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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Rockstar Games
Rockstar North
GENRE: Adventure
October 21, 2003
Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

More in this Series
 Written by Chris Reiter  on October 22, 2003

Review: So does that mean we're stealing two cars?

Grand Theft Auto III
Genocide, mayhem, anarchy... With these tools of destruction from within the social system of life, Rockstar Games and DMA Design are taking their creative genius and turning it inside out to show everyone what makes a dangerous thought real. It's Grand Theft Auto 3, the cult classic smash from the PlayStation days, back again for the third time. It's a sequel full of everything you previously got, but this time, is back for something more lifelike and entertaining than what was originally possible.

The first two titles in the series of Grand Theft Auto, while they made an abundant amount of PlayStation owners overjoyed, still were violent to the core. Rockstar and DMA are taking the next step up in their design to create the ultimate (and I mean it) blood bath title. Grand Theft Auto 3 is even more sickening than the likes of any Resident Evil created before it. You kill, and can get killed. Bear warning, that if you're someone who's not old enough to smoke a cigarette, drive a car, or even purchase a gun, you're probably going to find more than enough violence, sexual content, and foul language than you have ever heard or seen in an R rated film that's not appropriate for you.

Your story is fairly simple. You're a no body crook, together with your gang in the copious Liberty City. Together, you and your team are going to rob a bank. The thing you're not aware of, however, is that the plan isn't going to be so smooth. You know that so called girlfriend of yours? She wants you out of the way with the gun she's going to point at you. The good news is the bullet won't kill you...just get you caught. With your arrest in place, an escape plan from within the criminal organization is about to make way, and free you and the truck full of criminals: one of them being 8-Ball, a bomb supplier. So here's where the game comes into play. You're free from arrest, a badass guy with unlawful intent. What are you going to do? What anyone else would do of course...whatever you want!

Grand Theft Auto 3 lets you be the bad guy. It's a story about gangs, mobsters, hookers, and even the law. For whatever your sick mind tells you to do, you can do it! Are you in the mood to run over a few pedestrians? Steal a car, any car, and take them out. Are you a pickpocket? Then exterminating any random individual on the street will reveal the goods! Mind you, there actually ARE more plots to the game than just the regular murderous run around. The game sets you up with missions. Your suppliers are often a mob boss head figure, or the like. As progression exceeds in the game, your reputation grows, and more illicit men will want to hire you for bigger, better, and much more challenging jobs.

The most attractive part about Grand Theft Auto 3 is its gameplay. Its more fun than a barrel of monkeys...giant ones! Honestly, if you ever wanted to own a game with hours, upon hours, upon hours of doing nothing but exploring a city full of bad people doing bad things, and you, the one who gets to interact with them all, you can actually spend a whole entire day just driving around the city and squashing people with a truck. Other times you may find a weapon like a baseball bat, a 9mm handgun, or even a hidden and dangerous tool like the shotgun or bazooka to take on the city's streets with rampage like your business is the only one that matters. Really, sometimes it's just TOO easy to make a person bleed in the game.

More so, stealing cars is another larger chunk in the gameplay, and the game itself. You don't just title a video game Grand Theft Auto for nothing. When running up to any car, whether it is a station wagon, a pickup truck, or even a Mafia Sentinel (watch out, the driver gets angry and shoots in your getaway), there are plenty of choices in the fast and slow car selections. Some types of vehicles serve for special purposes. For instance, you'll discover loads of side missions to cruise on through, like, becoming a taxi cab driver, a fire man, an ambulance medic, or the ever elusive police outlaw. Using either one of the mentioned vehicles allows the player to access objectives where you can pose as any of the chosen few, act out their jobs, and thus, you can earn extra cash for your continuously growing wad of loot.
- Chris Reiter

Read the full review...

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto 3 really came out of nowhere. While those in the know were under an impression the game would be something special, many people didn't really pay attention, given the low quality of the first 2 GTA games. But when the game came out, it immediately started selling ? and still hasn't stopped, racking up 7 million sold copies in the US and Europe, and still going strong to this day.

