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Video Game / Grand Theft Auto 2

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Don't worry, this could happen to anyone... Anywhere.

In 1999, DMA Design released its first sequel to the original Grand Theft Auto. Set 20 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 live-action 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 GTA III's Liberty City locale.

Rockstar has made the game available for free downloading alongside GTA 1. It can be downloaded here

And remember - Respect is every trope:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The game took place 'in the near future'. Three hints to its 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, the Head Radio DJ Johnny Riccaro 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.
  • Alliance Meter: One for each of the gangs in the district. This is a very important aspect of the game.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The game is set in an impossible time with contradictory hints or statements.
    • The introductory video was filmed in late 90's New York City and looks nothing like the game. The game itself is set in "Anywhere City" where several factions vying for control of the criminal underground, the largest being a company called Zaibatsu Pharmaceuticals.
    • The city is generally has a Cyberpunk Used Future look to it, and the cars are designed with a retro-futuristic look ranging from 30's to 70's style vehicles, and including styles from America, Europe, and even Soviet Europe (exclusive to The Mafiya).
    • More specific clues are:
      • The leader of the Russian Mafiya is a former Red Army Soldier, implying it takes place within a lifetime of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
      • Promotional material for the game lists it as "3 weeks into the future", and a promotional website also references police records from 2013.
      • Johnny Riccaro mentions the new millennium is coming, which would put it just before 2000 or just before 3000.
  • Arc Words: "Respect is everything". Don't be so stupid to attack a gang unless you want any of their members to shoot at you for the rest of the level. And choosing to work for one gang in particular will naturally earn the wrath of a rival one.
  • 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: The Zaibatsu Corporation.
  • 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.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The Zaibatsu Corporation takes its name from the Japanese word for massive financial conglomerates that function like real-world Mega Corps.
    • Funami FM has the Japanese DJ called Teriyaki-chan, and she speaks various things in Japanese.
  • Boring, but Practical: The trusty S-Machinegun is available in unlimited quantities at nearly every phone. It lacks the instant-death firepower of the flamethrower or the auto aiming of the Electrogun, but it has good range, rate of fire, and damage, so it's very likely that you will be using it throughout the game. Even better is the silenced version, but this one is very hard to find.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Both this game and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas have a Respect based system in place. Here it was simply a 'reputation' meter replacement for the factions in the game.
  • 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. Note that the other way is to simply accumulate enough money until you'll be shown the way to escape the city.
  • 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 (or any future GTA games as well), 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 want — so long as you paid the church a $50,000 bribe. A Baptist preacher shouted "HALLELUJAH! 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 one of the other 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.
  • Cop Killer: Referenced with the "Cop Killa" bonus (worth 5000 points), which one can get by destroying twenty police cars.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The entire Zaibatsu Corporation.
  • Crapsack World: Society is hanging on the edge of collapse, organized crime runs rampant, and morally dubious corporations control people's lives.
  • Cyberpunk
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • While its sequel started kicking this trope into the franchise, this game has no slouch in exploring darker themes compared to its predecessor.
    • Within the game itself, Industrial District, AKA Zone 3. Gone the bustling metropolitan of the Downtown District and the contemporary Residential District, welcome the post-Soviet brutalist looking, bleak Industrial District. It's the only place where the military can be called on, and the missions are far harder than before. Even the missions are Darker and Edgier, this zone features a mission where you deliver innocents in the guise of a bus driver as a replacement livestock for the Russian Mafia!.
  • 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 stolen 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 part of the same series that later went hyper realistic in IV and V.
    • Also, along with its predecessor, this game has limited continues, unlike later games' infinite continues; the player would get a literal Game Over text after wasting all continues.
    • This, along with the London expansions of the first game, are the only ones to not take place in Liberty City, Vice City, or San Andreas.
    • Missions can be completed in any gang order or even swapped between gangs whenever, and are optional. You can also permanently miss missions by completing one that destroys a gang completely, which hasn't been seen since the third game.
    • Barring a few one-off missions, this is the last game where you travel between areas that aren't connected to one another and cannot be revisited.
    • Cheats were handled differently than both the first game and the subsequent games. In the PlayStation version, which is most like the first game's cheats, you either entered your name as one of a number of things for a permanent cheat, or named your character WUGGLES to have a second controller do some neat, but mostly pointless things. For the PC version, you needed to type "gouranga" (yes, all lower case) in the cheat option, which would allow you to type in other cheats at any time while playing the game.
    • The PlayStation version is the only console GTA game to not be rated M by the ESRB, instead being rated T following some considerable Bowdlerisation. The only other GTAs with this distinction are the Game Boy Color versions of the first two games.
  • Easy Level Trick: One of the mission in the second zone involves a car that is immune to any damage except car bombs. It's also parked nearby a railway, and it can be pushed to the railroad.
