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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.


Grand Theft Auto Windows Start of the game. The boss often tells you what to do by calling you on your cell phone
Grand Theft Auto Windows When running over a whole group of monks you get a "Gouranga" bonus
Grand Theft Auto Windows Picking a character
Grand Theft Auto Windows ... which may result in you having to wipe out a bunch of goons. The machine gun is a good weapon for that

Promo Images

Grand Theft Auto Magazine Advertisement
Grand Theft Auto Screenshot
Grand Theft Auto Screenshot
Grand Theft Auto Magazine Advertisement


Alternate Titles

  • "俠盜獵車手" -- Traditional Chinese spelling
  • "侠盗车手" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Race and Chase" -- Working title
  • "GTA" -- Official abbreviation

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

More of an idea than a complete game. RussS (819) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Cool, original, frustrating and unsatisfying at the same time. Roedie (5247) 2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars
In one word, brilliant!! Buuks (210) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
Fantastic! Ben Fahy (94) unrated

Critic Reviews

PC Play May, 1998 95 out of 100 95
PC Zone Aug 13, 2001 9.2 out of 10 92
Shooterplanet Apr 08, 2007 82 out of 100 82
PC Jeux Nov, 1997 82 out of 100 82
Power Play Nov, 1997 80 out of 100 80
PC Games (Germany) Dec 03, 1997 80 out of 100 80
Reset Jan, 1998 8 out of 10 80
PC Action (Germany) Dec 17, 1997 74.5 out of 100 74
Digital Press - Classic Video Games May 30, 2007 7 out of 10 70
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) May 05, 1998 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60


Topic # Posts Last Post
Weird bug: Endless chases 1 Daniel Saner (3423)
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,, 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

Related Web Sites

robotriot (9068) added Grand Theft Auto (Windows) on Nov 12, 1999
Other platforms contributed by Brolin Empey (857), robotriot (9068) and Grant McLellan (622)
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