Ever wanted a game where you can hijack any car, kill any pedestrian, shoot cops, drive hookers to work and blow people up? GRAND THEFT AUTO III might just satisfy your criminal desires.
The story goes like this. You're sharing a police truck ride with a mafia leader. Of course, the mafia busts him out and you escape too. You head to a safe location and start working for a pimp by driving his girls around town. Eventually you get introduced to other folks who want you to work for them too. Shooting enemies and blowing up cars is the norm.
The city in the game is giant, seamless and filled with different areas. In Chinatown you might run into the Triad (stealing one of their trucks is a quick way to earn a one way ticket to the bottom of the river). To get around, you can steal any car, you can shoot anyone, and hijack any car. Of course, the local cops won't let you get away with this, and there're plenty of them to go around.
So beyond crushing pedestrians and completing missions, there're a lot of fun things to do. You can crush evidence, re-paint cars or pick up a girl. If you need some spare cash, steal a taxi and get into the mini CRAZY TAXI style game. Take an ambulance and make emergency calls, or steal a cop car and go vigilante. The options are limitless.
One thing to commend Rockstar on is the different feel of each of the vehicles. They all have their own distinct control.
GRAND THEFT AUTO III isn't the cleanest of games. Shooting cops and hijacking are two of the staples. It's probably the last thing the industry needs with the big dogs in Washington like Sen. Lieberman bearing down on the violence. But it's a heck of a lot of fun. There's so much to explore and so many things to do.
Liberty City looks phenomenal and there's plenty of life and atmosphere that impresses. The different textures, solid framerate and incredible diversity make this one of the most impressive PS2 games yet. I did experience some unwarranted slowdown at times, but it was few and far between.
The radio stations are great too. There are 9 stations you can listen to, each with different music and most of them with funny voice acting. There're some awesome commercials in the vein of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and the talk radio station is awesome. But I still have to give glory to the classical music station there's nothing better that classical music while crushing pedestrians.
GRAND THEFT AUTO III is for adults, period. But if you're over 18 and looking for some bloody, criminal fun, it is superb.
Platform: Playstation 2
ESBR Rating: Mature
Developer: DMA Design
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Fun Factor: A+
Reviewer's Wild Card: A+