Review by The Black Prince

Reviewed: 02/01/04

Grand Theft Auto is a fair game but there are other games out there that are worth my time

Grand Theft Auto – a game like no other. This game, made by Rockstar Games, was successful in North America. It had you stealing cars, shooting and running over innocent people, taking on the cops, and featured tons of swearing. Unfortunately, Grand Theft Auto doesn’t pack as much fun as does the other games in the series – but is a fair game nonetheless. This was the first Grand Theft Auto released and pretty much started it all.

GAMEPLAY – 6.5/10
I found Grand Theft Auto’s controls pretty awkward at first – and sort of got the hang of them eventually. First of all, the game is played from a bird’s eye view – which isn’t that bad. The first time you play the game, you’ll need to get yourself acquainted with the controls and then they’ll eventually sink in. Driving a car is much easier to control than walking around on foot. Your character really doesn’t have any “special abilities” in the game – he’ll shoot a gun, run around, and hijack cars… nothing really special. Also, your character can’t jump over cars or objects, so if you find yourself trapped in an alleyway or your car is blocking the exit you’ll have to restart the game. Saving is confusing and hard – I couldn’t even find out how to save a game. All in all, the game has confusing and awkward controls but I bet you can learn them within fifteen minutes or so – the control layout could’ve been better though.

Grand Theft Auto was pretty hard for me. You can die easily – one bullet and your gone. This makes missions that require you to participate in a shootout extremely difficult. You’ll need to be good at dodging bullets with the awkward controls. Although, there are armor pick-ups scattered around the city you are in that will make you harder to kill. If you fail a mission - either by getting killed, getting arrested, or not meeting the mission requirements - you cannot replay the mission. So, it’s really hard to be able to play all the missions in one play-through.

The game is pretty fun except its high difficulty can get annoying after a while. Some missions are easy, but some can get really hard. The real bummer about this game is the fact you cannot replay the failed missions meaning that you can fail almost all the missions and after that, what do you do? You need a set amount of money in order to advance to the next level (or city), and without missions to give this money all you’ll be finding yourself doing is killing people and blowing up cars until you’ve got the money. The missions are pretty fun, so if you can keep up with the difficulty, then you should be finding yourself playing this game pretty often.

STORY – 0/10
When Rockstar made this game they forgot one important aspect – a storyline. Grand Theft Auto doesn’t have a story at all. Your character is some gangster who works for crime bosses. All you do in the game is follow the orders given out by your employers. Once you have enough money, you can leave the city you are in and cause more havoc in other cities. Just running around killing people and stealing cars just because your employers told you to do it is pretty lame. Sure, there are some missions in the game that are related to one another but that doesn’t pass as a story. If storylines isn’t a big concern for you, then you won’t mind Grand Theft Auto’s pointless “kill-this-person-and-steal-that-car-because-I-told-you-so” theme.

And now we move on to the graphics…. Personally, I thought the graphics were ok, but Rockstar could’ve done a lot better. I was expecting something more – but hey, what are you going do? The actual city looks pretty good – sometimes detailed with banners hanging from buildings and the such, but the other parts of the city, like the parks, looks like a jungle to me. Car models look decent – but all you’ll really be seeing in the roof of the car. There really isn’t any cinematic cutscenes in the game. All the cities look similar to each other, unfortunately. I don’t really care about graphics, just as so long as you can make out what’s on the screen, then it’s fine with me. However, gamers who do care about graphics should be aware that the graphics are pretty average, to say the least.

The sound is actually one of the game’s strong points. Sound is detailed – you’ll hear a car’s engine roaring when it passes you, your footsteps as you walk…it’s a good job. Once you enter a car, it’ll be set to a random radio station. The songs are pretty good and funny, but the soundtrack is way to short. You’re bound to hear the same song a ton of times. Rockstar could’ve made a longer soundtrack for a long game. There aren’t many voices in the game – mostly text. Some scenes do have voice acting in it but they are really short. Your character, though, doesn’t talk.

Grand Theft Auto is a long game – it features three cities and six levels (two levels per city) and an estimate about nine missions per level. It may sound like a lot of missions, but you can easily fail them, and once you fail it you can’t replay it. Grand Theft Auto will take a while to complete – and once you complete it you may or may not want to play it again. There are cheats that you can activate to make the game easier or to advance to a certain level. But just causing trouble in the cities, running from the police, and such are fun. You have a little arsenal of weapons: your fists, a handgun, shotgun, flame-thrower and a rocket launcher. Although the list is short, that’s all you’ll really need to wreak havoc in Grand Theft Auto. I might play the game through a second time – only if I have nothing else to do but there are better games out there that are worth my time.

OVERALL – 6/10
Grand Theft Auto is a great game by it’s own rights. I found the game pretty fun at times and I found myself focusing more about causing complete mayhem in the game instead of the missions. This game will last you a long time – you’re set loose in huge cities with nothing else to do but break the law. I’ve played better games though – and although this game did have its moments, it just didn’t live up to other games for the PlayStation. Give Grand Theft Auto a try – it’s not the best and it’s not the worst.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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