08
APR
Vote for Classic GTA on GOG.com

Top Down GTA - General News | @ 08:00 AM MDT | By Ash_735

Even though Grand Theft Auto 1 and Grand Theft Auto 2 are FREE from the Rockstar Classics website (also free on Steam when you purchase the Grand Theft Auto Complete Pack) the games still pose some problems on modern computers, mainly Grand Theft Auto 1 which has issues of save files corrupting almost instant when playing the game via Windows 7, causing a crash when you next boot up the game.

Luckily, the wishlist section of GOG.com has an entry for both of these games (as well as other Grand Theft Auto Games, but since they are not freeware, they would pose a bit more of a rights problem) where users can cast their vote, if enough users cast their vote for a game, the GOG team will then try and pursue getting that game on their website. What does this mean? Well GOG.com patch older games themselves and fix small code problems that make them unplayable on modern operating systems, if they can't fix a problem, they'll bundle an external emulator instead (such as DOSBox or ScummVM). At the very least, they'll include some bonus goodies to download such as artwork, original manuals as PDF's, etc.

So with that in mind, it's worth voting for Grand Theft Auto 1 and Grand Theft Auto 2 to see if we can at least try and get some of these compatibility issues fixed.
31
JAN
Early DMA employee claims original GTA was "almost canned"

Top Down GTA - General News | @ 02:36 PM MDT | By Neil
As time passes and staff move on, more of those involved in the development of Grand Theft Auto are speaking openly about their experiences building what has become one of the world's most successful video game series. Gamasutra has an interesting interview with Gary Penn, who was part of the team working on the original game:

"And then that evolved into Grand Theft Auto and it was a real mess for years, it never moved on, it never went anywhere. It never really felt like it was going anywhere. It was almost canned. The publisher, BMG Interactive, wanted to can it, as it didn't seem to be going anywhere."

There's also some insight into how the core game mechanics were developed:

"The police behaved really badly, the way they originally worked was just rubbish. Then one day, I think it was a bug, the police suddenly became mental and aggressive. It was because they were trying to drive through you. Their route finding was screwed I think and that was an awesome moment because suddenly the real drama where, "Oh my God, the police are psycho -- they're trying to ram me off the road."

That was awesome, so that stayed in. It was tweaked a little bit, but that stayed in because that was great fun."

Penn's current studio, Denki, has recently faced problems of its own, having to lay off much of its workforce when it failed to find a publisher for word game Quarrel.
24
AUG
Retrospective: Grand Theft Auto

Top Down GTA - General News | @ 08:48 AM MDT | By Ash_735
Over at EuroGamer they have a Retrospective article up for the original Grand Theft Auto, looking back at their first impressions of the game and how it stands up today compared to newer Grand Theft Auto games. It is a nice little read and worth checking out, even if it's to just remind yourself of your reactions to the original game that started this series.

As mentioned in the article, Grand Theft Auto is FREE to download from Rockstar's Classics website along with GTA2, so for those of you who have not played these titles, give them a try and see how things were different back in the day!
27
APR
Car Jack Streets now available

Top Down GTA - General News | @ 06:06 PM MDT | By Neil
If you're waiting for the next Grand Theft Auto title to be announced or have been wishing for even more missions in Chinatown Wars, Car Jack Streets might just be for you. It could be considered a 'spiritual successor' to some of the early Grand Theft Auto titles. The company which makes it, Tag Games, was founded by two ex-DMA Design employees who both worked on GTA. Moreover, they've remained in the city where it all began - Dundee, UK.

The most striking thing about this iPhone game is that it's an almost carbon copy of Grand Theft Auto titles of old, and it bears many similarities to the recently released Chinatown Wars. Most notably, the game is presented from an almost (but not quite) top-down angle, with the odd object flying past you reminding you that this is indeed 3D. Presentation is top notch - the game looks crisp at all times and there's clearly been an effort to ensure that it runs at a good framerate. The excellent interface means that there are few times when your fingers will block the action - surprising for such a small screen. Icons are semitransparent and most only appear when you need them.

