Pros: Fast-paced action.
Cons: That horrid bird's eye view.
The idea of allowing your children to steal cars, work for the city?s crime lords, and outrun the police is ridiculous, isn?t it?
Not if they?re playing ever-popular Grand Theft Auto for the Sony PlayStation gaming console!
This game was picked up at a pawn shop for about twelve dollars over one year ago, and has provided endless hours of excitement and entertainment ever since. My four younger siblings and myself still play it an average of once a week, which makes it more than worth the money dished out. All in all, the idea of becoming a rebellious thug is amusing ? even if the fantasy DOES end when the game is turned off.
Basically, you?re a thug. You rip off cars and deliver them to your criminal-minded bosses located in Liberty City. You run from payphone to payphone to answer their calls, and keep an eye on the pager icon located at the top left corner of your screen ? this is where you will discover ?bonus missions? that are not discussed via payphone. Hey, it?s something to do when stealing taxis gets boring!
You will also be given other jobs: Run over a group of thugs and deliver their motorcycle to your boss, as it has his ?goods? stuffed into the gas tank. Swipe a taxi and pick up one of your boss? lackeys ? he?s busily robbing the bank, and the cops are hot on his trail! There are many ways to break the law, run over pedestrians, shoot the police, and otherwise wreak havoc on Liberty City ? it?s all in the name of fun, so don?t get too uptight about it!
There is mild profanity, not to mention the extreme violence that is the central point of this particular game. There is a bit of blood, especially when you run down innocent pedestrians in your just-stolen Mustang. (The cars are given pseudo-names that are similar to the real names given by manufacturers ? probably to avoid lawsuits.) Along the way, you can run over crates located on sidewalks ? these contain handguns, machine guns, ?Get out of jail free? passes, et cetera. All of the various contents will provide you with a bit of help when it is needed the most. Remember, sometimes you?ll simply HAVE to gun down the police officers and pedestrians in order to accomplish your mission!
This game is quite fun, because the cars go faster and faster depending on their make. The taxi, for example, will not speed up and down the city?s streets quite like the Mustang will ? this gives Grand Theft Auto a much-needed touch of realism, albeit the only one you?ll find in this lightning-fast title.
Some of the other features include a few ?chop shops? that will buy the cars you steal ? add the cash to your bank account, which is converted into points.
You may save your progress so that you can come back to the game after a much-needed break. The PlayStation Memory Card does not need but one block of space to save Grand Theft Auto progress in most cases, proving it to be an efficient title.
The Playstation controller is normally very simple for me to master: Most games are very logical and easy to pick up on, generally taking about fifteen minutes to master. In the case of Grand Theft Auto, it took more like two and a half to three hours before I figured out some of the options. GTA does not utilize all of the buttons to their full capacity, but it DOES use them in a slightly awkward manner. The horn is located above the controller, and must be pressed with your index finger ? ACK! That was not something that made sense to me, so I did not ?get it down? for a bit. Even so, most kids find that GTA?s controls are a piece of cake to get the hang of, something that is true for most titles.
Once you accomplish the missions in the first part of Liberty City, you are taken to another part of this enormous area, and given a totally new set of missions ? with newer, more evil bosses! As you progress, your crimes will become more heinous, but don?t worry: It?s just a game! (Unless you?re a young child, in which case I discourage you from playing: It can get a bit involved sometimes, and if you do not know the difference between fantasy and reality this might come back to haunt you at a later time ? who knows?)
Overall, this is a great game. The concept of becoming a criminal character is absolutely charming, not to mention every kid?s fantasy. Come on ? admit it! When you were a kid you thought that joyriding in a stolen Thunderbird would be the coolest thing in the universe!
As with most other games, there are cheats for Grand Theft Auto: Some will unlock all levels, giving you the freedom to run through all of Liberty City without the constraints of passing all the missions.
Some will keep the cops from chasing you ? not one of my favorite cheats, but one that some find necessary.
Some will give you infinite lives, never-ending ammunition, or faster cars.
If you want the cheats, either log on to any Internet search engine or put in the PlayStation GameShark disc ? either way, you?ll get plenty of altered menu options and codes to help you beat this game.
However, it definitely has its downsides ? namely, the graphics.
You are given a bird?s eye view of the scene. This is often helpful, as you can see oncoming police officers and other obstacles. However, it can become frustrating when you are trying to drive long sections of road, maneuver through alleys, or otherwise navigate tight spots. If you could change views, it would be much helpful ? thankfully, later version of GTA (such as the third edition) prove to be more user-friendly.
The graphics themselves are a laughing matter. The programmers might as well have released this title for the Super Nintendo, for all the lack of quality. They are blocky, sketchy, and often very small. This proves to be a bit frustrating when trying to pinpoint mission targets or become more deeply involved in the game. So, for this alone I have to knock off at least one star from the rating. Fortunately, later versions of GTA are much more sound graphically.
Which brings me to sound effects. Horrible! Not even the sounds of pedestrians screaming as you mow them down are realistic! Bah! What?s worse are the radio options: You can have a radio playing in the background, which plays random cuts of different styles of music along with announcers, disc jockeys, and a few commercials. This is just annoying: I?d rather listen to a CD of my choice through my Discman while playing this game.
Or, you can have constant music playing: Again, annoying. It?s randomized, a bit hard to hear over the sound effects of screeching tires and such. I still would rather put in my headphones and bounce to the latest Slipknot recording.
Even with the shortcomings, Grand Theft Auto is a cherished possession in my household. It is one of the most addictive, amusing, and downright enjoyable titles ? out of the hundreds of various video games in our collection! I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is old enough to appreciate the differences between fantasy land and the real world ? as well as to anybody who simply wants to have a good time.
Be warned, of course, that it does not have a ?G? rating. Grand Theft Auto is not designed for toddlers and younger children, so be careful of the eyes watching you whilst you drive along sidewalks, mow down pedestrians, speed along on a stolen motorcycle, or interact with crime lords.