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America - Front

America - Back

Review Scores



Alternative Names



DMA Design



Other Versions

PC, XB, All

Release Dates

10/23/01 Rockstar Games
09/26/03 Capcom
10/27/01 Take-Two Interactive

Community Stats

Owners: 524
Favorite: 25
Tracked: 2
Wishlist: 3
Now Playing: 1

Avg Community Rating:


Liberty City, USA. The worst place in America.

03rd Jul 2009 | 1,606 views 


User Score

Presentation - 9.5
Gameplay - 8.0
Value - 10
Although understandably not as polished as its successors, this is still one of the most fun games ever made.

This wasn't my first GTA game. My brother got Vice City for the PC (although it wasn't until I got a good gamepad I was able to get into it due to the driving controls), and then borrowed a copy of San Andreas for the PS2. Then I decided it was time to try the original.

The short version, I liked it so much, I eventually bought all the GTA games on the PS2.

Long version, well that's what this reveiw is for. Tongue out

(Note: Even though this is for the PS2 version, this is meant to apply to all versions.)


The overall story isn't anything to write home about. You're a gangster betrayed and spend most of the game wandering around doing missions for crime lords and corrupt government officials and businessmen, until the plot from the beginning finally kicks in to resolve it all.

If that were a book, that would be a boring read. Fortunately this is a game, and it's what "TV Tropes" calls an "Excuse Plot". You don't need the story.

On the other hand, the parts of the story on their own work much better. Every other character is distinct and memorable. And the voice acting is some of the best of any game, even today.

If I could rate the story, I'd give it a 7.5.


Given that a game of this scale was unheard of on consoles at the time (although Morrowind would be close behind), and given DMA (later "Rockstar North") was just getting to know the PS2, I can't really call on the graphics for looking weak. In fact, they're stil pretty good considering all that.

Sure you can count the polygons on each character, and the texture resolution is only slightly better than the most detailed Playstation 1 and Nintendo 64 games, but that's what's required of games of this scale. GTA, Saints Row, Elder Scrolls (and by extension Fallout 3), Everquest, World Of Warcraft, Dead Rising (all three of them don't even use streaming), Burnout Paradise, etc., all of them trade off detail of the individual object for loads and loads of objects.

So in terms of just raw scale, this still holds up (that is if you haven't been spoiled by HD games (in which case, forget you; fun isn't based on whether the shadows are circular or not).

Plus this actually has the least pop-ups of the PS2 games, after Vice City Stories.

But what really makes the presentation stand out is the radio. The developers worked with Lazlow Jones to create about a dozen stations, each with 1/2 - 1 hour of real music (original songs written for the game), talk (spoofs), and commercials (also spoofs).

The variety means at least part of it is bound to appeal to you. My favorites are Head, Chatterbox, and Rise. The latter because I can pretend I got Wipeout mixed into the game when I'm driving.

Overall, I would give it an 8.5 or a 9, but the radio puts it to near perfection. 9.5


In simplest terms, it's sort of like Zelda, with guns and bats instead of swords and hookshots, and cars instead of Epona (you still get boats, but this came out before Wind Waker). Oh, and you don't need to go to the pause screen to switch weapons, so we have real time weapons changing.

Although it's not as fluid as Zelda. Not having a second analog camera worked for the N64 Zelda games, but even they took it up once it became available. The lack of looking at a full city map hurts as well (especially for the ambulance missions).

Gameplay on foot is adequate, but not as fluid as the Mario and Zelda games which are the obvious inspirations. And using guns is okay, and for the most part workable. Overall the on foot gamplay is just slightly above average.

Driving is another matter. Driving control is great. It's simple and intuitive, and you don't have to worry about the details. For driving games like Gran Turismo and Forza, I'm sure they work fine. This is just a different kind of game. It's about just getting to where you need to, or driving around for the hell of it. It's not completely simple, cars handle differently, and you have to take those into account. Some are of course faster. Some handle better. Some take damage better. Finally some make sharp turns better with either the emergency brake button or the reverse button. It's important to remember which.

By themselves, that would make for pretty decent gameplay. But then we get to the variety of the missions. Oh man, there are a lot. Even before you complete the first third of the game there are tons to do. Heck, even before you get to your first story mission (save for the mandatory introductory mission) you can do loads of side missions and look around collecting goodies (Tip: Get as many hidden packages as you can, especially enough to get you the sniper rifle once you get to Shoreside Vale).

Want to be a taxi driver? A firefighter? A paramedic? A vigilante posing as a police officer? A hotrod racer? Or just go waste as many of the different gangs in town as possible in the time limit? All those are among the missions you can do before you even get to the story mode. Freakin' awesome, even if they aren't that polished.

So while the score looses a couple points for the so-so on foot controls, it's still a lot of fun to play. 8


Even the story missions can take hours to complete, and the game is worth replaying just to challenge yourself to do them better. Plus some missions affect things you can do past those points, so you would have to replay the game to see what you can do differently.

A great value, even when it was full price. 10


What more can I say. If you like this kind of game, and you have a PS2 (or compatible PS3), and Xbox (hopefully the 360 has it on the compatibility list), or PC with good enough specs (say just a bit stronger than needed to play the first Half-Life), then get this game. 9

Sales History

Total Sales

Opinion (13)

Red4ADevil posted 07/02/2010, 01:07
Just bought this today, brings back old memories.
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shizzlee posted 03/05/2009, 04:26
Hardest GTA. Could not pass this one without cheats even though I watched my brother do it no problem >.
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NinjaOmega posted 15/03/2009, 09:08
The game that rocked the gaming world,Kudos to RSTAR
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sabby_e17 posted 04/03/2009, 10:00
gta 3, vicy city and san andreas were the shit. gta 4 was dissapionting.
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Goodfella posted 02/02/2009, 03:08
I put this in for old times sake, damn this looks horrible on an hdtv. A classic nontheless, 9.1/10.
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HanzoTheRazor posted 26/08/2008, 04:59
9/10 Great game for it's day. The direction they took could not have been better.

RockStar ROX!
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