  • 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.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: If you max out the Wanted Meter, the unarmed civilians running around are replaced with machine gun-wielding soldiers trying to turn you into Swiss cheese. Vehicles driving on the streets, which kill you in one hit if they run you over, still ignore you, except for tanks set up in certain areas, which can kill the player instantly with their cannons.
  • External Combustion: While car bombs can still be found in later GTA games, they aren't as relevant as in this game. Every garage (as opposed to later games, which require a travel to a special garage found on a hidden location) has, as one of its services, the ability to put a bomb in the chosen car. Many missions have objectives that are completely invulnerable to your weapons — whenever you find one of these, those easily available car bombs will be your only option, as nothing is immune to them.
  • Fame Gate: Which missions are available to you depends on how much respect you have from each gang. There are three gangs in each level, and killing members of one gang decreases respect with that gang, and increases respect with another gang. Once your respect becomes negative with a gang, the gang stops giving you missions, and might even start shooting at you.
  • Fission Mailed: Getting arrested is an integral part of the jailbreak mission.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The first part of the city; one of the early missions for the Loonies involves blowing up a Radio Station. After doing so, the station in question, Futuro FM, is unavailable for the rest of the level.
  • 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 faction 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: Everyone in the game (not the live action cutscene) who have mugshots.
  • 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 Scientists 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 of 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: In the Industrial District, during one mission, the Russian mob gathers a busload of people, dumps them into a meat grinder and uses them for hotdogs.
  • Jack of All Stats: The Z-Type may well be the best car in the game, despite not being the fastest, toughest, easiest to drive, or carrying the most people.
  • 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 50,000 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.
  • Large Ham:
    • The priest in the church that serves as a save point in all three districts.
    HALLELUJAH! Another soul saved!
    HE'S GOT A GUN!!
    Hey I'm walkin' here!
  • Last Lousy Point: The usual assortment of Insane Stunts and Kill Frenzy 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.
  • Live-Action Cutscene: The intro of the game is in live-action, and features an angrier and more talkative Claude.
  • 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.
  • Marathon Level: If you went for the "collect enough cash to escape the town" route, you won't want to save as it costs a really huge sum of money.
  • Medium Blending: The live-action introduction movie.
  • Mega-Corp: The Zaibatsu Corporation.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: The game reuses a lot of game mechanics and sounds from the first game while tweaking the gameplay, such as being able to take a few gunshots before dying.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Molotovs somehow function more like a grenade but with a (presumably) much shorter time fuse compared to the actual version. The former is far more popular with players compared to the latter for this reason.
  • 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 by 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 Fair Cheating: Having the 'No Police' cheat active makes some missions impossible.
  • 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.
  • Oddball in the Series: While the first two Grand Theft Auto games in general have some Early-Installment Weirdness compared to what the series would later become (most notably with their top-down 2D gameplay and limited number of extra lives), this game goes above and beyond its predecessor and its successors alike. For one thing, it's the only GTA game set in the future, specifically in a Retro Universe 2013 inspired by a mix of '70s/'80s dystopian sci-fi, cyberpunk, and postwar-era aesthetics, the latter most visible in the vehicle designs. Furthermore, gameplay is built around a mechanic that no subsequent GTA game has used since. Rather than following a linear story path, the "respect" system allows players to take missions from different gangs and kill gang members in the streets (in or out of missions) in order to play them off of one another, building or hurting their reputation with one at the expense or benefit of their rivals.
  • Oil Slick: Can be used by the player to cause any vehicle to make a sharp left or right turn, often crashing into a wall.
  • Pacifist Run: Unexpectedly for a GTA game, it's entirely possible to finish each district without killing anyone. Points can be scored for performing stunts, taking cars to a crusher, or simply giving people rides in Taxis. Each district can also be finished by collecting tokens that are scattered around the map. While many tokens are hard to reach, various actions give you access to a vehicle...making it possible to finish the game without committing any crimes at all.
  • Parody Commercial: The game has parody ads on the radio:
    You might be surprised to learn that 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 mission where you specifically had to get arrested and then spend time in prison before escaping again.
  • Production Foreshadowing: There's a automobile repair shop called Max Paynt, a pun on the title of Rockstar Games' future release, Max Payne.
  • Punny Name: Your Russian contact, Jerkov.
  • 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.
  • Random Events Plot: Sort of. The game has numerous organizations you work with, none of which are connected through multiple areas, and none of which tie into the goal of getting enough money to leave. In fact, you don't even have to do any missions - all you need in such a case is knowledge of how to do expeditious executions.
  • Random Smoking Scene: The player character's Idle Animation was to light up a cigarette.
  • Relationship Values: The respect meter. It impacts the missions available to the player as well as the gangs' behavior towards them. Gangs with high respect towards the player will be friendly and protect them 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 controlled 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, and accumulating a large enough sum of money is one of the two ways to be shown the exit to the next level.
  • Screen Crunch:
    • In contrast to the first Grand Theft Auto, where the limited field of view surrounding your character could be mitigated once you got into a vehicle, where it would helpfully zoom out so you could see more of the surroundings in front of yourself, in Grand Theft Auto 2 the zoom-out function appears to have been weakened drastically, to the point that it is much more difficult for you to properly utilize any of the benefits that could have assisted you in the first game.
