Grand Theft Auto 2

Grand Theft Auto 2. You know, the games were good before Grand Theft Auto III pushed the series to pop culture status. It was a simpler time, where one committed crimes from an overhead view, before lawyers and 3D graphics took hold of the series.

So…how was the game? Did it provide the same amount of fun as the games that followed after it? Read on, as the answers lie below.

Originally released for the PC in 1999 (eventually ported to the Playstation, Dreamcast, and Gameboy Color), the game served as a sequel to the popular 1997 release, Grand Theft Auto. Taking control of character Claude Speed (not to be confused with Claude, who starred in GTA III), the player is embroiled in a series of missions involving rival gangs. Utilizing a respect system, the game forces you to embrace favored gangs, while shunning the others. For example, working for the Zaibatsu will land you in their favour, but will lower your respect with the Yakuza. If you loose enough respect with a gang, you will you no longer be offered missions by them, and they will often attack you on sight.

Along with the respect system, Grand Theft Auto 2 had a lot of “firsts” for the series that continue on to this day. Unique to the PC, the game featured a day/night cycle, where one could choose to either play at noon or dusk. (I should note that this was dropped in the subsequent ports, as the Playstation version only allowed you to play in a dusk setting, and the Dreamcast version was only playable at noon.) This day/night cycle later became standard in the series since, though it now changes dynamically over time.  Also unique to the PC version of the game, was the inclusion of trains, in which the player could ride on for rapid transit around the city. This feature has most recently shown up in the release of Grand Theft Auto IV. The game also introduced side missions, which are standard to the series today. One could go on adventures as a taxi driver, bus driver, or semi-truck driver, while gaining money for doing so.

One feature however, that has been greatly augmented in the later games, in the inclusion of vehicle based weapons. In Grand Theft Auto 2, you cannot fire your weapons from your car. As such, your car is upgradable with things such as mines, oil slicks, and front-mounted machine guns. This feature has been stripped from the series since this first appearance, as later games allowed you to fire certain weapons from inside of your vehicle. I must admit this is a feature I miss greatly, as there was a great deal of fun to be had from seeing a cop car swerve off the road behind you as you fired off an oil slick.

Grand Theft Auto 2 ultimately marks a transition period for the series. While it introduces a lot of features still seen today, it exists in a pre-3D view of the series, which unfortunately may cause some to write it off completely. If you haven’t had a chance to the play the game before, I’ll direct you over to Rockstar’s Website where they offer it for free. Download it, install it, and go on a kill frenzy. While not perfect, the game is a lot of fun. Yes, it is somewhat repetitive (though you could argue the new ones are), and yes, the story is somewhat lacking. And…maybe the PC exclusive, online-multiplayer component is a little broken.There may not be as much depth as the later installments, but it sure is a lot of simple fun.