Its the sound design that really pulls its weight with the title, though. Making full use of the CD-ROM media of which the game was released on, amazing sounding effects and a killer OST will keep you coming back and logically should continue to impress to this day. It does me at least! 

 

That classic Rockstar crudeness is all over the title, even if its not as overcooked as it would become in future. At the time, it was sure as heck different. If you were rocking this game underage at the time (certified 18 over here in the UK) you'd easily be giggling over the fact the games theme song contained the line: "don't f**k with me". Not to mention being called a "chickens**t" by your boss. Damn! But if you ever really took it all seriously, you should get your head checked. Report back to the word fun, please.

 

The three main cities that have since been subject to the sprawling landscapes of the contemporary versions of the series all made their appearances here first: Liberty City, San Andreas and Vice City. These locales are all relevant to the incredibly loose plot. Starting in Liberty City, my personal favourite of the three in this game; you start working for Bubby and do some tasks as a Speed-inspired bus with a bomb trip, murdering a cop and later you can even go rescue Bubby's puppy before being booked a flight to SA. Enter racial insensitivity ripe within the GTA series as you work for Uncle Fu and then El Burro. Yup. But after your missions are all done there you get sent to Vice City as some kind of reward where you run into a bent cop and Brother Marcus. 

There is a decent, if small by today’s standards, selection of weapons available at the players disposable. Other than your fists (fist fights are insanely fun though), you can get your grubby mitts on the likes of a standard pistol (slow but does the job), rocket launcher (lets blow up some trucks) and a flamethrower (great for those situations were you wanna go burn a group of Hare Krishnas). The machine gun is my personal favourite, even if its only obtainable at certain points and the ammo wont last you long. Doesn't stop the cops mowing you down with them if you get a high enough wanted level, though.

 

With over 50 potential rides to be jackin', all with unique speed and handling; it should keep you playing for a while. Especially the fact its actually fun to drive in this particular GTA, something I feel became somewhat a bane by the point of the 4th instalment. Ironically.

 

On the whole freedom element, it's worth noting you are restricted by number of lives. To some extent I'd say this is something to stick in the con column - but its only minor. Your score doubles as money and you can earn points by obviously completing missions, but also in a Death Race 2000-esque fashion you can build points by random ramming and destruction - alongside the typical nefarious means. It's fairly easy to build up a large supply of cashola for usage on paint jobs and the like, so that’s never something to worry about in-game. Points are important as that right there is your way to properly progress through the game.

 

The PC version also includes multiplayer options, allowing you to hook up via LAN back in 1997 and play with friends. 

Craig Conner killed it on the soundtrack, with all the games songs available via the in-game radio stations by a handful of fictitious bands/artists are all rather good. From the amusing, so good they'll play it again country track, to "Blow Your Console" on the hip-hop station. As typical of the games of the time, if nothing takes your fancy you can always swap out the disc with a CD of your choice and have cars play random selections from said disc. Sass.

 

Unlike the later games once all your jobs are done, you don’t become some sort of bloated kingpin; you just complete the game. Simple, eh? Also, the main protagonist isn't fixed (you can choose from a selection of possible characters at the start) opposed to the very character-based plotting that was to come. This works for me on many levels. When I play games, as much as I love a good story; I kinda just wanna play half the time. The original GTA facilitates that perfectly. You're not having to sit through copious cut scenes, you're not stuck attempting to recall details after weeks between play, etc. I like it. It was a simpler time, this is a simpler game but it all works for what it is.

 

So does it all stand up today? Of course it does. If that initial want was to produce something fun and addictive, DMA Designs did just that. It has stood the test of time and is well worth seeking out if you somehow missed out until now. Although released on PlayStation and Game Boy Color (both inferior ports yet remain impressive), it has since been easily obtainable by, ahem, other means. It was free on Rockstars site for a bit and has also made appearances on the Steam service. But there's nowt like playing as close to the original form as possible, as it is with any good video game.

 

To conclude this retro ramble of sorts, I obviously lead in the camp of: 'Grand Theft Auto is awesome'. Whether you love or hate it, its popularity is undeniable and everything has to start somewhere. As far as I'm concerned, DMA/Rockstar got off on the right foot with this title right here. Go give GTA a play, reminisce and understand the solid roots of one of gaming’s biggest franchises ever. 

