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Genre: Action-adventure, Third Person Shooter
Release Year: 2002
Developer: DMA Design
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Age Rating: 18+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

The best thing about computer games is how they let us do things that would have some pretty dire consequences in the real world. Reckless driving, speeding through busy city streets, stealing high performance cars or generally being an all round bad guy, it’s not something many of us would want to try for real. In a game however, sign me up! Grand Theft Auto III (GTAIII for short) was the first game in the series to move the perspective from a top down 2D view to a fully 3D world. While it’s graphics may seem primitive now, it was a controversial title at the time and one that re-ignited the debate around violence in videogames. Make no mistake, this is no game for children, but for adults it’s still a great bit of escapism after a hard day at work.

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Installation

Grand Theft Auto was available at retail on CD-ROM and is still available on several popular digital download sites (such as Steam). To install the original retail version, place the Install CD into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts as normal. If the games installation utility does not start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Setup.exe” program manually.

To complete installation of the retail version, we also strongly advise that you copy the contents of the play disc to your GTA3 installation folder. To do this, first locate your GTAIII installation folder. By default this can be found in “C:Program Files (x86)Rockstar GamesGTAIII”. Now, pop the Play CD (CD2) into your computers optical drive. Use Windows Explorer or File Explorer to copy the files from the CD into the GTAIII game folder. You can exclude the folder “DirectX RunTime” but everything else should be copied over.

No special steps are required to install the Steam (digital download) version.

Patching

Before taking to the streets of Liberty City, you’re going to need to install some patches. Which patches you need depends on which version of the game you are playing, so check below carefully.

Patch 1.1 – This is needed for the retail CD version of the game, but should be automatically installed if you buy a digital download version of the game. You can download it here.

To install the patch, simply open the zip file and run the gta3patch.exe file inside. Note that the patch does not automatically detect the games installation folder, so you will need to manually browse to the install folder instead (it’s at C:Program Files (x86)Rockstar GamesGTAIII by default).

SilentPatch – This is a fan-made patch that fixes lots of issues in the game that Rockstar themselves never got around to fixing. This is highly recommended for all versions of the game, digital download or retail. You can download it by visiting this page. Once on the page, click on the big “Download mod” button and then choose the “SilentPatchIII” download. To install the patch you simply copy the entire contents of the downloaded zip file into your GTAIII game folder.

dgVoodoo2 – The retrogamers best friend, dgVoodoo2 is highly recommended for GTAIII if you have a PC capable of using DirectX 11. Follow our tutorial here for instructions on how to install it. GTAIII is a DirectX game. Once installed, be sure to start the dgVoodoo configuration tool and on the general tab, under “Scaling mode” choose “Stretched, keep aspect ratio”.

SP DDraw for GTA III/VC – This is only needed on older PCs where dgVoodoo2 cannot be used. You can download it from the same page as SilentPatch. To install it, simply copy the file into your GTAIII game directory.

No CD crack/hack – Unfortunately, the retail CD version of the game uses a form of copy protection that is incompatible with Windows 10 (and Windows 8 and 7 with the latest security patches installed). To get around this problem, you will need a no CD patch. Unfortunately we cannot tell you where to obtain this file due to copyright laws. We can tell you that the crack we used was by a group called “MYTH” and had the MD5 hash EF92C0915F06E5F3DDBFB096D1587B96.

This step is not required for the digital download versions.

Download

With the basic patches installed, you can go ahead and start the game and set up the graphics options.

Tweaking visual quality

If you’re playing GTAIII on a reasonably modern machine you should be able to max out all the graphical settings no problem. Start the game and then from the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Display Setup”.

First of all, you’re going to want to turn “Draw distance” up to the very maximum. This will make sure the city is as detailed as possible. We recommend turning “Frame sync” and “Frame Limiter” on too. Without these options, the game may run too fast and you will encounter several game breaking bugs.

There’s also an option to play in widescreen, however many users have reported that this causes issues with aiming and other bugs, so we recommend sticking to 4:3 in this game.

For screen resolution, select either the highest supported resolution or the highest supported 4:3 aspect ratio resolution. Make sure that you choose a resolution with “X 32” as the last number. This is the colour depth and this should always be set to 32 on a modern PC.

