ContactEditorial Manifesto

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
by Jamin Smith on Monday 18th Jan 2010

We're now taking bets on how long it takes for this to top the paid app charts.

The first time I played Grand Theft Auto, I was a fresh faced 10 year old, full of the joys of life and completely oblivious to all the nastiness in the world. Grand Theft Auto opened my eyes to that nastiness; to car-jacking, drive by shootings and mowing down innocent pedestrians. By the time I was twelve I was peddling drugs for gang lords and murdering prostitutes in my spare time. Ten years down the line and I’ve put the life of crime firmly behind me; now working in the slightly more respectable field of games journalism. With the recent and totally unexpected release of Chinatown Wars on the App Store however, those memories have come flooding back.   

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is a throwback to those original GTA games; a top down crime simulator with pseudo 3D graphics and a brand new storyline following the Chinese Triad’s gang and drug related escapades in Liberty City. 


Our protagonist comes in the form of Huang Lee, the spoilt and sarcastic son of a big time Triad gang boss who was murdered for his nefarious shenanigans. Huang flies to America to deliver a family heirloom to his Uncle and avenge the murder of his father. Upon arriving in Liberty City however, Huang is beaten up, robbed of his heirloom and left for dead in the back of a car slowly sinking to the bottom of Liberty City River.  It’s at this exact point that the player takes control of young Huang, and the sun roof must be smashed as a route of escape by furiously tapping on the touch screen. 

After a short swim to the shore, the whole of Liberty City is at your disposal. Want to jack a car and start mowing down some pedestrians? Fantastic. Feel like racking up as much police attention as possible? Go for it. Want to go looking for the fastest sports car in the game? Spot on. This is the full GTA experience in all of its unethical glory on your mobile phone. 


Liberty City itself is just as atmospheric and crime ridden as ever, this time with an oriental spin on things. Missions are initially dished out in a Chinese restaurant, Chinese parades roam the streets and Triad turf wars can be found in every corner of the city. Our boy Huang is a likeable enough chap too, providing much of the game’s sarcastic humour through static, but brilliantly stylised cut scenes. While not a fully 3D experience like Gameloft’s Gangster: West Coast Hustle, Liberty City still looks fantastic, with detail in all the right places and a day and night cycle that show off the city with a variety of pleasant lighting effects. The screenshots breaking up my rambling fail to do the game justice, the game needs to be seen in action to be appreciated properly. 

Page 1 of 2 Next >>