cars flooding the screen.

The Bottom Line
This game is the best the PS2 has to offer, if you don't mind a little senseless killing then you must buy this game!!!

PlayStation 2 · by Matt Ogles (14) · 2002

You can have my controller when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers, mom.

The Good
This is the classic game paradigm. Not in any pedestrian sense of pushing back boundaries or anything like that, but by refining what exists, throwing in lots of extras, and creating a damn convincing illusion of a living, breathing world. You can forget the straightforward goal for hours and hours and find dozens of other things to do, both on foot and in vehicles. You can pick up fares in taxis, rescue injury victims in an ambulance, chase down felons in a cop car, attempt to fly a wingless plane, and even gain money performing stupid aerial stunts, complete with the old Dukes of Hazzard slow-mo pan shot. It's hard to do this game justice in a simple review, and it's impossible to justify enjoying the extremely antisocial and politically incorrect goals. So I won't try. I'll just say I like it and you can deal with that. What I'm saying is that this game is a subtle return to the ideal that YOU affect the game, a freedom that's been severely cramped ever since 3D became the new standard and made games smaller. This one feels like it's bursting at the seams, with a city, weather, day cycle, pedestrians, traffic, operating shops, and trashable environments. Just walk out and pick a fight. Cops around? You'll be chased. Use lethal resistance and they'll step up their efforts likewise. Do a few more bad deeds and in come the choppers, then the FBI, then the tanks. Steal a boat and find another island. Watch as you abuse your car and the section that gets hit or scraped takes the abuse, windows smashing out and trunks and hoods flying off. Just TRY it. And the biggest accomplishment is possibly that even with this foray into 3D, the gameplay remains largely unchanged, but greatly enhanced.

The Bad
Well, like any other game, if you look hard enough cracks start to show in the virtual world presented. Cars and pedestrians will sometimes appear in the distance by magic, and a lot of the time the ones out of your line of sight vanish by the time you look back over at them. On foot, it can be really hard to target the particular target you want in a crowd of pedestrians, and in a hectic situation this can be fatal. I could gripe about the later missions being REALLY HARD, but maybe I'm just a whiner.

The Bottom Line
Lock the kids in the basement and indulge. If you describe "The Godfather" as "one of the great comedies of our times," you're not only really warped, but perfectly suited for this game.

PlayStation 2 · by Vance (94) · 2002

Endless possibilities await with this game.

The Good
Endless violence and gore await with this game. The gang violence is awesome in this game along with the original features like stealing cars and weapons. Shootomg innocent bystanders is an added bonus.

The Bad
Only being outdone by Vice City is the diwn side.

The Bottom Line
Anyone except for little children and adults would love this game so buy it unless you have a weak stomach.

PlayStation 2 · by Exodia85 (2147) · 2003

This is not a game

The Good
I played this one a few times at a friend of mine. I don't own a playstation. But I was impressed by the graphics and the way it sounds. I hope the PC-version will be so good. If I decide to buy it.

When I played it for the first time, I thought it was funny. Kill innocent pedestrians, destroy everything what moves or stands still. I was surprised that the gameplay of the other GTA-games was intact and now in 3d. No more bad graphics, like in the first GTA, but now very smooth graphics.

The Bad
The bad side of the game, is not directly done by the programmers. They have done a great job. But it is the fact, it is to realistic. The other GTA-games have a more comicstyle. So It feels ok to do bad stuff, but now it look likes you are doing things in real.

Don't understand me wrong on this, the most people now the different between fiction and non-fiction. But there are also people outside who don't know the difference. What will happened then, will they play the game. But now in real life, will they walk through New York and shoot every cop they see on the street, will they run to a driving car and kill the driver, so that he or she can sell that car or use it to run over people.

I hope these people do not exist, but when you hear the news, you must know how crazy and sick this world can be. This game only gives it a perfect reflection of that sickness.

The Bottom Line
Only buy it, when you are not mentally ill. And only play it with a lot of sarcasm and irony of how this world can be.

PlayStation 2 · by Buuks (197) · 2002

Very original and lots of fun

The Good
The best thing about this game is the way it is set out: when you start the game, you are put in the city where you can freely roam around finding hidden packages and bonus missions and games, killing people and stealing cars or go to certain marked spots on the map where you can do the main missions when you feel like. As you go through the missions which are usually very fun and interesting, you unlock access to the other sections of the city one by one which were inaccessible at the start of the game. Another good thing about the game is that nothing is taken seriously, the whole thing is a parody about gangsters, mob bosses and other criminals.

The Bad
There isn't much not to like about this game. The main thing is probably the fact that you don't have the ability to swim (you drown almost instantly then you fall into deep water).

The Bottom Line
Hours of fun, I would highly recommend it (unless you already have GTA San Andreas)

Windows · by Jeremy Petho (245) · 2007

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by nyccrg, Yearman, Zaibatsu, Jeanne, Flu, Cavalary, lights out party, Wizo, Big John WV, Geoffrey Perez, Patrick Bregger, Alaedrain, Mobygamesisreanimated, Emmanuel de Chezelles, Kabushi, Val 50993, Alsy, shphhd, Jacob Gens, GTramp, Scaryfun, Evilhead, ryanbus84, Cantillon, Jivé GameTrip, Jack Torrance, Mike G, vedder, kurama, Parf, Tim Janssen, Lain Crowley, Xoleras, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), firefang9212, jaXen, jumpropeman, Maner76.