Codex Gamicus

Grand Theft Auto Advance (also marketed as Grand Theft Auto) is a 2004 action-adventure game developed by Digital Eclipse and published by Rockstar Games. The eighth instalment in the Grand Theft Auto series, it was released for the Game Boy Advance on 26 October 2004 (the same day Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was released for the PlayStation 2). The game takes place in Liberty City (a fictional parody of New York City), the same setting used for Grand Theft Auto III, to which it serves as a prequel. The story, set one year before Grand Theft Auto III, follows small-time criminal Mike's quest for revenge after his partner's supposed death, which leads him to become entangled in a world of organised crime, gang warfare, and corruption.


Grand Theft Auto Advance is an action-adventure game set in an open world environment and played from a top-down perspective. The game had to be adapted to the Game Boy Advance's hardware limitations. As a result, it does not have animated cutscenes, nor does it have Grand Theft Auto III's much-lauded pedestrian dialogue. All cutscenes are text-only with hand-drawn pictures of the characters' faces, 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 dialogue, some soundbites taken from Grand Theft Auto III are played when the player hits someone's car. Short police radio voiceovers will announce the player's location and vehicle type when the player commits a crime.

The game does not feature radio channels. Like the Game Boy Color ports of Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto 2, each car has one fixed tune that is constantly repeated and cannot be changed. These include parts of some familiar Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto 2 and Grand Theft Auto III tunes, in instrumental versions. Despite this, billboards for the radio stations featured in Grand Theft Auto III can be seen throughout Liberty City.

The Plot[]

Small-time criminal Mike works for the more connected criminal Vinnie in hopes of leaving Liberty City with him and retiring from their life of crime. Vinnie convinces Mike to do work for the Mafia in order to achieve this goal. However, after several jobs, Vinnie is seemingly killed in a car bomb explosion, which also destroys all their money. Mike vows revenge, and quickly falls out with the Mafia as he investigates Vinnie's murder. After carrying out some jobs for 8-Ball, an explosives expert and old acquaintance of Vinnie's, he points Mike to a bartender named Jonnie, who maintains connections with the city's criminal underworld and might help him find the answers he seeks. Jonnie hires Mike for several jobs while they investigate Vinnie's murder together, until the former is suddenly killed midway through the investigation.

While searching for the killer, Mike spots some Yardies leaving Jonnie's bar in a rush, and follows them to their leader, King Courtney. Courtney denies involvement in Jonnie's murder, claiming that his men were only sent to collect money Jonnie owed to him, and offers to help find the true culprit. After carrying out some jobs for him, Courtney points Mike to Colombian Cartel leader Cisco. When Mike confronts Cisco, however, he quickly realizes that the man is innocent, and that Courtney has been using him all along to eliminate his rivals. Mike then begins working separately for the Cartel and their main rivals, the Yakuza, led by Asuka Kasen, in hopes either gang will aid his investigation. After Cisco is suddenly killed, Mike pursues the murderer, and is shocked to find a still-living Vinnie, who reveals that he faked his own death to flee Liberty City with their money, and killed both Jonnie and Cisco to ensure Mike never learned the truth. Enraged at his former partner's betrayal, Mike kills Vinnie and steals his money, despite Vinnie's warnings that every criminal in the city will now target him for his wealth.

While meeting with 8-Ball to tell him how his investigation ended, Mike is attacked by the Cartel, who mistakenly assumed that he had killed Cisco. Although Mike escapes the attack, 8-Ball is injured during the shootout and subsequently arrested by the police. After dealing with the Cartel's new leader, Mike learns that Courtney is after his money and meets with Asuka one final time to plan an ambush. However, the Yakuza fail to show up for the attack, leaving Mike to face Courtney on his own. Mike gravely injures Courtney but before he can finish him off, the police raid Courtney's hideout, forcing Mike to make his escape. After evading the police, Mike goes to the airport and leaves Liberty City in Cisco's private plane, heading to Colombia to start a new life with his wealth.