Apple reinvents prostitute murder.

Christmas now passed, odds are solid that many of you are sporting new toys. Given that our audience of six-year-olds is woefully small — we just can't crack that damn Bionicle demographic — I'm going to assume this means shiny new electronics, and since you're all members of the culturally elite — we do just fine with the "18-34 elitist jerk" demo however — I'm also going to assume this means that a fair number of you are sporting new iPhones and iPads.

"Uh, Nex, isn't your stuff limited to the realm of gaming? If you start reviewing new releases of Instagram I am so fuckin' outta here," you monologue, warily scanning the text for subtle endorsements of Angry Birds.

Don't worry guys, I'm not shifting roles to the far more lucrative "tech news" segment. Actually, this post is about games too. Specifically, the tenth anniversary release of Grand Theft Auto III for all the latest iOS devices. Hit the jump and I'll offer more words.

See that picture embedded at top? That's from the iPhone version of the game. The one toward the end? That's from the iPad release. Wanna see something really weird? Here's a video of Grand Theft Auto III as it appeared on the PlayStation 2 in 2001:

You'll notice that the iPhone and iPad versions actually look slightly better than the PlayStation 2 game, which is doubly impressive considering that the new games run at higher resolution and feature almost none of the slowdown that plagued the PS2 Grand Theft Auto III when encountering massive explosions.

Okay, so that's neat and all, but there are two far better reasons for you new inductees into the cult of Apple to buy this game.

First, and most baffling, the controls work really, really well. I imagine the mobile division at Rockstar Games had to spend a very long time tweaking the game's controls to ensure that they could make a smooth translation from a console with a controller that features 12 buttons, 2 analog joysticks and a directional pad to what is ergonomically a blank slate with no useful buttons whatsoever. And yet somehow they made it work.

And I don't mean that in the "yeah, it's functional, but far from ideal" sort of way that befits most games ported to iOS. The iPhone/iPad version of Grand Theft Auto III might actually be more playable than the original game; that's how excellent the control scheme is. Yeah, it takes some getting used to at first, but within 10 minutes you're jacking cars and shooting pedestrians purely to satisfy that ancient part of your lizard brain that revels in freeform violent spectacle.

The second reason why this is less "review" and more "blatant promotion" is that the game is really inexpensive. It's normally priced at a totally-worth-it $5, but is on sale until December 29 for only $3. That's, like, bus fare, for a game that can easily offer a hundred hours of gameplay specifically designed to piss off Joe Lieberman.

Thinner. Lighter. Faster. Facetime. Smart Covers. Hundreds Of Dead Cops.
  • Rockstar Games
  • Thinner. Lighter. Faster. Facetime. Smart Covers. Hundreds Of Dead Cops.

Fair warning: Those of you with older iPhones might wanna give this game a pass, since your machine likely won't run it well. The iPhone 4 series should all be fine, as well as the original iPad, but as expected those with the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 will get the best performance from the title.

If the cheap price and surprising quality aren't reason enough to buy Grand Theft Auto III, how about snagging a copy as a personal favor to me? As far as sandbox games go I was never huge on GTA3, but I'm hoping that if this one sells well enough, Rockstar might port Vice City to the iPhone in a few months. And man, I love me some Vice City.