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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Blake Grundman on December 18th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar ::
Not all games age elegantly. Though while Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is certainly showing its age, everything that made it great still shows through brilliantly.
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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Steals a New Ride, Arrives on iOS This December

Posted by Andrew Stevens on November 26th, 2013

Rockstar just announced that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will be making its way to iOS devices this December. It's been enhanced with newly remastered graphics that include upgrades to the shadows, color palette, characters, and cars. It will also come with three different control options for driving and maneuvering, and it features full controller support for iOS. Rockstar has even tweaked the checkpoint system to make it easier for progression once it arrives on the App Store this December.

Grand Theft Auto: iFruit Is A Companion App for Grand Theft Auto V That Lets You Take Care Of A Virtual Pet

Posted by Andrew Stevens on September 16th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Rockstar released a brand new app called Grand Theft Auto: iFruit, a companion app for Grand Theft Auto V. Pocket Gamer reports that iFruit lets players access the latest news, log into the Rockstar Social Club, design custom license plates, customize cars, and place orders for new vehicles, all while being away from Grand Theft Auto V.

The best part out of all of this is that players also get a virtual pet, Franklin's dog Chop. If players take good care of Chop, he'll end up finding hidden items when they take him for a walk in the game. Chop is also said to be more helpful and responsive, but who knows what that means exactly!

Now, go get yourself a virtual doggy to take care of while waiting for the launch of GTAV!

Grand Theft Auto 3 Makes Stealing Cars More Fun On The iPhone 5

Posted by Andrew Stevens on May 31st, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Stealing cars is now a lot more fun on the iPhone 5 as Grand Theft Auto 3, in the latest update, receives widescreen support for the iPhone 5. The update also lets players easily continue their game on any iOS device by using iCloud to save their game.

Need new music to listen to while you drive around town? Custom playlist support is available by creating a custom iTunes playlist named GTA3. Rock on!

Max Payne Mobile Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on April 16th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: MOODY
An impressive technological feat and a great game, marred by control difficulties.
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Grand Theft Auto III: 10th Anniversary Edition

Posted by Blake Grundman on December 20th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: Rockstar Games
Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar


Grand Theft Auto III popped into the public consciousness a decade ago, in a flurry of controversy and outrage.  Ten years later Rockstar has decided to revisit the genre-defining classic and open world sandbox pioneer, with a level of care rarely seen applied to iOS games.  But really, would you expect anything less from the studio that has developed some of the most financially successful and critically acclaimed games of the last fifteen years?

The Grand Theft Auto franchise should be nothing new to the iOS audience.  Chinatown Wars, a retro throwback title very reminiscent of the first couple of installments in the series, has been available on the platform since January of last year.  While the sharp edged dialog and penchant for mass-murder remains consistent in-between the games, the similarities end here.  Grand Theft Auto III: 10th Anniversary Edition is a complete re-creation of the PlayStation 2 (and much later, Xbox) classic.  Though commonplace now, fully rendered three dimensional game worlds were widely unseen in that era.  The iOS port remains steadfast to this vision, recreating the original game's visual style with an extreme attention to detail.

Running through Liberty City feels like a trip down memory lane, while the lively metropolis actively bustles around the character.  Much like it did ten years ago, the player's seemingly mute protagonist feels like a tiny cog in the machine of a much bigger world.  Throughout the campaign, the main character comes across a wide variety of unsavory types scattered throughout each of the city's boroughs, many of whom will provide help along the way.

Planted directly in the middle of an organized crime war, mission types involve anything from transporting prostitutes to teaching mob bosses "a lesson they will never forget."  Rockstar pulled in some big name actors to help lend more credibility to this world.  Calling on the likes of Joe Pantoliano, Michael Madsen, and Michael Rapaport drove home the Italian Mafioso characters more effectively than any run of the mill voice actors ever could.  At the time this was fairly unheard of, not to mention a calculated risk.  Luckily it paid off tenfold and help establish a trend that is still fairly commonplace nowadays.

