Grand Theft Auto III

Counter culture carjacks the mainstream as Rockstar grabs a nation by the balls and ushers in a new generation of satire.

“You ought to see one called, Grand Theft Auto… The player is rewarded for attacking a woman, pushing her to the ground, kicking her repeatedly and then ultimately killing her, shooting her over and over again…”

Senator Joe Lieberman (2004)

Now an obvious question is: How much time did Senator Lieberman actually spend playing Grand Theft Auto 3?

I don’t think much because if he had he would have quickly realized, you get cash from kicking both men and women to death on the gritty streets of Liberty City.

I suppose we can start the review with this iconic Open World game the way we have started with many of its copycats. By comparison in size.

Size of Liberty City in GTA 3: 8.12 km² – Liberty City, loosely based on New York City, is spread out over three islands linked together by tunnels and bridges. All three islands have different gangs that control different areas of the city. The largest gang and also largely considered the antagonists of the game, being the Colombian Cartel

Size of Lost Heaven in Mafia: Approximately 10.2 sq.km The game also features a countryside outside of the city. The total area of the countryside measures between 30 and 40 square kilometers (18.75-25 sq. miles)

Size of London in The Getaway: 10.0 sq.km of photorealistic depiction of London. Burroughs in The Getaway include: Marylebone, Mayfair, Westminster, Soho, Bloomsbury, St Pancras, Holburn, Lambeth, Southwark, Borough, Finsbury, Clerkewell, Shoreditch, Barbican, Broadgate and City Of London.

I am willing to go out on a limb here and surmise that chances are if you are a considered to be apart of Gen X, Xennial or a millennial, especially in North America, you have at one point or another either owned this game or at the very least played it with a friend. In fact, all three Grand Theft Auto games that I will eventually be covering on this blog will probably be the most popular titles I ever actually do cover.

(Note: So after I wrote this I actually looked up the top selling video games of all time. This Article was published September 28th 2021. Both Vice City and San Andreas were on the list but to my surprise, not the original, GTA III. This was also before Rockstar just re-released the original trilogy – despite it predictably bombing – I also complained about that before it came out, here.)

But for anyone who has never had the opportunity to play the game the plot line is simple. You are a career criminal, robbing banks with your Colombian girlfriend, Catalina and another member of the Cartel. One jobs as the three of you escape a bank, Catalina turns on you, shooting you and leaving you for dead. You inevitably survive and are arrested and sentenced to prison. But during transport to prison, another criminal you are riding with is rescued in a daring ambush, which leaves you a free man with a vendetta.

Colombian spark plug

Aside from the cast of colorful and outlandish characters you meet, there is still things to do in the game other then work on killing your ex. While it pales in comparison to later entries, even on the same system, between the hidden packages, taxi missions, cop and ambulance missions there are still enough mini games to break up the monotony of plowing through missions.

The voice acting is superb as well as the sophisticated radio programs and commercials.

A minor drawback to the game is it’s janky aiming system which can get you killed quickly on missions, another thing the girls and boys at Rockstar smiley improve throughout the series.

All in all, the game feels outdated for all of the right reasons. Only because, Rockstar took everything that was working on the game and improved the formula over and over again, as quality game publishers do.

An outrageous, fun, violent satire of American culture, that is an absolute must play for absolutely everyone over the age of eighteen. It can be found dirt cheap in most retro stores – my only advice? Make sure you pick up a copy with a manual/map.

Overall: 91% (GOLD)

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2 thoughts on “Grand Theft Auto III

  1. GTA 3 will always be a fondly remembered classic. Claude is a brilliant protagonist and I’d enjoy a new story featuring only him eventually. When he popped up in Vice City I was far too excited. Great read – I’ll dig out my PS2 copy.

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