GTA 3 – 10 Years On. And soon… GTA 5

GTA 3 – 4 letters that will either bring back vivid memories of a brilliant game, or mean nothing more to you than being an old Rockstar game. If, like me fall in the former group, bloody hell do I have something to tell you. And if you can’t remember how awesome GTA 3 was, shame on you! How can you call yourself a gamer?! Fear not, you have a chance you redeem your forgetful ways.

10 years ago, GTA III was released to the world and I got a hold of the Microsoft version for laptops – back in the day where 500mb RAM was sufficient and no one needed 320GB storage space. I remember thinking how awesome the game was; you could go anywhere, do anything and it was up to you to decide which missions you wanted to play. On top of the awesome storyline (and in my opinion, one of the best in the GTA series), you had a host of cheats that made you near indestructible and even a host of side missions (secret packages, taxi/police missions, and that phone box stuff). Alongside this, Rockstar included infamous gangs throughout the game, including the Triads and the Mafia. One strong memory is one of the Columbian Cartels’ lines in the game: “I Kill You!”.

From the 3 island set up, to the wide range of cars (Anyone remember the Banshee?!), GTA 3 put Rockstar up there with the likes of EA in the gaming world. It was a mega success and it was easy to see why. But that was all 10 years ago, why bring it up now? Well, it’s back! And it’s back on the iPad. It’s not free, but it is VERY cheap for what you get. So I can’t recommend it highly enough.

You’re probably now wondering whether they’ve changed the game, and more importantly how does it work on an iPad… in short, it’s exactly the same. From the missions (all but 1 are the exact same – 73 in total), and the cars and the radio stations and the map – everything is the same. Even the cut scenes are as they were – 2001 graphics included. Apparently there are minor tweaks, but I don’t reckon it’s anything you will realise and it certainly won’t detract from the endless hours you will get with this game.

The controls are probably the bit that has changed most – for obvious reasons. It’s a bit different to what you’ll be used to on a games console but still very useable. Rockstar have an ‘on-foot’ set of controls and an ‘in-car’ set of controls. On foot, you get options to use your weapon (if it’s a gun, it auto-targets your ‘enemies’), run, jump or get into a car. In-car, you get an accelerate, brake, horn and hand-brake option, although so far, the hand-brake seems to be totally pointless – maybe I’m using it wrong??

The nifty bit of the controls is that wherever you hold down your thumb on the left hand side of the iPad, a little joystick thing appears. This is the default setting on-foot but you can change the left/right arrow option to this in-car as well. That being said, using the arrow keys works fine enough.

And yep, first thing I did when I got a bit of spare cash is see whether they still had prostitutes to top up your health to 125 – they do.

For those of you who didn’t get the chance to play this game first time round, seriously, you need to get your hands on it. For me, it was the game that set the standard for what we have today. The storyline was as epic as the gameplay was innovative. A few of you can play the game because they’ve got 8 save slots on the iPad version.

Don’t expect the all the quirks of the GTA series though – remember this was the ‘first’ real one (I’m not including GTA 1 or 2 – they weren’t in the same league). Your character never talks and buying weapons is a bit primitive. But don’t let the lack of technology in 2001 spoil the gameplay. I think Rockstar did well with this; it let’s you replay a classic and I think it was the right decision to leave as much of it exactly the same.

The only thing I’m a bit annoyed about is that they’ve not included the cheats! That’s what made the game that little bit better; it was great to have all those guns early on (bazooka and sniper rifle combo for those long distance killing sprees) and have Banshee’s spurning out of no where. God knows how I’m going to get into a tank now…

I hope people buy the iPad version and this spurs Rockstar to bring out the other GTAs onto the mobile platforms – San Andreas especially. But as is everything in the world – if the money flows, everything goes. And judging by the demand, Rockstar should incorporate cheats into the mobile versions with their updates – or at least I hope they do!

Enough of reminiscing though, Rockstar have neglected the GTA franchise for a fair few years (who blames them?! We got Red Dead Redemption – my favourite game EVER and LA Noire in the time being). However last year Rockstar announced and released a trailer for GTA 5. No one really knows much about it (or at least, there are a lot of leaks/rumours and who knows if they’re true or not); but from what I can gather,  it’ll be set in a version of Los Angeles.

I don’t know if an official release date has even been set but from what I hear and read, it won’t be in shops until 2013. Whenever it does come out, I am more than sure I will have it pre-ordered – the second time I will have ever pre-ordered a game, my first being San Andreas.

As is pretty much expected, GTA 5 will probably push the boundaries of gaming and fuse this with an epic storyline. I’m waiting for one as good as GTA 3, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought Vice City was a tiny bit of a let down. I’m definitely looking forward to the weapons, cars, and aeroplanes/helicopters in the new one – hopefully even a jetpack!

In the mean time, all we can do is wait. What’s more, if you haven’t had a chance to play Red Dead Redemption or LA Noire – I seriously recommend you do. You’ll love them as much as I did; both are totally different to what ‘normal’ games are in terms of story lines and gameplay. But before you do that, download GTA 3 on the iPad whilst it’s on at a reduced price. And by the time you finish all these, you won’t have to wait that long for GTA 5. What better way to spend summer (when it starts pissing)?!