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History of Grand Theft Auto

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the back-to-the-top-down-days dept.

Classic Games (Games) 54

jasoncart writes "With the launch of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas this week, Ferrago has taken a look back at everyone's favorite non-linear series."

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Site is slow (2, Informative)

zebs (105927) | more than 9 years ago | (#10674733)

Was slow when reading it as a /. subscriber. Took a copy and its here [zebs.org.uk]

Re:Site is slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10674874)

It's not slow now.

Um... (2, Insightful)

Intellectual Elitist (706889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10674775)

The author thinks that the "mute mothafucka" (thanks, C.J.) from GTA3 and Tommy Vercetti from GTA:VC are the same guy. That should give you some idea of the overall worth of the piece.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676977)

they are.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10679515)

What makes you think that? I have seen to reason to think so. They don't even look the same. He's way too young in Liberty City, which takes place 20 some odd years later.

Re:Um... (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685004)

I thought it was a well known fact that they are the same person. Vice city is supposed to be what happens before you ever got to vice city to start your reign of crime there. Same main character in the 80's before the start in liberty city.

Nope. [GTA:SA spoiler] (1)

Intellectual Elitist (706889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10692704)

First of all, GTA:VC takes place in the mid-80s, about 15 years before GTA3. Since Tommy Vercetti in GTA:VC is at least in his late 20s, that would put him in his mid 40s during the GTA3 time period, and the mute guy clearly isn't that old.

On top of that, GTA:SA takes place in the early 90s, and in that game you actually meet the mute GTA3 guy from that time period, who looks much younger than he did in GTA3, and obviously much younger than Tommy Vercetti in GTA:VC, which took place years earlier.

So, your "well known fact" is dead wrong.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10704066)

What do you have to back that up? Why would thing biggest criminal drug kingpin in Vice City be robbing banks with his crazy girlfriend in Liberty city 20 years later? You'd think he could afford better clothes for one thing. And also, what happened, did someone rip out his voicebox?

It all started in 120 BC (-1, Offtopic)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 9 years ago | (#10674788)

... when Biggus Dickus' chariot was stolen from him by Longus Wangus in Toronto, upon which he spoke the now immortal words "Fuck you, Longus Wangus! I'll kick your dog!"

Re:It all started in 120 BC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10674938)

be quiet

lame article text (3, Funny)

whiteSanjuro (693864) | more than 9 years ago | (#10674826)

privateer was *my* favorite non-linear series...

Re:lame article text (1)

Yorrike (322502) | more than 9 years ago | (#10675427)

Zelda was and currently is mine. Many, many others would agree.

Re:lame article text (1)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676454)

Elite [clara.net] and Sid Meier's Pirates! are other examples of early non-linear video games that EVERY gamer should play. Yes they are both still fun to play today. Elite is even a true 3D game, with 3D graphics, physics, and world! Considering that the game was made in the early 80s for the NES and BBC Micro, that says something about programming skills.

Re:lame article text (2, Informative)

horsebutt (714262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676527)

And Pirates is jut about to be re-released. It is being done by Sid Meier, so isnt going to be a dodgy remake by someone else.

Re:lame article text (1)

antime (739998) | more than 9 years ago | (#10678229)

No, based on the features I've read it's going to be a dodgy remake by Sid Meier. Maybe they've added something more, but when I last looked (many months ago) it seemed to be the same game with newer graphics.

Re:lame article text (1)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10679127)

I see no problem with that. There was nothing wrong with the original gameplay. Would you refuse to play tetris with better graphics or chess with better graphics, etc? If the game isn't broke, don't fix it.

Re:lame article text (1)

antime (739998) | more than 9 years ago | (#10679259)

If I want to play the original I can - no need to pay for that. Besides, a graphically touched up version already exists (Pirates! Gold from 1993), selling the same game yet one more time does smell like a cynical cash-in.

Re:lame article text (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 9 years ago | (#10680164)

No, it's something fans of the game have been demanding for 10 years. If you don't like it, fine by me, but I'm looking forward to it tremendously. And I know a lot of people who do the same. If anything, I worry that the things they decided to add are detrimental - the dancing or the sneaking sub-games, for instance.

Re:lame article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10681349)

Boy, I sure can't wait to pay $40-50 for a game I already bought ten years ago!!!!!1!!!

