Throwback Thursday! Revisiting GTA III

by MaddOx
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I’ve always been a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series ever since the originals that were played with the top-down view, but it is no secret that with GTA V I was severely disappointed. It wasn’t that it was a poorly made game, but it just missed some of the old charms that the older versions had. Like how certain islands were restricted to start with, and you had to gain passage to them, or as I did, break into airports and fly over to them practically getting the army on your back. You could argue that getting multiple characters was GTA V’s way of doing this but it didn’t have the same effect for me, because you didn’t feel like you had to work for it to unlock them, and it was all completed rather quickly.

So, earlier this week I decided to crack out GTA III on my PS2 and relive some of the glory days. Don’t worry, I’ll be getting round to Vice City and San Andreas too when I find where I’ve placed the bloody discs. And even the older games if I can pick them up somewhere. But for now, this will do for this week’s Throwback Thursday piece.

For me, one of the most special things about GTA III is the fact that it’s the first game in the series that used the 3D graphics that we know and love. And despite being released near 17 years ago, the graphics compared to other 3-dimensional games from the same era still blow me away today. Sure, it doesn’t pack the HD graphics of more modern games, but the polygonal characters and pre-rendered backgrounds still contain so much detail and are a credit to the work undertaken by DMA Design and Rockstar during the game’s development. An interesting fact that many people don’t know about the development of the game is that its release was delayed following the 9/11 terror attacks as the dev teams were required to make changes in the game they may have been deemed insensitive or inappropriate. Which goes to show that despite the game’s causing a lot of controversies, they don’t do it just for the sake of it, and they do in fact have a line even they won’t cross.

And talking about controversies, it wasn’t the first game to have them with the original 2D versions causing a stir with all the violence they contained, but it did have a first for the series. The fact that for the first time, alongside all the violence, you could now drive down the road, honk at some hoes and one would come along and show you a good time in your car. And as funny as it was, it did serve a purpose because it helped you regain health. But the controversy didn’t stop there with the prostitutes, because once you were finished with your dirty little business transaction and they left your vehicle, you could then proceed to kill the hooker and get your money back in what can only be described as the opportunity to reenact the crimes of the Jack the Ripper in a more modern setting.

The game was so much more than just being offensive though, with things like fictional radio stations being introduced. There was a wide selection to choose from, but unlike the more modern games that use real-life songs, the developers had their own music created to be aired whilst you drove around Liberty City in your car. Not just that but you’d also hear comical adverts for things such as Dormatron, a device that helps you exercise you whilst you sleep so you can lose weight or a solicitors firm that tries to convince you to sue your boss because maybe you might win. In fact, why not enjoy this showreel of the ads below:

Grand Theft Auto III isn’t my favourite of the games in the GTA universe, but that said it probably was one of, if not, the most important. Not only did it define the open-sandbox game genre, it was a game that truly pushed the limits and for once took you away from the usual storyline of playing a hero and saving the day, and let you take a walk on the wild side for once. It laid a solid foundation for the sequels and it’s no surprise that it was the best selling game of 2001, and 2nd best in 2002, only losing out to its sequel Vice City.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this little trip down memory lane with me, and if you have any memories of this or any of the other games you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. For now, I leave you with an image of the protagonist taking a joyride in a cop car. Classic GTA.

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