The game's story focuses on Randal, the blonde haired protagonist who you'll control for your time in Jack City. He's a million dollars in debt and of course, this is to a very stern looking mob boss. His demands for $50,000 per week have led Randal to crime in order to pay his dues. By a week, the game really does mean a week - it runs in real time, a decision which I'm not entirely sure is the right one.

There's always a clock on screen, so if you're waiting for a bus then you'll always be able to see what time it is now. But that's about where the merits of this system end - if you're a daytime gamer, then you'll never get to see the city under lights, something that makes it look even more impressive. It also means that time is never frozen in the game world - if you stop playing the game for a week and miss an instalment of your repayment you'll have to start the whole game again. It's not ideal, but the company defends its choice by saying that they expect players to easily meet the targets by playing frequently in short bursts.

The good:
  • Huge numbers of missions. The game generates them procedurally, and while it'll always be a "steal this car" or "kill this guy" sort of affair, the locations and characters involved will be different every time.
  • Large number of vehicles. The game brought a smile to my face when I saw a road sweeper slowly passing along the screen with a couple of cars looking eager to get past.
  • Massive library of licensed music. I was surprised by how many different tracks there are in this game. The ability to view the playlists of radio stations, then tap to visit iTunes and buy the track is very convenient.
  • Jack City is large and has a good variety of locations. Just like Chinatown Wars there's an in game racetrack and also beach, dockyard and marina areas. It feels very similar to Liberty City from the original GTA.
  • Great minigames. There's a rampage mode where you're tasked to kill a set number of people in a few seconds, and one where you have to do the opposite and survive as waves of enemies arrive in sedans and try to take you out.
  • Great controls. The on screen D-Pad and accelerate/brake buttons make for an unusual experience at first. Once you're used to it though, moving Randal around will be piece of cake.

The bad:
  • The game's audio leaves a lot to be desired. Car sound effects are weak and more akin to lawnmowers, and there don't appear to be any ambient sounds in the city. There's a good reason why the game starts with the music volume almost maxed out.
  • You can only carry one weapon at a time, and there isn't the option to fight with your bare fists. If you run out of ammo in a firefight, you're brown bread.
  • Vehicle collisions are poor. While there's a Chinatown Wars-style driving assist, if you do hit something then you're in for an erratic ride. Sometimes your car will bounce right off theirs but other times the two will become magnetically joined, only to jump apart a few meters down the road.
  • There's no in game map, which hurts your orientation. The game constantly asks you to use your in game GPS, but this is little more than an on-screen arrow, another feature which makes this very similar to the early GTA games.
  • Missions can feel disjointed, partly due to the GPS. In many of them, you're asked to perform the task and then go to a different location to receive payment. Unfortunately, that new location isn't automatically targeted and you have to go through the menu and find it yourself.

Overall, you probably won't find a handheld game which does such a good job of mimicking GTA elsewhere. The depth and longevity are incredible for a game of this price, as is its superb presentation. The flaws are minor and can easily be missed when looking at the whole package. The developer's Managing Director told GTAGaming that if players aren't happy with the real-time elements and game structure, they'll allow them to play freely in an update. They're keen to "appeal to everyone" and even in this first release they've come very close to doing just that.

Car Jack Streets is available now for iPhone and iPod Touch. It's priced at a very reasonable US$4.99 / £2.99 / €3.99.
13
FEB
PSM: GTA 1 + 2 coming to PlayStation Network

Top Down GTA - General News | @ 12:57 PM MDT | By Neil
PlayStation StoreAccording to the Official UK PlayStation Magazine, Rockstar is set to launch its first downloadable console games in the very near future. The magazine claims that both Grand Theft Auto and GTA2 will be available on the PlayStation Store soon:
"Can't wait for GTA IV? Well, GTA and GTA II, the top-down classics that started it all, are set to appear as PSN downloads"
-- PlayStation Official Magazine UK Issue 16
Source: PlayStation Forums (Scan)
08
FEB
Early DMA Design pictures appear on Flickr

Top Down GTA - General News | @ 11:12 AM MDT | By Neil
Back in the 1990s Rockstar North didn't exist and Mortal Kombat was considered the prime example of video game violence. DMA Design was a small software company working in Dundee, Scotland and they hit the big time with the release of "Grand Theft Auto" on PC.

