"See what that bitch is up to."
You are a criminal. Don't deny it, you know it is true. Every time you break the speed limit, drive after a couple beers, copy a movie, steal cable, rip that little tag off the furniture, or lie to the credit card company (I swear I sent the check), you are committing crimes. Face it, we're all criminals to some degree or another. Anyone who says they've never committed a crime is lying. Grand Theft Auto allows us to nurture that criminal instinct and to have a lot of fun along the way.
The plot of Grand Theft Auto is simple. You are a minor player in a criminal syndicate. You answer pay phones and check your beeper to get jobs from your mob boss. He can order you to steal cars, kill cops, kill other gangs, do drug delivery runs, have you tail his girlfriend, and much more. Essentially, when anything illegal needs to be done, it gets handed to you. How you complete the job determines how much money you get, and gives you access to other, hidden, missions. If you thought Postal was bad, you ain't seen nothing. This game has no morals whatsoever. You even get bonus points for running someone over with their own car! Sounds good to me!
The controls are fairly basic. Since you are in a car most of the time, the controls are geared toward that setup. This means that when you are walking around, the arrow keys are relative movement, not absolute movement. Though this can be annoying at the beginning, you quickly get used to it. Grand Theft Auto is the first game, however, to have a hijack key. By pressing this key next to a car, you open the driver's side door, slug the driver, pull him onto the pavement, and hop into your new vehicle. Not bad, eh?
The graphics in Grand Theft Auto were obviously not the focus of the developers attention. The cities are remarkably huge, however, and they really make you feel as though you are driving in New York, San Francisco, or Miami (they have different names in the game, but it is obvious what cities they're supposed to be). The manual claims that there are over 6,000 city miles in the game, and, frankly, I believe it. Some of the cars, however, need a lot of work. There are cars that, to this day, I have not figured out what they're supposed to be. Also, they couldn't use the real names of the vehicles, so they made up names that were close enough, like Porka instead of Porsche.
Unfortunately, in order to run the game in the best graphics mode, you have to do something not seen for awhile . . . run the game in DOS. *gasp* Though the game says it's Win95 compatible, no one in their right mind would play the Win95 version. I had to call tech support in order to discover that if you want any sort of resolution, you have to run the game through DOS. Also, 3Dfx only works through DOS. While this might have been acceptable six years ago when people were using Win3.1 and routinely had to exit to DOS, nowadays most new computer owners have never even seen the DOS screen. Happily, Grand Theft Auto installed all the needed drivers in DOS, and I only had to change the sound card setup. Why they did this, I will never know, but you can bet that it messes with Internet play.
Since I connect to the Internet through Win95, I lack the DOS drivers for my modem. So, if I want to play online, I have to play with the dumpy graphics. Needless to say, I don't play online very much.
Another drawback is the repetitive nature of the game. First off, you can't save in the middle of the game. You have to either complete the level or die to end a game in the middle. This leads to gamers playing the first missions over and over and over again when they are first getting used to the game. Needless to say, this gets a bit frustrating. Also, a lot of the missions are remarkably similar.(i.e. drive to point B, meet someone, drive to point C, kill someone, drive to point D, and get rid of the car.) While the immoral aspects of the plot are entertaining and fun, they don't mask the fact that you have to do almost the same thing for every mission.
In the end, we have a game that is a great idea, but not very well executed. With mediocre graphics and repetitive gameplay, some gamers might be disappointed. Like Postal, Grand Theft Auto is depending a lot on controversy to sell the game, not gameplay. While this works for sales, it tends to upset many hard-core gamers. However, if you're looking for a fun, goofy, immoral game, than Grand Theft Auto should definitely be on your list.