GTA players are still discussing how to 100% this top-down classic – proving it was years ahead of its time at the turn of the millennium

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Considered by some as the runt of the litter, Grand Theft Auto 2 is up there with the very best of the long-standing crime sim series. Launched in 1999 – wedged between the '97 original, a game that was so offensive that its contents were debated in UK parliament and the US senate; and GTA 3, Rockstar's first fully-fledged three-dimensional outing following the company's acquisition of DMA Design – GTA 2 entered the world at a strange time. But, for my money at least, it never received the credit it deserved. 

We may be pining for more from GTA 6 at this stage, but it's always worth remembering this esteemed series' lineage. GTA 2 was dark and moody, and more cyberpunk than pretty much every cyberpunk-styled game I've played since. Its gang reputation system was years ahead of its time, and it was absolutely gorgeous on PC, sharp and stylized like nothing that'd come before it in this mold, and something that still holds up so well today, a quarter of a century on. I remember being blown away by GTA 2's day and night cycle at the time – a feature exclusive to its PC release – where the glow of street lamps and nightclubs, gang hideouts and traffic lights would reflect pools of light wherever they stood. 

Open-world games existed in 1999, but GTA 2 was the first game that I can remember making me consider the idea of a living and breathing, reactive and dynamically changing setting. For some long-serving GTA players, Grand Theft Auto 2 is still doing all of this and more, with facets of the game's community still sharing tips on how to hit 100% completion on the streets of Anywhere USA in 2024.

Future classic


(Image credit: Rockstar)

"Seeing active players sharing tips and advice in 2024 speaks volumes for the enduring pull and appeal of the second mainline game now pushing 25 years old"

Anywhere USA, the game's setting, is brimming with life and so much death, but it's also home to nasty bastards who'll rob you on the street, who'll steal your car, and who'll chase you down the road if you bang into their vehicle. By completing missions for specific gangs – each playable zone has three active factions – you'll earn respect among their ranks, while directly pissing off another crew. The deeper you go with any gang, the more involved and dangerous your paid-for errands get – and while this is commonplace these days within any open-world crime sim worth its salt, this was all pretty cutting edge at the turn of the millennium. 

Understanding all of this, and invariably leveraging it in your favor is key to pretty much everything you do in GTA 2, but especially so if you're gunning for 100% completion. Combing through the Grand Theft Auto 2 thread on community site GTAForums is a nostalgic adventure unto itself, and seeing active players sharing tips and advice in 2024 speaks volumes for the enduring pull and appeal of the second mainline game now pushing 25 years old. 

Moreover, I find the very specific intrigue shared here to be fascinating – where Polish forum user 'RGF' makes exchanges with Canadian player 'Anywhere USA'. Without drowning you in the minutiae of GTA 2, there's a renowned and abiding bug known as the 'Wang car exploit' that makes completing Kill Frenzies on the game's second island much easier – in turn, making hitting 100% easier too. When Anywhere USA declares he hit 100% without using the exploit, RGF is stunned. "You actually managed to complete the 'impossible' Kill Frenzies from Residential District without the Wang Cars exploit?" RGF says. "If yes, then how did you do that?"

Anywhere USA then offers a solution that involves baiting cop cars to your locations, getting a wanted level high enough that the police chase you but not so high that you can't outrun them, maxing out the local gang support so they can protect you, killing the cops, piling up their cars, blowing up the cars, then spawning another 10 and doing the same without dying. If that sounds like gibberish, I bet that's nothing compared to the noises Anywhere USA made after successfully pulling all of that off. There's loads of neat stuff to dig into in the thread itself, but RGF offers a streamlined overview of how to 100% GTA 2 with: 50/50 Tokens on all three districts, 20/20 Kill Frenzies on all three districts, and 22/22 jobs completed on all three districts. Which, I assure you, is much easier said than done. 

In any event, I think it's great that players are not only still playing and enjoying the most underrated Grand Theft Auto game of all time, but also actively sharing their experiences and helping each other in the process. GTA 2 was the first game that I remember changing my opinion of PC games. The gap between the most powerful consoles and desktops is as small now as it's ever been, but this wasn't the case in 1999. I remember playing GTA 2 on my mate's PS1 at the time and being genuinely shocked by how different the two games looked across platforms – and while this might sound like I'm turning my nose up at the game's console counterpart, I was simply so impressed with how brilliant my game looked on PC. 

When you add all of this to GTA 2's sophisticated gang system, its myriad weapons that were as incredible as they were incongruous, and its interlinked cyberpunk-inspired setting – one that paved the way for the greatness to come – and it's really no surprise that players are still flocking to Anywhere USA after all of this time. 

The complete GTA timeline: Every Grand Theft Auto game so far in chronological order

Joe Donnelly
Features Editor, GamesRadar+

Joe is a Features Editor at GamesRadar+. With over seven years of experience working in specialist print and online journalism, Joe has written for a number of gaming, sport and entertainment publications including PC Gamer, Edge, Play and FourFourTwo. He is well-versed in all things Grand Theft Auto and spends much of his spare time swapping real-world Glasgow for GTA Online’s Los Santos. Joe is also a mental health advocate and has written a book about video games, mental health and their complex intersections. He is a regular expert contributor on both subjects for BBC radio. Many moons ago, he was a fully-qualified plumber which basically makes him Super Mario.