Grand Theft Auto III & Abrupt Endings

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think I’d be posting anything related to GTA 3 again for a while. It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying playing it, or that you kind souls weren’t enjoying my articles (they’re easily the most popular on here. By, like, a mile), it was just this one mission, y’know? One mission that was absolutely killing me. Let’s have a chat about it, shall we?

Another payphone, another disembodied voice at the end of the line. This time “El Burro of the Diablos” as he announces himself. (Strange how this identification with a criminal gang, “X of the Ys” echoes the form in which people in pre-industrial societies would identify themselves by family or ancestry. At least in the populist, quite-easily-not-historically-accurate-at-all films/TV shows that I’ve seen) In a mission entitled ‘Big N’ Veiny’ he asks me to chase a gentleman who has stolen a large number of.. ahem… ‘adult’ magazines from El Burro’s warehouse and is now driving around the city in a van, out of which many of the bundles of… err… ‘art pamphlets’ have now fallen. El Burro being the fiery Latin-American type that he is, tasks me with following the van, picking up the… umm… ‘seed catalogues’ and killing the aforementioned ‘Gentleman Enthusiast’. Simple. Or is it? Or IS it? OR IS IT?

Another giant spinning blue arrow points me in the direction of a van, which I climb into to start the mission. My suspicion is first aroused when I see I have a mere 30 seconds on the timer to collect the entire… cough… ‘dustman’s library’, but I see the first glowy spinny pile only a few hundred yards down the road, and tell myself that with so short a time limit there’ll only be a few to collect. I drive through it, a pingy sound indicates my success, and one second is added to my timer. If I think back, it is clear that everything starts to go wrong around this point.

The van I am given to drive in this mission is hopelessly uncontrollable. I may as well be pushing a shopping trolley full of rocks. Add to this my tendency for ‘efficient driving’ as I call it, i.e. not bothering to stick to the bourgeois limits of tarmac roads when a perfectly good (read ‘quite bumpy’) grass verge would get me there much faster, and my stupid awful van spends more time on its side and on fire than it does on its wheels chasing perverts. My assumption that I would only have a few bundles to pick up was incorrect as well, the trail taking me most of the way around a complete tour of the city, gripping my controller too tightly with sweaty palms hoping against hope that that little bump from that taxi I didn’t see pulling out wouldn’t send me spinning off course with only 5 seconds left on the clock.

Oooh, it was vexing readers, it really was. But slowly, very slowly, I began to improve. I began to learn the idiosyncrasies of the awful van, braking heavily whenever I did anything and being careful not to exceed about 15mph. My countless mistakes taught me the route I needed to use, which I learnt over many mission attempts was taking me down to the docks. Upon snaking through the dockside warehouses with about ten seconds left, I finally came across the man with the faulty van door.

I think he was unloading the magazines from the van, I’m not really sure, I was so tense from the knife-edge van chase that I wasn’t really focussing properly. A message flashed up on screen telling me I had to kill this be-raincoated pervert, and before I really knew what was going on, I’d crushed him in-between my van and his. “Oh.”, went my brain. “Oh.”

My nemesis.

My nemesis.

Another message informed me I was required to drive the van containing the now reclaimed jazz mags to El Burro’s adult book store, which gave me a bit of time to reflect. I suppose after such a tense, difficult section of a mission that I’d failed dozens of times I was expecting a bit more of a fight from the person I was chasing. With the gift of hindsight, I was probably expecting a bit much from someone who wasn’t really a hardened criminal, just a bloke who likes looking at naked women (and donkeys, worryingly, from the name of the magazine). He probably wasn’t even expecting anyone to come after him, it was kind of unreasonable of me to expect a massive gun battle after finally tracking him down. I suppose I just wanted a slightly more noble death for someone who had outwitted me for so long. Not that I felt any sympathy for him after that mammoth chase he led me on.

A worthy foe. NOW SLAIN.

A worthy foe. NOW SLAIN.

The drive to the Red Light District gave me chance to calm down, and I was feeling a great deal better by the time I arrived at El Burro’s store. I parked the van in the required glowing blue spot, and was finally greeted by the big yellow ‘MISSION COMPLETED’ Message of Victory. Not before a quick cutscene showing a load of blokes with the EXACT character model as the guy I’d just ran over scuttling out of the shop, presumably carrying copies of the magazines I’d just re-stolen. This probably just goes to show something, but I’m sure I don’t know what.

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