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Grand Theft Auto: Loose ends

Grand Theft Auto III
2001 | PS2, Xbox, PC

It’s surprising how playable GTA III is by today’s standards, even some six years later. Sure, if you jump into it fresh off the heels of Crackdown or Saints Row (or even San Andreas), the instant watery deaths and moribund pedestrians that vanish once they’re five feet down the road will give you the biggest headache this side of Britney Spears’ style consultant. But for all its rough edges, GTA III is still one smooth operator. Tight, focused and truer to the old-school, top-down GTAs than its follow-ups, this was a phenomenal first impression for the third generation of Grand Theft Auto, and the benchmark GTA IV has to beat.

A man of few words. Specifically, no words. Unlike the protagonists of later games, he’s a mute. He also seems to lack the aspirations of grandeur that drive the other playable characters; his only motivation in GTA III is to hunt down the woman who double-crossed him during a failed bank robbery. Will Claude reappear in GTA IV? It’s possible, although his days as a serious character are over. His memorable cameo in San Andreas, which fills us in on the backstory between himself and Catalina, exists only to poke harmless fun at his inability to speak (with Carl at one point referring to him as "a snake without a tongue").