Table of Contents
Grand Theft Auto 1
Rockstar Game’s first iteration of the Grand Theft Auto series debuted in 1997 as Grand Theft Auto 1. The premise of the original game was to play a criminal who travels through a variety of cities committing different crimes such as robbing, car-jacking, and petty theft. The missions come in the form of various “scores” that are handed down to you from crime bosses. Although this would be the beginning of a highly successful series, GTA 1 did not have the full open world concept of many of the previous games, and only was able to display 2-D graphics with minimally interactive missions. The best of Rockstar was certainly yet to come.
Grand Theft Auto: London, 1969
The second edition of the GTA series was not a fully developed sequel to Grand Theft Auto 1, but more an expansion of the maps and gameplay. The game takes place in London, England in 1969, and has you performing a variety of crimes at the request of the Crips Brothers who lead organized crime in the city. This version of the game offers over 30 new weapons and missions when compared to the original. London 1969 was still in the early stages of GTA and continued to only support a top-down 2-D gameplay.
Grand Theft Auto: London, 1961
London 1961 may be the least well known of the Grand Theft Auto series, as it was only able to be played on PC if you had already installed GTA 1 and GTA London, 1969. As a free upgrade to the London, 1969 version, it offered a variety of new missions but little else.
Grand Theft Auto II
Grand Theft Auto 2 was the second major title in the series and was a major milestone for Rockstar. The game was one of the hottest selling releases in 1999 and really changed the game. GTA 2 takes place in Anywhere City in the present/near future and offers a similar style of play where you take phone calls from mobsters to complete jobs. However, unlike the original the second major title offered a variety of missions for different crime organizations and allowed for a large diversity of gameplay. With seven gangs giving work to you, and the addition of new law enforcement such as SWAT, special agents, and the military, GTA 2 had a diversity to it that was revolutionary for its time.
Grand Theft Auto III
Grand Theft Auto 3 offered a unique change in gameplay as it switched from the bird’s eye view to an over the top third person camera angle. Although not a sequel to GTA 2, the third edition does offer a follow up gameplay experience, except this time you can travel through multiple cities and complete both primary and secondary missions in any order you desire. GTA 3 was also the first game of its time to support a 3-D gaming engine which helped boast extremely pleasing visuals for the time. Even to this day, GTA 3 is considered by many to be one of the best games ever made.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
This version of Grand Theft Auto takes place in the fictionalized Vice City in 1986, which is believed to be based on Miami. You play the character of a mob hitman named Tommy Vercetti who is hellbent on revenge for a previous drug deal which had been compromised. Vice City was known for its extremely violent gameplay and had many critics in the public sphere, but was heralded as one of the best titles ever by its fans. With over 100 different weapons and vehicles to choose from, Vice City offered many new and fun ways to commit your crimes around the city. This GTA was very reminiscent of Miami Vice and Scarface, with bright starchy graphics which really added to the cultural showcase of cocaine saturated Miami.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
San Andreas certainly offered the largest sandbox style gameplay maps of any of the Grand Theft Auto Titles to that point. You can roam through the three cities of Las Venturas, San Fierro, and Los Santos, which are based off Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles respectively. You play the role of CJ Johnson who has recently been released from prison and must oblige dirty cops in the area in order to avoid prosecution. With the addition of pimping prostitutes, household burglary and many other crimes, San Andreas offered many fun additions to the many primary and side missions it held. This GTA was also known for its commentary as a reflection on the drug and gang problem in American culture during the 1990s. This connection along with many real life inspiration for characters and stories only furthered the game’s allure.
Grand Theft Auto IV
The 11th game in the Grand Theft Auto Series has you playing as Niko Bellic, a new immigrant from Eastern Europe hoping to use the United States as his oyster and achieve the American Dream through any means necessary. GTA IV is mostly single player but also offers a cooperative mode and a multiplayer experience that allows up to 32 players to explore an area at any given time. Through its time, this version also released two separate expansion packs named The Lost and Damned and The Balad of Gay Tony, which offered fun new missions once the original storyline had been completed. GTA IV took over four years to produce, and the time showed. The cast of interesting characters paired with the dark and disturbing story line made for a captivating experience.
Grand Theft Auto V
The latest release in the GTA series, V takes you back to San Andreas based in the fictional cities between Los Vegas and Los Angeles. A new addition to GTA V was the ability to toggle in between first and third person views as you roamed throughout the cities completing different missions. This story has you playing as one of three characters, Trevor Philips, Michael De Santa and Franklin Clinton. They allow you to play an RPG style game with each of them boasting different specialties and functionalities when it comes to executing different crimes. Unfortunately, besides having a variety of glitches, GTA V also included characters that were sometimes cliché, and failed to live up to the great storylines and atmospheres that games like GTA IV and Vice City were able to produce.