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Grand Theft Auto 3

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Give me liberty

Product: Grand Theft Auto 3: 10th Anniversary Edition | Developer: Rockstar Games | Publisher: Rockstar Games | Format: Android | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | File size: 462MB | Version: Europe
Grand Theft Auto 3: 10th Anniversary Edition Android, thumbnail 1
There's one very specific moment in Grand Theft Auto 3 that has always stuck with me. You're working for Toni Cipriani (some two-bit Mafioso scumbag) and he wants you to crush a car with a dead body in the back.

Seems like a typical Grand Theft Auto mission - stealing cars and careening past squealing police sirens constitutes a normal day in Liberty City.

But then a rival gangster rear-ends your saloon, sending the boot spiralling down the highway. And in the back of the car is the corpse - the cold, stiff, and very bloody body. It's a dark image, especially when it's set against chattering radio hosts and satirical billboards.

Dead Skunk in the Trunk

But that's aways been the strength of the Grand Theft Auto games: deftly mixing the violent with the funny, and fitting them snugly together like a baseball bat and a hooker's brain case. Rockstar's seminal crime epic is two parts laugh-out-load hilarious, three parts manically evil.

It's been an entire decade since I first saw that body-in-a-boot, and the series has continued to amp up the controversy in each subsequent game. We've beaten police officers with veiny dildos, unlocked secret sex games, and even saw a willy rendered in 3D. But all the same, seeing that bloodied corpse in this iOS remake still gave me pause.

It does prove one thing: Rockstar won't self-censor for anyone. Chinatown Wars still had a drug-dealing meta-game on the kid-friendly DS, and Grand Theft Auto 3 has kept every morsel of its psychotic, reckless chaos in the leap to the prudish App Store.

Pump-Action Pimp

The move from a 14-button controller to a zero-button touchscreen hasn't hindered this iOS conversion too drastically. Despite the odds, mute crim Claude and his garage of speedy cars control admirably on both iPhone and iPad. Movement with the fake analogue stick works well, and steering with the fake directional buttons is effortless.

The camera does cause concern at times. For the most part you don't need to worry as it zips around for you, constantly eyeing-up your back or your boot. But the few times you need to look around - when reversing out of a tight corner, say, or when being shot in the arse - having to place your thumb in the centre surrenders practically all other control.

Like its PS2 predecessor, this mobile edition of Grand Theft Auto sticks with automated targeting instead of a proper aiming system. This works better when you've got some distance than in close-up. Irksomely, it sometimes prioritises your aim on some innocent biddy rather than the angry triad who's currently loading a shotgun. But combat was never the strong suit of Rockstar's trilogy.

Drive Misty For Me

Driving, on the other hand, is nearly perfect. Set in a world where the motorbike hasn't been invented and the helicopter has evidently been outlawed, you only have to worry about cars, and these motors control well. It lets you bomb around corners with the handbrake, and confidently weave between traffic.

Overall, the controls are a compromise - but mostly a successful one. The visuals are even less hampered by the device. The game runs as smoothly as silk on A5 devices (iPad 2 and iPhone 4S), and moves at a very steady clip on A4 (anything else).

A short draw-distance can make the city disappear into the horizon and strikingly pop-up as you speed towards it. Still, most of the textures and models have been given a tune-up from 2001.

Those are the differences, and everything else has been left in much the same state as you remember it. It's still about executing drive-bys for mob bosses, or collecting taxi fares for extra cash, or flying off one of 20 unique jumps, or just kicking back and getting in a pointless police chase.

Taking Out The Laundry

Grand Theft Auto 3 is more than just tabloid fodder, or a jumping-off point for hundreds of copycat sandbox games. It's an accomplished game in its own right, with wisecrack radio stations that will still make you laugh, a clever city layout that still feels enormous, and caricature criminals that you still enjoy working for.

Despite its advanced age, Grand Theft Auto 3 remains fresh and its huge Story mode is still lots of fun. This isn't just some retro curio trotted out to meet an anniversary date - it's a game you'll come back to again and again, either to advance the story by a few missions or just to see how long you can dodge the cops for.