Re:lame article text (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 9 years ago | (#10681822)

Bah.

Re:lame article text (1)

horsebutt (714262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10684424)

It will be fantastic. I have it on preorder. Cant Wait. The original was one of the best games ever released. Even if it is just an update in graphics it will still be an awsome game.

Memories... (0, Flamebait)

Will_Malverson (105796) | more than 9 years ago | (#10674966)

GTA for me has the distinction of being the last MS-DOS game I ever bought.

Re:Memories... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10675083)

Your sig is interesting.

Where's the range of dates where you mention the 15,000 innocent Iraqis who have died since we invaded their country?

Re:Memories... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10675109)

Don't forget the 3000+ civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

Re:Memories... (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685205)

Last time I checked there were no americans dancing in the streets of the major cities celebrating the Iraqi casualties.

Re:Memories... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10675105)

Thanks for the reminder in your sig. I would have forgotten all about that.

Advertising hell... (0, Offtopic)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 9 years ago | (#10675050)

Hard to imagine that I could load that article in 800x600 and *NOT* see a single word of it without scrolling down...

Re:Advertising hell... (1)

jasoncart (573937) | more than 9 years ago | (#10675090)

Try visiting Gamespy or IGN then... interstitals, popups, and flash popovers as well as more banners on the content than we have on our site.

Anyhow, isn't most of the room above the fold used for the image illustrating the story?

The site is designed for 1024x768 and above as most gamers have above average spec gfx cards & monitors.

Re:Advertising hell... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677826)

The site is designed for 1024x768 and above as most gamers have above average spec gfx cards & monitors.


Then how come your site looks like shit in 1024x768 too?

Re:Advertising hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677997)

Such an insightful comment.

Re:Advertising hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10680405)

Thanks. Feel free to mod it up if you have some points on you.

Re:Advertising hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10681345)

The site is designed for 1024x768 and above as most gamers have above average spec gfx cards & monitors.

Incorrect statement. Maybe your target audience has above-average-spec gfx cards & monitors, but "most gamers" don't. I'd hesitate to say that an overwhelming majority of gamers own their own computer.

So tired (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10675141)

When that trend on hiphop game is going to end?
There's so much noise (rap,r&b,hiphop) on radio, movies and tv... why crimes and wiggers culture have to corrupt everything else?
Are people so empty they fill their emptyness with that filth?

GTA2 (5, Interesting)

NereusRen (811533) | more than 9 years ago | (#10675204)

Am I the only one who loved GTA2? I still play the multiplayer occasionally with my dorm friends. The balance of power between various weapons and powerups makes it quite strategic, with lots of room for improving your game through intelligence and skill.

Re:GTA2 (1)

bairy (755347) | more than 9 years ago | (#10675580)

You're not alone. Gta2 had two things going for it: Gangs and intelligence. You had to juggle between the gangs and not do too many things for one for fear of being attacked by the other. On the other hand running over heaps of over-angry gang members was so much fun

Gta 3+VC had the 3d but sadly lost both the gang approach and the aiming for a score approach and replaced it with a linear story. Overall, much less challenging.

So yeah overall GTA2 was more enjoyable because it was so easy to vary.

Re:GTA2 (1)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676476)

While I never played GTA2, I played GTA when it was first released in late 1997, early 1998. I loved it, wondered why nobody else was playing it, and wondered why the critics gave it a thumbs down. Motorcycles, multiplayer, and many other features were cut for GTA3, yet most gamers were first introduced to the series with GTA3... and most have no sense of the series history.

I have even heard and read reviews were people claim that GTA3:VC was not as good as GTA3 because GTA3 was new, revolutionary, experimental, etc... while GTA3:VC was too much like GTA3. Well, I hate to point this out, but GTA3 is allot like the original GTA. Sure the presentation had improved ALLOT, but other than that, very little had changed.

In my opinion, each entry in the series has its benefits. My favorite so far is GTA3:VC because it has the best presentation out of all 3, and you don't feel like a loser by the end of the game... you feel like a kingpin!

Re:GTA2 (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#10680475)

Yeah I played the original GTA on PC way back. I was absolutely blown away by the fun factor. There is something about that overhead view that today's GTA should also incorporate. Only problem was the network portion of the game, which was simply aweful if you tried LAN play.

