Grand Theft Auto Advance, officially titled Grand Theft Auto and also known as GTA Advance, is a Digital Eclipse developed GTA III Era and 3D Universe game initially released on October 26, 2004. The game is only available for the Game Boy Advance hand held console and is the only GTA game not to be developed by a Rockstar Games studio.
The game is played from a top-down perspective, similar to Grand Theft Auto 1, but adds features first introduced in Grand Theft Auto III such as vehicle based side missions (the Vigilante side mission), the Heads-Up Display and a number of the weapons introduced from GTA III onwards. The game was released on the same day as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in North America and was originally designed to be a portable re-release of GTA III. The game received mixed reviews upon its release and, due to the release of GTA San Andreas at around the same time, did not sell as widely as other GTA games.
GTA Advance is set in Liberty City and is a prequel to the events of GTA III being set one year before those events. While landmarks from the original game return and the general street layout remains the same, there are a number of differences between GTA III and GTA Advance. The hills found on Portland and Shoreside Vale, the subway and Portland El, and the various tunnels are not present. There are also examples of where neighbourhoods are not consistent between GTA III and GTA Advance. The runways of Francis International Airport are inaccessible and the city itself is larger than its GTA III version, in particular Portland.
The games storyline revolves around Mike, a small time criminal looking to escape Liberty City with his best friend Vinnie who uses his connections to get the pair work across the city. Shortly before their planned departure, Vinnie asks Mike to do some final work for the Mafia and, during one of these jobs, Vinnie is killed by a car bomb and their money is destroyed. Mike, determined to avenge his friends death, stops working for the mafia and begins working for various other criminals and gangs across the city. These include mechanic and weapons expert 8-Ball, the Uptown Yardies, the Yakuza and the Colombian Cartel to find out the truth behind Vinnie's death. 8-Ball later discovers that Vinnie had faked his own death to escape with all the money with Mike taking revenge on his old partner. Mike manages to escape Liberty City, despite high police interest in capturing him, while 8-Ball is arrested.
- The arrest of 8-Ball helped to set up the opening cutscenes of GTA III where he escapes from a police transport with Claude.
- Asuka Kasen's lack of trust towards Claude in GTA III may have come from her later discovering Mike had kidnapped her niece Yuka prior to working for Asuka.
- King Courtney, of the Uptown Yardies, may have been more likely to betray Claude in GTA III after nearly being killed by Mike, who he had attempted to help.
- Salvatore Leone is almost certainly the leader of the Mafia mentioned, as both the Forelli and Sindacco Family's had suffered heavy losses in 1998. The fake death of Vinnie may have furthered Salvatore's paranoia following the betrayals of Carl Johnson and Uncle Leone.
GTA Advance, having been adapted to the Game Boy Advance's hardware limitations, does not feature a number of things that had become standard with the release of GTA III. These include voice acting, animated cutscenes, pedestrian dialogue and radio channels. There are, however, certain sound bites that were transferred from GTA III including brief police radio chatter stating the location of and vehicle being used by the player, some soundbites for car crashes and a fixed tune for each vehicle, which can be changed.
Mike, the protagonist of GTA Advance.
The title screen of GTA Advance.
Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto Advance.
GTA Advance game cartridge.