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Without a shadow of a doubt, Grand Theft Auto (aka GTA) series is one of the best and most timeless video game series in the industry.
Rockstar North, previously known as DMA Design developed the series and was published by Rockstar Games. Controversy always followed the Grand Theft Auto series for its rated R/M content.
However, the series still held world gaming records for:
- The largest voice cast (GTA: San Andreas)
- The largest in-game soundtrack (GTA: IV)
- Most guest stars in a video game series
- Most successful entertainment launch of all time (GTA: 5).
In addition, the Grand Theft Auto series was in the top five best-selling video games.
Rockstar took a massive leap into the open-world games by releasing Grand Theft Auto 3. It was the first game in the series to ditch the top-down view and step into the 3D world. GTA III includes everything a creator and a gamer want in a Game. It offered gamers the opportunity to get down and dirty and experience the criminal life.
The developers at Rockstar successfully depicted the reality we live in through dark humor and donnybrook’s point of view. The developers used PS2’s latest tech to create a unique and exquisite videogame experience.
Gamers and critics praised GTA III for its gameplay, graphics, and sound effects making it a commercial success despite its controversial violent content.
I played this game too many times to count and it got better each time I played.
In this GTA III Overview, I will tell you about it all.
Grand Theft Auto III Development
GTA III was developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games Studios. The game was released on October 22, 2001, for the PS2 console, and it was only a matter of time before the game found its way to Xbox and PC.
At the time of its release, GTA 3 received a warm welcome from the gaming community. From the storyline to the gameplay, critics glorified every aspect of it.
GTA III was so good it received an average rating of 9.7 on almost every online forum and platform.
The PC version was not as good as the Xbox or PS versions, but it was well accepted. It had a few negative reviews because of performance issues and was overshadowed by the much smoother GTA: Vice City.
Nonetheless, Grand Theft Auto III was a huge success and sold over 14 million copies. As a result, it became Sony’s best hits and the number one selling game in 2001. It was dethroned a year later by its successor GTA: Vice City.
It sold for $ 49 per copy, but the price was lowered to $ 19. GTA 3 original release date was set on October 3, 2001, but it was delayed to the 22nd due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Dan Houser stated that the game may be delayed or even canceled due to the circumstances at the time. Rockstar Head Quarters were very close to the World Trade Center, which made it very difficult to move forward with the game.
During the delay period, a couple of changes were introduced to the game. But the changes were subtle and made no noticeable difference to the final product.
The changes include different color schemes for law enforcement vehicles. The original color scheme resembled New York police, but it was changed to a different color scheme similar to California Police.
Furthermore, the Airtrain at Francis International Airport received a ghost-like construction to stop the player from shooting them down.
The planes’ direction was also changed to fly away from the city, not towards it. In addition, any dialogues, characters, or missions that have references to terrorism were either changed or completely deleted.
The Boxart style differed from one country to another and was changed to include scenes from the game.
Rockstar hit the nail on the head with Grand Theft Auto III. It was the first game in the series to feature a first-person point of view, particularly when aiming the M16, sniper rifle, and while driving. As a result, the game received multiple awards, including game of the year, most innovative game, best action game, and best PS2 game award.
Related read: GTA III Mission Progression Guide.
Before I dive into the storyline, you should familiarize yourself with the characters. Here is a list:
Claude is the main playable character in GTA III. He is a silent criminal with a vague background. Claude gets a minor role in GTA San Andreas as a street racer who owns a garage in San Fierro.
But, he loses his garage to Carl Johnson in a street race and moves to Liberty City with Catalina. The latter betrays Claude after a bank robbery and gets him arrested. But, Claude escapes and starts working for various criminal organizations to get his revenge.
Catalina is a wild criminal, a bank robber, and the cousin of Varrios Los Aztecas gang leader from Red County, SA. Her first appearance takes place in several missions in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas as Carl’s girlfriend. However, she broke up with him and moved to Liberty City with her new boyfriend Claude.
Catalina continues her chain of robberies with Claude before she turns on him to become the leader of the Colombian Cartel alongside her new business partner Miguel.
