Released in October 2005, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories was a large leap in the development of the series. Although it appears to be very similar to any other 3D game from the Grand Theft Auto III era, it is in fact very different, as it is the first game in the series to be released on a portable console on a small UMD, and yet managed to fit something the size of Liberty City on it. For the portable games, Rockstar ditched the RenderWare engine which they had been using for four years and made their own in-house engine to power the game.
It is set in 1998, approaching the new millennium in Liberty City, and follows the footsteps of Toni Cipriani, a member of the Leone Family Mafia who has just come out after laying low for a while because he killed a made man. When he returns, he has to work his way from the bottom and earn back the trust of Don Salvatore Leone, who he helps and protects through the course of the storyline, and eventually becomes a made man himself.
 Story Overview
Related article: List of missions in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
The story is based largely around the Leone Family Mafia in 1998 and follow the main protagonist Toni Cipriani making his way back up the ranks in the mafia. He killed a marked man, and after hiding he returns to his home in Saint Mark's to continue working for Mr Leone again. For the first part of the game, Toni starts off doing small jobs, mainly involving driving people around and taking out some people, including JD O'Toole, and is constantly told by his mother that he is not a real man like his father was. Because of this, his mother, Ma Cipriani, calls a hit on him, and hitmen occasionally turn up in big black cars in an attempt to kill him, however when he escorts Mr Leone to safety on Staunton Island during a police chase, he soon becomes a made man, and Ma calls off the hit. Unfortunately for the Leone Family Mafia, the mayor blames the cities problems on them and the Don Salvatore Leone is arrested, but Toni manages to pose as a lawyer and still gets missions from him, which eventually leads to Mr Leone's freedom. At the end of the storyline, Toni and Sal go to city hall to get the charges dropped by the mayor, however when they get there a rival gang are already there and have taken the mayor to the docks. When Toni and Sal arrive there, they take a boat out to a remote island whilst being chased by other boats, and on the island Toni fights his way up to the top of the island at the base of a lighthouse with Sal where they take down a helicopter and rescue the mayor.
 Toni Cipriani
Toni Cipriani is an Italian-American living in the Saint Mark's district of Portland, Liberty City, and resides in a small family business called Momma's Restaurante, which is owned and operated by Ma Cipriani. His father had passed away before the events of Liberty City Stories (set in 1998), and Ma constantly gives Toni grief for not being a real man like his father was, and a hit is called on him, however it is called off when Toni becomes a made man in the Leone Family Mafia. Although he had killed a made man himself several years before 1998, he came back and worked his way back up the ranks, working with Don Salvatore Leone, head of the Leones, and gradually becomes very good friends with him, eventually managing to get half a million dollars towards the end of the main storyline. Toni is also seen in Grand Theft Auto III, where he has significantly changed, putting on a lot of weight and being portrayed a lot like Tony Soprano.
 Liberty City
In 1998, Liberty City is very similar to how it appears in 2001, but with a few minor differences. It is split into 3 main islands, and the player starts from the east and works their way to the west, going through Portland, Staunton and Shoreside Vale respectively, where Portland Island is the main industrial area ran by gangs, Staunton is the main area of the city with the high-rise buildings and neon lights, and Shoreside Vale is the residential area which is home to the airport. The city is based loosely on New York, with some landmarks such as Time Square and Central Park making an appearance, but is not nearly as strictly based as the versions which appear in Grand Theft Auto IV or Grand Theft Auto. In 1998, Liberty City had been called the Worst Place in America, and voted the least likely place to succeed.
There are a number of characters in this game which appear in Grand Theft Auto III, with the games being so close in terms of the time period. The main characters other than Toni include mafia boss Salvatore Leone and Donald Love, along with a whole range of new characters (mainly mafia types due to the storyline being based on an Italian Mafia). As with Grand Theft Auto III, the cast of voice actors was not a particularly expensive one, however did include some well known actors such as Frank Vincent as Sal.
The range of vehicles in Liberty City Stories is very much the same as those in any Grand Theft Auto III era games, making use of the same vehicles and names, but modifying them slightly to the time period and adding and removing a few vehicles to keep the range fresh. One distinct feature in this game which did not appear in Grand Theft Auto III (which was set in 2001) is motorcycles, which make an appearance, but are banned after A.R.S.E. protests somewhere between the years 1998 and 2001. Helicopters are not available, but do appear in a couple of situations and only one of them is flyable, but only if players can time things perfectly, as it needs to be taken whilst it is still flying.
There is a large weapon range in Liberty City Stories, and it uses the classic system whereby weapons are split into categories, where players can carry one of each type of weapon at any one time. They range from melée weapons such as baseball bats through to large heavy weaponry like rocket launchers, and each weapon causes different amounts of damage, have different levels of accuracy, have different ranges, firing rates and effects on the protagonist's speed.
As with most of the games in the series, the game consists of several radio stations, each of which are focused on a particular genre of music. The radio stations and genres are as follows:
- LCFR - talk
- Head Radio - soft rock
- Lips 106 - pop
- Double Cleff FM - classical
- Rise FM - house/garage
- Radio Del Mundo - Indian/Arabic
- K-Jah - reggae
- The Liberty Jam - hip hop
- MSX 98 - jungle
- Flashback FM - disco
 Custom Soundtracks
One new feature in the game was custom soundtracks, which allowed players to listen to music from their PSP when in a vehicle instead of the standard radio stations. This feature is one which caused a lot of problems due to the complexity of the process needed to use it, and one which only appeared in the portable games (the other being Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories).
Another major feature of the portable Grand Theft Auto games was the ability to wirelessly connect to other PSP devices and play against up to five other players. At the start of the game players only have certain options available for playing multiplayer, and unlock more modes during the course of the game. The modes available are as follows:
- Liberty City Survivor
- Protection Racket
- Get Stretch
- Tanks for the Memories
- The Hit List
- Street Rage
- The Wedding List
 Game Launch
 Firmware Exploitation
This game is part of the Grand Theft Auto Series
| Preceded by
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
| This is the seventh game in the
Grand Theft Auto Series
| Succeeded by |
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories