Grand Theft Auto has surpassed the video game medium and become a sort of pop culture icon in itself. It is pretty much the IT game anytime it drops, and it opened up the way gamers (and game companies) looked at gaming. No longer were all video games flat, 2D worlds when you ran from right to left or left to right. Suddenly, with games like Grand Theft Auto 3, we were placed inside an open, living, breathing world. A world that was our (hate this overused term, but..) sandbox. Most of us hadn’t played in a sandbox of any kind in years, so it brought something out in us. A sort of zest and passion for gaming again. The idea that we could play the same game, but may have played it differently then one another was a cool hook for us gamers.. The side effect of our instant adoration for the GTA series was the fact that the video game market got flooded with a slew of GTA clones that were NEVER as refined or as polished as the game they were trying to emulate. Though there are many of these types of games now that are actually pretty good (Sleeping Dogs being a great example, which I bring up later), that was not always the case. Here are five GTA clones you may have forgotten about. Also, keep in mind, just because they are on the list does not mean they are bad games. Just easily forgotten, is all. Well, a few were real bad. Also, please note Saints Row is not on the list because that game refuses to let anyone forget about it via purple dildos (and being pretty kickass).
The Getaway Series
Look familiar? That’s the point. Expect a lot of pics like this on the list.
The Getaway may have failed a bit in execution, but not at all in ambition. It wanted to be GTA if Guy Ritchie directed it. It took all the ideas and mechanics, and flew them over the pond to the U.K for a bit of a different feel. The visuals were great (when static) and the voice acting and budget for the game were impressive. The problem? The game felt like GTA stuck in molasses. Every single thing you did (from driving to shooting to walking) felt like you were in that bad dream you have where you are stuck in quicksand while you are trying to run. Everyone and everything in this game moved like a tank, and that zapped any fun out of this potentially great game.
There were sequels (I think…) that improved on the gameplay a bit, but it never found its stride. Between you and me, I believe this is a series ripe for a reboot with new gen hardware. The location and characters were all dope. They just need to clean up the gameplay and make it a tad more their own.
Scarface: The World is Yours
Look familiar? That’s my point. Expect to read a lot of captions like this on this list.
Okay, let’s get something straight. I had fun playing this game. I really did. The idea of changing the end of one of the best crime movies ever made so that Scarface lived is kinda lame (how about making us someone new, perhaps he was a mentor to someone we didn’t know about?). But, that fact is made up for with a f*ck you button. Yes, this game had Scarface yelling f*ck you, assigned to one button. Though taunts would go on to be a bigger aspect of games, at the time, I thought it was kinda awesome. Contrived, yes. But awesome.
Outside of that, though, it was pretty much GTA with Tony Montana. Felt kinda like Vice City, too (which is meta because Vice City was partly inspired by the movie that inspired this game. Holy shit, I just got a bloody nose from that). Fun, but still an pretty forgettable GTA clone in the long run.
Look famili…ah, you get the point.
Mercenaries may not look the part, but trust me. It was GTA set in a war zone, with more focus on pure environmental destruction than anything else.
I know some people may want to yell HOGWASH because this game is more of a shooter than a GTA clone, so let me tell you what Mercenaries consisted of: Stealing any vehicle in an open world and then causing as much destruction as possible. Sometimes there were specific goals, but that was the gist of it. It was a GTA game for people who preferred driving around and killing pedestrians to the actual story line. It is GTA for a more ADHD generation, fueled on violence and mayhem.
Also, by the second game, Mercenaries was also a shit load of fun, I must confess. Still, it was a GTA clone, like it or not. Just a GTA clone that smart enough to wear a different outfit.
True Crime Series
I am not even gonna f*cking ask you if this looks familiar.
I know, I know. You all want to tell me how True Crime evolved into Sleeping Dogs, and that is fine. But there are a good number of gamers out there who don’t know that fact. Yes, Sleeping Dogs was True Crime: Hong Kong or some shit first. But I am talking about going WAY BACK, to when True Crime first came out. This game was like that kid who saw a cool guy at school who got a lot of ass, and then tried to emulate him but ended up making a fool of himself. The first two True Crimes felt like the “shitty cover band at a dive bar” version of GTA. I know this sounds mean, but the games were a contrived mess. The fact that you could play as Snoop Dog somehow managed to be both cool and super lame at the same time. An odd paradox for me, I must say.
Truth be told, they did find their stride with Sleeping Dogs. But it took awhile, and dropping that awful name and adapting Batman’s combat really helped.
Hey, someone had to say it.
Looks NOTHING like any of the above pictures. Nope. Not at all.
While I am (sort of) talking about the whole Driver series, I have to give special points to Driv3r (obviously, the third in the series, which you can tell by the super lame name) for trying SOFA KING hard to be a badass cousin to GTA, when it was nothing more than a hackneyed attempt to cash in on gamers as sheep who they think do not know the difference between bad and badass.
I know some people say it was an homage series, or even a satire series of open world games, but come on? Get off that shit. It was just a bad game trying to be a way better game and failing miserably and forgettably in the process. I am being told forgettably is not a word by spell check, but I hope this article will be forgettable enough that no one will care.
Okay, so which ones did I miss, and which ones was I way off about? Take to the comments and let me know (as graciously as possible).
I secretly love Simpsons Hit & Run, which is why I kept it off the list like a dirty little secret I want to share with only myself.
If you like my brain droppings, you should go over here and read my REAL brain droppings, and then go here and hire me to work on your whatever. It’ll be awesome!