Review by La Vaca
"Take away the crime and you have nothing left"
Grand Theft Auto is one of those games, like Carmageddon and Postal, where violence seems to be the biggest selling point. Everything would have worked equally well in a game where you were a good guy (and they fixed the controls), but that wouldn't have sold as well.
Graphics are the first thing you see when you turn on a game [they're more important in this type of game than in an RPG, but still not the most important point], and GTA does them poorly. While not exactly 16-Bit, they seem like one of those older PSX games from about 1995. At least polygon haters won't have anytihng to complain about. While not revolutionary, they don't hurt my eyes and they don't interfere with gameplay, so they get a 5.
Sound and music form the other half of the technical part of the game. Each car you steal has different music, which is cool at first, but the songs are way too short (and not all that good). The sound effects are equally bland. You get to hear screaming and gunfire and explosions, but they don't sound realistic. The worst part of the sound is the Police Radio. This is done with voice acting. The speaking itself isn't the problem, it's the fact that the voice actors don't have a firm grasp of the English language. Almost every single area name is pronounced differently than you would expect. Add in the fact that the radio repeats itself endlessly and you have a game that screams to have it's volume turned off, so sound and music get a 2.
The gameplay is what really kills GTA. You are supposed to attempt missions for the local crime boss, but I could never get the game to say that I completed one. Usually I just cheat (put THESHIT as your name) and go on a killing spree, it's easier. The movement control in this game unbelievalby pathetic. It's even worse than Jade Cocoon. Ever played the SNES Smash TV? Here we go again. The D pad changes your direction and you press a different button to move. That works both in and out of cars. Tight turns are lots of fun in this game. Once you get used to moving, it's time to steal a car. The problem here is that most of the cars are useless. Supposedly you can take a slow car to ram into cops and stuff, but fast cars seem to be just as strong (I've never had a car blow up when I was in it unless it was rigged to explode for another reason), causing you to only take two or three different models (hint: the Porsche and Corvette are the best). You can also take a motorcycle, which is the only vehicle where you need to try avoiding things (you fall of pretty easily). Finally, no game is complete without the "Annoying as Hell flaw that could have been fixed in 2 minutes". Here, it's navigation. All you get is a little tiny map to help you find your way around the city. Too bad all the buildings look alike and you often have to guess where you are. RPGs have automaps, so why not GTA? Gameplay sucks, 3.
Since this is a game about dong illegal things, you would expect to worry about the police. Here's the deal: the police know exactly where you are the whole time, so you usually just outrun them until you find a spray shop (change you license plate) or screw up and get caught. If you really want to be daring, ram into a barricade. Their cars go flying and you keep going.
This is definately a game to rent or buy cheaply. In the end GTA fails on so many levels it's almost criminal (puns aren't my strong point, but every review seems to have them these days). It's kinda fun the first time, but every time you turn it back on it gets less interesting. Add in the fact that there are only three cities and you get a game that will eventually gather dust next to outdated versions of Street Fighter II. If the sound and graphics were better, it would get a 5. If the missions made more sense and somebody added some realism (and an automap), it would be pushing a 6. Too bad it doesn't have those things. As is, it gets a 4.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.0 - Poor
Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99
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