Grand Theft Auto for PC
Developed by Assistamount

The world has seen its share of violent, controversial, and otherwise inappropriate video games. I remember well the furor caused when the original Mortal Kombat made its debut. The digitized blood and gruesome fatality endings – immolation and various methods of head removal being the two most popular – caused outrage amongst the more uptight segments of the populace, such as church mothers and right-wing conservatives.

The subsequent MK games have only escalated the violence further. And what member of the polyholiday generation doesn't remember the alleged pornographic pirate Atari 2600 game, Custer's Revenge, the object of which was to lead a naked and cartoonishly well-endowed General Custer through a hail of arrows to rape an Indian princess tied to a stake?

Alas, these games pale in comparison to the game which is the subject of this review. A game which has been banned in Brazil, and has become nearly impossible to find in the United States. Next to this game, Mortal Kombat seems as violent as a walk down "Sesame Street."

Grand Theft Auto is the game that hereafter all other violence-laden games will aspire to be. A game with an unparalleled level of graphic violence and inherent incorrectness. In a word, this game is just plain WRONG. But therein lies is undeniable appeal.

The object of the game is fairly simple. You assume the role of a common street thug, a bottom-feeding member of a crime syndicate in a big city. You begin your game on foot, running amok among the denizens of the city. If you meet one on the sidewalk, feel free to punch his lights out. Then, kick him while he's down. All in good fun, mind you.

Once you've beaten the innocent citizen senseless, head into the street. Pick a car, any car. Flashy and fast, or inconspicuous and slow. Find your mark, and make your move – carjack the bastard. Throw the durn fool out the car, put the pedal to the metal, and make like Raven and get the flock outta there.

From there, make your way to the park, running over a pedestrian or twelve on the way, and stop at the pay phones. Get out of your car, pick up a phone, and receive your first exciting – and highly illegal – mission. Whether it be blowing up police headquarters, reclaiming stolen drugs, or simply stealing taxicabs, you embark on a non-stop succession of criminal ventures, all the while receiving obscenity-laden advice and continually commandeering an endless supply of vehicles – sports cars, old beaters, limousines, buses, 4X4s, taxicabs, delivery vans, even ambulances and police cars.

Collect various weapons along the way – pistols, machine guns, and the like – to add to your reign of terror. Feel like randomly murdering people? Go right ahead. Shoot 'em like dogs, run 'em down like deer, no penalties for mass killing in this game, in fact, it's encouraged. The more creatively you kill someone with your vehicle, the more points you receive.

And kill a cop? BIG points, baby. But don't think your crime spree will go unchallenged. Oh, no. Before long, you'll have bacon on your ass, first one cop, then two, on up to four and even more. Before long, you'll be flying through roadblocks, and fending off vicious ramming attacks from the infuriated police.

If your flight from justice has made its way to a police car or ambulance, their attacks will be even more fierce. Fight through it if you can. I would assume once you complete enough missions, you can advance to the next city, and continue your one-man crime wave. I wouldn't know though, I've never made it. This game is NOT easy.

But it's just so much frigging fun, I can't stop playing it. Why such a purely evil game appeals to me so greatly, I'm not quite sure. Maybe it's the deeply repressed, depraved and demented part of my psyche that wants to live the life of a hoodlum, living from job to job.

Maybe it's the ability to wreak incredible havoc on society (albeit cyber-society) without fear of reprisal. Maybe it's just the devil in me. It's hard to say exactly, but the game's appeal is unquestionable and irresistible. I won't be getting tired of this one any time soon.

Review by Mario Speedwagon