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Grand Theft Auto 3

Developer: DMA Design | Publisher: Rockstar Games
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 10/22/01 | Genre: Action

Grand Theft Auto III is most definitely one of the PS2's greatest titles yet, and one of the biggest. There is so, so much to do in this game, and oh the places you will go!

It is impossible to decide the most impressive features in Rockstar's titanic masterpiece. Grand Theft Auto III is simply marvelous. The size, detail, fun, and freedom to do whatever you please still leaves me in awe. The effort put into this game must have been incredible, but undoubtedly worth it.

The game takes place in Liberty City, which is divided into three sections: Portland, Staunton Island, and Shoreside Vale. In short, your character starts in Portland, and goes on missions for gangleaders until ready to advance to the next division, Staunton Island, and finally Shoreside Vale. However, putting it that way is kind of like saying man starts on Earth, moves to Mars, and eventually to another galaxy.

To say what you have to do in Grand Theft Auto III is too limiting, so this is a paragraph explaining what you can do. Your character has the ability to interact with nearly everything in the game, which is very impressive. The city is very detailed and Rockstar has done probably a better job than anyone else in creating a city inside a video game. While the days feature a few people exercising, shopping, and other daytime stuff, as it gets into evening and night time, the gangs and hookers start appearing on the streets. All of these people will respond to your actions. You can bump into people or knock them down and they will hiss something back at you, or you can start a fight with anyone, including the little old women. After you knock them senseless, you can take their money, which since it isn't much, it's not the best way to earn cash. Although using your fists is fun and easy enough, you also can get weapons including bats, handguns, a shotgun, uzi's, sniper rifles, bombs, grenades, machine guns, and an impressive but very expensive bazooka, which can take out the police helicopters. And although this all sounds fun, beware, the more ruckus you cause, the more wanted you become by the police. There is a total of six stars that symbolize your wanted rank, and the higher you get, the harder it is to escape the law, which will come after you relentlessly with roadblocks, car chases, helicopters, and watch out for the FBI!

Now for travelling. You can walk and run and jump, or use cars, boats, subways, or planes eventually. By running for long periods of time, you will wear out and jog until you regain enough strength to run again. For long distances, you will use cars. The name of the game suggests the theme of your transportation. The most often-used method of travelling is ground vehicles, which are very-easily accessible. simply walk up to any vehicle in the game, whether it be one of several cars, vans, SUV's, trucks, buses, bigrigs, dumptrucks, firetrucks, copcars, ambulances, taxis, limos, or fancy sportscars, with a simple push of a button, your vehicle of choice becomes yours. By pushing the triangle button while next to a vehicle, your character will proceed to extract the owner from the door and takeover the wheel. When inside, you can tinker with the radio which covers several different music genres and a talk-radio show. Controlling vehicles is a breeze, which is good, because a lot of time is spent careening through traffic. One of the funnest things to do in this game is to take a vehicle stunt driving. Thankfully, Rockstar has put up several supercool ramps throughout the city that you can earn several thousand dollars from just by taking your car to the extreme. When you head off a ramp, you will be given a nice cinema view of your stunt. I love doing this. Tricks can be done over water, through glass, over buildings, over trucks, and even off the top of a multiple-story car garage! But watch out, because after so much wear and tear, your vehicle will start on fire. After this happens, you are given a limited time to leave the vehicle before it explodes. Variety is so amazing in this game, it's incomprehendible.

For serious business and to advance to other parts of the city, you need to head to the hangouts of different gangleaders for missions, which will include car chases, exploding things, killing people, stealing goods, and mostly that sort of stuff. If you impossibly find yourself bored with these missions, you can take the city into your own hands by stealing either a cab, cop car, ambulance, or firetruck and by pushing the Analog stick, you can earn money by delivering passengers, fighting criminals, saving lives, or fighting fire. And if that's still not enough, there are secret missions you will encounter with exploration that will give you flamethrowers and other weapons to go on rampages against certain gangs, and you will be rewarded for completing the task within the time limit. Rockstar also has included hidden packages, whith which collecting enough will reward you by starting weapons out at your bases so you don't have to buy them elsewhere. While some missions are very difficult, they are almost all incredibly fun, and there are very, very many to keep you at the television for more than a few weeks.

You will save your game and start each time at your bases, located in Portland and Staunton Island. There will also be weapons there and whichever vehicle you park in the garage. When you lose all of your life, you simply restart out at one of the hospitals, and if you are busted by the cops, you simply restart out at one of the police stations. The weather in the game includes day and night, fog, and rain. Another thing I appreciate about this game is the stats that scroll down the pause screen. Rockstar included several stats to make you proud, including your best stunt, distance on foot, distance in car, and everything down to the last millimeter of rain you've experienced. I can't explain how Rockstar has made Grand Theft Auto III such a superbly-detailed game. It has quality voiceovers, and throughout the city you find billboards, movie posters, newspapers floating across the ground, and humorous names and slogans for the local businesses.

Overall, Grand Theft Auto III is immense and impressively fun. I can't get enough, and have donated hours upon hours of gameplay into the exploration of the huge city. The game is in a mature category of its own, with elements of several genres combined. The story has an ever-changing plot that kind of doesn't make much sense, but it doesn't matter. The game is too fun, and too addictive to stay away from. As far as video games go, this is the best fifty bucks I have ever spent!

By Keith Schaefer - 08/15/01
ESRB Details: Blood, Strong Language, Violence

Screenshots for Grand Theft Auto 3

Gallop Racer 2001

Bloody Roar 3