Tweaking sound quality

Audio settings can be configured by choosing “Options” from the main menu and then “Audio Setup”. If you don’t have an EAX compatible sound card, there’s not a lot to change here. If you have a surround sound setup, you can try selecting “dsound32 software emulation” and choosing “more than 2 speakers” for the speaker configuration.

If you are lucky enough to have an EAX compatible sound card, you can use Creative Labs ALchemy software to restore full hardware accelerated audio to the game. We’re not sure if this benefits the games sound quality or not, but it certainly can’t hurt. First of all, add GTAIII to your list of ALchemy apps in the usual manner. Now, you need to download the GTAIII/Vice City ALchemy fix. Again, just hit the “Download Mod” button to download the zip file, then copy the contents into your GTAIII game folder.

Once this is done you should be able to start the game and from the Audio Setup menu, set audio hardware as “Creative Labs EAX 3 (TM)”. This should give you the best possible sound quality.

Configuring controls

GTAIII does support game controllers, though configuration is a little problematic. When this game was new, there were all kinds of difficulties getting controllers to work correctly, with axis that were incorrectly inverted and other problems. Luckily, the modding community has come up with a solution for modern game controllers such as the Xbox 360 controller or the PS4 controller. Simply download and install the GInput mod and the game will be upgraded to support modern Xinput compatible controllers. Not only that, but all the button prompts in the game will match your chosen controller too (Xbox and PlayStation controllers are supported).

To download the mod, visit the page here. Click on the big “Download mod” button then choose “GInputIII 1.11 (for GTA III)”. To install the mod, copy the “GInputIII.asi” and “GInputIII.ini” files into your GTAIII game folder, then copy the three files from inside the “models” folder to the models folder in your GTAIII game folder.

Once installed, you’re ready to go if you’re using an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller. For PlayStation controllers, you will want to edit the “GInputIII.ini” file in Notepad or your favourite text editor. If you’re not familiar with how to do this, see this tutorial.

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To enable PlayStation button prompts, find the line “PlayStationButtons=0” and change it to “PlayStationButtons=1” (don’t copy the quotation marks). You can also invert the controllers axis if necessary by replacing “InvertLeftYAxis=0” with “InvertLeftYAxis=1”.

Troubleshooting

Freezing on loading screen – If the game freezes while loading a level or a save game, try restarting your PC then disabling any in-game overlays.

Game asks for disc 2 and won’t start even when it is inserted – Make sure you copied the contents of the Play disc to your GTAIII game folder.

Game does not start – If you’re using the retail CD version, you must use a no-CD patch in order to bypass the games copy protection.

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Other notes

Save games and configuration data for GTAIII is stored in “C:Users(your username)DocumentsGTA3 User Files”.

If you use dgVoodoo2 to play the game, you can access in-game overlays such as Steam, Evolve or Nvidia Shadowplay. We had some compatibility issues with the Evolve overlay and if you experience lockups or unusual behaviour we recommend you disable it.

Screenshots

Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.

Concrete jungles all around.

I used to be a nice boy. I'd spend Sundays (after choir service) baking cakes with my mum (meringues being my speciality) and I used to own a pink skateboard on which I would stand and go down hills before picking it up and walking back to the top. Girls didn't used to fancy me, they thought I was 'sweet' and I passed all of my '0' Levels with flying colours, barring French.

Then at around age 161 discovered fags and booze and started spiralling down the garbage chute of life. Dalliances with drugs did me no favours and now aged 32 I've progressed to mowing down pedestrians, hi-jacking ambulances and ice cream vans, shooting the police, battering vagrants and paramedics and getting taught the ways of the Lord in dark alleys by ladies of ill-repute. The Tories would talk about the gateway theory. The tabloids would probably blame computer games.. And for once they'd be right.

Stop That Train

Yep, Grand Theft Auto III is finally here, despite a long and torturous wait that involved thumb-twiddling, persuading my partner that buying a PlayStation 2 would be a sound investment, blagging a copy from Take 2 and half-completing the game before phoning Take 2 on a daily basis enquiring where the hell the PC version was. Still, good things and all that.. Bad news first though: there's no multiplayer. Despite persistent rumours, Rockstar told us it never had any intention of tacking a multiplayer option onto what it sees as a quintessentially single-player experience.

