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11 Grand Theft Anecdotes

So by the time you're reading this, you may very well have been playing the just-released Grand Theft Auto IV for 8 straight hours, and in that time, formed some pretty firm opinions on the game to go along with the magnificent odor you've also probably developed. Sadly I can't count myself amongst your number, as having both a job and a girlfriend, I have certain non-optional sleep and odor-maintenance regimes. Consequently I haven't played a bit of the game, so were I actually to attempt a review here, I'd be making a mockery of the journalistic standards that Cracked magazine has long stood for.

Instead, I'm going to recap some of the absolute favorite things I enjoyed about the past GTA games, which should be a good way for me to fill out a blog post, and also not get too stinky.

My Favorite Things about Grand Theft Auto:

Reverse 180's. In some cars like the taxi or police car, these are so easy to do, it's delicious. I think I pulled one of these accidentally about 5 minutes into the original GTA III. As I recall, after my eyes resocketed themselves, I stood up and exclaimed "Holy Crap, I'm awesome!" It's such a small thing, but making the player feel like the Golden God of All Things On Wheels is one thing that makes this series so great.

Creating a whole logjam of cars and then blowing them up in a chain reaction. Once you realized that multiple gunshots could destroy cars, tell me within minutes you weren't piling up cars in an intersection like a lunatic valet?

This one time in Vigilante mode. This mode seemed kind of lame at first - mostly just chasing crooks down, smacking their rear quarter panel and shooting the hell out of them with an uzi. But there was one criminal who I couldn't pin down at all, and as the clock was running out, in an act of desperation I slammed him off the side of a bridge and into the ocean. One of my favorite gaming moments ever, and it hopefully sent a message to everyone else in Liberty City who had four outstanding parking tickets: there was a new sheriff in town.

Big dirty handbrake turns through intersections. Drifting used to be so cool before the Japanese ritualized it and turned it into something incomprehensible. They did the same thing with sex, and I'm still pissed off about it.

The Sentinel. I find that all the love in this series goes to the street bikes or the sports cars, but for my money the Sentinel and it's variants are the best cars in the game. Not over-awingly fast, but just so unflappable in bumps, hard turns and under braking. I can't count the number of times I lost the handle on a Cheetah while traveling at top speed and spun out into three prostitutes, snuffing out their already tragic lives. But that almost never happened in the Sentinel. This goes back to that whole "feeling like a Driving God" thing I spoke of earlier.

Motorcycle assisted BASE jumping. Just like watching a Vin Diesel movie, except you don't feel embarrassed talking about it afterward.

On that subject, check out some guy's hilariously ruined Quad Bike BASE jump:

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Harrier dogfights. San Andreas had such a retarded amount of unlockable content, that this probably shouldn't have surprised me when it happened, but it did. Sure, the dogfighting was actually pretty terrible, but it boggled my mind that it was even in there, and again, allowed me to relive some favorite movie moments.

My roommate: "What's going on in here? Why are you screaming 'Goose' over and over again?"

Me: "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE!"

Turning the turret in the tank around 180 degrees and repeatedly firing the cannon to accelerate forward. You almost never see tanks do this in real life, and I've always wondered why.

Running over Crockett and Tubbs in their own Ferrari. In Vice City when you achieved a certain wanted level, a Cheetah with two cops in pastel suits will come after you, just like Miami Vice. However unlike Miami Vice, they were about as hard to kill as a baby duck. Which I found perfectly delightful. "People who hate and want to murder Don Johnson" have been a curiously under served gaming demographic for a long time.

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And while we're all sitting here,

My Least Favorite Things about Grand Theft Auto: Molotov Cocktails. Fuck those things. I don't think I've ever used one of these things that didn't end up with me in a heap, a polyester suit permanently fused to me corpse.

Eating. In San Andreas you had to eat food periodically otherwise your character would bitch and moan at you. Who's great idea was a video game that simulates eating? Fucking Taco Bell? The whole point of video games is letting the player do stuff they can't do normally, i.e. drive a firetruck at full speed off a ramp, and into a fountain where they'd earlier parked two helicopters.

Stuff appearing and disappearing when you turn your head. The game wasn't too bad about spawning stuff when you were driving, although it was far from perfect. But when you're on foot, cars and swarms of gangster would appear or disappear as soon as you turned around. It was really disorienting and unsettling, and I'm guessing it's exactly how old people feel all the time.

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So what were some of your favorite GTA moments? And who's got GTA IV? Is it any good? Can you send me your copy? Why not? What's your problem, dick?


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Chris Bucholz

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