8-Ball is the first character you will interact with when you start the game, and he is an expert in explosives. 8-Ball, Claude, and an Old Oriental Gentleman are transported to prison.
However, as they pass over Callahan Bridge, the convoy is attacked, and they all manage to escape. 8-Ball owns bomb shops scattered across Liberty City. He helps Claude in getting his first job and in various other missions.
Luigi is one of the shot callers in the Leone Family Mafia and a businessman. He owns a club in the Red Light District in Portland Island and acts as a pimp for several prostitutes. Luigi is a friend with 8-Ball, who introduces him to Claude. Later, Goterelli hires Claude as his handyman to do his dirty work for him.
Joey is the son of Don Salvatore Leone and a car enthusiast. Joey runs a garage in Trenton District in Portland Island and meets Claude during one of Luigi’s missions. He hires Claude as a getaway driver in a heist and a couple of missions involving attacks on rival gangs.
Toni Cipriani is the captain (caporegime) of the Leone Family and the Triads’ biggest nightmare. Toni helps his mother to run her restaurant in Saint Mark’s District in Portland Island and utilize it as a front to his business.
Claude first meets Toni via Joey. He later hires Claude as his personal driver in a couple of missions and attacks the Triads in others.
Don Salvatore Leone
Salvatore is the Don of the Leone Family, Joey’s father, and the husband of Maria Latore. He owns Salvatore’s Gentlemen’s club in Saint Mark’s in Portland Island.
Claude is introduced to Salvatore by Toni Cipriani after driving them to Salvatore’s house for a meeting. Salvatore hires Claude to look after his wife Maria and in several other missions. Their relationship ended after Salvatore got paranoid and attempted to kill Claude.
Maria Latore (La Torra)
Maria is Salvatore Leone’s Wife and a friend of Asuka Kasen. Maria meets Claude for the first time after Salvatore hires him as her bodyguard for the evening. She later lies about having an affair with Claude.
For that reason, Salvatore gets paranoid and attempts to kill him. She eventually escapes with Claude to Staunton Island and joins the Yakuza with Asuka.
Asuka Kasen is one of the shot-callers in the Yakuza chain of command alongside her brother Kenji. She helps Claude and Maria escape from the mafia in Portland Island. She owns a condo in the Newport area in Staunton Island.
Asuka tells Claude to cut all his Ties to the Leone Family by assassinating Salvatore and proving himself useful to join the Yakuza. She hires him as her own handyman to help her take down the Colombian Cartel.
Kenji is the second leader in the Yakuza chain of command next to his sister Asuka. Kenji is introduced to Claude by Asuka and hires him to do various missions such as taking out gang members and breaking a fellow Yakuza member out of jail.
Later in the game, Kenji is run over by Claude in a Cartel Cruiser to start a war between the Yakuza and the Colombian Cartel.
While doing handy work for Asuka, Claude will meet Ray. Ray Machowski is a Yakuza informant and a corrupted LCPD officer. Claude helps Ray murder his former partner to prevent him from testifying against Machowski in court. Ray’s role ends when Claude helps him escape Liberty City.
Donald Love is a businessman, a billionaire, and a real estate developer. He hires Claude for various missions that involve drugs and gang wars. Killing Kenji to start a war between the Yakuza and the Cartel is one of Donald’s missions.
Miguel is one of the highest-ranking members of the Colombian Cartel, in Liberty City. After a successful heist, he became Catalina’s partner after she betrayed Claude.
Near the end, Catalina shoots Miguel in the back and leaves him as a prisoner for the Yakuza. He is tortured and eventually whacked after giving vital information about the cartel operations.
The game features other characters with minor roles. In other words, you will interact with these characters once or twice throughout the whole game.
The Oriental Gentleman
He is an old Asian man that gets arrested at the airport for not having the proper documents. You will see him at the beginning of the game transported with Claude and 8-Ball. The Cartel kidnaps the old gentleman, but Claude rescues him in a mission by orders from Donald.
Mickey is the CO-manager of Luigi’s club in the Red Light District. He Explains a mission to the Player when Luigi is not around.