Another trend that Grand Theft Auto III helped to establish was the presence of a wide variety of radio stations, each with their own unique playlists, DJs and hilarious advertisements.  It was the model for how to integrate music into games, and featured an amazing laundry list of artists to draw from; pulling from numerous different genres.  Even though the tracks are older than dirt, they still stand as an effective time-capsule glimpse back at the popular tastes around the turn of the century.

Without delving too much into the story, it goes without saying that this still can hold its own ground as one of the most compelling gaming experiences found on any platform, even a decade later.  The wide variety of mission types, character interactions, well-written dialog and cutscenes that draw the player in, all help to flush out the lush storyscape that is Liberty City.

But as is the case with anything that is as old as Grand Theft Auto III, there are still some issues that come up when transitioning a game to a portable platform like iOS.  The visual aesthetic is a perfect example of that, especially considering that they are a product of the PlayStation 2 era.  In an age where the Unreal Engine can deliver stunning animations and eye popping detail, Rockstar's engine looks dated and lackluster.  Draw distances are just as terrible, rendering a block ahead of a moving vehicle, if the player is lucky, which also makes navigation difficult as well.

Another aspect of the game that is sure to draw the ire of many is the lack of camera control.  As hard as it may try, the engine's choice for viewing angles are far from optimal under many circumstances and the only other option is a top down perspective that greatly effects the game's level of immersion.  However, these are issues that have existed since the title's original launch, so it shouldn't really be penalized for standing behind the original design document.

The one area where Rockstar was forced to take a fresh look at things is in the interface design and controls.  There have been a series of context based controls added to the right side of the screen for running, jumping, jacking cars and attacking.  Behind the wheel, these items are replaced with buttons to accelerate, break, hand break, attack and leave the vehicle.  To navigate the car itself there are left and right buttons used to steer, which can be replaced by a virtual joypad once leaving the vehicle.  Though these certainly seem like the most elegant control options for traversing Liberty City, as is the case with any on-screen type controls, they are far from optimal.

Something that will stand out above all else is the performance of Grand Theft Auto III, especially on the higher end iOS devices.  What could once only be achieved on high end home consoles can now be played on a piece of hardware that can fit in your pocket.  The experience is replicated perfectly, with special attention paid to animations that are smooth as silk and action that is as active as ever.

For most games in the App Store, a $4.99 price point would seem a bit high.  However, for a game of this caliber and influence, the only crime would be depriving yourself of a milestone in portable gaming.  This is a trip back into Liberty City that shouldn't be missed.


GTA: Chinatown Wars HD for iPad Review

By Ryan Wood on September 17th, 2010
There isn't much to say about GTA: Chinatown Wars that hasn't already been said. The upgrades in the HD version of this great game include lighting affects, an updated control scheme, improved graphics, and the same amazing game that Rockstar games releas
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First Look: Word Crasher. Dropping January 11th.

Posted by Arron Hirst on January 7th, 2010

Having worked 12 years in the gaming industry, working as a software engineer and senior programmer with major gaming outfits such as EA and RockStar Games, Edinburgh-based Kevin Ng has worked on and helped develop a slew of well-known console titles which we will most likely be familiar with or have played at some point in our lives; including the likes of: "Skate" for Xbox 360, "Bully" for PS2 and "Starlancer" for PC and Dreamcast. Leaving that life behind though (for the most part) Kevin is now going solo, becoming an independent developer specifically targeting the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. He was kind enough to give me a quick heads up on his debut iPhone title, and I even scored myself a pre-release promo copy to take a look at .. (Cheers, Kevin!).

Dropping January 11th, Word Crasher is a well-designed, graphically exciting word game. Playing through two modes; Marathon and Flood Panic the aim of the game is to create words from the letter chips that fall from above - but don't make the mistake of picturing this as your normal every-day word puzzle. Its much more dynamic. Usually with these types of games we see a rigid setup which involves some kind of grid-like area, and you having to draw out or follow a certain path in order to create a word. Word Crasher throws that rule book away, adding it's own pretty unique twist to it's gameplay.

