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     " Pure evil... "

      Title: Grand Theft Auto III by Rockstar

      Format: Evil incarnate for PS2

      Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

      The Hype: Take Liberty City by storm. Get jobs from different mob bosses, fight for or against tons of gangs and basically do whatever the hell you want. This game redefines several genres; tons of missions, tons of weapons, tons of everything that makes games great. Once you start this game you won't put it down.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Well after months of saying that I wouldn't play this game because it is just too damn evil, I finally had to break down and give it a shot so we could post this review. What can I say; I was stupid to put it off this long. This game rules, but not because of the graphics. In fact the graphics are probably the worst part of this game. That's not to say that the graphics are bad, just that they aren't as awesome as everything else in the game. The problem is that the game tried to do too much and just couldn't make it all blend together. The cities have cool buildings and there are tons of pedestrians and cars to look at, but the textures are extremely lacking on anything that moves. The most annoying part are the newspapers that are always blowing around on the streets. While these give the game a cool atmosphere they popup right in front of you, I mean like seriously two feet in front of you which is really bothersome.
          The absolutely worst part is that the frame rate gets sticky sometimes for seemingly no reason, but usually it only bogs down for a couple of seconds. Other than that the graphics are definitely decent especially considering the amount of crap that the PS2 has to be processing at once, but I definitely feel that it could have been better. 3.5 out of 5.

      Sound: Here we go, the sound is a lot of what makes this game. First of all the voice acting is really well done almost across the board. There were actually some recognizable people hired for this game and for the most part they did a great job. But along with the voice acting you also get a bunch of music to listen to. When you drive your cars around the city you can choose what radio station you want to listen to. All the stations are worth checking out, and there are a couple that you absolutely must listen to if you want to get a good laugh. My personal favorites are Chatterbox (a call in talk show) and Double Clef (classical music - the mafia always seem to have their cars tuned in to this station). You really need to listen to what people on the streets say it's usually very entertaining, or just plain creepy like those guys who always quote phrases from Village People songs. 4.5 out of 5.

      Playability: Now this is why you have been hearing about this game nonstop since it first came out. As much as it is pure evil in the fact that it is so casual towards all kinds of violence that you must, or just can if you want to do, the game is just incredibly addicting and fun to play. Really, you better have beaten all of your other games before you start playing this one because chances are you won't get to them for a while. As the name implies you spend a lot of time in this game driving around in cars. The best part is that there is a great variety of vehicles to choose from and they all have different speed, power, and handling capabilities. The different qualities of the vehicles are important to remember too because some vehicles are well suited to certain missions, while others will guarantee failure. When you're not driving in this game you can walk around Liberty City with your arsenal of weapons and pretty much do just about whatever you want. If you want to shoot some gang members, go ahead, if you fell like being a cab driver steal a taxi and drive people around. If you think that you've been working against the cops too much steal a police vehicle and track down some bad guys, or you can put out fires with a fire truck, rescue dying people with the ambulance, hell- some vehicles (like the patriot - basically a Humvee) have missions that can only be accessed by getting into certain ones. And if you have time you can look around for secret packages (finding a bunch of them will make the game easier trust me) or find all the rampages and kill as many thugs as you can. Or you can look around for the cool jumps that are scattered around and try to get some insane stunt bonuses. Hell if you want just steal and blow up a bunch of cars because for whatever reason every time a car blows up because of you get $50.00. There is seriously just so much that you can do in this game that you will constantly be amazed. The game is immense and if you actually decide to follow the missions at some point you won't be disappointed because they are hugely varied and you are rewarded for learning the streets of the city and for thinking of creative ways to beat the missions. There really is no straight line to follow in this game you just do it how you want to and eventually you will end up at the end. Not to mention that the people on the street do really interesting and unpredictable things a lot. One time I was walking over a bridge and found a pile of money on the ground next to a chalk outline where moments before two guys had just beaten the crap out of a random stranger, and twice I have gotten out of my car to pick off a few enemies only to turn around and see some asshole driving off in my getaway vehicle! The only gripe that I have about the playability is that it can be very hard to target people when you are walking on the streets, it isn't a huge pain in the ass, but it can be a bit annoying. 4.5 out of 5.

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Okay now here's the thing. This game doesn't have and multiplayer, and usually I don't knock games for that but I must at least bitch at the creators at Rockstar because of the tremendous possibilities that they totally just missed out on. For you guys here is how multiplayer should have worked with this game. 2 to 4 players could: A) Play taxi missions ala Simpson's Road Rage B) See who could put out the most fires the quickest (and blow up each others fire trucks in the process C) Go on rampages and see who can fill the morgue up the fastest D) Have checkpoint races through the city streets E) Have a giant demolition derby contest F) See who can steel the most cars G) Have a stunt competition H) Have a good old death match, these are just a few of the tons of things that this game could have had for multiplayer and it is a damn shame that it didn't. I just hope we get some of these with GTA Vice City (perhaps online support?). As far as replayability, this game has it in spades due mostly to the huge amounts of things to do around town, and the nonlinearity of the game where you may miss out on a few missions the first time through. 4 out of 5.

      Story/Dramatics: The story in this game is on the same line as the rest. It is really, very entertaining and captivating. You play a man who has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Find work from various gang members throughout the city, do a good job and there just may be plenty more business coming your way, but be careful, rival gang members will learn to recognize your face in a hurry. In this game you will want to complete the missions just to see what the hell is going to be thrown at you next. The story line is great as you work for tons of gangs ranging from the Mafia to the Yakuza, and the Yardies, and work against tons of gangs like the Triad and the Columbian cartel. Hell you even get hired to go after one of your previous employers at one point in the game. All in all the story is well written and definitely entertaining. 5 out of 5.

      The Verdict:

       This game is just amazing it really lives up to all of the hype that you've heard. The sheer variety of things to do will make your head explode, and the diversity of the missions make this game an experience that nobody should miss out on.

      The Good: Damn near everything, but especially the story, the voice acting the missions the amount of crap you can do in the game, and just the fact that you are rewarded for blowing up cars.

      The Bad: The graphics really aren't that great, targeting enemies can be a chore, and there is no multiplayer support.

      The Overall Ugly: GTA three raises the bar and sets several standards that new games are going to have to try to live up to.

      What it's Worth: Market plus a few.

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