Video Game: Grand Theft Auto II

Don't feel bad, this could happen to anyone... Anywhere.

In 1999, DMA Design released its first sequel to the original Grand Theft Auto. Set Twenty Minutes into the Future in an unknown city known as "Anywhere City", each zone is controlled by numerous gangs and the powerful Zaibatsu Corporation. The player controls the hoodlum "Claude Speed" as he plays all sides to get the money to leave the city.

Grand Theft Auto 2 took the top-down free roaming gameplay of its predecessor and made several improvements: introducing the ability to save, the law enforcement hierarchy present in all future installments, and a "respect" system regarding other gangs and the missions they make available. The city is also huge, with a distinctive look and feel for each neighborhood (unlike the recycled textures of the previous game).

Mostly remembered for its FMV intro featuring Claude performing all sorts of tricks from the game, such as respraying his car and getting shot (presumably to no lasting effect). Most of the various gangs also make an appearance: the Rednecks, Yakuza, a captive Krishna, a group of Russian mobsters, and a Zaibatsu janitor-cum-hitman. The movie is set in New York (the original World Trade Center is visible), foreshadowing GTA3's Liberty City locale.

Rockstar has made the game available for free download here.


Tropes Used Include:

  • Alliance Meter: One for each of the gangs in the district. This is a very important aspect of the game, to the point where it inspires the...
  • Arc Words: "Respect is everything".
  • Artificial Stupidity: The game features fellow carjackers who drive into cars already on the verge of exploding, civilians who run around in circles when a tank is driving through an alley they are in, and cops in a vehicle running over cops who are pursuing you on foot. However, given the nature of the GTA series, one should not rule out the possibility that they are portraying people that way on purpose.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The dual pistols. They fire much faster than the regular pistol and allow you to shoot two bullets at the same time, but the bullets don't go in a straight line, requiring you to keep it for groups of enemies.
  • Bank Robbery: In two different missions in the first district.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill / Trojan Prisoner: The "Alma Mater Return" mission revolves around intentionally going to prison, stealing a guard uniform, and sparking a riot.
  • Bedlam House: The asylum in Sunnyside has literally been taken over by the inmates.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: All the gang leaders. The Zaibatsu seem to come out on top as the promo movie implies, and the fact they are the most recurring gang in the city.
  • Big Dam Plot: There's a mission in the second district where you must put bombs into a dam.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: You. In order to complete all missions, you will have to eventually start killing members of a previously friendly gang to get their rival to offer you jobs. Once all missions from all gangs in an area are completed, the gangs catch on and all their leaders will be out to get you.
  • City with No Name: Or rather, the generic name "Anywhere City". The game takes place in America, but unlike the cities in the first game, Anywhere City doesn't resemble any real town in particular.
  • Clone Army: The SRS Scientists have developed a large number of clones, who are the foot soldiers you can find and fight around the streets and during missions.
  • Code Name: Each of the gang bosses bestow a codename upon you : Gecko for the Zaibatsu, Jumbo for the Loonies, Kosai for the Yakuza, Rooster (Tough Guy in some translations) for the Rednecks, Grasshopper for the Krishnas, THC-303 for the SRS and Comrade for the Russians.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: With so many rival gangs to tell apart, they now have to wear bright clothes. You will also meet a few NPCs dressed in lime green or red: the former likes to jack cars, much like the roving punks in Grand Theft Auto III. The chap in red will approach you, shout "GIMMIEYOURMONEY" and run off in the opposite direction with your cash.
  • Continuing Is Painful: This game had the funniest (and most biting) save mechanic in the series. You're free to save in churches whenever you wanted — so long as you paid the church a $50,000 bribe. A Baptist preacher shouted "HALLULUAH! ANOTHER SOUL SAVED!" once the transaction—er, service was over. Bearing in mind that it takes a LONG time to accumulate that much money, and money is the only way to clear a stage. Either way, you would lose all your weapons every time you died or got busted, which led to lots of reloading. San Andreas averted this by letting you keep your guns if you dated certain girls.
  • Cool Car: While standard for the series, the Zaibatsu Z-Type gets special mention for being so cool that Rockstar decided to bring it back almost fifteen years later.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The entire Zaibatsu Corporation.
  • Cyberpunk
  • Driven to Villainy: The manual jokes that the Krishnas went crazy on account of being run over all the time.
