Grand Theft Auto paves the way for competitors

Brandon Van Westen

Brandon Van Westen

Like it or not, the “Grand Theft Auto” series has become immensel y successful. The open-ended gameplay and publicity lavished on the game has launched it into the stratosphere of the gaming world. With the success of “Grand Theft Auto,” others vie to gain the same with an ever increasing number of clones and look-a-likes. While most fall short of the intended goal, some rise above with further innovation. In recent months, four games have been released to combat for GTA’s reign-each with varying levels of quality.

“The Warriors” (Xbox)Rockstar Games was responsible for creating “Grand Theft Auto,” which caused a minor stir, and a few mentions in Congress. Rockstar then bought out Barking Dog Studios and smashed them together with Rockstar Canada to form their new northern development team. Their first game on consoles, “The Warriors,” is based on the cult classic movie of the same name. The premise is to fight through New York City in various missions and events. Sporting the unique ’70s style of the film, “The Warriors” is strong in the graphics department. From the title scene and its trademark Ferris wheel to the brutal in-game brawls, the visuals are not mind-blowing, nor do they detract from the feel of the game. This is a relief, because the feel and mechanics of the game are where it shines. Featuring a robust combat system and other intuitive designs, it’s never a hassle to “grease” your rivals or evade the police. Usually a title in this genre will never contain much of a story, but “The Warriors” is a wonderful exception. Through optional (but encouraged) back-story levels, you learn firsthand how each member earned their street cred. Each part of the game falls together to form a cohesive whole that is fun because of its quality.Developer: RockstarTorontoPublisher: Rockstar Games Also Available for: PS2

“Gun” (Xbox)From the creators of “Tony Hawk Pro Skater”, “Gun” is a western take on the GTA formula of open-ended gameplay. Starting out in the post-Civil War U.S. with Colton’s father being murdered, “Gun” is a story of revenge. Blasting his way through the wild west to find answers, he gets in over his head in a plot that’s much larger than him. Between major plot points, numerous mini-adventures are available to the player. Numerous side attractions are available to the player from the beginning-like hunting and working for the Pony Express. The side attraction’s short-lived nature would not be so surprising if they didn’t match the game’s overall lack of length. “Gun” simply ends too quickly for a game that is so ambitious and enjoyable. Its sequel, with longer gameplay, will dominate in the genre like its ancestor aimed to. Until then, “Gun” will be an enjoyable, yet slightly disappointing, alternative to others.Developer: NeversoftPublisher: ActivisionAvailable for: PS2, xbox 360

“Bulletproof: 50 Cent” (Xbox)Part of the commercial blitzkrieg launched by everyone’s favorite rapper from Queens, “Bulletproof” follows the picturesque life of 50 Cent (Curtis James Jackson III). Well, at least the part where he takes nine bullets in the chest. Developer Genuine Games depicts 50 Cent in a gritty world filled with violence with varying success. Once you delve into his world, you find it to be shallow and meandering. Lacking any real motive other than the lackluster depiction of death, the product is sub-par and simply another commercial gimmick. Enormous fans of Mr. Jackson will enjoy this title, but for the rest of us, it’s worth nothing more than fifty cents.Developer: Genuine Games Publisher: VU Games Also Available for: PS2

“187: Ride or Die” (Xbox)When cramming this game with every possible ounce of “gangsta,” developer Ubisoft may have accidentally pushed out everything that could have made this a good game. Everything from the graphics, interface, and audio depict a company needing money-fast. Besides invoking boredom, the game is only good as a public service announcement on why the French should not be “shizzling their nizzles.” With any sort of judgment, most will spot that this game is horrible from the stain it leaves on the shelf at the local store. For those who lack this crucial skill, do not buy this game.Developer: UbisoftPublisher: UbisoftAlso Available for: PS2