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Classic Games (Games) PlayStation (Games)

History of Grand Theft Auto 54

jasoncart writes "With the launch of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas this week, Ferrago has taken a look back at everyone's favorite non-linear series."
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History of Grand Theft Auto

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  • Site is slow (Score:3, Informative)

    by zebs ( 105927 ) * on Saturday October 30, 2004 @05:12PM (#10674733) Homepage
    Was slow when reading it as a /. subscriber. Took a copy and its here []
  • Um... (Score:2, Insightful)

    The author thinks that the "mute mothafucka" (thanks, C.J.) from GTA3 and Tommy Vercetti from GTA:VC are the same guy. That should give you some idea of the overall worth of the piece.
  • by whiteSanjuro ( 693864 ) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @05:31PM (#10674826)
    privateer was *my* favorite non-linear series...
    • Zelda was and currently is mine. Many, many others would agree.
    • Elite [] and Sid Meier's Pirates! are other examples of early non-linear video games that EVERY gamer should play. Yes they are both still fun to play today. Elite is even a true 3D game, with 3D graphics, physics, and world! Considering that the game was made in the early 80s for the NES and BBC Micro, that says something about programming skills.
      • Re:lame article text (Score:2, Informative)

        by horsebutt ( 714262 )
        And Pirates is jut about to be re-released. It is being done by Sid Meier, so isnt going to be a dodgy remake by someone else.
        • No, based on the features I've read it's going to be a dodgy remake by Sid Meier. Maybe they've added something more, but when I last looked (many months ago) it seemed to be the same game with newer graphics.
          • I see no problem with that. There was nothing wrong with the original gameplay. Would you refuse to play tetris with better graphics or chess with better graphics, etc? If the game isn't broke, don't fix it.
            • If I want to play the original I can - no need to pay for that. Besides, a graphically touched up version already exists (Pirates! Gold from 1993), selling the same game yet one more time does smell like a cynical cash-in.
          • It will be fantastic. I have it on preorder. Cant Wait. The original was one of the best games ever released. Even if it is just an update in graphics it will still be an awsome game.
  • Hard to imagine that I could load that article in 800x600 and *NOT* see a single word of it without scrolling down...
    • Try visiting Gamespy or IGN then... interstitals, popups, and flash popovers as well as more banners on the content than we have on our site.

      Anyhow, isn't most of the room above the fold used for the image illustrating the story?

      The site is designed for 1024x768 and above as most gamers have above average spec gfx cards & monitors.
  • GTA2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NereusRen ( 811533 ) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @06:47PM (#10675204)
    Am I the only one who loved GTA2? I still play the multiplayer occasionally with my dorm friends. The balance of power between various weapons and powerups makes it quite strategic, with lots of room for improving your game through intelligence and skill.
    • You're not alone. Gta2 had two things going for it: Gangs and intelligence. You had to juggle between the gangs and not do too many things for one for fear of being attacked by the other. On the other hand running over heaps of over-angry gang members was so much fun

      Gta 3+VC had the 3d but sadly lost both the gang approach and the aiming for a score approach and replaced it with a linear story. Overall, much less challenging.

      So yeah overall GTA2 was more enjoyable because it was so easy to vary.

      • While I never played GTA2, I played GTA when it was first released in late 1997, early 1998. I loved it, wondered why nobody else was playing it, and wondered why the critics gave it a thumbs down. Motorcycles, multiplayer, and many other features were cut for GTA3, yet most gamers were first introduced to the series with GTA3... and most have no sense of the series history.

        I have even heard and read reviews were people claim that GTA3:VC was not as good as GTA3 because GTA3 was new, revolutionary, exper
        • Yeah I played the original GTA on PC way back. I was absolutely blown away by the fun factor. There is something about that overhead view that today's GTA should also incorporate. Only problem was the network portion of the game, which was simply aweful if you tried LAN play.

  • by Jagasian ( 129329 ) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @10:52PM (#10676494)
    You would have figured that they would point out that the first GTA released in 1997 included Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas all in the same game. Most gamers who even played the first GTA when it was released never got past Liberty City. I personally never got past San Andreas. The original GTA was far more difficult than GTA3, mainly do to the fact that messing up a mission was a far bigger set back in GTA. You couldn't just do the mission over again, and it would also reset your score multiplier making even harder to raise enough money to get to the next city.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, I was able to get past San Andreas and into Vice City, though I must say, I liked the layout of San Andreas the best of the three maps.

      If I remember right, there were 2 sets of missions for Liberty City, 3 sets for San Andreas, and 2 for Vice City. I only finished 1 in Vice City before getting tired and moving onto other things.

