Rockstar Classics

Those that read Click will know how much I love free software although up until now very few of my articles have focused on gaming due to the fact that this series was intended to be educational and so concentrates more on applications and utilities.This week however I thought we’d take a break from the serious stuff as I’ve just discovered that several of my favourite old school games have been made available online as legal, free downloads.

All three games that I am going to look at today are available on the website and are manufactured by the games producer Rockstar.This particular company made it big and hit all the headlines back in 1998 when they released game Grand Theft Auto and this is the first game I’m going to look at today.

Grand Theft Auto

GTA allowed the player to take on the role of a criminal in a big city and due to the controversial nature of the game it was very quickly condemned by many politicians and other collectives.Of course, such condemnation usually means that a game achieves much higher sales than it would do ordinarily as people will buy the game to see what all the fuss is about.It is widely known that Rockstar hired publicist Max Clifford in order to build up this controversy in the media resulting in a large amount of free advertising for the publisher which turned it into an overnight blockbuster.

By modern standards the game is extremely tame and if it were re-released today I very much doubt that anybody would bat an eyelid.The object of the game was to complete various missions set to you by the game in order to gain points which allowed you to proceed to the next level.Typically you would achieve these missions by finding a weapon, stealing a car and then getting yourself to various checkpoints on the map whilst avoiding the local police force.

Grand Theft Auto II

GTA II was released towards the end of 1999 and whilst not radically different to the original it did look visually more appealing and the game play was also a little more structured.The missions were well thought out and were more complex than the originals simplistic targets and all the while you had the new addition of various gang factions to deal with.If you did something to annoy one of these factions, for example killing one of their members or helping a rival gang then you would find that they quickly turn against you.This would lead to you constantly watching where you stepped in order to not tick off the entire criminal underground.

Wild Metal

Unfortunately the third game in the compilation is ultimately disappointing.I had not played nor heard of this game until today and whilst I did install it for the purpose of this review it was quickly removed from my hard drive.The object of the game is to drive your tank around desolate areas of the map searching for energy capsules which you then drop back to your base.Whilst collecting this energy you will have to deal with a number of obstacles such as mines, tanks, force fields and sentries along the way.

I think that the inclusion of Wild Metal in this review helps to highlight that whilst games such as GTA will always be playable others do get very old, very quickly.I had just as much fun playing GTA today as I did when I first played it eight years ago and the reason isn’t graphics or sound effects but sheer playability.

As a word of warning I wouldn’t suggest anyone on dialup even attempt to download any of these games due to the sheer size of the files involved.Whilst the 350mb GTA2 took ten minutes to download on my broadband connection it would take literally days on dial-up – just because it’s an old game don’t expect to get away with using an old technology such as your 56k modem!

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.