Grand Theft Auto for the iPhone steals the gaming spotlight

Jan 19, 2010
Games

Rockstar Games, the developer behind one of the most controversial game series that has been around since 1997, this week released the highly anticipated and extremely satisfying Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars ($9.99) for the iPhone and iPod touch. While Chinatown Wars was first released last year for the Nintendo DS and Sony’s PSP System, […]

Rockstar Games, the developer behind one of the most controversial game series that has been around since 1997, this week released the highly anticipated and extremely satisfying Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars ($9.99) for the iPhone and iPod touch. While Chinatown Wars was first released last year for the Nintendo DS and Sony’s PSP System, the iPhone version costs $20 less than other mobile iterations and is one of the most diverse and intricate games you will find on that platform. 

In Chinatown Wars you return to Liberty City as Huang Lee, the son of a recently murdered Triad boss, whose original goal is to recover an antique sword and return it to his Uncle Kenny Lee. If Huang does not succeed, his family will lose control of the Triad gangs. Like its Grand Theft Auto predecessors, Chinatown Wars boasts plenty of missions and plot twists as you work your way toward discovering the identity of Haung’s father’s killer.

One of this game’s many strengths is the inclusion of the isometric camera that provides a fully rotatable perspective. The camera angle changes as you run around the environment and can be repositioned to the standard ‘behind-the-main-character’ angle by double-tapping the virtual control stick. GTA: Chinatown Wars performs exceptionally well on my iPhone 3G, considering that over 600 MB of memory is needed to install the 188 MB application. I had to delete a bunch of non-essential games and dust-covered applications to ensure a successful download. It was totally worth it.

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There are so many layers if you choose to follow the storyline, but one of the best traits of this open-world crime saga is the option to rampage and interact with the city’s inhabitants on your own terms. One of the first personal ‘missions’ was to steal a police cruiser and store it in Huang’s garage. This self-assigned goal is a ritual, dating back to my first encounter with the GTA series in 2001.

To sum up, GTA: Chinatown Wars delivers big time and is to date potentially the best platform game converted to the iPhone.

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Stephen Danos

Stephen Danos is the Associate Editor for appoLearning.com, AndroidApps.com, and Appolicious. He has contributed to articles published on TechCrunchThe Chicago Sun TimesThe Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere.

He received his BA in English from the University of Iowa and MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012) and Gravitational (The New Megaphone, forthcoming).

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