Welcome back to another addition of our Throwback Thursday series! Let’s revisit the game that introduced many of us to a new world of high-speed car chases and gang-related crime, Grand Theft Auto III.
Grand Theft Auto III was released in late 2001 for the PlayStation 2, then in 2002 for PC and then in 2003 for Xbox. A remaster of the game was released in 2011 for mobile platforms for the 10 year anniversary of the game. Upon release, the game received heavy criticism and was a center of controversy for the violence and sexual content, among other themes in the game. Still, GTA III received critical acclaim for its gameplay and story concept. The game has sold over 17 million copies and is widely regarded by critics as one of the best games ever. It was highly praised for its use of open-world “sandbox” style gameplay and its 3D graphics, the first in the series to showcase this new art style. GTA III set the course for the rest of the franchise, and many other games after setting a truly high standard for gameplay, story, musical score and voice acting.
Grand Theft Auto III takes place in fictional Liberty City (based on NYC) and the player is Claude, a highly wanted criminal in the city who’s trouble first begins during a bank robbery when his girlfriend betrays him and leaves him to be captured by police. After being sentenced to ten years, Claude is on his way to prison when the police convoy is attacked by a big gang in Liberty City. Claude and a fellow inmate, 8-Ball, narrowly escape and make their way to a safe house. This sets in motion the wild ride of a lifetime for Claude and his companions as they encounter and partake in murder, gang crime, cartel vengeance, and particularly annoying women.
Although missions are linear and have a clear objective from start to finish, Claude is able to talk to many patrons of Liberty City and have many missions at his disposal at once and is able to choose which missions to do. Claude is able to explore Liberty City on foot, on a bike, or by vehicle. He is able to either steal vehicles at gunpoint or break into and steal them from various locations on the map. When you commit crimes on any scale, it adds to Claude’s “wanted” meter, and depending on the severity of the crime, the police may come searching for you to kill you or just chase you on sight. Doing vigilante missions helps with being able to have some pull with the police when you commit petty crimes.
All of the following games in the Grand Theft Auto franchise kept these concepts and they are key parts of the game that players look forward to experiencing when playing a GTA game, and Rockstar Games has been loyal to fans by keeping the mechanics the same and familiar with each respective installment. Not only is the game highly praised for its excellent execution of 3D graphics, but GTA III also is the first game in the series to showcase the classic GTA-style collage cover art.
Another interesting bit of trivia about the game is that many themes in the game were changed due to the tragedy of 9/11 occurring only months prior to its release, such as the color of the police cars, a mission involving terrorists being removed, as well as the flight paths of the planes in the game being changed or removed altogether to keep them from looking like they were flying into or behind any of the tall buildings in Liberty City.
Is Grand Theft Auto III a timeless classic for you? Was it the game that got you hooked to the franchise? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter and don’t forget to let us know what game you’d like to see revisited next in our Throwback Thursday series!