Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (iPhone) review: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (iPhone)

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Great design. Awesome soundtrack. Varied gameplay.

The Bad Mastering on-screen controls is much more difficult than the game mechanics.

The Bottom Line GTA Chinatown Wars loses little of its charm in this port from the DS/PSP to the iPhone, but the smartphone's touchscreen makes for a difficult control scheme, especially at the game's break-neck speeds.

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Games for Apple's iPhone are quickly advancing in sophistication, moving beyond mere find-a-words and Sudoku boards and onto the brink of what some might consider hardcore games. We've got a Halo clone in Gameloft's N.O.V.A., fully-fledged EA Sports titles and now Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars which was originally developed for the Nintendo DS.

You play as Huang Lee, the son of a recently murdered gang boss and the heir to a lot of misery in the seedy underbelly of Liberty City. Lee's goal is restore honour to his family and avenge his father's death, but doing this requires him to first earn the respect of his father's peers, a motley mix of egocentric low-lives who immediately put Lee to work running errands of murder, terrorise and peddle drugs — standard Rockstar fare.

GTA - story

The excellent story of Chinatown Wars is told in stills.
(Credit: Rockstar)

In terms of tone, language and explicit themes, Chinatown Wars loses nothing in the transition to the small screen. The characters are a dark mix of flaws, there's plenty of humour and the music is a real highlight. The 3D animations of Grand Theft Auto 4 are replaced by colourful still images and subtitles, but this doesn't detract from the game's ability to tell a story: a testament to the game's direction.

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Where to Buy

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (iPhone)

Part Number: CNETGrand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (iPhone)

Typical Price: $12.99

See manufacturer website for availability.