    • As well as not having a good-enough field of vision to see the amount of traffic in front of you, (especially in the first sector where fast cars are scarce) or be able to make out where you were going, it also rendered your character much more susceptible to ambushes from threats. It could also wind up compromising your ability to see enemies from far away if you were looking for them, or needed a strategy to approach them without blindly walking into danger.
    • Worse still, even playing the game for a long time with this kind of view has been known to cause nausea because of how the camera swings around while following the player whenever they are going at high speeds, even dipping into outrunning the screen at times, especially if the player were to make a tight turn while trying to navigate around the streets.
    • For the PC version, you would need to download a debug patch in order to just zoom the camera out in order to mitigate this problem, barring that you don't mind fewer vehicles and pedestrians appearing on the screen (which will compromise any Kill Frenzy that you attempt, as not enough people and vehicles will appear close enough to you in order to pass one) while doing so.
  • Sex for Product:
    • Orgasmo chocolate bars. I'll have what she's having, indeed.
    • Lampshaded in a radio ad disclaimer: "A Lad 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.
  • Shout-Out: Crossed with Development Gag, as at the time Rockstar was in the process of negotiating publishing rights and the game it references did not see release until 2 years after, the car paint shops are called "Max Paynt".
  • Shows Damage: The Grand Theft Auto series has increasingly polished the art of showing how messed up a car is as the series has progressed. This game had merely changing sprites and an increasingly more broken sounding engine.
  • 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.
  • Speaking Simlish: Aside from the radio which is fully in English (or Engrish for a certain radio station), when an NPC speaks, usually in a telephone, it's audible in a sped-up, unintelligible language.
  • Spell My Name With An S: The Yakuza boss likes to address you as "Kosai", when possibly the correct Japanese spelling is "Kohai".
  • Stepford Suburbia: The Zaibatsu corporation owns an upscale suburb called "The Village", apparently a shout out to The Prisoner. It's a swanky community with pink cobblestone streets, art deco houses, and luxury cars roving the streets.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Much like every game in the series up until San Andreas, falling into water means instant death.
  • Time Bomb: You in the demo.
  • Title Drop: There's a mission named "Grand Theft Auto", which is one of the longest and hardest missions.
  • 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 Ridley 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.
  • Trojan Prisoner: The "Alma Mater Return" mission revolves around intentionally going to prison, stealing a guard uniform, and sparking a riot.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: One of the ways to get to the next district and ultimately leave town is to simply make enough money to get out. The other is to do enough missions for all three gangs in a given area, playing the respect of the three against each other, until they collectively realize that doing missions for all three of them means you've been hurting all of them at every opportunity, and they all come to kill you.
  • Updated Re-release: The PC port has various differences, including "Dawn" and "Dusk" settings, enhanced lighting to reflect city lights and car lights, 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.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Thoroughly averted. You can wipe out just about anyone with a short burst of a flamethrower, and they have decent range that makes them ideal for crowd control. They don't instantly kill anything, but they render them harmless while they run around burning.
  • Video-Game Lives: Grand Theft Auto (Classic) and this game used lives as continues, the total expiration of which led to a complete Game Over. These would be the only games in the series to have limited continues: starting with Grand Theft Auto III, players would simply respawn after dying while free-roaming, or start back at a checkpoint during missions, while given infinite continues to boot.
  • 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.
  • Wanted Meter: This game had SWAT teams called in at a four-star wanted level, and added two additional levels after that. At level five, the police would be replaced by the FBI, while at level six, they send in the Army to stop you. At the other end, if you manage to escape from the police at a one-star wanted level, eventually it will disappear and things will go back to normal.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The setting is literally called Anywhere City, practically daring players to pin down its location. Among other things, it houses the Russian Mafia, the Yakuza, and a Confederate-flag-waving redneck gang.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: The demo version has a six-minute time limit. The explanation? Your character's belly is full of explosives. Better make the most of it. Once time runs out, you actually gain bonus points for the destruction caused by you exploding.
  • A Winner Is You: The game has nothing but a screen with "GAME COMPLETE" and a bunch of random pictures once you finally complete the last area. Thankfully the following games introduced an actual plot.
  • World of Ham: Compared to the other GTA games, the characters in this game are pretty damn wacky, bound to Chewing the Scenery with cartoony voices.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Invoked when either an ElectroGun is used on a person, or when someone stands on the electrified rails for just a few seconds.
  • You All Look Familiar: Gang members all share the same sprite. The SRS scientists are implied to be a Clone Army.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Exaggerated in the very rare demo for the game. In this version of the game, Claude's got a belly full of explosives and only has 6 minutes to live.
  • Zerg Rush: The main threat of the army, aside from their tanks. On an individual basis, the soldiers are less dangerous than the FBI agents; they only carry machine guns, which the FBI also carried, but the FBI also wore body armor, so the soldiers die more easily. The reason the army is more dangerous is that when they are called in, they don't simply send men in vehicles out after you, they are everywhere. Almost every NPC you'd find normally is replaced with a soldier, meaning if you stay in one place you will get swamped.

Alternative Title(s): Grand Theft Auto II, GTA 2