The game is set out in a 'tank-like' environment. With fairly straight forward gameplay, at the start of each level a number of letter 'chips' fall to the ground, and every few seconds or so after that, another letter chip will be added into the mix. Unlike other word puzzles of it's genre, in Word Crasher you're able to make a word from any of the letters on screen, regardless of their current position or proximity to others letters on screen. Almost psychedelic in it's approach, the game has a sort of modern retro feel to it. Tapping letters on the board will see a faint colorful neon-like glow surround them. As you select various letters to create a word, they appear at the bottom of the screen allowing you to see just what you've selected and whether it actually does make sense (unlike my attempt - seen right!). The games AI then lets you know if the word exists by lighting up either the 'tick' symbol (bottom right), or cross symbol (bottom left).

The game's "Flood Panic" mode injects even more challenge, introducing a rising water level which creates both a frenzied-type gameplay experience and a race against the clock. Having spent some time with the game, my first impressions are that this is one polished, well-designed and thought out title.

Fully supported by Open Feint, Word Crasher is reportedly set to make it's debut on January 11th at the introductory price of $0.99 .. returning to $1.99 afterward. Also, while you're at it, be sure to checkout the game's official site at wordcrasher.com.


RockStar Games Make Debut on the App Store

Posted by Arron Hirst on December 7th, 2009

Are you sitting down? .. Okay here it goes. RockStar Games, publishers of probably the most loved multi-platform action title to have ever hit the market, Grand Theft Auto, have today finally made their debut on the App Store. But hold your excitement, for just a second ..

For anyone who isn't aware (where have you been? .. Mars?), the Grand Theft Auto series is a heart-racing, exhilarating and action-packed gaming experience. Originally created by Scottish game programmer Dave Jones, throughout, the game sees you play the role of various figures of the criminal underworld, all the while having the title take you on a hardcore roller-coaster of action, adventure, driving, occasional role-playing, stealth and racing.

But don't get too excited. Toni Cipriani, Donald Love and Vincenzo Cilli are nowhere to be seen on Apple's store of dreams, just yet. In fact, RockStar have debuted without their flagship GTA franchise. Instead, the studio's debut application is that of the musical variety. Partnering exclusively with multi-platinum producer Timbaland, Beaterator is a beat machine for both iPhone (and iPod touch), with the ability to record and play voice loops. More importantly it sees signature beats from world renowned DJ and producer, Timbaland, land on the platform.

Now, this is exciting and all, but being a graphic designer myself, I can't help but think RockStar has short changed us iPhone and iPod users a little, with this. For example, if you take a look at the user interface on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) version which was released earlier this year, and then compare it to the App Store version (above), you'll see that our version is as far from "graphic intensive" as you can probably get. That's a shame really, considering it's RockStar, and they're launching the Beaterator title on a device as big as the iPhone for the first time, you'd kinda think they'd have made some substantial effort, right? To make that all important first impression?

But anyway, really I'm swaying from my original point of this article. Before today, an iPhone touch-based version of Grand Theft Auto seemed unlikely. Not because the type of game was deemed impossible on a device such as the iPhone, heck - we've already seen the likes of Payback and Gangstar: West Coast Hustle, both of which replicate GTA.

No, it was the sole fact RockStar wasn't even on the App Store yet, to facilitate the franchise coming to the platform, which brought the critics to say it would probably never happen.

The BIG news today though is that RockStar Games, the well-known worldwide, adorned publisher of the million-dollar Grand Theft Auto franchise, has finally made it's way onto the App Store .. and I'll bet my money that a multi-touch version of Grand Theft Auto won't be far behind.