  • Dystopia: One disc jockey complains his car's been stole five times. This month alone.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The game introduced the ability to change the radio station in your car, as well as having different ones for each district. This could be considered in a way foreshadowing to GTA Radio. As another added touch, a gang radio station's reception degrades the further you are from its source in a district.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Even more so than the first game. The use of codenames for the player, the strange neo-noir setting, the sound effects, and so on make GTA 2 difficult to consider it part of the same series that later went hyper realistic in IV and V
  • Elvis Impersonator: The Krishnas from the previous game are now a legitimate gang. They've all been replaced by Elvis impersonators, but result in the same bonus if you run them all over. You can probably guess the message which flashes onscreen if you do: Elvis has left the building!.
    • Billy Bob Bean, the chief of the Rednecks, has a pompadour and sunglasses. What's more, his tavern is named "DisGraceland."
  • Enemy Of My Enemy: The structure of respect from gangs. You could kill several members of their gang and still be respected by them, so long as you killed a significantly higher number of people from a gang they hate.
  • Fission Mailed: Getting arrested is an integral part of the jailbreak mission.
  • Full Motion Video: The game played FMV of an angrier, more talkative Claude Speed.
  • Gang of Hats: More prevelent here than in any other GTA. The Zaibatsus are a Megacorp that operate in all three sections of the city, the Yakuza are, well Yakuza, the Loonies are all completely insane, the Rednecks drive pickups and operate out of a trailer park, the SRS Scientists are a gang dedicated to gang violence For Science!, the Russian Mafia are mobsters from Russia and the Hare Krishna are a group of pacifists that have turned to gang violence.
  • Gasshole: The player character, considering how there's a dedicated button that makes either a fart or burp noise. Ahh, the nineties.
  • Get Into Jail Free: The second district features a mission where the Rednecks want the protagonist to shoot up Alma Mater Prison from the inside. The player has to get arrested while selling moonshine to get in.
  • "Get out of Jail Free" Card: You can get one of these as a pickup, which lets you keep your weapons the next time you get busted.
  • Gonk: The Zaibatsu bosses. Nice unibrow.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: GTA2 also introduces the illegal car ring. In the Residential Sector, 8 hidden cars are placed around the map, each with a number painted on the roof. Jacking these cars automatically warps you to Wang Car$ (the same dealership from San Andreas) and nets a small bonus. Completing the sidequest unlocks a fleet of rare vehicles in the lot, including a Tank, the Fire Truck with a flamethrower instead of a water cannon (previously used in a Scientist mission), and a Special Agent Car with a mounted machine gun.
  • Guns Akimbo: An equippable variation on the standard pistol.
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: There are seven gangs you can gain respect from, and losing respect from one of them will cause that gang to become hostile. However, there's an extra gang in the third level that only appears on the small Mad Island, and it's always at negative respect, so they will always attack you on sight.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: On the edge of Mooks but No Bosses - there are actually nine bosses to fight throughout the game, but they're not really any different from your average mooks. And the levels? Well, you get to blow up a couple heavily guarded power plants (somehow not powering out the whole city).
  • Hard Mode Filler: A lot of the missions in the industrial district are basically a rehash of missions in the two first districts, only harder. "Tanks A Lot" is "Stop the Tank" (the difference being that there are two tanks instead of one, and they're shooting at you), "Army Base Alert" is "Tanksgiving", "Grand Theft Auto" is "Operation Z", "Russian Sailors" is "Sink or Swim", "Karma Assassins" is "Greatest Hits", and "Gang War" is "Double Cross Crush". The worst is what happens with "SWAT Van Swipe", a mission from the downtown district which involves stealing a SWAT Van; it gets repeated in the residential district with "Law Enforcement Larceny", which involves stealing a SWAT Van and a Special Agent Car; and it gets repeated again in the industrial district with "I'd Like A Tank, Please, Bob", which involves stealing a SWAT Van, a Special Agent Car and a tank.
  • Hearts Are Health: Your remaining life is shown using heart icons. You can also regain life by grabbing heart-shaped pickups.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The third district featured a mission that required you to "die" while attempting to break into an enemy gang's stronghold. Your employer then picks you up at the hospital and sends you back to the fort with a better plan and better equipment.
