The History of: GTA

The guys over at Gamespot have posted a new article about GTA for their History of: series which, apparently, was written by someone who knows little about the games prior to GTA3. If you only started playing the games after they went 3D and want a little info about the older titles, the article might be a good read. There’s some decent canned descriptions about the classics- just be sure to take it all with the proverbial grain of salt, as some of it is rather dodgy and opinionated.

If, on the other hand, you’re a long-time fan of GTA, you’ll surely get a laugh or two out of the story. I spotted enough amusing errors and silly bits myself to bang out a brief rant about it on the forums. If you’re interested, you can read a repost of it by hitting the “read more” link.

Thanks to Schu over at Gouranga! and ProXimity WarNing on GTAF for the heads up.

Pffft. Stupid Gamedot. Great “article”- some half assed descriptions of each game, a handful of poorly researched “facts”, and a sad display of GTA3D fanboyism/graphics whore-edness. One would think a big game site would know what they’re talking about.

Even for those days, the game’s top-down, 2D graphics were relatively primitive. Your character and other people walking around the levels animated awkwardly.

Gamedot @ GTA

Erm, yea, okay graphics whore. Nevermind the fact they started working on the game in 1995 when CPU’s were about as fast as a modern pocket calculator. Pay no attention to the fact the ped sprites had like 24 frames of animation just for running, and another 100 or so for everything else. And let’s just ignore that the 3D engines of the day would have died under the weight of all the peds and cars onscreen in the game. But, yea, a pretty (read: blocky with a 5 meter draw distance, and two cars and a ped on screen) 3D would have been soooo much better than making a fun old-school game. 

…an expansion pack called London 1969 was released. As the title suggests, Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 took the series into a different time period and setting. But as far as the gameplay went, not a lot changed, aside from driving on the left side of the road. The top-down graphics were the same…

Gamedot @ GTA:L

Hmmmm, Right after saying it’s an expansion pack, they go on to complain abuot the graphics and such being the same? Erm, looks to me like someone forgot to take their Ritalin, and didn’t bother to read their first sentence after it got lost in the haze of ADD. No f*cking sh*t it looked the same, what do they expect? And not only was it just an addon, it wasn’t even made by R*^, GTAL was a product of a few people at R*NY and R*Toronto (mostly just Ray Larabie). Furthermore, they used fan-made tools (GTACars and such) to create the addon. I suppose next the author of this article will say CounterStrike sucks because it has the same engine as Half Life? 

Oh, and London also had a few instances of driveby shooting, which most considered new in 3. And it seems they forgot all about the second GTA:L addon as well…

The sequel, Grand Theft Auto 2, at least made a token attempt at advancing the series….

Aside from these minor tweaks, everything pretty much remained the same between Grand Theft Auto and its sequel–the top-down, 2D presentation and the tedious manner in which you had to accumulate points to unlock later levels both remained.

…Players would have to wait until Grand Theft Auto III for changes that revolutionized the franchise, and many would argue they were changes that revolutionized gaming in general�

Gamedot @ GTA2

GTFO of the game industry. Now. I hardly know where to start on this. Well, for one, the screenshot embedded in the article (with “GTA 2 was not a very inspired sequel” as a caption, no less) shows a nice example of the onscreen chaos. Not sure if this guy ever played GTA2, but the density of peds and cars onscreen was- and still is -mindblowing. For those reading this rant who may have missed out on 2, there were literally dozens of peds and cars in view at any given time. In congested areas, this number could jump up to like 50 peds/cars. All with no drop in frame rate. GTA was, is, and always will be all about the “living breathing city”, and what better way to illustrate this than with a crowded area? As it stands, the 3D GTA’s probably won’t catch up to this level of insanity until either the PS4, or until they ditch making toy versions for consoles and focus on PC’s with a bottom spec of dual 3ghz+ processors.

And whilst on the subject of graphics, did the author not notice GTA2 uses proper 3D environments with real-time lighing, stencil shadows, and whatnot? Oh, right, graphics whores don’t notice this kind of thing unless the engine pushes a bazillionty polygons per second. Then of course there’s the explosions, which still look better than the explosions in SanAn, and a number of nifty particle effects.

As for revolutionizing the series waiting until GTA3, bah, I say. The only things GTA3 really revolutionized were the graphics and story stuffs. Otherwise, lots of things took a step back from GTA2. For starters, there was the dynamic gang respect thing which went awol until San An. Sure, GTA3 let you work for different gangs, but all of it was scripted and linear. IMHO, GTA2 did a better job of making such things open-ended.

Next up is the AI- If you’ve ever played GTA3, you probably noticed that cops pretty much just went in a straight line towards you, and in some cases stood bewildered on the other side of a small wall, shooting brainlessly in your general direction without results. In GTA2, the cops (or whoever else might be chasing) would actually go around things to find you- even if this meant driving around the block and navigating up a couple of flights of stairs.

Oh, and who could forget the cops in 2 actually chasing and shooting at gangs, pickpockets, and other criminals; even if you were wanted. This feature was gone in 3. It made a half assed comeback in VC with cops chasing scripted criminals. And In San An, the cops finally pay attention to other criminals again. Although they’ll now completely ignore them if you’re wanted, even if they’re getting shot at from behind and all you have is a handful of flowers.

Then there were trailers which disappeared until just recently, vehicle add-ons (mmmmmm, mines and oil slicks), stealth missions using the silenced machine gun, and the various levels of police attention including a national guard with tanks that fired on you with cannons. Oh, yes, and there’s the apparently little known fact the first four games had online multiplayer…

Since there was no save system, this required a ton of patience.

Grand Theft Auto and its sequel–the top-down, 2D presentation and the tedious manner in which you had to accumulate points to unlock later levels both remained.

Gamedot @ GTA and 2

Silly b00n. GTA2 had the churches where you could save the game whenever you wanted.

The most obvious difference between Grand Theft Auto III and previous games in the series is the 3D engine, which was made possible by the series moving onto the PlayStation 2 console

Gamedot @ GTA3

BBQ? This has to be the single most idiotic statement I’ve heard in ages. The only thing the PS2 made possible was dumbing down the graphics and the gameplay so it could run on the console’s limited resources. If the PS2 is the divine creator of all things GTA3D, then why the f*ck did the game look and run better on the PC? 

The city was designed in such a way that those who played the game long enough could actually navigate by landmarks without using the map.

Gamedot @ GTA3

And the first 4 didn’t? Funny, I don’t remember a radar map, and I got around just fine by looking at landmark buildings.

Many found it fun just committing random crimes and earning higher and higher “wanted” ratings so the FBI helicopters and military tanks would go after them.

Gamedot @ GTA3

Erm, again, GTA2 already had higher “wanted” levels. Been there, done that, and with 20-30 army dudes on the screen trying to kill me, with jeeps having mounted gun turrets, and tanks firing rockets at me.

[/end rant]