She is one of Luigi’s prostitutes and Joey Leone’s regular girl. Claude gives her a couple of rides around town at the beginning of the game.
Known as the One-armed Bandit. Phil owns a supply of military-grade weapons in the Rockford Area in Staunton Island. Claude helps Phil defend his supply from a Cartel attack.
When you follow the events of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, Catalina loses a race to CJ and leaves to Liberty City to continue her streak of chain robberies with her new boyfriend Claude. At the beginning of GTA III, we see Catalina and Claude robbing a bank with Miguel and a getaway driver.
During their escape, Catalina turns on Claude telling him that she is an ambitious woman and does not need him anymore. She then shoots Claude and runs away with her new partner in crime Miguel. However, Claude survives the gunshot.
After his arrest, Claude, 8-Ball, and the Oriental Gentleman are transported to Portland Island. However, the Colombian Cartel ambushes the convoy as it crosses Callahan Bridge and kidnaps the Oriental Gentleman.
The Cartel blows up the bridge separating Portland Island from Staunton in the process. Claude and 8-Ball seize the opportunity and escape.
They use a hideout in the Red Light District near Luigi’s club as a safe house. 8-Ball introduces Claude to Luigi, who hires him to do tasks.
Luigi asks Claude to pick up one of his prostitutes called Misty and drop her off at Joey Leone’s garage in Trenton District in Portland Island. After their first meeting, Claude starts doing missions for Joey against the Triads and Forelli’s crime family to gain his trust.
Claude meets Toni Cipriani in one of Joey’s missions and works as his driver. After several Toni missions, Claude finally has the opportunity to meet Don Salvatore Leone in a mission called Salvatore’s called a meeting.
Since Claude does not have enough authority to stay in the meeting, Salvatore gives him instructions to babysit his trophy wife Maria and drive her around for the evening.
Claude takes Maria to meet her regular drug dealer Chico in China Town and then to an illegal party in a warehouse in Atlantic Quays.
Taken by surprise, the police raid the party, and Claude has to save Maria and drive her back to Salvatore’s mansion. Salvatore begins to trust Claude and hires him to follow a man named Curly Bob.
Bob works as a bartender in Luigi’s club and he was selling Leone’s business secrets to the Colombian Cartel for SPANK (illegal drugs). Claude follows Bob to Portland Harbor where he watches Bob giving information to the Cartel leaders Catalina and Miguel.
Claude chases Bob and kills him, but Catalina and Miguel escape. Salvatore has Claude and 8-Ball blow a massive ship in Portland Harbor that the Cartel uses as a factory for their drugs. Unfortunately for Claude, things went downhill after the mission.
As a final favor to Salvatore, Claude is asked to get rid of a car that contains murder evidence. But, Claude discovers that the car is a trap and is set to explode once he gets in it.
Turns out that Maria lied to Salvatore about having an affair with Claude, which infuriated him. Maria warns Claude and meets with him at a dock where she introduces him to Asuka and escapes to Staunton Island.
I am not sure if you noticed the pattern already, but everyone you meet will either send you on a series of missions or ask for a small favor. Either way, there is a 100% chance that you will end up with a bullet inside your skull. In-game, of course.
Asuka hires Claude as her handyman. To prove his worthiness, Claude must kill Salvatore and cut his ties with Leone’s business once and for all. While Claude works for Asuka, she introduces him to Kenji and Ray Machowski. And they both hire Claude to do their dirty work for them.
Claude helps Kenji take down the Yardies and the Cartel and aids Ray to keep his ties to the Yakuza a secret from the police. Ray introduces Claude to the billionaire Donald Love.
Donald offers a series of jobs to Claude that includes saving the Old Gentleman. Claude steals a Cartel Cruiser to kill Kenji by running him over and starting a war between the Cartel and the Yakuza to lower the real estate prices.
Donald sends Claude to the airport to collect some packages from an airplane hangar. However, the Cartel acquired the packages and took them back to their HQ in the construction site. Claude arrives at the site and meets his old love Catalina with her partner Miguel. As Miguel tries to negotiate with Claude, Catalina shoots him in the back and escapes.
