The De-Evolution Of Grand Theft Auto


Woah. First thing’s first – I am NOT bashing GTA IV. I loved it. Sure, it had flaws, but so does every game, and when you take into account the wild speculation and hype surrounding the game (‘Hey, I hear you can drive across the whole of America!’), then its place as Game Of The Year ’08 was justified.

But what of those people who whine about the lack of planes? They’ve got a point. I’m not saying IV would have been better with a jet for two, but what about all those elements lost in the transition from last, to next-gen? Hey, sounds like a good set up for a list…

The Jetpack


Remember this? After breaking into an Area 51 base, you find this little beauty and use it to escape. It spawns at your air base, and you’re welcome to ride it anywhere. It was fun, if a little slow and stale, but it was best for getting to hard-to-reach tags and basically messing about. Which, when you think about it, was all you did in San Andreas.

So why wasn’t it in GTA IV? It’s a hard call. With the stunning Euphoria engine, it certainly wouldn’t have been as boring, with drift and swing (and the ability to just crash into people), and you’d just need to give it some extra boost to liven it up sufficiently. But then again, how would that look? A middle aged Eastern European wearing tracky-bottoms and a dirty old jumper navigating the train-lines of Liberty City via a jetpack. Even by GTA standards, it’s a little off. It’s basically a choice between uber fun and a disregard for science, or sticking with helicopters and following Newton. And we all know how that turned out.

The Rhino


Ahh, another classic. The Rhino (A big, near indestructible tank) was in every single GTA released…up until GTA IV. The Rhino was slow – shooting slowed you down, so many turned the camara round and fired off a few behind them, reaching incredible speed – but any car that hit into it would explode in a fiery ball of boom.

‘Course, maybe the multiplayer part of IV would be a little more active with 8 of your closest making a wall of mobile death, but traversing the streets of Liberty in a 500 tonne coffin? Hard. Trust me. Plus, cars aren’t the same in Niko’s world – they take a lot more oomph to catch fire, let alone combust – it would have been a nice cheat addition, but it’s understandably left out.


You probably forgot all about Akimbo when you threw the shrink-wrapping off IV, but it was there, in San Andreas. After using a gun enough times, you eventually unlocked the ability to duel wield certain lead-spitters, like SMGs, or the unstoppable Deagle. It took some time, and was a rather RPG-style addition, but very fun.

Would Niko have looked right Akimbo, though? While it’s fine for street-smart CJ to get to pull both triggers, it would have had to be limited more – possibly by using a gun training ground. It’s a rather odd thing to leave out, and it certainly wouldn’t have hurt, but everyone sort of…forgot about it.


So, where were they? This is what most fans clamored for when R* released the latest game, and it’s easy to see why. They were FUN. Very fun indeed. Whether it was the massive Boeing, the Harrier Jet or the Stunt Plane, they were all pant-messingly awesome.

Simple reason they’re not in IV? It’s too small. The ‘ceiling’ only goes as high as the Empire State Building, and with no parachutes, it would have been difficult to take off, let alone do anything fun. Maybe next time, eh?


You have to admit GTA came along in great strides. Firstly,  not swimming, then to swimming underwater, then to…swimming. Boring, useless old over-water front-crawl.

Why was it missing? Oh, come on. Take off those rose-tinted glasses for one second. It was RUBBISH. Unwieldly, ugly and incredibly dull, it was not missed in IV.



So, here’s how it worked. You coughed up enough money to buy somewhere – a money-pressers, a club, so on. Then, every few days, you could rock by and pick up some dolla. And the next few days. And the next?

Get it? But how many of you did it? Weekly, did you go round and collect all your payment? No? Because you didn’t need it. Money was made more of a rarity in IV, but you still had a much bigger wad than you knew what to do with. It just became a number, and numbers suck. Just look at Maths teachers.



Summary – you were a member of the ‘Green’ gang. You fought the ‘Purple’ gang for ‘land’. To ‘do’ this, you ‘fight’ for 3 ‘waves’ until the ‘square’ on the ‘map’ turns ‘green’. Right?

Now this is odd. Why was it missing? There were no gangs a such in Liberty City, but you could easily make a wafer-thin excuse. And let’s face it, it was great fun, and added hours of playability (That’s a word.) It certainly beats pigeons. It was unfortunate, and maybe the addition would have bulked up the game after you finish the missions. An unfortunate loss.

Car Customization


So, you’ve got a sweet ride, and you and the boys gonna jump around the town and shoot up some dope, brah. But how to make your car stand out…? No worry. Just pop into a car shop, and mess around with hoods, colours, bumpers and rims.

Again, it would have been great to see this in IV. It wouldn’t have crushed the game’s aim for a more realistic approach, and there’s something fulfilling about getting 6 starts in a pink Stallion with blue rims. Or, y’know, flames and boobs and manly stuff. A sorry shame that it’s missing.

Ambulances, Firetrucks, and Pizzas

An odd combination, probably resultant of a night out with terrible food involving razors and napalm. But in GTA-land, it means mini-game goodness. Ride around in an emergency vehicle, Taxi or Pizza-cycle and deliver goods or save the city. Eventually, you’ll unlock upgrades, like extra health or a zebra taxi (Kinda camp, but it was worth it).

Police and Taxi missions made a return in IV, but Ambulances and Firetrucks were gone. As were deliveries for Pizza, but Liberty City seemed more of a Burger place anyway. It’s fine. They were pretty boring, and they wouldn’t have brought much to the table. However, removing upgrades? What happens when you kill enough criminals in GTA IV? ‘You have now become a vigilante’. Nice. It’s like Mum patting your head because you wiped your own bum. No armor, no extra health, no nothing. ‘You have now become a vigilante’. Pfft. Thanks.

Of course, there are more, but those are the basics. Anything you missed the most? Add it to the comments section (It gets lonely here), and maybe fill a minute or two be reading what we imagine GTA V would be like. Thanks for reading.

4 Responses to “The De-Evolution Of Grand Theft Auto”

  1. Great article!

    I missed the Easter Eggs from previous GTA’s. They were great to find and had a sense of humour about them.

    I also loved that in GTA:SA you had so much to do, for example; hopping onto a Sanchez, spending 10 minutes riding all the way up Mount Chillad, then jumping off the side of it, parachuting down and trying to land on top of a car. It was so much fun and I never got bored of it. In fact, thinking about it makes me want to play it.

    And don’t forget the mysteries. Has anyone ever seen Bigfoot?

    –Oh and guys, it would be nice if you could say who the article was done by, so I can give thanks.

  2. A lot of the features you mention in the article are implemented and expanded upon in Saints Row 2. Gangs, Assets, Planes, Car Customisation – awesome game and even lets you customise your own character.

  3. Anything I missed the most? Man, this list doesn’t even begin to touch upon all the things I miss. But if you want me to name one really important thing that GTAIV sorely, sorely lacked, it’s cheats. So why can’t I have everyone holding pink dildos by putting in a cheat code? Stuff like that, it’s not in GTAIV, because it went the realistic route. No crazy wacky characters, no amazingly over-the-top yet incredibly fun missions, not too many INTERACTIVE mini-games and upgrades, no demolition derby arenas, and… no cheats. Yea, u can see why I was disappointed with the game.