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Ziggy587
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My experience with Grand Theft Auto III

by Ziggy587 Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:11 am

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I got my PS2 for Christmas in 2001. I'll never forget the first two PS2 games I got for myself. I traded in a bunch of stuff at Funco Land to put toward the purchase of Agent Under Fire and Grand Theft Auto III. Of course, this was during the Great Memory Card Shortage, during which a memory card was impossible to find. There simply were none anywhere.

So for a while, I owned GTA3 without a memory card. I would sometimes play the missions, but I never wanted to play too many missions knowing that I couldn't save my progress. There was one time I was getting a ride to the mall, I vowed I wouldn't leave the mall without a memory card. So I left my PS2 on, thinking I could come home with a memory card, pop it in and finally save my progress. LOL, well, nope. I think I left my PS2 on all day that day, getting as far in the story that I had up to that point, not wanting to shut it off and lose my progress.

I don't know how many weeks or months I owned GTA3 without having a memory card, but of course being younger it felt like forever. So I would ignore the missions the best I could and just enjoy the sandbox nature of the game. I think that's what really drew me to the game anyway. Sure, there was the cutting edge violence and language. Know one had every seen a game that you could run someone down in your car, get out and take their money, then bludgeon someone with a baseball bat just cause. But it was done in such a comical way. When you ran someone over in a car, it made a cartoon squish sound. And even when you were beating some one with a bat or gunning them down, it was kinda of cartoonish. From the weird and quarky things people said on the streets, to the cavalier attitude the game had toward physics. And the cut scenes were like something out of Goodfellas, but totally self aware.

So I would just roam the streets of Portland, being that I couldn't unlock the rest of the city. By the time I finally got a memory card, I knew the streets of Portland as well as the streets in my own neighborhood. I knew where to find a ton of hidden packages just off the top of my head. I played the game for what seemed like an eternity before I finally unlocked Staunton Island. Then my mind was blown. Holy shit, there's another island and it's BIGGER! There's tons of new vehicles that I've never seen before. And yet another island that will have to be unlocked.

It wasn't long before Vice City came out, but I mostly ignored it because I was so invested in GTA3. There was just so much to in the game, and I wasn't any where close to doing it all. I rented Vice City at one point. It's technically better. Motorcycles and whatnot. It might even look and play better. By why is the player character talking? That was perhaps the coolest thing about GTA3. The silent protagonist. Like Sonic the Hedgehog. But he's got a black leather jacket and his hair is slicked back like James Dean.

I never really bonded with another GTA game since then. I eventually picked up a copy of Vice City, but I never played much of it. I completely ignored San Andreas. I played through GTA4 when I first got my PS3, but I didn't enjoy it nearly on the same level as GTA3. But I just finished playing through the HD GTA3 on PS4, which was the first time I've played it in years, and I had a blast. The camera sucks, and the fact that you can't control seems archaic. But I still had a blast. I couldn't believe that the second I heard each song on the radio for the first time in years, that I instantly remembered them explicitly. Like, these might have well been songs that were on the radio in the real world while I was in high school.

Anyways, just thought I would share. :D
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: My experience with Grand Theft Auto III

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:09 am

Your experience echoes my own. I picked up that game at release when I was in college and marathoned it with my roommates. We didn’t spend too much time on the missions either. We just drove around, listening to music, and causing mayhem. So much fun. I later beat Vice City, but no other game in the series ever really clicked with me. Like you, I think the silent protagonist and indie soundtrack really added to the game’s appeal, and I don’t think Rockstar’s replicated that in future iterations.
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Ziggy587
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Re: My experience with Grand Theft Auto III

by Ziggy587 Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:15 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Like you, I think the silent protagonist and indie soundtrack really added to the game’s appeal, and I don’t think Rockstar’s replicated that in future iterations.


Glad I'm not the only person to think so. It always seemed to me like GTA3 was largely forgotten after Vice City was released. I remember every one in high school going on about Vice City. I felt like an outsider.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: My experience with Grand Theft Auto III

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:48 am

Ziggy587 wrote:
prfsnl_gmr wrote:Like you, I think the silent protagonist and indie soundtrack really added to the game’s appeal, and I don’t think Rockstar’s replicated that in future iterations.


Glad I'm not the only person to think so. It always seemed to me like GTA3 was largely forgotten after Vice City was released. I remember every one in high school going on about Vice City. I felt like an outsider.


GTAIII is where it’s at. That game is still cool, IMO. The game’s after that felt too bloated and too mainstream.
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Gunstar Green
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Re: My experience with Grand Theft Auto III

by Gunstar Green Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:50 am

I spent most of my time just screwing around in GTA3. I didn't get much else out of it beyond the novelty of the big open city that technically wasn't anything new for the series, but the change in perspective made all the difference.

Vice City is the first one I actually got into and really loved. San Andreas was good but that's where I feel like the series was maybe starting to try and do too much.

In a way, GTA3 is the last traditional GTA game because after that things became more focused on characters and story and starting with San Andreas it started to take itself more seriously and then try and make the cities feel more real for better or worse.
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Ziggy587
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Re: My experience with Grand Theft Auto III

by Ziggy587 Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:25 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:GTAIII is where it’s at. That game is still cool, IMO. The game’s after that felt too bloated and too mainstream.


Gunstar Green wrote:Vice City is the first one I actually got into and really loved. San Andreas was good but that's where I feel like the series was maybe starting to try and do too much.


By the time San Andreas came out, I was STILL playing GTA3. I remember hearing about it and how much stuff there was to do in it, and that actually put me off. I still haven't ever tried San Andreas, but it always sounded really bloated to me.

I should give Vice City another go though.
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Sload Soap
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Re: My experience with Grand Theft Auto III

by Sload Soap Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:58 pm

I came to GTAIII after Vice City and found it a bit lacking in comparison. It wasn't just the lack of bikes and helicoptors, or the awesome soundtrack. It just felt a bit emptier, a bit stilted. I still really dug it and played the hell out of it but kept returning to Vice City. I think missions tend to be a bit more varied in Vice City as well if memory serves.

San Andreas is in retrospect bloated and stuffed full of ideas that don't really pan out. San Andreas was also when the writing went from being smartly satirical to just being obvious.
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MrPopo
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Re: My experience with Grand Theft Auto III

by MrPopo Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:12 pm

So when I played GTAIII I was having fun with it until I unlocked the second island. Due to the story you basically couldn't go back to the first island; any time you drove around all the mafia cards would try and blow you up. Which meant I was now locked out of progressing the ambulance and police missions, since they started on the first island and I hadn't finished all the ones on the first island yet.

Then Vice City came out and they fixed those problems. Now progressing the story only gave you more options; it didn't make your life more difficult. And I preferred the soundtrack.
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Ack
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Re: My experience with Grand Theft Auto III

by Ack Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:09 pm

I sadly didn't get into the series until Vice City. I had played GTA3 a bit while at friends, but since I had never been able to buy a copy, I just wrote it off when I managed to pick up Vice City later and then San Andreas and the PS2 ports. I loved what I got with Vice City, and when I saw in SA that I could steal a riding lawnmower, well, that was it for me. I managed to max out my bicycle skills in that game before even starting the first mission.

I never went any further though, probably because you're right, these games got overwhelming. I adored San Andreas, but even then there were aspctd I disliked, like having to eat and maintain physical fitness. I largely stopped playing them after the PS2 era. But the memories are fantastic.
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