Re:GTA2 (1)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10682271)

GTA3 has a camera angle that is the traditional pulled out overhead view of the original GTA.

Lots of info missing! (4, Informative)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676494)

You would have figured that they would point out that the first GTA released in 1997 included Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas all in the same game. Most gamers who even played the first GTA when it was released never got past Liberty City. I personally never got past San Andreas. The original GTA was far more difficult than GTA3, mainly do to the fact that messing up a mission was a far bigger set back in GTA. You couldn't just do the mission over again, and it would also reset your score multiplier making even harder to raise enough money to get to the next city.

Re:Lots of info missing! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676966)

Actually, I was able to get past San Andreas and into Vice City, though I must say, I liked the layout of San Andreas the best of the three maps.

If I remember right, there were 2 sets of missions for Liberty City, 3 sets for San Andreas, and 2 for Vice City. I only finished 1 in Vice City before getting tired and moving onto other things.

And one good thing was that if you did screw up all your missions (like I did once), you could turn to other methods of raising revenue - e.g. stealing cars (then selling them at cranes), and the ever popular "Guaranga" :-)

There were a lot of secret areas - some only accessible via bike (or even super bike). I highly doubt I managed to find them all!

Re:Lots of info missing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677523)

Easiest way to unlock the second and third cities: get your wanted level up, and find a second-story perch on "private property". In GTA1 your score (or cashbox, whichever) would increment faster based on your wanted level. I miss that.

Re:Lots of info missing! (2, Interesting)

caustiq (826139) | more than 9 years ago | (#10678263)

Did anyone else ever line up as many cars as they could, as close as they could get together ... and then blow one up with a rocket launcher causing a chain explosion, and resultant score multiplication? This is how I got to Vice City, by doing this in one of San Andreas' large parking lots. I've never seen this mentioned anywhere, but I remember racking up HUGE scores like this. Would make for a nice screenshot too, my explosions were gigantic, (so large in fact you would have to make sure the explosions wouldn't spread off the screen, as you wouldn't recieve any cash...)

Re:Lots of info missing! (1)

Morgon (27979) | more than 9 years ago | (#10681145)

Yes, that was the only way I could raise the million(?) to get out of the first city! .... And of course, during one game it was the first and only thing I had to do. lol

Re:Lots of info missing! (1)

ricotest (807136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10678672)

I wonder why they took Guaranga out of GTA 3 and up :(

Re:Lots of info missing! (1)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10679146)

Actually, now that you mention it, I did get past San Andreas. I had their order switch in my memory. I remember seeing 3 separate areas. The last one was Vice City and everything looked old and rusty. It must have been Vice City that I never passed.

Yeah, it was great that you could actually play through the game by selling stolen cars. It is called Grand Theft AUTO. The Super Bike was like riding a missile. Pure speed, pure health hazard.

GTA remakes? (0)

mrgreen4242 (759594) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676656)

Have there been any GTA2 style clones done as open source/linux projects yet? Seems like a likely candidate for an OSS game project, and I'm hankrin for a game I can play on my desktop!

Re:GTA remakes? (5, Informative)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676956)

For what it's worth, Rockstar relased GTA as freeware a while back. It wouldn't hurt to try to get it to work under Wine.

And for the record, other than the opening movies, Vice City works perfectly under Cedega.

Number One Question.... (3, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677366)

Why does the AI in GTA3 suck so thoroughly? Don't get me wrong, I really like the game. But my enjoyment is slightly spoiled by non-player characters that literaly can't find their way out of a corner. Makes it much too easy to avoid the police. What makes it really sad is that the advanced hype for the game promise the most sophisticated AI ever. Not what we got.

I guess my question is rhetorical, 'cause I know the answer. Whoever was assigned to write the AI just totally underestimated the difficulty of the task. Almost all programmers make that mistake -- they don't appreciate the difficulty of emulating human behavior. The exceptions are all serious computer scientists.

So, RQ2: why didn't they hire some of those? They had the budget for big name actors to do the voices, to render a couple hundred buildings in detail, and to develop the VR engine to make it all work. Surely they could hire an AI expert or two. Answer: they just didn't know any better. Too bad.

LOL AI is not budget, it is impossible (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 9 years ago | (#10678418)

Each and every FPS or similar game promises revolutionary AI that will stun you. It never happens. The problem is that while moving out of a corner is easy for humans it isn't for computers. Even realising that something is in a corner is a complex piece of programming.

