GTA Advance is the first entry in the legendary sandbox series, Grand Theft Auto, specifically designed for a handheld system (unlike earlier Game Boy Color ports of Grant Theft Autos 1 and 2). Developed by an independant third-party developer, Digital Eclipse, it is also the first original game in the franchise's history not to be developed by Rockstar North. GTA Advance plays and looks similar to some of the earlier GTA games like GTA 2 with its top-down perspective,but also includes the additional features such as vigilante and paramedic missions as well as rampages, stunts, and the hidden packages introduced in GTA III.
The story of GTA Advance takes place a year before the events of GTA III (though no characters from GTA III are seen or referenced in the game). The game features a small-time crook called Mike who - in his attempt to escape from the city, along with his mentor and friend Vinnie - gets caught in a pile of debt and trouble and decides to take revenge on the city. Due to various technical limitations of GBA, the game features text-based cutscenes and only a handful of voice samples. It also features only a fixed soundtrack for a particular car.