If you've played the game you can see sense in that.The naysayers might have been appeased with the ability to race around the city but most of us got bored of Midtown Madness a couple of years back. And expecting a real MMORPG version of GTA III in addition to the single-player game was never going to happen. Look forward to it in the next version, but for now don't let it put you off one of the best gaming experiences of all time.

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Freedom City

And I don't use words like that lightly. I've been on ZONE for three long years now and thanks to a combination of bad luck, lack of time and a reviews editor who refuses to give me anything that might be half-decent to review, I've never given 90 per cent to a game before. I started getting scared that I was going to finish my ZONE career a virgin, which is why I insisted GTA III was going to be mine.

For me it's a flawed masterpiece that manages to do almost everything right. Let me explain further. One of the big debates over the past couple of years has been about freedom. Some see the future of PC games lying in freedom of choice, where the developers create a world and a loose sketch of a game to cover the joins. Others think that linearity is the only way to sustain an involving dialogue. GTA III proves that you can have both depending on your mood. From the very first kick of the game you can pretty much do what you want, where you want, with whom you want. If you want to 'progress' through the game you can pick up a mission at any time, but the first thing you'll want to do is explore, take stock of your surroundingsand indulge in a spot of the old ultra-violence.

I Fought The Law

It would be ludicrous of me to suggest that GTA III provides you with a fully working city, where you can enter any building and interact with any character. What the developers have done instead is create the illusion that the whole city is open to you. You can car-jack pretty much any vehicle you can see and tear around creating as much havoc as you want, as long as the filth doesn't catch you in the act. When this happens you're given a 'wanted' rating, signified by a set of stars. One star puts you in the Mark Morrison category whereby the police might give chase for a bit before deciding to stop for a hot dog; five stars means that the whole of the LCPD is after you, along with helicopters, road blocks and snipers. It's a game in itself attempting to reach this sort of gangster status, before losing your wanted tag by either driving over the strategically placed stars dotted around the town, which reduce your criminal rating, or by taking your car in for a respray. (If you're interested I suggest smashing a few bystanders round the face with your baseball bat, waiting for the paramedics to turn up before turning your rage on them, nicking their ambulance and ramming the nearest police car.)

Alternatively, you can just cruise the streets, taking in the sights, before trying for bonus points by launching yourself off the various ramps, bridges and flyovers, and somersaulting your way to a - hopefully - safe landing. Smash the car up too badly mind and you'll have to get yourself out quickly before the flames take hold and it explodes.

The fact that everyone who plays GTA 3 does it in a different way is testament to the fact that the game works on every level, and it's this quality, not the stunning graphics engine, that's had almost every PS2 reviewer in raptures. We might be the first to review it on the PC but we're not about to buck that trend, not even with our reputation.

No Woman, No Cry

But you might recall. I did mention the word flawed. Because, despite the fact that it's one of the best games I've ever played, there are holes to be picked if you're the picky sort. Most of the blemishes are nothing more than gameplay mechanics (like the time I had every police car in the city after me but lost the lot by driving into a garage despite the fact that one of them followed me in) but when, on the odd occasion, your attention wanders, you realise that (whispers) there's not actually a great deal of complexity to the game. The missions that lead you through the story and open up the new areas, while hugely enjoyable, are relatively simple affairs: 'Take this car here', 'shoot that person in the head', 'blow that person's car up', that sort of thing. It generally involves getting from A to B in a set amount of time, and occasionally getting out of your car to shoot someone in the head.

What they do provide though is a refreshing change from the sort of shit we've been wading through for the past couple of years that masquerades under the 'I'm not really crap, I'm just .complicated' banner. Games you can play for hours on without cracking a smile, games that end up with smashing the keyboardin frustration as you're quick saving for the 10th time in a minute. /how-download-gta-5-on-ios/. In GTA III, you can only save after you've completed each mission, and it doesn't really matter whether you end up having to do the same one three or four times to get through. Each time it'll play out slightly differently or you'll find a faster vehicle hidden away that lets you breeze through a race you were previously struggling to complete in your icecream van.In any case, how can you complain about a game that offers up a mission entitled 'Big 'n' Veiny', where you have to steer a rickety van around town picking up piles of discarded animal porn that's been dropped by someone out of their mind on spank. I haven't had so much fun in ages and if Rockstar want to employ me as their evangelistically inspired preacher I'd be more than happy to quit my day job.

