Review by iamjacksdesign

Reviewed: 11/18/04

A Pocket-sized Liberty City... What more could you want?

One year before our mute hero/villain of GTA3 came on the scene there was Mike and Vinnie. The two men were doing crooked jobs for the Mob until they had enough cash to leave the grimy streets of Liberty City. Until one day Vinnie is blown up in his car with the cash leaving the cops trailing after Mike. Now all Mike wants to do is get his sweet revenge on the jerks who blew up the man who took him into his game.

The sound quality to this game should be understood quite throughly. The game is based more outside the car than it is in the car. So thusly the sound could use a small tweak. There aren't very many stations in this game and you can't switch them. If you get lucky you'll land on the song you like when you steal the car. But then again when crashing into another car and hearing insults such as, "Watch out Gringo!" is a pretty good adaption to the game boy advance version. Also you'll be able to hear when cops and paramedics are called if someone or you gets knocked into a pedestrian. So you'll know to run along with the visual stars.

This handheld version far surpasses the old GBC and PS1 versions. Instead of holding down A to make you're charater move about an inch on the screen, you just press on the D-pad to move Mike wherever you want. And yes you can run but not forever. And a nice added feature is the ability to jump over cars. The control style is at the perfect sensitivity level and driving is great. Driving is very smoothly tweaked in the game and allows for great handling of almost every car. Although when you first start the controls are slightly confusing and may frustrate you a bit. But about maybe 30 min into the game you will have complete control. Above all this game's control system is like butta'.

The design detail resembles that of the top-down view of GTA3 on the PS2. Although not as graphically smooth, if you play for awhile you get very used to the great 2D detail used in advance engine. The people who flock the streets look pretty good in overhead view. And you can easily see the pick-up items such as packages and police bribes. The explosions and short mini-scenes, although somewhat of a cel-shaded fashion, add a great picture of destruction to this game. The graphics overall are perfect for your GBA plus some added 3D features like Street Lights and Buildings and other objects.

Items such as weapons and non-usable items like packages are also widely detailed. When running down a pedestrian or cop you can see blood ooze from the lifeless bodies and see the cash drop from their pockets. But you must hurry to get the money it will disappear in about 10 seconds. Like in the console versions if you step in blood you'll leave a trail. Smoke will emit from your car when damaged enough till finally it's had enough and bursts into flame.
Various other features are in the game as well.

This game is the perfect addition to any GTA owner's library. Liberty City has never looked better on a handheld (considering the old graphical, no pedestrian Liberty City from the old GTA on GBC) and has a great design. From start to end you'll be astounded with visuals not expected by a 2D game and the sounds of the city are amazingly superb. With a minor tweak here and there this game is great. You probably won't even notice the details being absorbed into the game. Several characters from other games in the cities are mentioned in here so keep your eyes open. The open-ended gameplay is amazing for a cartridge game and the ability to save three files exists on here too. So what are you waiting for? Go get GTAA and cruise through the streets of the town where guns are cheap and cars are "free".

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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