Review by Visual77

"Good game, but it pales in comparison to the newer GTAs"

GTA Advance was an attempt to go back to the roots of the series, and to give handheld gamers a GTA title of their very own. It does both nicely, but with the recent release of GTA: San Andreas, along with the previous GTA3 and GTA: Vice City, it's getting pretty hard to compete with the old 2D style.

Graphics: 6/10
The graphics are crisp, clean, and well drawn. They look great, in still shots. The framerate is a bit slow at times, especially when driving at high speeds. This makes it very challenging to drive a fast car down the streets. Due to the lack of an analog A button, it's all or nothing, so you have to carefully tap the button to maintain a safe enough speed. The radar can be extremely annoying, since the roads are actually just transparent sections, so the roads displayed on the radar will sometimes appear as weird colors, if the radar is over a sidewalk, section of grass, building, or anything with an inconsistent color pattern. Another issue is that the camera doesn't pull back enough at high speeds, so driving through traffic can be a pain.

Gameplay: 9/10
The best aspect of this game is it's simply fun to play. It has it's flaws, but they pale in comparison to the good things behind it. It feels like GTA2 in many ways, superior in a few, and lacking in others. The weapon variety is pretty limited, and molotov cocktails and grenades have a tendency to go the wrong direction, but the weapon list is nice, pistol, shotgun, uzi, assault rifle, bat, katana. All the basics, not much more. When you hit another vehicle, they pinball a bit too much, and weight wasn't much of a consideration, so flipping a bus with a compact car is not only possible, but somewhat common in a collision. The missions are better than GTA2's, but not as good as GTA3, VC, or SA. The addition of hidden packages is nice, they work like they did in GTA3/VC. The fact that you're in Liberty City, and you can see all the same places, is a really cool effect, but only a superficial one.

Sound: 8/10
Generic, yet oddly fitting. The gunshots are bland, the car noises are repetitive and people's screams as you hit them are limited to only a few phrases, but for a handheld game, you can't expect too much with modern technology.

Replay Value: Moderately Low. You'll probably beat it once, go back and get all the packages, then let it gather dust. Unless you're an avid GTA fan, or you want a portable Grand Theft Auto title, I'd avoid it. It's good for a single run through and that's about it.

Overall: 7
Could be alot worse, could be a little better. At first it's rather difficult and feels clumsy, but before you're out of Portland, you'll be moving along just fine. Graphics look great, but have framerate issues, collisions are surrealistic and dull, and pretty frequent to boot. The sound is OK, but that is expected, and fits in nicely.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/10/04

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