Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Grand Theft Auto

Yes indeed. As a salutation to the almighty Grand Theft Auto V (currently reducing world productivity by at least 67% at this very moment), we’re going to party like it’s 1997 and revisit the original title in the series. Buckle up, gentlemen.

Except, y’know, don’t, because this is Grand Theft Auto. So don’t even bother with a seatbelt at all. Drive as recklessly as you wish. To a brothel. Then shoot the prostitutes, steal their money, then shoot the money. Don’t forget to moon passing cop cars (quite a feat while driving), like the renegade rebel from the depths of the devil’s ass that you are.

So, to business. Sixteen years ago, DMA Design –later Rockstar North– unleashed the first installment of this beloved free-roamy crime ‘em up. Its premise is simple: score enough points to reach the next level, by causing as much of a shitstorm as you can. As you cruise about an expansive hunk of city, you can achieve this aim however you wish. Will you be methodical, completing missions for the local criminal syndicate (fetch quests, assassinations and everything in between)? Will you eschew all that to simply destroy vehicles, pedestrians and everything else that moves to build your score? The choice is yours.

Grand Theft Auto 1

A combination of both is most effective (and most enjoyable). As franchise fans will know, you don’t want to piss off the police too much. Being arrested/explode-ed/anything else-ed will end your fun, your score multiplier and your life, and they become more tenacious as your crime spree goes on. Later, SWAT teams, army helicopters and all manner of angry do-gooders will be hunting you, desperate to put a bullet hole or two in your ‘nads. In the days of the original Grand Theft Auto, you were a one-hit-kill without body armor too.

The series is credited with introducing the open world concept. There are secrets, easter eggs and collectibles hidden down every street of the city, and you are free to search for or ignore them at will. Even while on a mission, you are often free to chart your own path to the set destination, and use any of your increasing collection of badass weapons to get the job done. Whether you want to stick to your objectives or cruise along the highway in an ice cream van, crushing Elvis impersonators ‘neath your mighty wheels as a jangly rendition of the Baby Elephant Walk booms from your vehicle’s speakers, Grand Theft Auto has you covered.

Grand Theft Auto 2

At the time, this sense of freedom was entirely unique, and so was swiftly copied by every bastard within earshot. ‘Grand Theft Auto clone’ became a genre in its own right, which is a testament to how revolutionary the franchise was from the very beginning.

There’s no doubt that Rockstar’s creation is among the most controversial in gaming. Heaping helpings of outrage accompany each new release, what with the violence, drugs and raunchy Hot Coffee sex action involved. But as with many ‘ban this filth now’ situations, this has surely contributed to its success. It is also only one aspect of a vast, dynamic and incredible world; as anybody venturing into the wonderment of Grand Theft Auto V can agree. The scale of the games has increased a hundredfold, but they still have that good old spirit seen in the first blurtacular isometric installment.

Finally, let’s feast our nostalgia-glands on some footage:

Source of images: de.gta.wikia.

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