      And one good thing was that if you did screw up all your missions (like I did once), you could turn to other methods of raising revenue - e.g. stealing cars (then sellin
      • Did anyone else ever line up as many cars as they could, as close as they could get together ... and then blow one up with a rocket launcher causing a chain explosion, and resultant score multiplication? This is how I got to Vice City, by doing this in one of San Andreas' large parking lots. I've never seen this mentioned anywhere, but I remember racking up HUGE scores like this. Would make for a nice screenshot too, my explosions were gigantic, (so large in fact you would have to make sure the explosions w
        • Yes, that was the only way I could raise the million(?) to get out of the first city! .... And of course, during one game it was the first and only thing I had to do. lol
      • I wonder why they took Guaranga out of GTA 3 and up :(
      • Actually, now that you mention it, I did get past San Andreas. I had their order switch in my memory. I remember seeing 3 separate areas. The last one was Vice City and everything looked old and rusty. It must have been Vice City that I never passed.

        Yeah, it was great that you could actually play through the game by selling stolen cars. It is called Grand Theft AUTO. The Super Bike was like riding a missile. Pure speed, pure health hazard.
  • Have there been any GTA2 style clones done as open source/linux projects yet? Seems like a likely candidate for an OSS game project, and I'm hankrin for a game I can play on my desktop!
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @02:55AM (#10677366) Homepage Journal
    Why does the AI in GTA3 suck so thoroughly? Don't get me wrong, I really like the game. But my enjoyment is slightly spoiled by non-player characters that literaly can't find their way out of a corner. Makes it much too easy to avoid the police. What makes it really sad is that the advanced hype for the game promise the most sophisticated AI ever. Not what we got.

    I guess my question is rhetorical, 'cause I know the answer. Whoever was assigned to write the AI just totally underestimated the difficulty of the task. Almost all programmers make that mistake -- they don't appreciate the difficulty of emulating human behavior. The exceptions are all serious computer scientists.

    So, RQ2: why didn't they hire some of those? They had the budget for big name actors to do the voices, to render a couple hundred buildings in detail, and to develop the VR engine to make it all work. Surely they could hire an AI expert or two. Answer: they just didn't know any better. Too bad.

    • Each and every FPS or similar game promises revolutionary AI that will stun you. It never happens. The problem is that while moving out of a corner is easy for humans it isn't for computers. Even realising that something is in a corner is a complex piece of programming.

      Only with very thight scripting and severely limiting the available options can current AI be made to look at least slightly as smart as a concussed kitten.

      The reason? Two fold, AI research is just bloody complex and expensive. If they can'

  • Non-linear? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Elkboy ( 770849 ) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @09:11AM (#10678325)

    I would hardly call GTA non-linear. It displays the old split between dynamic simulation and linear narration well because they are there side-by-side. They don't come together very much at all though, despite being combined quite expertly. At least GTA doesn't feel like half a film like some other games, but don't tell me the main story progression isn't linear. You can crash all the rides you want and cap all the bitchassmuthas you want, but you still go from A to B and then C if you want to experience anything more than a complex sandbox.

    I guess to bridge the gap between simulation and narration you'd need some kind of story engine, but considering the trouble game developers have with simple AI I'm guessing that's far off.

  • It claims that DMA Designs was renamed Rockstar North before GTA3. It wasn't, look at an original (not Playstation Platinum) GTA3 box, it says DMA design. DMA changed name sometime after GTA3, as the Platinum version has the Rockstar North instead, and Vice City is also Rockstar North.
  • GTA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @09:49AM (#10678436) Homepage
    As someone who owns EVERY PC GTA game, including the london add-ons etc., I think the original GTA was the best. It wasn't the storyline, that was just humour especially with the London addon, but the freeform play, especially when networked.

    When I got bored of trying to play it properly (which was much harder in the original GTA than in the 3-D versions), my brother and I would network and that was just fantastic (albeit very buggy in DOS and unplayable on Windows with my machines at the time). Trying to line up a screen full of cars and then rocket-launchering and trying to surf over the top of the cars as they exploded was great fun.

    Skidding around on a bike in the middle of machine-gunning gang was just right and if you were quick and smart you could set up booby traps with some cars and blow them all to kingdom come.

    The multiplayer was simple but effective, leading to some good car chases and using the local terrain and traffic to avoid each other's bullets.

    GTA2 was a bit too much like another add-on, just a graphical overhaul and a slight change in mission structure, and I never really got into that as much. The graphics were also too dark and the "lighting" was just there to be eye candy and nothing else.

    GTA3/VC, although good and groundbreaking, just doesn't rock my socks... it's fun to mess about in but you get bored and the missions are just of the save-and-retry type, along with some impossible ones like controlling the remote control choppers.

    All of the games, though, have that right balance of freeform and mission-led play. When you ran out of missions in GTA1, you could go selling cars for a while until the police came and you had to make a quick getaway.

    GTA2 had a marvellous idea for missions where you have to keep in with a local gang to get more, or defect to another gang to get theirs. GTA3 has been a good translation to 3D and it keeps the same style, I'm just not sure that it's as good.

    The fact that you can load up any of them, load in any saved game and just piss about for a while is a major attraction, especially when you can't do that next-to-impossible mission and want to relax.

    What I want to see is basically OpenGTA1... same game, same style, loads of new capabilities and missions.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"