Grand Theft Auto Advance

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Grand Theft Auto: Advance
GTA Advance Boxart
DeveloperDigital Eclipse
PublisherRockstar Games
Release datesGame Boy Advance

United States Canada 26th October 2004
United Kingdom Europe 29th October 2004

PlatformGame Boy Advance

PEGI: 16+
USK: 12+
OFLC: M15+

LocationLiberty City

Grand Theft Auto series
chronology of events

2D Universe
GTA 1 Era

1961London 1961
1969London 1969

3D Universe

1984GTA Vice City Stories
1986GTA Vice City
1992GTA San Andreas

2D Universe
GTA 1 Era

1997Grand Theft Auto 1

3D Universe

1998GTA Liberty City Stories

2D Universe
GTA 2 Era

1999GTA 2

3D Universe

2000GTA Advance

HD Universe

2008GTA IV

The Lost and Damned
The Ballad of Gay Tony

2009GTA Chinatown Wars


2013GTA Online
2013GTA V

Grand Theft Auto Advance is a video game by Rockstar Games, released on 26 October, 2004 for the Game Boy Advance. The game is played from a top-down perspective, similar to that in Grand Theft Auto 1 and Grand Theft Auto 2. However, GTA Advance also borrows several aspects from the more recent Grand Theft Auto III era, including vehicle-based side missions (such as vigilante), the Head-up display and many weapons.


File:Grand Theft Auto Advance TitleScreen.png
The title screen of GTA Advance.
The game is set in Liberty City, the fictional GTA city that appeared, most prominently, in Grand Theft Auto III. Indeed the earliest announcement of this game was that it would be a port of GTA III, but at some point in development (it is unclear exactly when this occurred) this idea was rejected, probably due to technical limitations and the time needed to reconstruct the previous game's missions in the new two-dimensional environment.
File:GTA A Liberty City Map.png
Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto Advance
The game that was actually released is a prequel to GTA III, taking place one year prior to the events in GTA III. As it takes place in GTA III's Liberty City, familiar landmarks re-appear and the overall street layout is the same. However the locations of familiar secrets such as rampages and hidden packages and jump ramps have all been changed, so players familiar with the city's corners and alleyways in GTA III will have to explore them afresh in GTA Advance. The city's three islands have been noticeably changed in its conversion and elements impossible to interpret to a top-view perspective, so there are no longer any sloped surfaces, and the tunnels and train system have been removed. Also there is no access to Francis International Airport runways. The city in GTA Advance is bigger than in GTA III, especially Portland Island(see image on the left).

The games protagonist is called Mike, with some of the GTA III characters re-appearing in the game, including bomb-shop owner 8-Ball and the Yakuza co-leader Asuka Kasen. However, none of the Mafia characters from GTA III appear, and entirely new characters such as Vinnie (Mike's friend and first employer), Cisco (the leader of the Colombian Cartel), Jonnie (a bar tender) and Yuka (Asuka's niece) have been added. Several characters which were only referenced in GTA III are now met face-to-face, such as King Courtney, the Uptown Yardies boss.


Mike, the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto Advance

Mike is a low-time criminal, working for the more connected Vinnie. They decide to leave Liberty City together and try their luck elsewhere, but Vinnie convinces Mike to do some tasks for their sometimes-employers, the Mafia, prior to leaving. During one of these missions Vinnie is apparently killed in a car bomb, taking Mike and Vinnie's money with him. Mike swears revenge.

His revenge leads to his falling out with the Mafia, and he ends up working for various gangs, mostly the Yardies and the Yakuza. Each gang persuades Mike to do jobs for them as they help him find out the truth about Vince's death.

One of Mike's employers and friends, 8-Ball, finds out that Vinnie has actually staged his own death, and Mike takes revenge on his old partner. During this mission 8-Ball is arrested (setting the stage for his escape in the Grand Theft Auto III intro.), but Mike manages to escape.

Technical details

File:GTA Advanced.jpg
Gameplay of GTA Advance
The game had to be adapted to the Game Boy Advance's hardware limitations. As a result it does not have voice acting or animated cutscenes, nor does it have GTA III's much-lauded pedestrian dialog. All cutscenes are text-only with line-art pictures of the characters' faces, sometimes with a thematic backdrop behind. The art style is consistent with that used for the cover and loading art of the three-dimensional releases in the series. Replacing the pedestrian dialog, some soundbites taken from GTA III are played when the player hits someone's car, but there is a limited variety, leading to much repetition.

The game does not feature radio channels. Like the Game Boy Color ports of GTA 1 and GTA 2, each car has one fixed tune that is constantly repeated and cannot be changed. These include parts of some familiar GTA2 and GTA III tunes, in instrumental versions.

These limitations, coupled with the game being released on the same day as its highly anticipated cousin Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, caused the game to be widely criticized by fans, and it is largely unpopular. Indeed some fans of the original top-down games say that they preferred the old games' mechanics better.


  • GTA Advance is the only GTA III Era game which does not have a PlayStation 2 port.
  • It is also the only GTA game which has been launched exclusively on one platform, and the first to be created primarily for a portable device.
  • It is also the only Nintendo only GTA Game.

See also

External links