When the announcement that a sequel was on the way, there was little surprise. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is that sequel, and sits now as a game that won't surprise anyone, but instead became the most anticipated game in ages ? if not ever. With record pre-orders and record amount of pure secrecy before Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) finally revealed their game, Vice City jumped to the want list of many a PS2 gamer.

But questions loomed ? given that GTA 3 was only released last year, how could the game be any different than that one, just in a different city? Despite the hype, a few were worried it would be more of the same. Thankfully, this is not the case. Vice City is a drastic improvement over GTA 3 in every way imaginable ? improved graphics, tougher, more varied missions, tons of new cars and motorcycles, and an audio experience that's second to none. Sure, it might not have that initial impact of GTA 3, but an hour into the game and you forget GTA 3 exists. It's a few missteps short of being perfect, but one thing is for sure ? Vice sure is nice ? nice enough to already have the PlayStation 2 game of the year all but locked up.

The story of Vice City begins in Liberty City, circa 1986 ? inside Marco's Bistro (where you eat until you explode ? just ask Lips Forelli), mob kingpin Sonny Forelli is talking with some stooges about what to do with Tommy Vercetti, who's due to get out of The Joint after 15 years there. They decide to get him off the streets of Liberty, in order to keep things on the up and up and to protect Tommy. Sonny decides to send him on a business vacation to Vice City, a city of glamour, but one with plenty of treachery and scum as well. Vercetti's first job is a drug deal ? one that goes horrendously bad. From there, we get to follow the adventures of Tommy Vercetti, and his rise to the top of the heap in the Vice City's crime world, as well as solve the crime of just who set up Vercetti in this drug deal gone wrong. Along the way Tommy meets up with dozens of shady characters, some friend, others foe, but all holding information that can lead to the justice he demands.

If anything, the story points all to evidently that Vice City is indeed a prequel of sorts, with all the intangibles mixed in considering some of the characters that make appearances and how they're handled. I won't spoil anything obviously, but once you see some of the characters that pop up, you'll see what I mean.

Like GTA 3, Vice City is a game that is made by you, the player. Half of the city is available for you to explore right away (due to a hurricane closing down the bridges across the water), and the rest of the city is unlocked as you go on ? first simple little islands, then the whole shebang of downtown. When fully unlocked, the game is probably double the size of Liberty City ? though that does include buildings, which you finally may go into and sometimes need to go into. Unlike GTA 3 though, it doesn't quite take as long to open everything. Once you do get the whole city open though, the game takes off from the admittedly slow start that could turn off the impatient sort.

But once you do get into the game, the possibilities are endless, and is all controlled by you. Nothing in this game HAS to be done outside of the main storyline, so if you're going around thumping innocents or doing drive-bys on gangbangers, that's your problem ? nobody is holding a gun to your head to do it. You can go the innocent route and do the side jobs that are a blast in themselves ? play cop in Vigilante mode, commandeer a fire engine and put out fires, take an ambulance and pick up injured people and take them to the hospital, or even borrow a Taxi and take passengers to destinations, like Crazy Taxi. New to the scene is the pizza boy missions, where you take a gig on a little motorcycle and deliver some pie to waiting customers. This is one that you might want to do, since completing it will give you 150 maximum health, so get to Well-Stacked Pizza and do their bidding!

Of course, if you want to get anywhere in Vice City, you occasionally have to be an asshole to do it. Thus, there are well over 100 cars to commandeer, and a ton of weapons at your disposal. Many of the cars are older-modeled versions of the cars in Grand Theft Auto 3, but there's still a ton of brand new rides to take out for a spin, including a small array of motorcycles with glorious names like the Faggio and the dirt bike called the Sanchez (if you don't know, just don't ask). Also, the ability to fly comes into play, as you can take control of a few different helicopters and a Dodo lookalike seaplane. The weapons include different sorts of handguns, shotguns, and a couple different sniper rifles ? all the weapons vary depending on what Ammu-Nation you decide to visit. Also on the bad-guy side are the Ice Cream missions ? odd certainly, but it's because you're not really selling ice cream (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Finally, you can now rob stores and get some extra cash ? as simple as holding a gun and knowing the best way to beat a 2 star wanted level. There's 15 total places to rob, scattered all over the city.
- Adam Wolcott

Read the full review...

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