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Grand Theft Auto to make its DS debut March 17

The Grand Theft Auto franchise makes its Nintendo DS debut tomorrow in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

Triple homicide in your pocket. GameSpot

The controversial Grand Theft Auto series infiltrates the Nintendo DS handheld gaming platform Tuesday, March 17, in the form of Chinatown Wars. While the game is still set inside the fictitious town of Liberty City, the storyline deals with the Chinatown section of it and a Hong Kong transplant who will serve as the game's protagonist.

Chinatown Wars features an older GTA game play style as you'll be viewing the world from a top-down perspective. This viewing mode was how GTA was originally played before it made the jump to 3D with Grand Theft Auto III on PlayStation 2. You can also expect a change in art style as the game adopts a refreshing cel-shaded sort of look, most likely to lessen the workload on the DS hardware. Expect classic GTA mission-based action mixed up with some inventive ways of using the DS touch screen.

Also turning heads are the drug-dealing minigames that are found inside Chinatown Wars, which harken back to the days of the text and math-based "Dope wars" game that made its way across the Internet.

So what do you think? Can GTA work on the Nintendo portable, or will Chinatown Wars sleep with the fishes? Be sure to check out some screenshots of the game in action.