There are some games out there that really need no kind of introduction because all you have to do is say it and everyone knows what series you’re talking about. When you say Call of Duty, everyone’s first thought is Black Ops or Modern Warfare. When you say Final Fantasy, most will think of the classics like Final Fantasy 7 and 8, while newer fans will think of 12, 13, and the epic fail known as 14. If you go up to somebody and say Grand Theft Auto, you get completely different answers, but they will be talking about specific games. A parent would say” isn’t that the game where they go around shooting cops and killing hookers?” This is understandable from that type of person. If you asked a gamer who has played it, most will say San Andreas, Vice City, and the occasional GTAIII. Most modern players in the past decade were introduced to these games, I was introduced at the age of 10 when GTAIII came out. My parents were against me having M rated games as a child, so one day I found a Grand Theft Auto game that was actually NOT rated M. It showed me that while most people know it as the revolutionary 3D, free-roaming anything goes style. It wasn’t always like that.
GTA2 was in some ways the same as it is today. It still had all the shooting and the free roaming that you find today, but it also had lots of things that were different. The first thing you will notice is that the game is played old-school arcade style. You see your character from an above angle. Remember how in Grand Theft Auto 3 if you changed the camera one of them happened to be an above cam? Well this is how it was played. There are also lots of phones in the streets. In this game, you actually got to choose which organizations you got to work for, so every time you decided to play the game, or just got bored playing for a certain gang, you could just join the other guys. The gang that I always remember is Zaibatsu, mainly because everywhere you go, and in each district as you continue along with the game, they are always playable. I always did the Yakuza missions on the first part, mainly because I always found the Yakuza interesting in real life, and they also have some of the easiest missions as you started. The way you got to different districts was actually by the amount of money you had. You had to have something like $250,000 to leave the first district. It was tedious at first, but then I found a kill frenzy(which is what Rampages were called) that involved driving around a tank, and since you could only build up a 4-star wanted level in the first district, you didn’t have to worry about the FBI or the military showing up and killing you. There is seriously nothing that can destroy the tank, unless you decide to be a complete dumb ass and get out.
As the districts changed, the military would show up, so it was a lot harder to cheat your way. On the last district, you had to get $1 Million to beat the game. Which still to this day I have never done. One thing that would make modern gamers go crazy is that you didn’t have infinite lives. In this game you had 3 lives, but you could also find some 1ups hidden in the game. This meant that you couldn’t just run around killing random people in the streets nearly as much, or else you would receive a game over and have to start at the beginning of the game.
One thing that completely threw me for a loop was years later, I found out that the main character of GTA2 was Claude…the same playable character in GTAIII. Apparently GTA2 is after the third game in the storyline. How do I know that? Watch the ending. Oh yeah, before I stop this game did do something that they have never since done. During the opening before you get to the title screen, they show a cinematic for the game which actually used real people. I always thought that was a nice touch to it, even if it was only before and after the game.
It’s really sad that more people don’t know about GTA2. At least there is some kind of hope. If my memory serves me right, Games actually lets you download the PC version of this game on their website for free, and unless you are using a computer from the Windows 95 era, you meet the specs. This game was really fun at the time, and it’s still fun to go back and play it, but since it has been passed by far superior games in the series (and rightfully so) it belongs in the Gaming Graveyard.