Spinning Around

Because, at the end of the day, finding fault with a game like this is akin to bedding Kylie Minogue and complaining that you got a pube stuck between your teeth afterwards. GTA III does so much right that you'll never say a word against it. It might not dazzle you with its complexity, but the rest of it shines so brightly you'll have to wear shades. I'd stake my life that not a single person that buys it will regret the decision and I'm willing to fight anyone that says otherwise.

OK, we've had to wait a long time for it on PC, but it's just made it all the sweeter now that it's here. What's more, it's a tantalising taste of what's to come in the next version. Put the same game in a complex city where you can go in every building, and where each character has a life and a reason to be in the game beyond acting as eye candy and I reckon you'd have the perfect game. Add in the fabled multiplayer element to the proceedings and I'd have the perfect excuse to finally get involved in an MMORPG. For now, GTA III will do very nicely indeed, thank you very much.

Second Opinion

Mark Hill Said It Would Be Great. And He Was Right

They were going to have to do something really stupid to muck up the PS2 masterpiece and, as expected, they've done the opposite and actually bettered it The crisper and more detailed graphics are just the start of it, because in the end it comes down to it playing like a proper PC game. Once you play it with mouse and keyboard it's hard to imagine how we could ever have played it another way.

Your character is a complete idiot. The kind of person who thinks Ivanhoe is a type of Russian prostitute. He's ready to do anybody's bidding, gets shafted by all his bosses in turn and still keeps coming back for more. But the game itself is an intelligent orchestration of noise and violence that maintains a very cohesive shape despite its freeform nature.

Although it's a shame you can't run over a line of Hare Krishnas anymore, there's no doubt that this is a true classic. Because it does what all classic games should do: appeal to people who wouldn't normally play the genre. I don't play driving games, but I could happily drive around for hours in GTA III. You may not play shooters, but we guarantee you'll get a thrill from this one. Absolutely essential.

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Just Enough, Just Enough, In The City

Who'd Live In The Country When You've Got This Waiting For You In The Big Smoke?

Grand Theft Auto III might look great on a PlayStation 2, but it buffs up even better on your PC. You might not think a small graphical facelift is enough to radically alter a game, and you'd be right. But what it does is offer even more immersion in a game world that was already well out there. You can have more fun just driving round, observing the inhabitants and taking in the sights as you can playing almost any other game released this year in its entirety. The level of detail is eye-boggling and some of the extras that have been inserted for your pleasure are testament to the work that's been put in by Rockstar.

I've now played through the game twice and I'm still finding little quirks, like the workmen who play out a rendition of the Village People classic, YMCA. Crowdsgather round bodies and phone for ambulances, gunfights break out around you for no other reason than it's hot and there's not much else to do when you're an extra in a game. Planes soar overhead and certain ladies come to investigate when you hoot your horn when parked on the side of the road. Oh, and did I mention that it looks the business?

For Those About To Rock, We Salute You

Sloppy Conversions Beware - This Is The Real Deal.

The Rockstar team are PC gamers, which is why GTA III was never going to be a sloppy conversion programmed by a couple of code-monkeys who map the gamepad to random consonants on the keyboard and leave us with a fudge of fixed resolution and console-style text. Unlike other games I could mention. You can now look around Liberty City the way God intended, with mouse and keyboard and a resolution that's only dependant on your graphics card.

But your mouse isn't just there to let you crane your neck and take in the cosmetic fluff. If you've played the game on your PS2 you'll know that one of the biggest flaws was the control system that made it almost impossible to aim your gun accurately, reducing certain missions to hit-and-hope of the worst kind. The game is now infinitely better for this, although if you want to get the best of both worlds you'll have to switch to a gamepad when in vehicle. Them's the breaks.