 

Good shot, kid. I think you got 'em.

gta grand theft auto 1 bmg dma rockstar games retrogaming retro retrogamegeeks.co.uk rgg retro game geeks gaming gamers videogames collect pc cd rom parental advisory craig connor pal original driving cops criminals crime playstation ps1 ps2 ps3 guns
Getting work pre-mobiles...
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It aint no sugar!
gta grand theft auto 1 bmg dma rockstar games retrogaming retro retrogamegeeks.co.uk rgg retro game geeks gaming gamers videogames collect pc cd rom parental advisory craig connor pal original driving cops criminals crime playstation ps1 ps2 ps3 guns
Triads in San Andreas!

Call up the boys, lets go for a joyride...Coz its time for a retro review from Olly023. As the dust settles from the release of GTA5, I felt it was ripe time to go back and take a look at the game that started it all, the original and by some retrobates description the best: Grand Theft Auto.

 

While I am not one typical for PC reviews, undoubtedly it was the PC version of the first GTA that I was once so very addicted to. So let's focus on that one, yeah? Yeah!

 

Developed by DMA Design (now Rockstar North) and published by BMG Interactive, it didn't take long for the original Grand Theft Auto instalment to cause a stir. A slew of controversy followed the games release, especially here in the UK, where you had the likes of rags like the Daily Mail (ugh) demanding it be banned. Obviously, driving around committing crimes in fictitious American cities would be enough to encourage us impressionable youths to go out and replicate. Even if it did mean getting' wasted after a single shot. Hmm. Yeah, just like with films and other media forms I don't buy it. Much of this can be attributed to Max Clifford, though - he was hired by Take-Two to help push the controversial aura that surrounded the release. For better or worse, it worked.

 

A troubled production schedule which lead to the game almost being cancelled and many an initial deadline being missed, we're lucky we even got the game at all. Word is bond. 

The three main cities that have since been subject to the sprawling landscapes of the contemporary versions of the series all made their appearances here first: Liberty City, San Andreas and Vice City. These locales are all relevant to the incredibly loose plot. Starting in Liberty City, my personal favourite of the three in this game; you start working for Bubby and do some tasks as a Speed-inspired bus with a bomb trip, murdering a cop and later you can even go rescue Bubby's puppy before being booked a flight to SA. Enter racial insensitivity ripe within the GTA series as you work for Uncle Fu and then El Burro. Yup. But after your missions are all done there you get sent to Vice City as some kind of reward where you run into a bent cop and Brother Marcus. 

 

There is a decent, if small by today’s standards, selection of weapons available at the players disposable. Other than your fists (fist fights are insanely fun though), you can get your grubby mitts on the likes of a standard pistol (slow but does the job), rocket launcher (lets blow up some trucks) and a flamethrower (great for those situations were you wanna go burn a group of Hare Krishnas). The machine gun is my personal favourite, even if its only obtainable at certain points and the ammo wont last you long. Doesn't stop the cops mowing you down with them if you get a high enough wanted level, though.

 

With over 50 potential rides to be jackin', all with unique speed and handling; it should keep you playing for a while. Especially the fact its actually fun to drive in this particular GTA, something I feel became somewhat a bane by the point of the 4th instalment. Ironically.

 

On the whole freedom element, it's worth noting you are restricted by number of lives. To some extent I'd say this is something to stick in the con column - but its only minor. Your score doubles as money and you can earn points by obviously completing missions, but also in a Death Race 2000-esque fashion you can build points by random ramming and destruction - alongside the typical nefarious means. It's fairly easy to build up a large supply of cashola for usage on paint jobs and the like, so that’s never something to worry about in-game. Points are important as that right there is your way to properly progress through the game.

 

The PC version also includes multiplayer options, allowing you to hook up via LAN back in 1997 and play with friends.

Originally developed for MS-DOS yet ported to Windows, Grand Theft Auto's development team held a simple principle: fun. Fun it was, but we'll get into that next as the actual review unfolds. What made the game different from its counterparts of the time was the strong element of freedom, which undoubtedly drew many to the game. Crude humour and a decent soundtrack can only take you so far, after all. This was the hook that kept many coming back for more.

 

So, how does it play? Does the game stand up today? Why should you seek out Grand Theft Auto when you can snatch up the franchises latest offering for five times the price?

 

It plays, quite simply: very well. Whether pad or keyboard, the response remains solid. Its an easy game to slip into and one which you can happily spend a chunk of time with and not even notice the clocks hands turn. Controls are simple to learn and you'll be mastering getaways in no time at all. Much like its modern incarnations, the freedom of the game, especially at the time; is immense. If you don't fancy heading to a payphone and looking for a job, you can entertain yourself just as well by hijacking any number of vehicles and heading on out for a joyride. Or alternatively, grabbing your gun and shooting every mother in sight. Rampage, playa.