Convinced that the Cartel murdered her brother, Asuka arrives at the site to help Claude and starts torturing Miguel for information. Claude returns to meet Donald at the penthouse and finds out that he and the old Gentleman has disappeared.
Claude heads back to the construction site to meet Asuka. To his surprise, Claude finds Asuka and Miguel both dead with a note from Catalina asking for 500,000 $ in cash or she will kill Maria.
Claude grabs the cash and heads to the exchange location. He gets ambushed by Catalina, who takes Maria and flees in a helicopter leaving her men to kill Claude.
Claude defeats the Cartel and follows the helicopter to Cochrane Dam. Claude kills the armed men and takes down the helicopter with a rocket launcher, killing Catalina in the process.
As they leave the Dam, Maria starts mumbling, none stop. As the screen starts to fade into darkness, we hear a gunshot, and Maria instantly goes quiet. No one knows what really happened after that.
Maybe Claude shot his gun in the sky as a sign for her to stop throwing words at him.
Or maybe he had enough of her voice and shot her in the face.
The most important part of Grand Theft Auto III is the gameplay. For those who still haven’t played GTA III yet (seriously? What are you waiting for?), it is a crossbreed game that combines role-playing with driving, shooting, and exploring.
As I mentioned in the storyline above, the player starts the game as a low-life criminal who gets betrayed by his girlfriend in the middle of a heist. She shoots him and leaves him for dead, but he survives.
The player manages to escape a prison sentence with his fried 8-Ball and starts working for various criminal organizations like the Italian mafia and the Yakuza.
The game takes the player through a journey of chaotic and dynamic series of missions. Nonetheless, each mission or job you take is related to another in the distant future or links back to the previous one.
What separates GTA III from the rest of the pack game is the variety and sheer volume of cut scenes, characters, and stories hidden within each mission. The characters are set to play at a professional level and are far more realistic than they seem.
There are central characters, who fuel and drive the heart of the story. But more than often, players will drift away and get distracted by side missions, stunts, looking for money, and simply exploring the perks and landscapes of the game.
My first time playing GTA III, I spent almost eight hours exploring the map and experimenting.
Map Scale, Cars, and Weapons
The game is absolutely massive and may take a while to get familiar with it. The map features three major islands inspired by Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan: Portland Island, Staunton Island, and Shoreside Vale.
Each Island features distinct AI, buildings, and landscape. It was supposed to feature buildings similar to the World Trade Center but was removed after the unfortunate events of 9/11.
Portland Island is the industrial district of the map and the first area the player will explore at the very beginning of the game. It features docks, warehouses, factories, markets, and many suppliers.
It is populated by prostitutes, street thugs, and workers driving old cars and features three of the biggest gangs in the game: Leone’s mafia, the Triads, and the Diablos.
Staunton Island is the business center and the second city the player will unlock. This part of the map is home the rich businessmen, corrupt officials, and wealthy corporations. Parts of the city are controlled by three major criminal organizations: the Yakuza, the Colombian Cartel, and the Yardies.
Shoreside Vale is the final city the player will reach. This part of the map is the suburban district featuring millionaire mansions, nice cars, garages, and a very nice view. It also includes Francis International Airport and Cochrane Dam, where the game ends.
The local gangs are the Southside Hoods located in the lower dingy part of the city and the Colombian Cartel in the rich part.
Cars and Weapons
The game offers amazing freedom for the player when they are on foot. They can jump, run, walk, run into buildings, and most importantly handle guns.
The player can handle up to eleven weapons including a sniper rifle, flamethrower, bombs, rocket launchers, and Molotovs. My personal favorites are the rocket launcher, the shotgun, and the flamethrower.
Just make sure you keep an eye out on the ammo. Trust me, you don’t want to get into a fight or do a mission without a firearm.
As for the cars, GTA III includes more than 70 vehicles for the player to drive. The list includes small cars, sedans, vans, pickup trucks, armored trucks, buses, and sports cars.
Some vehicles are fast and handle incredibly well, while others are slow and can barely make a turn. If you are like me, you will drive only high-performance cars like the Mafia Sentinel or the Cheetah once you try them.
However, you have to be careful when you drive because cars take damage and explode when they reach their limit.
