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Grand Theft Auto (GTA) 3

Racing / Driving video game by Rockstar Games for the PlayStation 2

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Super Fun Happy Time! WWWWEEEE!!!!

  • Jun 14, 2002
Pros: Do whatever you want! ANYTHING!!! AHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Cons: The targeting just plain sucks

The Bottom Line: Got a watch? Swing it in front of your face. You are getting sleepy, Sleeeeeeepy.... Good. Now go buy this game. And slap yourself whenever you hear the phone ring.

Pop quiz, hot shot: You're sitting at a traffic light, and the light just turned green. It's been about ten seconds, but the old guy in front of you hasn't even started to move yet. What do you do? What do you do? Do you a: wait patiently, b: give him a few gentle nudges while honking your horn, or c: get out of your car, yank him out of his by his coattails, and show him how the gas pedal works by driving off with his?

In this wild, unpredictable prison that we call reality, the answer would be either a or b. But this is Grand Theft Auto 3, and you're the most wanted criminal in the land, and therefore free to do pretty much whatever you want. Yeah, you read that right: Whatever you want!!! The only limits imposed by the game's engine are the limits of your own imagination!

Admit it: This is what you've been waiting for ever since the day you first saw... Well, whatever criminal-related film you saw that made you consider a life under the law as a career. Grand Theft Auto 3 places you into the skin of a hardened criminal who, after being shot and left for dead by his girlfriend, arrested and broken out of a police convoy, goes onto the streets attempting to make a name for himself in a world of scum. The game begins with you working for small time Mafia thugs, doing simple, idiot tasks like picking up and dropping off hookers, beating up pimps, driving getaway cars and whatnot, then has you doing more complicated tasks like stealing armored cars, killing Mafia heads and providing cover (with a sniper rifle) to a guy bombing a boat. As you work your way up, you do favors for higher bosses, get paid more, get access to bigger weapons at the local Ammu-Nation gun supply store.

But the very best part of Grand Theft Auto 3, of course, is what you can do in between those little tasks that the bosses give you. You're allowed to run around terrorizing people in whatever ways you can dream of. You can run around beating people and taking their money, using anything from your simple fists or a baseball bat to a shotgun, M-16, molotav cocktails, a rocket launcher or a flame thrower. If you get sick of picking on the simpltons after awhile, you can begin going after their cars! You're allowed to steal whatever car you see, regardless of whether the driver is still inside it or not. Then you can take the car on a sick, merciless fun run, smashing into other cars, lampposts, running over pedestrians on the sidewalk and generally just smoking off the local law enforcement. This is where something called a wanted level comes into play. Depending on how much damage you do, the wanted level lights up from one to six stars. Get one star, and the cops send one or maybe two patrol cars your way to curiously watch you for a few minutes. Two stars, and they start getting a bit more persistant, with multiple patrol cars. Three stars, and they start getting fed up, setting up roadblocks and shooting at or pounding on you whenever they find you. Four stars, and truckloads of SWAT guys armed to the teeth with uzis join the hunt. Five stars, no more cops or SWAT. Now you get to deal with the FBI, with their nice AK-47s and super fast black cars. Six, and the now-extremely desperate law enforcement calls in the Army, with truckloads of M-16 armed soldiers and tanks! But you can easily evade all of them by getting your car spray-painted over.

And even if you get tired of with your imaginary killing spree, there are so many other things you can do to pass the time. You can hijack a taxi and go moonlighting as a cab driver. You can steal an emergency vehicle and moonlight as a vigilante cop, firefighter or paramedic (for those of you who are feeling guilty about their latest rampage). You can look for ramps on which to perform stunts. Or you can seek out a few hidden packages, a total of 100, that reward you by putting weapons outside your base.

It really is amazing how much detail was put into Liberty city. The place breathes of the kind of life that you can find simply by catching a bus downtown or to the bad part of town. People react according to whatever you wave in front of their faces. If you accidentally brush someone when you run by, you can hear his smart alecky remark. If you run out into the middle of the street during a greenlight, you can hear the driver honk at you, while you flip the bird up right back at him! And try hitting some guy while running by him really fast-odds are, he'll look behind him and start a fight with that guy (it wasn't me, it was the one-armed man!)! People shout at each other, fight with each other, and basically do everything that real people do to each other. When you hit someone, he may fall over, run away or fight back. Same when you steal some poor shmuck's car-sometimes he'll hand it over quietly, sometimes he'll fight back. By now you've figured out that you're not the only criminal in the city. It's a two-way street, and every now and then, some idiot will try to rob you or steal your nice ride. And if you lose too much health fighting with these clowns, you can restore yourself back to health by picking up a hooker. If you really, really need the money that the hooker takes from you, just run her over, BAM!, problem solved!

So the game's layout is pretty nonlinear. Not only do you get to work for big bosses from the Mafia and the Yakuza, but once your reputation spreads far enough, you'll find yourself doing minor, cheap work for small time bosses heading up street gangs. If you don't want to do those misions, you don't have to.