 

The classic top-down perspective works a treat, in my opinion. When a fan of the likes of Micro Machines on MegaDrive it becomes very easy to adapt here. You even have the sweet feature of it zooming in and out depending on location and movement. Think a less-gimmicky SNES Mode 7 usage, I guess. The overall design may look dated by today’s standards and may indeed not have even been that boundary pushing in its day, there's enough colour going on for it to catch the eye and being the right blend of retro-realism and cartoony goodness. From your little stick man like sprite to your boxy cars, it looks good, even if nothing special in the grand scheme of things.

 

Its the sound design that really pulls its weight with the title, though. Making full use of the CD-ROM media of which the game was released on, amazing sounding effects and a killer OST will keep you coming back and logically should continue to impress to this day. It does me at least! 

 

That classic Rockstar crudeness is all over the title, even if its not as overcooked as it would become in future. At the time, it was sure as heck different. If you were rocking this game underage at the time (certified 18 over here in the UK) you'd easily be giggling over the fact the games theme song contained the line: "don't f**k with me". Not to mention being called a "chickens**t" by your boss. Damn! But if you ever really took it all seriously, you should get your head checked. Report back to the word fun, please.

gta grand theft auto 1 bmg dma rockstar games retrogaming retro retrogamegeeks.co.uk rgg retro game geeks gaming gamers videogames collect pc cd rom parental advisory craig connor pal original driving cops criminals crime playstation ps1 ps2 ps3 guns
Fun while it lasted, eh?

Craig Conner killed it on the soundtrack, with all the games songs available via the in-game radio stations by a handful of fictitious bands/artists are all rather good. From the amusing, so good they'll play it again country track, to "Blow Your Console" on the hip-hop station. As typical of the games of the time, if nothing takes your fancy you can always swap out the disc with a CD of your choice and have cars play random selections from said disc. Sass.

 

Unlike the later games once all your jobs are done, you don’t become some sort of bloated kingpin; you just complete the game. Simple, eh? Also, the main protagonist isn't fixed (you can choose from a selection of possible characters at the start) opposed to the very character-based plotting that was to come. This works for me on many levels. When I play games, as much as I love a good story; I kinda just wanna play half the time. The original GTA facilitates that perfectly. You're not having to sit through copious cut scenes, you're not stuck attempting to recall details after weeks between play, etc. I like it. It was a simpler time, this is a simpler game but it all works for what it is.

 

So does it all stand up today? Of course it does. If that initial want was to produce something fun and addictive, DMA Designs did just that. It has stood the test of time and is well worth seeking out if you somehow missed out until now. Although released on PlayStation and Game Boy Color (both inferior ports yet remain impressive), it has since been easily obtainable by, ahem, other means. It was free on Rockstars site for a bit and has also made appearances on the Steam service. But there's nowt like playing as close to the original form as possible, as it is with any good video game.

 

To conclude this retro ramble of sorts, I obviously lead in the camp of: 'Grand Theft Auto is awesome'. Whether you love or hate it, its popularity is undeniable and everything has to start somewhere. As far as I'm concerned, DMA/Rockstar got off on the right foot with this title right here. Go give GTA a play, reminisce and understand the solid roots of one of gaming’s biggest franchises ever. 

 

Good shot, kid. I think you got 'em.

gta grand theft auto 1 bmg dma rockstar games retrogaming retro retrogamegeeks.co.uk rgg retro game geeks gaming gamers videogames collect pc cd rom parental advisory craig connor pal original driving cops criminals crime playstation ps1 ps2 ps3 guns
Casually killing cops...
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Verdict:- There may have been about a million sequels but the original for me is still the best.

 

It's as simple as you want it to be or as in depth as you make it and that's how the great games are defined of which GTA is easily one of them.

 

Whilst the controversy surrounding it and the franchise since hasn't helped the image of gamers that's the media's fault and not the generation of gamers who know this to be harmless awesome fun. Play this game now!!!

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Second Opinion:-  Whilst transbot prefers scrolling shooters of the 2 level variety he understands when in the presence of greatness.

 

GTA is a benchmark game that has lost none of it's Transbot charm since it's release during the 90's. It's so simple to pick up and play that even a weak human could do it so get out there now and play this masterclass of a game, Transbot promises fun!

 

Transbot Scores:- 9 out of 10

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RGG Scores

5

Graphics

Sound

Playability

Lastability

9

9

9

Overall Score:

9

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Game Details

Name: Grand Theft Auto

 

Format: PC

 

Genre: Top-Down Action

 

Region Reviewed: PAL

 

Year of Release: 1997

 

Reviewer: Olly023

 

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