Monday Morning App HQ

Posted by Will on September 7th, 2009

Random musings of the app store

GTA: Chinatown Wars coming to the iPhone

Last week, as most of you know, Rockstar Games announced that it was porting its critically acclaimed GTA: Chinatown Wars to the iPhone. Not only is this great news for fans of the game, though we do already have the superb Gangstar, but it also shows how seriously the iPhone is taken as a gaming platform. Rockstar is not a company to make gratuitous ports for every platform available (I don't think the Wii will be getting GTA anytime soon), so this upcoming port shows that Rockstar believes in the power of the iPhone. If Rockstar will port GTA for the iPhone, what other big-name developers will follow? The days of the iPhone being a phone that you could play some gimmicky accelerometer games on are over. Sony, I would be afraid.

New ngmoco FPS trailer, now called Eliminate, reveals the use of micro-transactions

Ngmoco has released a new trailer for their upcoming Eliminate, and while the game is looking awesome, most people are fixating on another detail: you will only be able to play so many matches online for credits in one day, and if you want to play for credits again without waiting a day, you have to buy an "energy pack" using real money. So what's the big deal? Well if you ask me, as long as ngmoco doesn't abuse this, nothing. Here's the kicker: if you run out of energy, you can still play online, you just won't win credits. So the only people who will buy extra energy are the perfectionists who have to show how good they are. For people like me, who just want to play a game to have fun (isn't that what a game is for), you can play however much you want and still have fun. So really, this is a great idea as long as two things hold true: the game is not originally priced above $6.99 and the amount of energy you get per day is reasonable. What do you guys think? Sound off in our comments below.

C64 Emulator finally approved by Apple

After months of back room deals, Apple rejections, and Apple non-communication, Manomio has finally gotten their superb C64 emulator has been approved! Obviously this won't appeal to everyone, but if you're one for nostalgia, at $4.99, it's worth picking up because of the high level of polish and solid controls. The emulator comes with five fully licensed games, but no BASIC emulator as was originally included, though it's apparently suspiciously easy to enable the BASIC if you're SSH savvy. Future games will be available via DLC at prices to be determined by the original IP holders. Next up, Manomio, a legal Atari emulator (I wish)!

This week's sign of the apocalypse

Smule's "I Am T-Pain" is the number one paid app in the entire app store. Enough said.

This, week, as a first for MMAHQ, we're holding a contest where you can be the lucky winner of a $15 iTunes gift card! To enter, simply comment on this article with your prediction for what will happen at the 9.9.09 Apple event on Wednesday. What will the new iPod Touch look like? Will any huge games come out (like Madden)? Will Steve Jobs be there? The winner will be the person who has the most accurate or funniest prediction will be deemed the winner (that's right, this is completely arbitrary)! Hopefully we can get some good participation, and if all goes well, we might have some more contests later on.

Apps of the Week

Modern Combat: Sandstorm

Modern Combat is the most visually impressive title on the iPhone to date, bar none. Models are good, textures are sharp, and everything is fully and accurately 3D. Not only this, but Gameloft actually nailed the controls, a first for an FPS on the iPhone. The gameplay, specifically the AI and level structure leave something to be desired, but Sandstorm remains a great accomplishment nonetheless, and it comes with a solid recommendation at the low price of $6.99.

Samurai: Way of the Warrior

Samurai is one of the coolest games I've played on the iPhone. It's a hack-and-slasher with great graphics, perfect controls, and gratuitous blood! Controls involve different combinations of swipes, and the gameplay is actually somewhat strategic - you have to balance small attacks with huge combos, because if you miss a huge combo, you leave yourself very prone to an attack. Execute moves correctly, and you might be lucky enough to see the body of the opponent samurai stop, then fall on the ground in two pieces, with blood squirting across the screen. Samurai comes with both a story mode and an endless or "dojo" mode. My only complaints about this game are that once you figure out the controls, it's too easy - there's an uneven difficulty curve, and that it does get repetitive at times. Still, I found myself playing this $2.99 gem much more than Sandstorm. Expect a full review soon, but until then, you really have to see a video to appreciate the awesomeness of this game.

That's it for this week, tune back in next week for the winner of the contest and some more MMAHQ. Have a great week!