  • Idle Animation: The player character would light up a cigarette.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Russian mob gathers a busload of people, dumps them into a meat grinder and uses them for hotdogs.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: The largest of the various organizations the player can take missions from is Zaibatsu (presented as the name of a specific Mega Corp., not a generic noun).
  • Justified Save Point: The game had save points in churches, but you had to pay 50000 dollars to save your game. The preacher would declare "HALLELUJAH! Another soul saved!" if you had the money, or "DAMNATION! No donation, no salvation!" if you didn't.
  • Karma Houdini: The player character himself, especially if you're good at the game.
  • Kill It with Fire: The flamethrower kills stuff with fire, obviously. Catching fire is certain death for Mooks and nearly always for the player as well - the only way to survive is to find a health pickup in time.
  • Last Lousy Point: The usual assortment of Insane Stunts and Rampage icons. Also, this is the first GTA game to feature collectables — you don't earn anything apart from a bare-bones bonus stage (which passwords unlock more easily, anyway).
  • Lightning Gun: The Electro Gun you can find in the second and third districts.
  • Logo Joke: The game has police car lights rush past the DMA logo, causing it to spin out and fall to the ground.
  • The Mafiya: They appear in the Industrial District (the last level) of Anywhere City.
  • Medium Blending: The live-action introduction movie.
  • Mega Corp.: The Zaibatsu Corporation.
  • Money Multiplier: Completing a mission (and collecting a few pickups in the second level) rises the game multiplier, which is the number every amount of money is multiplied every time you complete a mission or just cause mayhem. Thus, it's wise to complete the easiest missions first to rise the multiplier, and save the hardest missions for the end to get the most benefit from them.
  • Mugging the Monster: You'll see muggers occasionally pickpocketing gang members. Sure enough, this puts them into the Too Dumb to Live territory.
  • No-Gear Level: In order to complete the "Penal Ties" mission in the Residential district, you have to get arrested, and thereby get stripped of all your weapons.
  • Oil Slick: Can be used by the player to cause any vehicle make a sharp left or right turn, often crashing into a wall.
  • Parody Commercial: The game has parody ads on the radio:
    You might be surprised to learn than 93% of investments are ethical, eco-friendly, and wide open to market collapse. A crash can strike without warning, wiping clean a lifetime of work and saving to destroy your future, and the future of your family. The people at Third World Bank have different ideas, capturing the earning potential of underdeveloped countries and spreading your money across a wide range of tobacco, defense, and pharmaceutical investments. Third World, keeping your money safe no matter the cost.
  • Place Worse Than Death: It's hinted at through the radio that the city is on the verge of complete chaos. Poor Dean Frantz has had his car stolen five times in as many weeks.
  • Prison Episode: The second district had a level where you specifically had to get arrested and then spent time in prison before escaping again.
  • Quad Damage: The game had some "Fast reload" and "Double damage" pickups, which do exactly what they say.
  • Racing Minigame: A mission for the SRS Scientists involves racing a remote-controlled full-size car on a course on their compound, which is otherwise inaccesible.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The song playing in the FMV movie is "Rhythm" by Engineers Without Fears.
  • Relationship Values: The respect meter. It impacts the missions available to the player as well as the gangs' behavior towards the player. Gangs with high respect towards the player will be friendly and protect the player if necessary - and gangs with low respect will use their biggest guns whenever they spot the player.
  • Remote Yet Vulnerable: The game double-subverts this with remotely operated vehicles; yes, the game is designed such that the player character is unlikely to be attacked while the camera perspective focuses on the remotely operated vehicle. But that won't protect you if you're standing next to a burning car when the remotely operated part starts, and if said burning car explodes before said remotely operated part is over.
  • Retro Universe: For a futuristic setting (the electric gun, anyone ?), the game seems to feature an awful lot of vehicles with retro designs rooted in the 1920s through to the 1960s; a few cars are even based on real-life models from that period.
  • Save Game Limits: You could only save by walking into a church (there's only one in each level). This would cost $50000 (which could be hard to come by at the beginning of the game), and it wasn't possible to save during a mission.
  • Score Multiplier: You often receive a fixed amount of points (which equal money), but it is then multiplied by a number you can increase by completing missions, and picking up some power-ups.
