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Grand Theft Auto (video game)

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Grand Theft Auto
British box art for the PC version of Grand Theft Auto
Developer(s) DMA Design (now Rockstar North),
Tarantula Studios,
Visual Sciences (PS)[1]
Publisher(s) BMG Interactive, ASC Games, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Release date MS-DOS and Windows
October, 1997 (EU)
February 28, 1998 (NA)
April 24, 1999 (JP)

December, 1997 (EU)
June 30, 1998 (NA)
August 27, 1998 (JP)
Game Boy Color
Download (Steam)
4 January 2008

Genre Action
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Age rating(s) BBFC: 18
ELSPA: 18+, 11+ (GBC)
USK: 16
Platform(s) PlayStation, MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Color
Media CD-ROM, cartridge, download
System requirements 486 DX4/100Mhz CPU[2]
1 MB Video RAM
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Grand Theft Auto (abbreviated as GTA) is a 1997 action-adventure video game created by DMA Design (now Rockstar North) and published by BMG Interactive. The game allows the player to take on the role of a criminal who can roam freely around a big city. Various missions are set for completion, such as bank robberies, assassinations, and other crimes. It is the first in the Grand Theft Auto series that has thus far spanned ten standalone games, and three expansion packs. The game was originally intended to be named "Race N Chase."[3] GTA was succeeded by Grand Theft Auto 2 and both games were made available as a free download by Rockstar Games on their website in 2004.[4] The game was made available on Steam on January 4, 2008.[5]


Grand Theft Auto is made up of a series of levels, each set in one of the three main cities. In each level, the player's ultimate objective is to reach a target number of points, which is typically achieved by performing tasks for the city's local crime syndicate. Each level has its own unique set of tasks. Successful completion of a mission rewards the player with points and opens the opportunity to attempt harder missions for higher rewards, while failure awards few points and may permanently seal off opportunities for more tasks.


The player is free to do whatever he or she wants. The player can gain points by causing death and destruction amid the traffic in the city, or steal and sell cars for profit, although to get to the large target money amount to complete a level, players will usually opt to complete missions which will gain them one multiplier for every success and lose one for every failure. The multiplier multiplies the number of points scored for anything. Some criminal acts have an inherent multiplier; for example, using a police car for running over people doubles the number of points received.


Even during missions there is still some freedom as most of the time the player is free to choose the route to take, but the destination is usually fixed. It is this level of freedom which set Grand Theft Auto apart from other action based computer games at the time.[2][6] Some places in the game have to be unlocked by completing missions.


File:GTA1 PC in-game screenshot.png

Grand Theft Auto takes place in three large cities, all of which are modelled after real cities: Liberty City which is based on New York City, Vice City based on Miami, and San Andreas based on San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. All three cities suffer from rampant crime and corruption, with constant feuding between the local crime syndicates, random acts of violence from street gangs, organized thievery and murder, and corrupt city officials and police officers.

These three cities would later become the settings all the Grand Theft Auto games to follow, except for the Grand Theft Auto: London mission packs and Grand Theft Auto 2


Players are able to choose to play as eight characters in the game: Travis, Katie, Nikki, Divine, Bubba, Troy, Kivlov and Ulrika (the PlayStation version only lets players choose the four male characters, however). In actual gameplay, there is no real difference, since the characters all wear exactly the same yellow sweater. Although they do wear different coloured trousers and hair colours to each other and have the correct skin colours. You may also name your character, which, with the correct name, acts like a cheat code and alters gameplay.

Grand Theft Auto series
fictional chronology

GTA I era

1961London, 1961
1969London, 1969
1997Grand Theft Auto

GTA 2 era

1999Grand Theft Auto 2


1984Vice City Stories
1986Vice City
1992San Andreas
1998Liberty City Stories
2001Grand Theft Auto III

GTA IV era

2008Grand Theft Auto IV
(The Lost and Damned,
The Ballad of Gay Tony)

2009Chinatown Wars


Grand Theft Auto has seven "radio stations", plus a police band track, which can be heard once the player enters a car, however each vehicle can only receive a limited number of these radio stations.[7] In the PlayStation port each car only had one station.

PC players can remove the CD once the game is loaded and replace it with an audio CD. The next time the character enters a vehicle, a song from the CD will randomly play. This can also be done in the PlayStation port.

The game's main theme is "Gangster Friday" by Craig Conner (who played all instruments on this track), credited to the fictitious band Slumpussy, and is played on Head Radio.[7] With the exception of Head Radio FM, the names of songs or the radio station names are never mentioned in-game. However the soundtrack is listed in the booklet which comes with the game.[7]

The Collector's Edition of the PC version included the soundtrack on a separate CD. The tracklisting gives the names of the fictional radio stations, bands and their tracks, and for some of them the fictional album that they are from.


The original Grand Theft Auto was developed in DOS, and then later ported to Microsoft Windows (using SciTech MGL), Sony PlayStation (developed by Visual Sciences using their "ViSOS" framework[1]), and Game Boy Color. The Game Boy Color version was technologically unabridged, which was quite a technical achievement due to the sheer size of the cities, converted tile-for-tile from the PC original, making them many times larger than most Game Boy Color game worlds were because of the handheld's limited hardware. To cater for the target younger generation, however, the game was heavily censored, with gore and swearing removed.

The PC version comes in several different executables for DOS and MS-Windows, which use single set of data files (except for the 8-bit colour DOS version which uses different but similar graphics). Due to the problems in the game in the windows XP, DOSBox is used instead of the standard programme used by Windows(CMD)

Grand Theft Auto was to be released on the Sega Saturn, but due to the console's rapid decline in popularity before development was finished, the project was halted and the game was never released. After the PlayStation's successful release, development began on a port for the Nintendo 64, Grand Theft Auto 64, rumoured to have graphical enhancements and new missions, but cancelled without ever having a public appearance.[8]

Cover art

The cover art for Grand Theft Auto is a photograph of a New York Police Department 1980's Plymouth Gran Fury rushing through the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 56th Street, with Trump Tower in the background of the picture. The same cover art was also an alternative cover for Grand Theft Auto 2 in selected markets.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Prof. Thomas Hughes (1 March 2000). Marmalade, Jute, and Video Games: The story of how Dundee, Scotland became the home of a thriving video game development community.
  2. 2.0 2.1 DMA Design (1997). Grand Theft Auto PC Edition Manual. Take-Two Interactive. p. 4. 
  3. Wallis, Alistair (21 December 2006). Playing Catch Up: GTA/Lemmings' Dave Jones. Gamasutra.
  4. Miles, Stuart (2004-12-23). Rockstar give away GTA2 for free. Retrieved on 2007-10-29.
  6. Gamespot describes the freedom of the game as its best attribute (6 May 1998).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 DMA Design (1997). Grand Theft Auto PC Edition Manual. Take-Two Interactive. p. 13. 
  8. Grand Theft Auto 64 Preview (1999-03-29). Retrieved on 2007-07-31.

External links

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