Grand Theft Auto III has a jaw-dropping variety of missions with different. The first few missions are fairly easy and include tasks like giving someone a ride. However, as you go deeper into the game, the difficulty will gradually increase with each mission.
Some missions can be hard and demanding, so it may take a couple of attempts to get it done. Others will force you to race against time and require high driving and shooting skills.
Some of my favorite missions include The Getaway, Salvatore’s Called a Meeting, Bomb Da Base: Act II, Sayonara Salvatore, Espresso-2-Go, and the Exchange. These missions include fast driving and lots of shooting. You can ignore the main story missions and do side missions like driving a taxi or an ambulance.
Top Three Hardest Missions
Your goal is to shoot down the airplane before delivering SPANK to the Cartel. I had to redo the mission so many times because it was hard to see the plane approaching. In addition, the runway is surrounded by armed Cartel members waiting for the landing.
The goal is to destroy espresso stands the Cartel uses to cover up illegal drug sales. You have limited times to destroy nine stands spread across the Islands. It requires shooting and driving skills. Plus, a good memory to find the fastest way to your target.
It is the final mission in the game. In this mission, you have limited time to kill dozens of Cartel members, follow the helicopter, save Maria, and kill Catalina in the process.
One of the best features of the game is the Mafia theme inspired by the GoodFellas movie and The Sopranos TV show. One way or another, working for criminal organizations in GTA III and completing missions gives the game a different vibe and gives the player a sense of achievement.
Another variable I love about the game is the instantaneous and gradual learning curve. It is instant because you learn how to move and control things when you hit the start button.
On the other hand, it is gradual because the game gets harder as you progress. As a result, you must gain more skills and think outside the box to complete the missions.
The hardest thing is memorizing and getting familiar with the map. Luckily, GTA III has a GPS system in form of a round minimap in the bottom corner of the screen.
When it comes to graphics and sound effects, Rockstar created a masterpiece. Ditching the top-down view and offering different perspectives and points of view made the game more exciting and immersive.
Lastly, the best thing in the game is its large scope that gives a sense of freedom. It is the small hidden things scattered around the map like the secret packages, slowdown pills, and wanted level stars.
Question: Is GTA 6 Coming Soon?
Answer: Rockstar Games officially confirmed that the new addition to the GTA series is currently under development. However, Rockstar did not confirm whether it’s another GTA 5 edition, or GTA 6.
With the unprecedented longevity of GTAV, we know many of you have been asking us about a new entry in the Grand Theft Auto series.
With every new project we embark on, our goal is always to significantly move beyond what we have previously delivered — and we are pleased to confirm that active development for the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series is well underway.
We look forward to sharing more as soon as we are ready, so please stay tuned to the Rockstar Newswire for official details.
On behalf of our entire team, we thank you all for your support and cannot wait to step into the future with you!
– Rockstar Games/Newswire
Question: What are GTA 5 and GTA Online PC Requirements?
Answer: If you want to play GTA 5/ Online on PC you will need:
• Windows 10/ 8.1/ 8/ 7 with service pack 1 – 64 Bit
• Processor: Intel core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHZ (4 CPUS) / AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4GHZ (8 CPUS)
• RAM: 8 GB
• Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD 7870 2GB
• Storage: 120 GB free space.
The game takes about 15-20 hours to complete the main storyline missions and the side as well. But the time can easily stretch to over 70h of gameplay to explore every corner of the map. GTA III took gaming to a whole new level and gets better each time you play. It is immersive and engaging … maybe even addictive.
Rockstar created a masterpiece, but it is not good enough according to 2022 standards. There are many more games with better graphics and gameplay to try out.
Why would you go back to GTA III when you can have more fun playing Grand Theft Auto 5 online.
Overall, is it worth playing? Yes, it is, and I highly recommend it. Missions, characters, and interactions with the AI in the streets, all among other things have a certain degree of lunacy, irony, and dark humor in their core.
Which GTA is the Best?
The best GTA in the series is GTA 5 with over 150 million copies sold. It features a wide range of characters, cars, weapons, missions, and jaw-dropping graphics.