  • Scoring Points: Extremely important - saving the player's progress costs 50,000 points. Points are also basically cash.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: The game is a minor Sequel Difficulty Drop over Grand Theft Auto due to the advent of the save feature, and each city containing only one level as opposed to two, including That One Level Rasta Blasta.
  • Sex for Product: Oragasmo chocolate bars. I'll have what she's having, indeed.
    • Lampshaded in a radio ad disclaimer: "A Land Rover purchase does not guarantee a satisfied sex life."
  • Shock and Awe: The electric gun. All that's left of the poor sap you fried is a blueish skeleton.
  • Sigil Spam: The distinctive "Z" signs hanging overhead, not unlike the Third Reich's banners.
  • Signs of Disrepair: The game features churches with neon signs that say JESUS SAVES. The letters flicker to reveal that they're save points (U SAVE).
  • Sinister Silhouettes: The Zaibatsu executive in the cinematic.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: The Playstation version had the song "Taxi Drivers (Must Die!)", by Bula Matari, censored with the sound of car horns.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: You'll find this Christian pop song in what should be a dark cyberpunk future, coupled with lyrics that preach the exact opposite of what a player would normally be doing in a GTA game.
  • Southern Gothic: The Rednecks' RV park. The roads are even replaced by dirt paths.
  • Spell My Name with an "S"/ Senpai Kohai: The Yakuza boss likes to address you as "kosai", when possibly the correct Japanese spelling is "Kohai".
  • Stepford Suburbia: "The Village", a Zaibatsu-owned gated community. Get the reference?
  • Time Bomb: You in the demo.
  • Title Drop: There's a mission named "Grand Theft Auto".
  • Tomorrowland: The Industrial District is a stark change to what has come before. Loads and loads of mazelike, mile-high catwalks; a strange power plant which wouldn't look out of place in Sonic the Hedgehog; a Ripley Scott aesthetic in the Russian-owned factories, etc.
  • Too Dumb to Live: This game features fellow carjackers who drive into cars already on the verge of exploding, muggers brazen enough to pickpocket gang members, civilians who run around in circles when a tank is driving through an alley they are in, and gang members who trust the player character after he killed several members of their gang, so long as they killed a larger number of members of a gang they hate. However, given the nature of the GTA series, how much of this is due to deliberate portrayal, and how much is due to the programming, is left unclear.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: The game took place 'in the near future'. 3 hints to it's time were given, yet they all contradict each other. The manual states "3 weeks into the future" while entries on the official website are dated 2013. As if that wasn't enough to throw you off, a DJ on the radio states "The millennium's a' commin'!". There wasn't much future technology to be seen, although a few examples exist - one of the weapons is an electric arc gun and one of the gangs is hinted to use Expendable Clones as mooks.
  • Updated Re-release: The PC port has various differences, including "Dawn" and "Dusk" settings — the latter of which places the game entirely at night, with enhanced lighting effects — elevated trains you can ride around the city (or blow up), and a modified Industrial District map featuring an offshore island.
    • The Sega Dreamcast port has the same bells and whistles, with the notable difference that "Dawn" lighting has been removed completely.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Grand Theft Auto 2 introduced the six-star/level law enforcement hierarchy of three levels of police pursuit, then SWAT teams, then an FBI stand-in, and then the military. The wanted levels are capped, so the player won't encounter FBI in the first level and the military until the final level outside missions where they've been scripted to appear.
  • Villain Protagonist: The player character, though to some extent it depends on how you play the game.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The Zaibatsu Corporation is a prominent and powerful crime syndicate with a private army of armed thugs and a fleet of Z-Types that patrol the streets in droves and partake in many criminal activities, including using a radio station at one point to broadcast a signal that puts people listening to it in a murderous frenzy. Despite this, they seem to only be known by the general public as an energy company that also sells (among other things) pharmaceuticals.
    "Oh, it looks so easy in the movies, but keeping it up can be a real problem!"
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The PC version of the game features a location called Mad Island, which is inhabited by an unidentified gang that is constantly hostile and aggressive towards the player's character, regardless of the amount of Respect they have with the other gangs.
  • A Winner Is You: The game has nothing but a screen with "YOU COMPLETED THE GAME" and a bunch of random pictures once you finally complete the last area. Thank ye gods that the following games introduced an actual plot.
  • You All Look Familiar: Gang members all share the same model.