Grand Theft Auto III
The massively popular GTA series moves away from its distinctive top-down style into a more familiar third person 3D affair with this third instalment. Loads of vehicles, weapons and mission types will be available to enhance the now familiar combination of carjacking, shooting and reckless driving.
What's The Big Deal?
The talented bunch at DMA might just have got the 3D transition spot on, capturing the essence of the first and best GTA game, while expanding it in every direction. The depth and attention to detail already evident in the gameworld is extremely impressive.
Much as the 2D purists insisted that it would dilute the concept and destroy the game's refreshing gameplay-over-graphics ethos, it was inevitable that the Grand Theft Auto series would eventually make the move to full 3D. Taking a third-person perspective and returning to many of the ideas of the original game, GTA3 is already two-thirds complete and looking like an absolute cracker. Obviously it will be a different game from the top-down affairs we're used to, but progress so far suggests a successful translation of the game's overall feel into a 3D world. The screenshots available to date aren't necessarily mind-blowing, but a glance at some of the game's massive array of features and gameplay options are enough to get any caijacking fan in a lather.
Clearly setting out to better the previous games and its imitators in every possible way, the game takes place in a convincing and thriving city populated by hundreds of unique pedestrians, police, SWAT teams, army units and vehicles. As well as just jacking over 40 types of cars, bikes and trucks, you'll be able to commandeer a variety of boats and even police helicopters, each promising unique and well-refined handling characteristics, designed to capture just the right balance between realistic modelling and arcade fun. Car damage is also modelled at an advanced level, each road machine having 18 deformable panels, which will take damage and even fall off, eventually leading to the vehicle exploding. The go-anywhere, do-anything approach of the former games will still operate, though a real-time day/night cycle and strict appointment times will help maintain progress. More than 80 gangland missions and 50 optional side-missions will be available in your bid to reach the top of the criminal underworld, with objectives including assassination, vehicle pursuit and demolition jobs. A variety of weapons will also become available through the course of the game, including baseball bats, M-16s, rocket launchers, Molotov cocktails and flame-throwers.
One of the most promising indications that DMA is doing more than simply changing the in-game perspective of the series is the new emphasis on cause and effect in the game. You'll need to take a lot more care with your criminal activities this time around, and you won't attract the attention of the rozzers if you can cover your tracks well enough. For example, if you're on top of a building taking a sniper shot at an enemy, time is of the essence, so you take your shot even though there might happen to be a few bystanders nearby. Assuming you are successful, your target's head will explode in a cartoonish display of gore, and pedestrians standing near the victim will react accordingly, screaming and wiping the splattered blood from their faces. Not only this, but others will run for the nearest payphone or fetch a mobile from their pocket to bring down the law.
Of course, dead men tell no tales, so a few well-placed slugs could save you some hassles with the oinks at a later date. It's this sort of attention into creating a consistent gameworld that promises to make GTA3 an exceptionally satisfying experience, the only problem being that we're going to have to wait six months after the console release before we get it on the PC. We'll see about that...
Download Grand Theft Auto III
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
2018-10-31 Grand Theft Auto III game added.