Only with very thight scripting and severely limiting the available options can current AI be made to look at least slightly as smart as a concussed kitten.

The reason? Two fold, AI research is just bloody complex and expensive. If they can't do it with purpose built robots costing billions then why should a game company be able? Second is that AI takes a lot of CPU power and the fast majority of users are still stuck on the old 1 cpu crap that intel been pushing for decades.

A game company has a simple choice, spend money on flash graphics and be sure it will look pretty or spend it on AI and risk it still being dumb as shit but also ugly looking.

If you don't believe me that AI is difficult just try to write a path finding routine in pseudo code. Your in an artificial enviroment so you don't need to worry about how you detect wether you are in front of a wall. The detection always works. BUT it is not a simple maze. Walls are at odd angles, some are wide some are small and walking down the middle of them is a no-no.

Just try it. Then you will have your answer. Oh and if you manage, now add objectives like having to chase a randomly moving object while avoiding other moving objects. That is after all what is happening in GTA.

Non-linear? (3, Insightful)

Elkboy (770849) | more than 9 years ago | (#10678325)

I would hardly call GTA non-linear. It displays the old split between dynamic simulation and linear narration well because they are there side-by-side. They don't come together very much at all though, despite being combined quite expertly. At least GTA doesn't feel like half a film like some other games, but don't tell me the main story progression isn't linear. You can crash all the rides you want and cap all the bitchassmuthas you want, but you still go from A to B and then C if you want to experience anything more than a complex sandbox.

I guess to bridge the gap between simulation and narration you'd need some kind of story engine, but considering the trouble game developers have with simple AI I'm guessing that's far off.

Yet another stupid mistake in the article... (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 9 years ago | (#10678364)

It claims that DMA Designs was renamed Rockstar North before GTA3. It wasn't, look at an original (not Playstation Platinum) GTA3 box, it says DMA design. DMA changed name sometime after GTA3, as the Platinum version has the Rockstar North instead, and Vice City is also Rockstar North.

GTA (3, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 9 years ago | (#10678436)

As someone who owns EVERY PC GTA game, including the london add-ons etc., I think the original GTA was the best. It wasn't the storyline, that was just humour especially with the London addon, but the freeform play, especially when networked.

When I got bored of trying to play it properly (which was much harder in the original GTA than in the 3-D versions), my brother and I would network and that was just fantastic (albeit very buggy in DOS and unplayable on Windows with my machines at the time). Trying to line up a screen full of cars and then rocket-launchering and trying to surf over the top of the cars as they exploded was great fun.

Skidding around on a bike in the middle of machine-gunning gang was just right and if you were quick and smart you could set up booby traps with some cars and blow them all to kingdom come.

The multiplayer was simple but effective, leading to some good car chases and using the local terrain and traffic to avoid each other's bullets.

GTA2 was a bit too much like another add-on, just a graphical overhaul and a slight change in mission structure, and I never really got into that as much. The graphics were also too dark and the "lighting" was just there to be eye candy and nothing else.

GTA3/VC, although good and groundbreaking, just doesn't rock my socks... it's fun to mess about in but you get bored and the missions are just of the save-and-retry type, along with some impossible ones like controlling the remote control choppers.

All of the games, though, have that right balance of freeform and mission-led play. When you ran out of missions in GTA1, you could go selling cars for a while until the police came and you had to make a quick getaway.

GTA2 had a marvellous idea for missions where you have to keep in with a local gang to get more, or defect to another gang to get theirs. GTA3 has been a good translation to 3D and it keeps the same style, I'm just not sure that it's as good.

The fact that you can load up any of them, load in any saved game and just piss about for a while is a major attraction, especially when you can't do that next-to-impossible mission and want to relax.

What I want to see is basically OpenGTA1... same game, same style, loads of new capabilities and missions.

Re:GTA (1)

caustiq (826139) | more than 9 years ago | (#10682387)

An OSS Project for GTA1 would be amazing.

Although not open, there's Payback [apex-designs.net] , a gta1 clone coming out for linux.

whatever happened to the hari krishnas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10682200)

one of the best moments in the original GTA was managing to mow down a whole row of the funny little orange guys. why did they take that out? it couldn't have been that it was too politically incorrect, considering that you can still beat passers-by to death for no reason...
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