GTA:LCS: First Impressions

By Shamus Posted Monday Apr 16, 2007

Filed under: Game Reviews 10 comments

I’m playing Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Number of missions completed before I became disgusted and looked up cheat codes: 7. Some things never change. This game really knows how to enrage me.

In this game you play as Tony Cipriani, who was an NPC back in GTA III, which is in the future from this game’s standpoint. Got it? No? Fine.

New in this version of the game is the ability to see out windows. I like how I’m wandering around my apartment idly carrying a submachinegun.  Only in GTA.
New in this version of the game is the ability to see out windows. I like how I’m wandering around my apartment idly carrying a submachinegun. Only in GTA.
In GTA III Tony was the dumbest of the Mafia bosses. He was slovenly, tubby, and thick-headed. Not exactly the ideal protagonist. They’ve smartened him up and slimmed him down for you in this game. Perhaps the final mission has you hit your head, get brain damage, and the subsequent hospital stay has you gain 50lbs.

Even with the retcon IQ boost up he’s still not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He’s not very impressive physically, and he still looks like he needs to spend some quality time with a bar of soap.

The game re-uses the Liberty City scenery from GTA III, but with a few minor tweaks to keep things interesting. Many improvements from later installments were backed into the original GTA III gameplay. You can bail out of moving vehicles, ride motorcycles, change clothes, and a number of other things that weren’t possible the last time we visited Liberty City. Sadly, swimming and crouching didn’t make it, so you once again get to enjoy the stupidity of drowning in shoulder-deep water and standing like a target dummy in combat.

There are a few new mini-games here. I saw a set of missions that let you become a “car salesman”. I figured this was a euphemism for stealing cars, but no: You actually have to sell cars by taking an NPC for a ride and demonstrating the capabilities of the vehicle. Clever. I will say this: Those would-be customers are exceedingly brave. I have yet to make a sale, but I have killed a number of them and totaled a few cars in the attempt. They don’t seem to mind.

I had hoped the flirting they did with RPG stat-building gameplay in San Andreas would make it into this game, but that didn’t play out. I cling to those scant few RPG elements like a lifeline. The core gameplay of GTA isn’t really my thing, and as I play the game I can’t help but fantasize about how the game could be a sort of urban version of Oblivion.

An apt title for the game might be Grand Theft Auto: More of the Same. This is not necessarily a bad thing.


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10 thoughts on “GTA:LCS: First Impressions

  1. LethalSpoon says:

    To be honest, I haven’t played a GTA game SINCE GTA III.

  2. Spiral says:

    While I played Liberty City Stories, I admit there were alot of flaws in it. Besides branching gameplay off of Vice City rather than San Andreas, there are just some infuriating things. Why are there barely any save points in the city? Why is most of the city cut off? Why does the level of difficulty on every mission require you to go to ammunation between every mission and at least get body armor?

    That said, there’s some definite fun to be had, especially in the second part of the city. There are also some frustrating missions (getting brain damage in the last mission sure what have been easier).

    I just recently finished Vice City Stories. It’s branched off the same build features, but is much better. Body armor and health is more prevalent. More of the city is available and useable. It has real music on its soundtrack instead of crap. It has a full empire building system for bought assets. You can save at any building you own. You don’t die when falling in water. It has the trip skip function from San Andreas. And it’s in the damn eighties. Even if LCS eventually turns you off, I would recommend picking up Vice City Stories. For PS2, it’s quite a nice price.

  3. Steve/Deathblade_penguin says:


    Thankyou… Once again i thought it was just me, but no. I loved the original GTA for what it was, played a little of GTA;London and liked that two.. My (ex)wife and I purchased the R+ version of GTA III on our honeymoon (not the reason for because you could not get that version i Australia and we were both big fans. I followed onto Vice city which appealed to me sense of the 80s and what i considered game improvements (although i will admit i was getting a little tired of finding all the unique jumps and completing rampages) but still loved the game.. GTA: san Andreas followed which is still one of my absolute favourites of the game (Okay i know it had it’s flaws… some unqiue jumpes were impossible to do with super boosting your car, swimming for oysters was time consuming and the timing of some gang wars was irritating) – but all aspects i could tolerate in a game i love..

    so I bought GTA: LCS and i will admit i did not finish the game. I got as far as the third island, finding all the hidden missions, hidden costumes, package equivalents etc (without the use of a guide – I like to map my games..some peopl desrcibe my mapping as “a problem” but i am imprssed with my wall sized map of Vice City’s islands that i no longer need as everyone seems emlbazoned into my memory).. but then the game just became tired and old hat. The fact that when you had to complete rampages – the gangs will not ‘spawn’ so you drove around aimessly.. silly missions… the game went back on the shelf not to be played..

    will i try GTA IV? Probably but GTA:LCS was one of the worst of the lot.And i’m so glad some seems to agree with me as i needed to vent about this…


  4. Raka says:

    “GTA: Urban Oblivion” is actually a pretty feasible title.

  5. Raka says:

    …and then there’s gathering dirty tap water and rotting trash to get your Alchemy skill up by making prison hooch, or retrieving scrap metal from wrecked vehicles to craft custom pimped handguns…

  6. Joshua says:

    Presumably you are playing the PC version. The PS2 version is so dark that it’s unplayable. You can’t see a damn thing. Hopefully, the competent folks at Rockstar were all busy with GTA IV – I would hate to think they could have been responsible for Liberty City Stories.

  7. Shamus says:

    I’m playing the PS2 version, and it is indeed impossible to see. I thought that was an artifact of the video capture card I’m using. (I have the PS2 plugged into the PC, and I play in a window so I can get sceencaps and movies.) I can’t imagine why they messed with the lighting. The lighting in GTA III was ok. Why mess with it?

  8. Michael J. Anderson says:

    I played it (and Vice City) on the PSP and share the frustration – it was pretty decent for a handheld, yet there were numerous things (like limited save points and no ‘quick saves’ and so on …

  9. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Of course you can’t swim or crouch. GTA LCS is a port from the PSP.

  10. you dont need it stalker says:

    ya dont know who your calling tubby :P

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