Review by HawkeyeMash

"GTA means Grand Theft Auto?? More like "Gangs That Attack" in this game."

Being a fan of Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City, I was excited to hear about a Game Boy Advance game that was based on the third game in the series. I never played the first two games, but I knew that the game could be cool if done right.

I guess you can say that my expectations for the game were a bit too high. Sure some areas were great, but a few were bad. Very, very bad. They were so bad, that there were times where my Game Boy Advance was almost mistaken for a football and was about to be spiked into the ground. I did my share of swearing aloud while playing missions/side missions. I listed them further into the review in case you're wondering what they were.

So far, the Grand Theft Auto series has been good to me. I still need to play the first two and maybe one day I'll play/buy San Andreas. But for now, I'll be happy with III, Vice City….And maybe one day I'll replay this game as well.

I knew that the game wouldn't be a graphics feast, since it was on a hand held system, but it didn't look that bad. I had the feel of the third game. The story was great, and the missions were almost identical to the PS2 GTA III game. Some story missions were different, but the side missions (Police, Fire, Ambulance, Rampages, Packages) were the same style as the PS2 games.

Even though the game is called “Grand Theft Auto”, or “GTA” for short, you could easily change the “GTA” to something else for this game. Something like….”Gangs That Attack”, since every gang member in this game will attack you no matter what. And once you reach the third island, they attack with plenty of weapons at their disposal. In my opinion, there are way to many gang members in the game. Oh, and also way to many cops too.

The police in the game don't fool around. If you have one star against you and are near a cop, do like they did in the movie “Matrix” when an agent was around….YOU RUN!! Because if you don't and the cop touches you, it's an instant arrest. No fighting the cop, no shooting the cop, nothing. The police have the secret “Touch of imprisonment” and it works every time.

Vehicles in the game were done quite well. Each car seemed to handle differently from the others. Larger vehicles had a realistic speed and possibility of tipping over. The faster cars were really fast, especially the F-1 racer. That car could go over 250 miles per hour. I can't remember the exact speed, but that car could move!

The weapons in the game should have had more ammo to carry with them, since the people that you used it on seemed to require a lot of bullets to be killed with. I'm surprised that the game had as many weapons to choose from, since the space for game information had to be small for a hand held game. There were about ten weapons to use in the game, maybe a few more that I'm forgetting.

This game might be perfect for the hardcore Grand Theft Auto fans, but for those casual fans of the series I'd suggest renting this one first. Or if you're a fan of the first two games that had the top down look to them, then this game should make you happy. 7/10

Typical looking graphics for a Game Boy Advance game. You really can't call them good or bad. I'd call them average for the system that it's created for. The detail placed on each item is good, and you really can't be confused as to what you are seeing on the screen. But the graphics for any Game Boy Advance game are never high quality stuff. 8/10

Once again, the sound heard on the game is your basic quality for a Game Boy Advance game. You really can't expect too much for these games. Sure, they have come a long way from the older hand held systems, but it isn't anything compared to a PS2 or Xbox game. The sounds match up with what you see in the game. Except for when you hear a sound that shouldn't match up with what you're doing in the game. But that would be the result of a few glitches that are in the game. 8/10

The game play is your typical Grand Theft Auto style. A lot of driving, and a cool story to move it all along. The story missions were fun….With the exception of one. The devil mission is called “Smackdown” and even as I write this review I cannot believe that I actually completed this mission. It is the second to the last mission in the game and is incredibly hard to do. You have four minutes to kill ten gang members spread out on the third and final island. I was able to finish this mission with one second on the clock. And this was after playing the mission about thirty times to find the best pattern to use. The final mission is a breeze compared to this nightmare. The “Smackdown” mission really hurt the games' final score.

The rest of the story missions were good. Some were really easy, others required a few times to get it cleared. The Police, Fire, and Ambulance missions were the same as any other Grand Theft Auto game. I liked how you could continue off of the last completed level for the Ambulance mission. It made it easier to complete, since the Ambulance missions in GTA III and Vice City were a pain!! The rampages in the game were also very easy to complete. I liked the new “Demolition Football” game that ‘s unlocked after doing 2/3 of the races. It was fun to play.

Speaking of the races, these were by far the biggest headache of the whole game. There are eighteen races that you'll have to complete in order of getting that precious 100% on the stat screen. The first six races were okay to do. I only had to do a few of them several times to learn the pattern. But….The second and third island races were terrible. I must have spent an hour per race on some. So, that means it took about six hours just to do six races. The main reasons that the races were done poorly is this:

The time limit given for each race doesn't give the player much room for mistakes. Also, you have traffic to contend with in some races as well, and they love to get in your way or block the checkpoints that you need to drive through. Plus on some races you have cars that just chase you around and hit you. They are very annoying and seem to be driven by God himself since they do the impossible. So, in general, each race will require you to memorize the checkpoints, avoiding traffic, keeping your gas button pressed ninety percent of the race, and trying to outrun the madman driving the car behind you who's main purpose is to run into your car. Fun huh? 5/10

Lasting Appeal
The game has plenty of missions to complete. From the story missions (41), to finding packages (100), to the Police, Fire, and Ambulance side missions. There are also Rampages (21) and races (18) for each island as well. The only bad parts here would be the races and some of the missions. The difficulty on the races is way to hard. You have to basically play the race over and over until you have almost every checkpoint memorized, and then you have to have an almost perfect drive through the race. The races on this game really hurt the final score, since they ate up a lot of my playing time and also played on my patience and anger. 6/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/07/04

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