- Price: £39.99
- Players: 1
If you’re into games, you’ll know what Grand Theft Auto 3 is all about, but this time it’s in 3D and the anticipation has paid off in full.
The original top-down game courted controversy because you could drive about, run people over, kill cops, steal cars and trucks and do all manner of things that you could in the real world, but here there’s no recourse to your actions AND you score points for doing so.
But the reason all the rent-a-quote MPs got het up about it, was because the games company employed PR guru Max Clifford to phone them up and tell them about this brand new ‘disgusting’ game which was way over the top and deserved to be banned. Cue lots of free publicity and everyone coming over all ‘Daily Mail’ about it.
One thing I’ve got a slight complaint over, is with the graphics. They’re a bit on the blocky side for what you’d expect from a PS2 game – why not take a leaf out of Carmageddon‘s book? Also, there’s clipping, such that the camera following you has difficulty tracking your movements as you drive round tight corners and bits of buildings start to disappear, but then it’s best it does this so you can still see what you’re doing.
Effective use is made of the sound, especially when it comes to atmosphere as the cops start chasing you, for example, as well as all the bangs and crashes and the scraping of metal when you cause a pile-up, or a series of explosions after your vehicle can’t take any more, catches fire and other cars in the vicinity are caught out.
Originality isn’t the game’s strong point, but that doesn’t matter because it’s so much better in 3D and scores full marks for playability as the real-world physics are breathtaking.
I started off playing GTA3 doing jobs for Luigi and Joey to earn money, but soon you’ll find other missions to take, some from an occasionally-ringing phone box, all which boost the coffers upon successful completition and the hidden packages placed around town will provide you with a new weapon for every ten packages collected.
And it doesn’t stop there. Earn money by jumping into one of the many taxis and doing a Crazy Taxi, re-live the days of Chase HQ by stealing a police car, attempt to save people by nicking an ambulance and help others in a pilfered fire engine. The ambulance falls over too often though and it’s more fun to take the cop car option but there’s no music in them. Surely we could’ve been treated to the Blues Brothers soundtrack? 🙂
Other hidden challenges include “Patriot Playground” – pass through 15 checkpoints quickly (I failed) when stealing a certain jeep and I had some fun at one point when I ran an ambulance off the road then watched as it tried to get back on up a steep embankment and over a wall. It completely failed and kept falling backwards. Also, another time when my vehicle exploded, a passing car kept driving along despite having caught fire, making it hilarious to watch it drive up a hill and eventually explode itself!
I do have a couple of other niggles though. If you drive one way, then turn around 180o, if a car or person has left your sight at all then they won’t be there when you’re going back the way you’ve come, which is rather odd. Also, there are no replays which is unfortunate because they would be so cool to watch again and again.
On the whole though, this is an essential purchase. When I first played it, I spent four hours solid just driving about and getting used to the area, having fun stealing cars and causing carnage.
SOUND EFFECTS AND MUSIC
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.