Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – failing to progress beyond the first island despite owning GTA III four times over 16 years.

Redress – play and complete the damn thing, to stop myself ever buying it again.

So here it is…the first big test for Retro Redress….

When I started doing this blog, GTA III was one of the games I had in mind. I alluded to it during the 30 Day Video Game Challenge – it’s a game that I have had ample time and opportunity to complete and I’ve failed each and every time.

However, I’m ready now. I’m prepared and I’m dedicated. I’ve given myself a month to defeat this game and finally mark it off my backlog. GTA III has been on my backlog before I even knew what a backlog was…that’s how long it’s been on my mind for.

So let’s do this….I’m playing the PS2 Classic version on the PS4. I still own the Steam version on PC, but it’s not the most stable and, even though I’m using a PS4 pad on the PC, the controls don’t quite feel right.

 

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Ah, here we go.  I’m going through the usual feeling I get from starting a game on GTA III. The jazzy theme tune, the cartoon artwork…it’s all too familiar. I can’t quite explain how it makes me feel…I feel comfortable because I like GTA III and yet I feel quite subdued. I know I’ve got a mammoth task ahead of me and it’s a task I’ve failed several times before.

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I do quite like the art direction of GTA III. Sure, it’s dated now, but it’s still very distinct. I get that Rock Star were going for a low key, sleazy crime game, but yet wanted to stay true to the cartoon, humorous aspects of the first two games. I’ve never played GTA 2 (did anyone? I feel like it’s a game that slipped by most people) but did mess around on the original GTA when it came out. I remember it really well as the controversy was raging at the time. I think that’s what put me off GTA really – I found it amusing, but couldn’t be bothered with 1) the poor graphics and 2) finding it impossible to concentrate on the story, as it was easy to get distracted and go on a crime spree. I think that’s what really impressed me about GTA III when I first played it. The ‘crime spree’ aspect of the game is still there, but now the story feels important too. There’s characters, dialogue….as I’ve said before, if I care about the characters, then I care about the game.

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Anyway, enough rambling. I’m on the bridge with 8-Ball (again!) having escaped the police wagon taking us to jail. I’ve never thought about this before but…wasn’t Claude shot during the intro sequence? From that range, he’d surely be dead, right? Before long, I’m driving through the Red Light District, on the way to the hideout…I feel like I know this area of the game like the back of my hand. I’ve driven round it so many times over the years, but now I want to escape it. It’s time to see the rest of Liberty City…

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On the familiar drive to Luigi’s, I realise two things. 1) I can’t use the analogues to move the camera like GTA V and 2) I still can not drive on GTA III. In the space of 3 minutes I’ve crashed into oncoming traffic and killed one person. I think it’s a lack of patience – I can’t wait at a red light in a game if I see space to drive forward! Maybe this is why Claude got shot, any criminal who draws attention to himself by causing traffic accidents is probably a liability in any aspiring criminal organisation. Anyway, I pick up Misty for Luigi (for the fourth time!) and am delighted to notice that this version of GTA III has achievements. I like achievements, but I never go out of my way for them – I’m happy to just beat a story mode and get say 50% – 60% of the achievements…as long as I have something to show for my efforts.

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My save game anxiety is returning as well…GTA III doesn’t have auto save and I really wished it did, as dying on a routine mission means you lose every thing if you din’t save. So I save after every mission, which is probably how I know the Red Light District so well. Another quick Luigi mission (wasting a drug dealer, stealing his car to respray and resell) leads me to Portland View, another GTA III location I know far too well. I must have driven over that grass a million times…well, there’s no point driving around it, is there? Anyway, as I waste the dealer and head off to the Respray Garage (which I hate…I once had a very stressful lunchtime in work trying to find a Respray Garage on Liberty City Stories) I feel like I’ve made a good start. Day 1 – game started, 2 missions down. I’m starting to warm up and hopefully I can get through these early missions quickly, given my experience with them!

I’m gonna play GTA III over the weekend and hopefully have Part Two ready early next week….providing the curse of GTA III doesn’t strike again. I think the only version I’ve never bought is the Xbox version, so surely I won’t be buying it again?!?