Times have definitely changed and thanks to the wonders of the internet, founding member Mike Dailly has shared a wealth of photographs of the team, its premises and its products with the world. In the many photo sets which he has uploaded, you'll be able to sample exactly what life in Scotland's fourth city is like, along with early images of Grand Theft Auto.

Full Collection: DMA Design on Flickr
GTA Set: GTA on Flickr
17
MAY
E3: Nintendo Announces Game Boy Micro

Top Down GTA - General News | @ 12:11 PM MDT | By Neil
Nintendo have today announced the introduction of a new system in the Game Boy franchise. Game Boy Micro is the latest handheld from the company, and will play all Game Boy Advance games released to date. The most attractive aspect of Game Boy Micro is its tiny profile, measuring just 4 inches wide, 2 inches tall and 0.7 inches deep. The console weighs just 2.8 ounces and features a 2 inch backlit screen and built in rechargeable lithium ion battery.

Now you've got no excuse not to carry a copy of GTA everywhere you go! Game Boy Micro will be released this Fall. Pricing will be announced at a later date.
22
DEC
Rockstar Classics Volume 3 - GTA2

Top Down GTA - Rockstar/Take2 News | @ 03:28 AM MDT | By Neil
An early christmas present has arrived from Rockstar in the form of Grand Theft Auto 2, which is now available for free download! Re-released as part of their "Classics" series, the 353MB download contains every feature included in the original game which hit shelves back in 1999 and was overlooked by many.
GTA2 expanded on the top-down, open-ended crime world gameplay formula with a host of new features including the advent of multiple rival gangs seven, to be exact, including the Yakuza, Scientists, Looneys, Rednecks, Zaibatsu, the Russian Mob and Hare Krishnas. Earn your respect with each gang in this recoded version fully optimised for modern PC's and Windows versions.

Download: Grand Theft Auto 2 - Rockstar Classics Edition
Resources: Top Down GTA at GTAGaming
04
NOV
Grand Theft Auto Classics Collection

Top Down GTA - General News | @ 11:29 PM MDT | By rappo
Rockstar and Take2Games have released a new collection of Grand Theft Auto games (including the original Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto: London, and GTA 2) all in one package, aptly named the Grand Theft Auto Classics Collection. This is a great way to learn the roots of GTA, especially if you're just sitting around, waiting for the PC version of San Andreas.

If you're interested, you can purchase the Grand Theft Auto Classics Collection for $9.99 at Gamestop.com for PC or for $19.99 at BestBuy for the Playstation.

Note: It is rated M for "Mature (17+)" due to blood, strong language, and violence.

Big thanks to Darkon_X and Angel for their submissions.
26
OCT
First GTA: Advance Reviews & Trailer

Top Down GTA - General News | @ 04:56 PM MDT | By Neil
Gamespot and IGN recently took the time to review today's other big title - Grand Theft Auto for Game Boy Advance. Unfortnately, Gamespot gave the game a low 6.5/10, with IGN being a little more supportive with their 8.5/10 rating.
"There's some nostalgic gameplay here, but by and large GTA Advance just isn't much fun."
-- Gamespot

"The portable rendition retains much of what has made the series, starting with Grand Theft Auto III such a success on the PlayStation 2, and it's clear that Digital Eclipse understood the idea of the series...even in its 2D design. It's definitely one the most ambitious games created on the Game Boy Advance."
-- IGN

The first trailer of the game has also been released by Rockstar. You can grab it from the link below.

Review: Gamespot
Review: IGN
Movie: GTA: Advance Trailer
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