The phenomenally successful Grand Theft Auto series roars onto Nintendo DS in style in the very impressive Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars.
Using the same outlay of Liberty City that was featured in Grand Theft Auto 4, the game tells the story of Huang Lee who is tasked with delivering a sword to his uncle after the murder of his father. The sword is a key symbol that will allow his family to maintain control of the local gangs.
Things do not go as planned as Huang is beaten and left for dead soon after his arrival in town and has the sword stolen from him. This forces Huang to fight to avenge his honor and seek riches and revenge.
With several side missions, players can find themselves working as a drug dealer, assassin, or conducting petty street crime as they build their reputation.
Driving and fighting are cornerstones of the series and Chinatown Wars is no different as the split screens easily allow GPS and gameplay to be delineated and combat is easily done with the stylus or buttons and control pad. The weapons also have an easy access feature which allows gamers to rapidly switch between weapons as well as a manual and automatic weapons lock.
There are also some mini games offered such as hot wiring and safe cracking for gamers looking to expand on their skills. I was amazed to see that the customary radio stations were included in the Chinatown Wars as gamers can select between five stations when in a vehicle.
Players can also communicate with other characters via the in game e-mail and can also purchase weapons online.
One feature I loved was the use of a taxi system that allows players to ride to a mission local instead of drive. I am a huge fan of the series but at times, I do get lost on the vast map and wreck my car along the way trying to get somewhere in a hurry. The ability to take a cab to new locales is a huge bonus.
The vastness of the game would be amazing for a console, but for a portable system it is staggering the game with in a game ability to become a dealer for example is loaded with several types of narcotics as well as dealers and a vast economic system.
The game also allows players to compete against each other or play in a co-op mode as well as take part in tournaments, chat and trade items online, and follow the leader board.
The graphics and sound of the game are solid and while it may take some getting used to, players will be up and rolling around in no time.
With over 70 missions, Grand Theft Auto Chinatown wars is easily the biggest game ever to appear on the Nintendo DS system. It is important to note that like the previous Grand Theft Auto series, this is not intended for children as aside from the violence and subject matter the language in the game is clearly for adult ears only.
Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars is an amazing game that pushes the boundaries of console gaming and is another triumph for Rockstar games.
5 stars out of 5.