Video Game: Grand Theft Auto Advance
Grand Theft Auto Advance is a 2004 Grand Theft Auto title released exclusively on the Game Boy Advance. Notably developed with little to no involvement by Rockstar North, but by Digital Eclipse, a third-party developer, the game is an eclectic mix of top-down gameplay from early 2D GTAs and stylistic design and gameplay elements from contemporary GTA games, with other unique features, such as speed indicators and significant variance in on- and off-road performance, added into the mix. The game is also the first GTA to be released on a handheld console, predating Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.Taking place a year before Grand Theft Auto III, the game's plot begins with Mike and Vinnie, two Liberty City criminals, seeking to leave the city and retire from their mob life with what money they have earned from several small-time jobs. Before their planned departure, Vinnie convinced Mike to do one more job for the Mafia, but is apparently killed in a car bomb, talking the duo's money with it. The game then centers on Mike's quest to seek out those who have killed Vinnie, working for multiple Liberty City underworld bosses for clues.Advance was originally conceived as a GBA port for III, before Digital Eclipse settled on the idea of a new Prequel storyline for III. However, the game's technical issues stemming from the limitations of the GBA (mainly its classic but still clunky top-down gameplay, choppy 3D graphics, and content downgrade), poor publicity, and its near-simultaneous release alongside big-hitting Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, led to the game being poorly-received and falling into obscurity. To this day, none of the characters unique to the game or any plot development in the game are ever acknowledged in succeeding GTA games, and the game itself is very much non-existent in the eyes of the official developers.Although the official GTA website makes no mention of this game, its official website is still hosted in the Rockstar Games' domain here.
- Affably Evil: Asuka.
- Badass: Pretty much everyone - this is a Grand Theft Auto game.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Vinnie and King Courtney.
- Canon Discontinuity: The game has by large been ignored by the official developers and fans alike, and is never referenced in subsequent games in the series.
- Death Faked for You: Vinnie.
- Disc One Final Boss: Vinnie. A majority of the game is spent trying to find out who killed him and then you find out he faked his death. Mike kills him that same mission. There are five missions afterwards where Mike has to deal with King Courtney.
- Expy: Mike is one of Claude.
- Faux Affably Evil: King Courtney and Vinnie.
- Foregone Conclusion: Because the game is supposed to bridge itself to the beginning of III, it's expected that King Courtney survives after his final confrontation with Mike and custody by the police, and 8-Ball becomes Claude's paddy wagon mate in the introduction to III and escapes.
- Greed/Evil Is Petty: The motives of the Big Bad Ensemble, Vinnie faked his death to steal Mike's share of their final pay, and when Mike steals it back, King Courtney calls a hit out on Mike for it.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: In one mission, Mike abducts Asuka Kasen's niece for the Columbian Cartel. In a later mission, Mike rescues that same girl for Asuka.
- Karma Houdini: King Courtney narrowly avoids getting killed due to the arrival of the police.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: The cover art itself consists of nothing more than an inverted version of the famous GTA logo backed by a grey background. It is one of the first post-III games not to adopt a comic panel-styled cover art.
- Scary Black Man: King Courtney.
- Tank Goodness: The "Tank", which is prominently used in the final mission to reach Cisco's plane.
- Top-Down View: Advance is the last GTA in the series to feature the type of top-down perspective which characterized early GTA games.