The epic game series
Grand Theft Auto arrives on the iPhone and iPod touch in Grand Theft
Auto: Chinatown Wars that turns this gaming universe portable.
Originally a cool DS game, it was ported to the PSP with mixed
reviews and thankfully for the iPhone, it has received a great smart
phone makeover which easily makes this the definitive port. Best of
all, the iPhone version combines the stylus version of the DS with
the impressive graphics of the PSP to create a game that works
perfectly with the innovative features of the iPhone.
Another thing I
noticed about the iPhone version is that it's considerable faster to
load than the aforementioned platforms, so when you want a quick
burl of Chinatown Wars, you can virtually jump straight into the
game and start playing. Of course the gem of this series has
always been Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and if you're
thinking that this is a cut down version of the franchise, than
you'll be mistaken. That's because it features a majority of the
bells and whistles from its console siblings, ensuring that the not
only the gameplay remains intact but the fun factor is also quite
In relation to fun, the story revolves around Huang Lee whose Triad
father was murdered in a gang attack and he has been given the
arduous task of delivering an ancient family sword to his uncle in
Liberty City... and of course seeking blood for the death of his father.
Unfortunately for our protagonist Huang, he is ambushed from the
airport and after a vicious attack, he is left for dead which
creates the catalyst needed to fuel his revenge. Although Huang has
been disgraced by his family for losing the sword, you will help him slowly make his way
up the food chain in this virtual sandbox game, thanks to the varied
As the title is a
free roaming sandbox game, it gives a healthy amount of freedom to
the player and the scope of what you can do in this virtual city is
quite amazing. Whether driving around the city, engaging in
different missions, avoiding the police and even masquerading as a
paramedic, it's these little aspects that will make this game so
memorable for hardcore and casual gamers because you're not boxed
in. The game does have a darker side, whether it's the sexual
innuendo or dealing in heroine, this game is strictly for adults!
In relation to
missions, you perform
a gamut of missions for your uncle which generally involve force but
if you want a break, there are dozens of side missions and fun to be
have by exploring Liberty City. This generally involves in you
getting hunted by the police but that's the joy of GTA,
channelling your wicked side for enjoyment.
The biggest learning curve for me was the control system and the touch
screen of the iPhone, however after an hour or so, I was controlling
Huang and his vehicles like a pro and of course kicking some ass from
melee weapons to those that shot big bullets.
Other fun things about the game
which were entertaining on the DS version is the use of the touch
screen such as hot wiring cars, sniping and other mini-games which assist in
keeping things diverse. Thankfully to help you with your missions,
access to a PDA which assists with missions, maps (GPS) and e-mails
in the game and even gives you some statistics of how you're
performing. As the story and certain gameplay scenes are so
cool, it's hard not to spoil anything and let's just say, this game
needs to be experienced!
Like the original
game, the iPhone version is played via a top down view which works
quite well as the graphics mimic the other titles in this series
from the cell-shading graphics. The game uses still cutscenes to
progress the story but the star of this title for me is definitely
the smooth and sharp graphics. The attention to detail by the
developers is brilliant and they have succeeded in making Liberty
City come to life.
The sound effects of Chinatown Wars mimic the
virtual city well and you hear a variety of background sounds to
help bring the city to life. Sadly, the game doesn't support the
radio stations from the console versions, however the unique aspect of the
iPhone version is that you can listen to your music stored on the
iPhone. Some one off shock jock comments would have been nice
At the end of a hard day at work or between meetings or whatever...
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is the perfect game to unwind
because it has been successfully ported to the iPhone/iPod Touch so
well. This is
not just some hacked up port that lacks content, rather, it's an
interactive experience into Liberty City and after hours of play,
I can happily say that I have conquered the game, however there is
also quite a bit that I missed which means I'll be visiting Liberty
City another time. Besides, for $12.99AUD, you really can't complain on
the high calibre of this game, highly recommended!