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Grand Theft Auto GBA

Published by Rockstar Games
Developed by Digital Eclipse
Release Date: Out Now
Price : £29.99

Having racked up impressive sales figures on PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox it's probably not a surprise that the Grand Theft Auto series has finally arrived on a Nintendo machine. I daresay some will be disappointed it's not the GameCube that the series has arrived on though but logically it had to be the GBA because of the sheer amount of GBA owners there are and most of them will probably be delighted at getting their hands on a game from the ever popular series.

Grand Theft Auto on the GBA sees you back in Liberty City. You and Vinnie were to do this one last job for the mob and then get out of town but this last job goes very wrong. Vinnie is killed when the getaway car explodes which also destroys all the money you've just stolen too. You're now a marked man and the Police are desperate to get their hands on you. Getting out of Liberty City is still a goal but not until you've taken revenge on whoever killed Vinnie. Revenge will be a gradual process though and as per usual there's a variety of missions to carry out first.

As you would expect from a GTA game there's a good selection of vehicles and weapons. Weapons include hand gun, shotgun, bat, sub machine gun, mini gun, flame thrower, hand grenade, molotov cocktail and the katana. Vehicles include, sports cars, delivery vans, ambulances, tanks and much more. As in GTA III and it's sequels, you can earn money from doing a spot of taxi driving or you can be a paramedic for a while if you wish amongst other things. The main missions require you to walk into a blue zone in order for them to be triggered. The quality of the missions on the whole is average and probably a little disappointing if you've played other games in the series as the objectives have mostly all been done before.

The game has an original Grand Theft Auto look about it in that you play from an overhead view. This makes perfect sense on the GBA of course and attempting to make the game appear 3D would have been a complete mess. For the most part this overhead view works really well and it definitely feels like you're playing GTA or GTA II which is no bad thing. The only thing I would comment on is that the frame rate is decidedly slower on the GBA (naturally of course) and some times it's not as smooth as it should be. The cutscenes, where the main dialogue takes place, shows you a head and shoulders view of the two characters who are taking and you'll notice that the artwork has a definite Grand Theft Auto III look to it. The GTA III styling can also be said for the HUD too.

One of the big advantages with the game being on the GBA is that it's virtually guaranteed to be deaf gamer friendly. Cutscenes and in-game dialogues are completely in text which is excellent news. The game does have some digitised speech that isn't subtitled with comments such as 'mind the car' if you're driving around recklessly but it's of little importance that these comments aren't subtitled. The text is clearly readable at all times thanks to it being placed on a dark overlay. Tutorial messages are also in text too so should you be unaware of what to do simply reading the short but concise instructions will help you out. The game manual is rather sparse on information but this is usually the case with most GBA games.

Most probably wouldn't have been expecting Grand Theft Auto on the GBA to have been as good as Grand Theft Auto III and onwards and this is definitely the case. However it does enough right to capture that Grand Theft Auto feel and gamers will appreciate being able to play a Grand Theft Auto game on the handheld console. That said though there's nothing inspirational here. Yes it's a good GTA game but it's nothing more and there's definitely nothing here that would make it a recommended purchase if you were in two minds whether to buy the game or not. If you are after a GTA experience on your GBA though you'll be satisfied with how the game's turned out.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
A good, solid introduction to the Grand Theft Auto series for GBA only gamers but there's nothing inspirational about the game.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems at all for deaf gamers.