Grand Theft Auto Double-Pack: The Xbox Collection Review

Sandbox action adventures where you can let your imagination fly free.

Introduction

Grand Theft Auto Double-Pack: The Xbox Collection includes the original Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Both games play similarly; you are in a huge city free to do pretty much what you want. Steal cars, take part in street races, rob people, chase people, be chased by police etc. You progress the story by doing various missions for different people.

First let’s take a look at Grand Theft Auto III

After robbing a bank you are betrayed and shot by your girlfriend (your partner in crime), left for dead you get caught and go to jail where you will spend the next ten years of your life. During a police escorted prison transport an ambush takes place and together with another criminal known as “8-ball” you get the chance to escape to a safe hideout and your quest for revenge begins.gta_doublepack_4

The game starts off by your new friend 8-ball telling you to go meet with Luigi as he might have some work for you. When arriving at Luigi’s you are asked to bring a girl named Misty to him, and after doing this tutorial mission you are free to do as you please. While this game does have a story which is linear you can still explore the city in many ways. Since the city is so huge it’s divided into three different sections. From the start you aren’t allowed to leave the first area so you have to do some missions before you can start exploring the rest of the city.

The missions in this game are fun and they all tell a little bit of story and they can vary a lot. Some want you to go grab something and bring it to them sometimes with a time limit, others want you to deliver prostitutes to a police dance to distract them. You will be doing a lot of missions for many different gangs that rule the city and this will grant you more money and some clues of where you can find the ones that betrayed you so you can finally have your revenge.

The GTA games have always allowed a lot of freedom and you can just drive around and explore the different locations of the city and its people but the game has several sub-missions and other secrets that keeps you going.

The biggest flaw in this game is actually the one thing people associate GTA with, and that’s shooting people. The aiming is simply horrendous and the camera does not want to help you out at all, leading to many embarrassing deaths and arrests. Something that does work is the vehicles and how they behave. While it’s not super realistic, it’s fun to drive and all cars have almost perfect traction – the only main differences are speed and looks. Something that came as a disappointment is that the game has no alternative vehicles such as motorcycles. The game does have aircraft but since its wings are cut you can’t really fly properly which is a shame – flying over the city would have been very cool indeed.

Graphically this game is not a masterpiece but the main point is that the city feels big and that the frame rate is constant, and it does a great job at that. The game also features a customizable radio with custom-made commercials and songs made just for this game and it’s one of the funniest features in Grand Theft Auto 3 – not to mention that it’s extremely well done. The other sounds such as the vehicles and weapons are nothing out of the ordinary but it’s a city full of life and the train racing above your head just adds a ton of feel to it.

Being the first Grand Theft Auto that’s actually in 3D it’s got a lot going for it. While it doesn’t feature any kind of multiplayer it has got tons of content and you can spend hours playing this game. The main story is of good length and the game doesn’t end after that so you can keep exploring and enjoy some of the landmarks in this game.

The Follow-up: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was originally released one year after its predecessor. Vice City takes place in the typical 80’s environment we all know and love. The story goes as follows;

After spending 15 years in prison you return to Liberty City only to be promoted by your mafia family called the Forellis. This takes you to Vice City to make a cocaine trade but this is where things go out of hand. During the deal an ambush takes place and you end up losing both the money and the cocaine and on top of that a “family member” dies as well. You barely made it out alive and your mafia boss is seriously pissed at you.gta_doublepack_5

You are Tommy Vercetti, a mob hit-man who’s asked to retrieve the money he lost or lose his life. It all starts at a hotel near a beach in Vice City, from where you start making your way to the top because there is no going back now. As the story progresses you make some new friends and together you start taking over the city, but things aren’t as simple as they might seem…

The gameplay is what you might have expected from a Grand Theft Auto game; you take on missions and explore a virtual sandbox city. The missions come in different shapes and complexity and this keeps the game fresh and fun from start to the end. Not only is the game filled with missions but it also has tons of optional bonus missions and secrets to find – you can work as a police or as a pizza delivery man only to name a few of the optional things you can do.

Following the previous games, there is a ton of different cars but not only that there are helicopters, airplanes, boats and even motorcycles! This has opened up the world a lot more and it feels even more alive than in earlier games. Another good feature is that the aiming and shooting works much better compared to Grand Theft Auto 3 – it’s still a little jerky sometimes but it’s a huge step from the previous one. They also added so that you can take cover from enemy fire by crouching, so the gameplay is a lot more dynamic.

The entire game takes place on two islands connected to each other. As mentioned, it takes place in the 1980’s so you can expect a barrage of neon colors and classic music on the radio. It’s true, for the first time a Grand Theft Auto game features real world music like Michael Jackson and Iron Maiden. The commercials are still fake but on the other hand they are actually entertaining unlike real ones and it’s still one of the funniest aspects of the game.

Graphically it’s just amazing and compared to the previous game it’s unbelievable really. All the people look more realistic but they still have a comical aspect to them so the game still has a lot of humor – the way it should be.
The graphics do a tremendous part in portraying the atmosphere of the 80’s, with all the Hawaii shirts and neon lights illuminating the summer nights etc.
Considering that this isn’t the actual sequel to Grand Theft Auto 3 it has progressed a lot from the previous game. Vice City offers many hours of content and it’s set in one of the most well done settings in any game so far. They captured the 80’s perfectly and it’s just flawless…

Summary

If you hadn’t guessed it, Grand Theft Auto Double-Pack: The Xbox Collection is a no-brainer if you fancy the idea of shootouts, car chases and sandbox exploration. There’s incredible value for money here with all the content of these two great games combined.

Developed By: Rockstar Games Vienna
Published By: Rockstar Games
Version Reviewed: Xbox
Genre: Adventure / Racing
Players: 1
Also Available On: PlayStation 2, Windows PC
Released: 2003-12-01

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