Grand Theft Auto 3
Reviewer photo
Mark Brown | 15 December 2011
A fitting anniversary gift for a blockbuster franchise. Despite the odds, this is a largely successful port of an iconic game, and it's still massive amounts of fun to evade police, pull off jumps and complete missions
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Have Your Say
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Apr 2013
Post count:
BobCat51 | 03:48 - 13 April 2013
Should I get gta 3 or vice city?
Jun 2012
Post count:
Janice King | 03:56 - 1 June 2012
i would like to buy ipod touch games and then transfer them to the macbook and then after that transfer it to the ipod touch
Jan 2012
Post count:
podi123 | 17:15 - 17 January 2012
i love the story line of this game; great as all the gta stories are. buuuuuuut the graphics could certainly be polished some more, i mean compared to stuff like infinity blade 2 or modern combat etc the graphics are pretty poor. aside from that there arent a lot of problems with this game apart from the odd glitch here and there, (like getting stuck on top of a fire engine) overall - 8/10 :-)
Dec 2011
Post count:
Zorbcck | 16:51 - 23 December 2011
Does anyone know if you can turn the sirens on in vehicles like cop and ambulances if so how?
Dec 2011
Post count:
Gnubaver | 13:02 - 16 December 2011
@NotSoAngryBird I can see that people are different, some overlook it, some see it but don't care, but then you have people like me.

The people that when you get a scratch on the screen of the iPad 2, its small but you know its there. And you can't shake the feeling that something is wrong with the screen. You see the scratch more and more. And when you show your iPad 2 to your friends, you have to point out that there is a little scratch but other then that, its perfect!

I think this can be applied to games that runs good but still show signs of instability.

Actually yesterday after i wrote my first text, i begin playing some gta 3, and all of a sudden i get a total freeze for 2 seconds, and then back to normal.

It's the scratch i see everytime i play gta, everytime i start up gta im thinking about, how will it play? stable?, alot of drops?

Oct 2011
Post count:
NotSoAngryBird | 05:28 - 16 December 2011
@Gnubaver, I too have an iPad2, and been playing the game for a few hours

Yes I agree there's some slight choppiness in the frame rate, but it's so infrequent, I hardly notice it.

Dec 2011
Post count:
Gnubaver | 05:19 - 16 December 2011
35-50 and sometimes going down to 20-25 < Im referring to FPS (Frames per second)
Dec 2011
Post count:
Gnubaver | 04:14 - 16 December 2011
"The game runs as smoothly as silk on A5 devices (iPad 2 and iPhone 4S)"

I wish i could be a reviewer for a day and rewrite this sentence.

How can you say that it runs a s smoothly as silk on A5? I runs quite good but some choppiness arises when turning corners and visiting certain places.

The framerate for A5 (Atleast on my iPad 2, Restarted and has 2 GB free space) Is good at most, ranging between (approx.) 35-50 and sometimes going down to 20-25 at some places when there is alot of people, The clever thing here that seems to have fooled the reviewer is that these "framerate drops" happens only for half a second or something. And this reviewer seems to have "overlooked" this.

The proper sentence if the reviewer wants to be honest to the people who reads this review and honest to himself is: The game runs smoothly on A5 devices for the most time but at certain moments in the game, when there is a lot of light effects and alot of civilians on the screen at the same time, the framerate turns abit twitchy and can't keep the steady framerate we have seen earlier in the game. (iPad 2 and iPhone 4S)

Im from sweden so i apologize for my english, and im really tired atm.

Please reviewer you need to be more analyzing and stop overlooking these stuff. If you think this is silky smooth for everyone playing the game, even hardcore gamers and game developers then there is no need for concern, but next time... think twice before taking everyone with you in the fall.

May sound a bit harsh but its in all good meaning.

// Johan
Dec 2011
Post count:
jme | 22:17 - 15 December 2011
Great review, only wished it would work on my Nexus S >_< gets to title screen and goes blank... like any good emulation