HINTS & TIPS
Grand Theft Auto 3 First Impressions
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Once in your vehicle, you will then be presented with side missions that relate to it. So if you steal an ambulance, missions will flash up on the screen prompting you, for example, to attend an emergency in a particular area. As a cab driver you will be sent all over the city to pick up members of the public, who will of course pay you. At one point in the demo our character picked up two sultry women who promised to be "very grateful" if we dropped them off at the red light district. So not only can you drive/fly/fire almost anything in the game, but you can also take on the full role of the person who would normally operate it.
Another aspect of the game we were particularly impressed with is the time element. An entire Liberty day will pass in a few minutes of real time, with a small clock in the corner showing you the time in the game. Even though the version we were shown was a very early build, the sunsets, sunrises and lighting effects, as well as the random weather, were already looking very impressive. The time of day is not just an aesthetic enhancement, but forms a crucial part of the gameplay. Different sorts of people will be out at different times of the day, so in the early afternoon you may see lots of schoolchildren, but in the middle of the night you can expect to find all sorts of low, dangerous and seedy types crawling out from under their rocks. You will learn to consider the time of day when carrying out certain missions - some should be carried out at night, others when there are lots of people about.
In GTA 3 Liberty City is divided into three distinct suburbs - Commercial, Industrial and Suburban, each containing the types of people you would expect to find there.
You begin in the Industrial district and as you complete game missions the other districts become available, until you eventually have the run of the whole city. Various tunnels and bridges connect the districts, and each contains a number of distinct areas - such as Chinatown or the red light district - which is identified on the screen as you drive through it. It is then up to you to decide what to do in the game. Liberty City is as free as its name sounds, and in GTA3 you can roam around completing core plot missions, taking on a beneficent persona in the side missions or simply unleashing your fury on society as a whole to cause absolute devastation.
No GTA would be complete without a goodly amount of violence, and GTA3 is no exception. As we watched the demo, we saw our character blow the legs off passers-by - who would then hop around, blood gushing from the stump, before collapsing to the floor. We witnessed him mercilessly decapitating, mugging or shooting innocent bystanders, and setting fire to cars and ambulances. Some of the missions include drive-by shootings and stealth sniper assignments requiring you to assassinate powerful drug lords. There is a vast array of weapons on offer, including Uzis, AK47s, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, baseball bats, grenades and so on, all with an auto-aim that locks on to the most dangerous-looking person on the street. In addition to having weapons your low-life is capable of performing a range of brutal unarmed kick, punch and head-butt moves, ensuring there is no end to ways in which you can cause harm.