Dale Dietrich
friedman: always supply your comparative advantage
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Grand Theft Auto IV – Diary #2

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grand theft auto niko & roman

GTA IV Diary: Entry #1, Entry #2, Entry #3, Entry #4

I’ve finished day 4 of my Grand Theft Auto IV adventure. I spent most of my game play achievement hunting so I’m only 25.06% of the way done – and still not off the first two islands. I suspect I’m very close.

Achievements

Day 4′s achievement hunting yielded mixed results:

It’ll Cost Ya: Take a cab over a bridge and don’t skip ahead while riding. Time consuming, but easy.

One Hundred and Eighty (aka Darts): Probably the easiest achievement points (outside the plot-line achievements). Triple a 20 three times and you’ve got it.

No More Stranger: I found my first ‘blue man’ icon on the map and found him. I have no idea how many of these guys I have to find for this achievement. I haven’t found any other in hours of play.

Wheelie Rider: Argh… I’ve been trying to get the ‘Wheelie Rider’ achievement from the beginning and I keep falling off. Man that’s hard.

Tip 1: don’t try this one when in the middle of a mission. You’ll likely die and have to start the mission over again.

Tip 2: I hear doing wheelies on the airport runway is the way to go.

Pool Shark: I beat Little J (and earned 10 points) on the first try. Actually, he was about to win but sunk the black-ball giving me a victory by default.

Gobble Gobble: Forget this one. Bowling three strikes in a row is way too much work for 10 points.

‘Courier Service’ & ‘Order Fulfilled’: OK, I thought these would be much easier than they are. The first involves 10 drug delivery missions, the second – 10 car stealing missions. All involve extensive travelling.  They are doable – just very time consuming. And, some are tricky. I’ve done 3 of each so far. I think I’ll wait to the end of the game and come back latter.

As a reminder, GTA IV Achievement Point details can be found here.

Driving

The driving mechanic in GTA IV has improved over prior GTA games. I am horrible at car simulation games like Forza 2, Gran Turismo or Project Gotham. I spend most of the time bumping off walls in those games.  GTA IV is much closer to the arcady feel of Burnout Paradise. There are a vast array of vehicles to drive, each with their own peculiarities. They drive as I imagine their real world counterparts would.

Sh|t Happens:

Unexpected and thoroughly entertaining stuff happens throughout the game:

  • Bike Flying: One minute I’m zooming along on a Harley, the next I’m being hurled a thousand feet through the air because I hit a curb. :)
  • Jamaican Bump: I met up with Little Jacob and accidentally bumped his car as I was stopping. He cursed a mean streak (in unintelligible Jamaican), got in his car and drove away.  He wouldn’t meet again for quite some time.
  • Gas Pump Lift Off: Driving along, I mistakenly careened off the road, hit a gas pump I hadn’t notice and my car blew straight up in the air a couple hundred feet – killing me and Brucie in a flash.
  • A Smashing Victory: I was trying to win my first car race for the third time. I was way out in front but got spun around just before the end. As I was struggling to reorient the car, the second place car slammed into me, spun my car forward, pointing me to the finish line and then bounced off the side of the road. I won!
  • Darting to Death: On the way to play a game of Darts with Roman I was in yet another police chase. While happily speeding down the highway a police car rammed us from the side. The car started on fire. Before we could get out the car blew up and sent Roman and Nicko shooting up in flames like fourth of July fireworks – in firey slow-mo glory. Well done Rockstar.

Ricky Gervais

Word is that Ricky Gervais appears in a 3 minute motion-captured comedy skit somewhere in GTA IV. I haven’t found it yet. I’ll see if I can snap a picture whenever I find it.

Brucie

So far Brucie is my favourite character. Every time  I see him, he makes me laugh. What a terrific steroid-driven character.

Michelle

I’m growing very tired of ‘dating’ Michelle, listening to her complaints when we don’t date and banal comments on my clothes and vehicles. Near as I can tell dating doesn’t advance the story. What woman would be so happy about going to a burger joint? It would have been really nice if she had become an integral part of the drama as was the case with Nathan and Elena in Uncharted Drake’s Fortune. Who’d-a-thunk I’d get tired of just sex! :)  I may stay celibate for the remainder of the game.

Street Sweeper

[Spoiler Alert - skip to the next section if you don't want a mission partially spoiled]

There is a mission called ‘street sweeper’ that I kept trying and failing. The bad guys kept getting in their car and driving away. After several times I noticed that a garbage truck drives by in the mission (could the mission title have been a clue?). Quite by accident, I jacked the garbage truck to drive to the fight. When I got there I realized that if I parked it in front of the garage door of the vehicle about to flee, it can’t get away. The upshot … the bad buys were pinned in the car and I took them out easily.

How Did they Fit this on One DVD?

This is the ‘biggest’ game I’ve ever played. Crackdown was similar in scope but did not have all the intricate details that Liberty City has. There are:

  • a great many cut-scenes (51 so far)
  • over 600 voice actors
  • a dozen or so radio stations with hundreds of songs and hours of talk-radio
  • another dozen or so TV channels, and
  • and relatively deep websites at the Internet cafe (Weasel News is a play on Fox News).

As my friend Davis Freeberg opined, imagine how big the city could be if it was on a blu-ray disk? Given that the PS3 has blu-ray built in, I was half expecting the 360 version to appear on multiple disks. But, somehow they crammed it all onto one. Amazing.

Cheats

I found a cheats page here. I’m not using it. I found it looking for tips on how to get three strikes in bowling (Gobble Gobble). Suffice it to say, the cheat for Gobble Gobble didn’t work for me (and doesn’t make sense).

More Tips

Body Armour: Once you find it in the game, and figure out how to consistently find it again (I don’t want to add a spoiler here),  use it. It’s worth the replenishment hassle.

Ambulance Health: If you commandeer an ambulance, you get your health restored. Makes sense. They act as mobile health packs scattered around the board – as do hot-dog stands, restaurants, soda machines, Michelle after a date :) and so on.

Better to Die than be Arrested: Why? Because the cops take all your guns and ammo. The hospitals just charge a fee to revive you. You can purchase new guns and ammo but that takes a lot of time effort and money. So, if the cops are chasing you, better to let them kill you before letting them capture you.

<<  Read Diary Entry #1 Read Diary Entry #3  >>

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