The original Grand Theft Auto (GTA) was released in the late 90′s and was one of the biggest hits to hit the PC. Today it is a free download off Rockstar Games, and you really should try it at least once in case your GTA journey only started with GTA 3 or so. Concepts original to the first and second GTAs were lost in the third and the arcade gameplay was also switched in favour of a more realistic game. In the original GTA, you get things like Get Out of Jail Free card, Police Bribe, Car Speed Up and other power-ups that you won’t get in future games.
Nonetheless, GTA still retains much of its flavour today, except you’ll need to get used to a lot of things such as the points system, the general lack of storyline, and the difficulty of driving. But there are age-old concepts that are still retained today – the freelancing criminal activity that requires you to kill, steal and rack up points, the auto sprays and car bombs. Lots of theft and guns in the middle of all these too.
For a game this old, it doesn’t look terrific, nor does it look terrible, but it really feels a bit dated. Bullets are blue-coloured pixels, and the whole world feels like it was painted with yellow as a base and then coated with different colours. The sounds are fine, but unfortunately, the free release does not come with the original music that would have been available with the retail version. Before GTA3, all GTAs had original music and that was one of the key draws to its game. Indie music could sound good, especially when you are cruising, or running down innocent bystanders for points.
Unlike later versions of GTA, there isn’t too much of a storyline here, all you’re supposed to do is take up random jobs that involve picking up bank robbers, killing people, running away from cops, etc. While it might sound a bit boring, the truth is that it isn’t. And you’ll be doing this over three maps in Liberty City, each with bigger and badder guns and enemies. And tanks.
GTA does take a while to get used to and if you don’t have the patience to stick with it, you won’t enjoy it. In the first 10-minutes, I found the game very odd and ugly, but after a while I learnt to enjoy it. Your mileage will vary. Especially if you have never played the original GTAs in your life.
You can download GTA here.
Arcade-style, simple game concept that is extremely fun
Lots of entertaining missions
Takes a while to get used to the game
Controls are a bit sensitive
I like it. YMMV. If you prefer something more updated and more exciting, check out GTA2, which is also free.
Gameplay: Not bad.
Graphics: Dated. (frame rates limited to 23fps)
Work needed to get game to play: None!
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