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LONG BLOG

Nuts vs Bolts - Comparing parts of games: part 3

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This is a series where we try to go beyond simply comparing games as a whole. As in, it's not about "I think Game X is better than Game Y." That's been done to death. It's boring and predictable. This is about looking at them in a new way. Instead, this is about "Game X had way better powerups than Game Y." "Better powerups? All Game X had was the invincibility lasted slightly longer. And the health upgrades are crap. If anything, Game X had better boss fights than Game Y." "You mean the music in the boss fights is better at making your ears bleed." This is what these topics are about.

This time, I'm looking at the 5 Grand Theft Auto games released on the Playstation 2, including the PSP ports. What I am noting is what I say each game does better than the others. Again, this isn't about which game you think is better overall, especially since every such discussion I've seen puts San Andreas in first, followed by Vice City.

BTW, this is part 1, and part 2 (just with poorly chosen topic titles).

Grand Theft Auto III

Best Wipeout imitation -- Not a perfect imitation, but grab a fast car, put on "Rise FM", and tear down a highway.

Best sexual implications -- While SA has the "Hot Coffee" aspect, and even lets CJ wear a gimp suit, this game has lesbian bondage (or at least a lesbian tying up a straight girl). Now while I don't find that scene as hot as I might (nothing against Debbie Mazar, she just doesn't really do it for me), I have to put it up here on principle.

Best main villain -- Honestly, I'm not too impressed with the villains of these games overall. Either you barely know about them until it's clear they are the final boss, or you do know them, and they seem to be bordering on 2-dimensional villainy. Nothing against Samuel L. Jackson, just that Tenpenny seemed to be doing things just because it's what corrupt cops do (although from what I heard, scenes left out of the game would have explained it better, but they should have been left in for that reason). Catalina wins by less is more reasoning. You know she's a backstabbing bitch from the beginning, and it's clear why she's doing what she's doing (but the way she was written in SA makes it seem as though she would have gotten herself killed by the events in III).

Grand Theft Auto Vice City

Best overall story -- I also liked the stories of III and SA, just that III wasn't quite as polished as the story for this game, and SA just ended up trying to do too much, as well as *spoiler* the events of the riots happening way too fast, while only after they start are we told why they happened *spoiler*. LCS and VCS seemed to try to be deeper, and fell way short.

Best commercials -- While all the games had great spoof commercials, III didn't have as many as this game, and the other three had a significant percentage (LCS the highest) of humor that went the "It's funny because it's offensive!" route. I don't mean offensive humor (like George Carlin, who was awesome). I mean offensive stuff done as a substitute for humor (It's a Disney style theme park... but it's staffed by pedophiles!). Honestly I'm offended by the fact that they are doing that in place of real jokes than the actual offensive parts.

Funniest mission -- "Publicity Tour", the mission where you're driving a limo, but stuck in the same situation as Speed. But it's the dialog that often makes it hard to finish because you're trying not to laugh.

Best protagonist -- You're playing a criminal. You don't need to be sympathetic about it. But being a fun character is also good, and Tommy Vercetti has that in spades.

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

Largest scale -- I shouldn't have to explain this one.

Best control -- Free camera, two way radio control (why the hell did the Stories games take that out when the PSP versions had them), gun aiming almost like an FPS, and firing with L1 so you can use the second analog stick.

Best cast -- Even the less famous voices are great, but my favorite is Wil Wheaton as Richard Burns, who makes Kent Brockman looks like Walter Cronkite.

Best news stories -- Loads of different stories, with Leanne and Richard making total asses of themselves (just Richard being more blatant about it).

Best taxi gameplay -- Two words: Nitro boost. As if the taxi driving in these games weren't an imitation of Crazy Taxi already (and I mean that as a good thing). All it's missing is music by "The Offspring".

Hookers pay you -- After you complete the pimping missions. This is just funny to me because a stand up comic (I believe Dave Attel) made a joke about how men can lie about their sexual abilities "I swear, the hooker gave the money back."

Best emergency services radio -- Favorite line is about a drug bust, one cop says he's on it, and the other guy says "Not you! You just got out of rehab!" Not to mention the things the cops are saying when you get enough stars.

Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories

Best character redemption -- While I did find LCS the weakest of these games, it does have its moments, like when Tony's mom is so proud of him being made, she calls off the hit she puts on him.

Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories

Most polished graphics -- While GTA is about scale, not graphics, VCS did have the best of the PS2 games. LCS took an odd turn with this "dirty" look on many of the character models, this game just got the smoothest look.

Best map -- While III had the worst map (simply for not having a full map), this game let you know what weapon bonus items (what III, VC, and LCS called "hidden packages", but SA and this game called other things) you already got making the completion that much easier.

Best DJs -- SA came this close, but the banter/arguing between the DJs in this game gives it the edge.

Zombie fighting -- Okay, it's supposed to filming a movie, but you still fight them as though it was a real zombie attack.


And that's all I can think of so far. You agree, disagree, or have your own points to discuss, let's hear them.
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About Lord The Night Knightone of us since 6:44 PM on 10.07.2007

I have a Wii and a DS, and my brother has a 360. I don't have anything against the PS3. We just can't afford one yet, but I do want a PSP when I can.