Having a tough time with a particular mission? Then why not cool off by going berserk in the streets, exploring the city and generally being lawless!
But how does this title play on the GBA? You'd be inclined to think that this would be a stripped down version of the PS2 title but you'd be wrong. The only concession is to the top down view, which does take a little getting used to after the visual feast of the recent GTA titles, the camera helps by zooming out to reveal a little more of your location which helps on missions where a long drive is involved.
Visually the game looks great with perspective creeping in to reveal sides of buildings as you move past them, street, car and human detail as good as you can get on the GBA and plenty of gore for the splatter fans. Even the bloody footprints appear after waking through or over the recently slain!
The playable area, as with past versions, is massive enough to get lost in with bridges linking areas together, underpasses, motorways and side streets all add up to a very varied environment to play and slay.
Driving, you will be pleased to hear, doesn't disappoint with almost the full range of vehicles available from GTA3, a particular favourite being the powerful Banshee muscle car.You'll notice too that the vehicles handle differently to each other, for example the delivery truck will overturn if steered too sharply left or right and handbrake turns are a joy in more gutsy cars. The sound too is very impressive with the variety of vehicle noises, car radio and pedestrian chatter adding to a realistic environment (although the car radio selector is not available on the GBA).
The only gripes with the game are the often annoyingly large messages from clients that almost fill half the screen and halt play, not great if you have the police hot on your tail and want to stay alive. Also the targeting of the weapons is a little tricky, which was a minor problem in GTA3, causing some problems when having to take down a gangster with the police standing nearby but the ability to strafe whilst firing does makes it easier. But you'll find with a bit of practise you'll be nailing those weapon skills and killing with confidence!
Overall I'd definitely rate this as one of the best titles for the GBA and a must buy for fans of the Grand Theft series and newcomers alike. It goes to show how good the GBA is at handling such a complex, massive game without losing any of the thrill of the play that has made the title such an addictively enjoyable experience.
Now excuse me, I have a little job to do in the red light area of Portland !
Reviewed by Squaljax.
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