Well, this is a PlayStation 2 game, so you'd expect the graphics to be pretty good, and for the most part, they are. The sprites look good, have lots of detail and move fluidly. The explosions are bright and colorful, and when you knock out or kill someone, they lay on the pavement in a pool of blood or a chalk outline. Time also passes during the game, and you get daylight, twilight, night, as well as various types of weather including rain and fog, all of which are portrayed flawlessly. But they also have plenty of glitches. With all the sprites onscreen at once, collision detection isn't always up to par-I can guarantee that a bystander will survive one of your onslaughts every now and then. And you don't have a ton of control over the camera, either, a very common problem in video games these days, but still an annoying one. Sometimes, it takes such weird angles that you can't figure out where you are or what you're supposed to be looking at. But those minor annoyances won't bother you too much.

Grand Theft Auto 3 has the best game soundtrack ever, bar none. Explosions sound like explosions. While you run around on the street, you hear typical street sounds: Footsteps, cars, horns, people, all clear as the sky on one of the game's sunny days. But the real fun comes when you jump into a car. You get a choice of some eleven different radio stations, each with their own themes and styles of music, ranging from reggae to hip/hop to classical opera. For fun, go on a rampage playing the opera station. The music is occaisionally interrupted by a deejay or even one of several different commercials written just for the game that advertise things like a lawyer who encourages people to sue their bosses! There is a talk radio station that engages in insane conversation, and at one point I even heard a denouncement of violent video games, an ironic statement if there ever was one. Rockstar even hired a few well-known actors like Joe Pantoliano, Michael Rappaport and Kyle MacLachan to lend their voice talents to the cast.

The directional-spin-and-one-button-to-walk crapola control scheme of the first two games has been done away with this time around, so you no longer have to worry about facing the right direction when you flee a crime scene. The attack button is now one of the primary buttons, which left one of the shoulder buttons open to be a target switch. The overall scheme is much-improved, well thought out and very responsive. But the targeting leaves something to be desired. There's no way to constantly shoot at a target, because the window switches off after one shot, leaving you to aim again. You're better off just running around, shooting wildly.

It should be blindingly obvious by now that Grand Theft Auto 3 is in no way a kid's game. Indeed, it's hard to imagine that, back in 1981, people thought Pac-Man was violent. Well, no need to worry about those people anymore, they all keeled over of heart attacks upon seeing this thing. But if you're old enough to know the difference between video games and reality, then Grand Theft Auto 3 is the reason to own a PlayStation 2. Oh, what's that? You don't own a PlatStation 2? Go out and buy one. Right now. I'm serious. Get off your sore hide, go out and buy a PlayStation 2 and Grand Theft Auto 3. Go, go now! Why are you still reading this?


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More Grand Theft Auto (GTA) 3 reviews
review by . June 22, 2006
posted in The Gaming Hub
The best way to play this game is to skip the missions and just start havoc in the city. Fight the gangs and police, attack the citizens and steal cars!! If you are able to find some of the cheat codes off the Internet, then this is where the fun really begins! These secrets can give you armor, weapons and even a tank (this is only listing a few)! As always parents, research a video game before you buy it for your 7 year old.
review by . March 04, 2006
While the first few GRAND THEFT AUTO video games were popular, no one could have anticipated the enormous popularity which surrounded GRAND THEFT AUTO III after its release. After playing the game, it's easy to see why it was (and still is) so popular. You play a silent young thug who is freed from police custody after a miraculous accident. The thug - you - immediately begins getting his hands dirty again, working for (and against) the Mafia, the Triads, the Yakuza, and other gangs. Throughout …
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Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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WithGrand Theft Auto III, Rockstar proves that not all developers are concerned with toning down the violence in their games. This sequel is even more bloody, violent, and sadistic than its popular predecessors, offering up an enormous 3-D city in which nearly any criminal act is possible. Players are free to steal cars, beat up the local population for their money (or weapons), make time with prostitutes, or simply roam to their heart's content. Those seeking more structure can embark on dozens of plot-driven missions or steal cars that let them play minigames. Nab a cop car and you can go on vigilante missions. Grab a cab and you can play a deadly version ofCrazy Taxi. Take a fire truck and you can earn money putting out fires. The game just never gets boring.

As in real life, there are consequences for your criminality. As your random acts of mayhem mount up, the police start hounding you, eventually calling in SWAT trucks, the FBI, and even the army if you continue down the path of destruction. Shaking these pursuers is easily the most fun part of the game, especially when a bunch of friends are packed in the room to witness your narrow escapes.

Grand Theft Auto III is fine-tuned to near perfection in every category. All the vehicles, from slick sports cars to lumbering dump trucks, handle exactly as you'd expect and smash apart realistically when abused. The three islands in the game are rendered in terrific detail considering their size, and are packed with ...

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ESRB: M - (Mature)
Number of Players: 1
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: DMA Design
Console: PS2
Release Date: 22 October, 2001
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