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"Rockstar has captured and condensed the Grand Theft Auto series' high points and crammed them into one terrific title. Think the DS can't handle GTA? Think again."
―Official Nintendo Magazine
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Name: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Developer(s): Rockstar Leeds
Rockstar North
Publisher(s): Rockstar Games
Cyberfront (Japan)
Release date: Nintendo DS
NA 17 March 2009
AUS 19 March 2009
EU 20 March 2009

PlayStation Portable
NA 20 October 2009
EU 23 October 2009
AUS 28 October 2009

iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch)
17 January 2010

iOS (iPad)
9 September 2010

Platform(s): Nintendo DS
PlayStation Portable
Apple iOS
Series: Grand Theft Auto
Protagonist: Huang Lee
Date takes place: 2009
Location: Liberty City

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (also known as GTA: Chinatown Wars, GTA: CW or GTA: CTW) is a Rockstar Leeds game and a crime-sandbox game for the Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, and Apple iOS (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad), developed by Rockstar North and Rockstar Leeds, published by Rockstar North, and released for the Nintendo DS in March 2009, for PSP in October 2009, and for iOS (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad) in January 2010. It was released for the DS in North America on March 17, 2009, and March 20, 2009 in Europe. It became available on PlayStation Portable on October 20th 2009 with upscaled widescreen graphics, improved lighting, and new story missions. An Apple iPhone version of Chinatown Wars was released on January 18th 2010. The game is set in Liberty City - a year after the events of Grand Theft Auto IV, with a story focusing on the Triads, and protagonist Huang Lee, the twenty-five year old nephew of Lee Family head Wu Lee. In addition, the separate state of Alderney does not appear in the game.

GTA: CW is the 13th game in the Grand Theft Auto series, and the third game in the GTA IV era.

The game is set in Liberty City (GTA IV Era) - based on the Grand Theft Auto IV rendition. The separate state of Alderney, however, does not appear in the game. The game focuses on the [[Algonquin Triads|Triads], and protagonist Huang Lee, the twenty-six year old nephew of Lee Family head Wu Lee.



Huang Lee, the game's protagonist.

Huang Lee, the spoiled son of a recently murdered Triad boss, arrives by plane in Liberty City bringing Yu Jian with him, a sword that Huang's father won in a poker game, intending it to be used as an heirloom, to deliver it to the new patriarch of the family, Huang's uncle Wu "Kenny" Lee. Shortly after landing, Huang's escorts are killed by assassins and he is shot (a bullet grazes the side of the head but he survives) and kidnapped. The assailants steal the sword and, thinking Huang is dead, dump his body in the water. Huang manages to survive and informs Kenny that Yu Jian has been taken. Kenny explains that he had intended to offer the sword to Hsin Jaoming, the aging Triad boss in Liberty City, as a means of securing a position as his replacement. Kenny has been dishonored and reduced in power due to the loss of Yu Jian, leaving him and Huang working to keep their businesses afloat.

Eventually, Huang is contacted by Zhou Ming, a high-ranking Triad member, and Chan Jaoming, son of Hsin. Both men are also competing to be Hsin's replacement, and employ Huang to combat each other's efforts. After Chan hires Huang for a deal that goes badly, LCPD Detective Wade Heston, a crooked undercover cop under pressure from Internal Affairs, intercepted Huang. Heston offers an alliance with Huang to find the men responsible for the theft of Yu Jian and the murder of Huang's father. Huang agrees and finds that Heston suspects a Korean gang allied with the Triads is behind the events. After combating the Koreans for a while, Heston plants a bug in the Koreans' headquarters, from which he learns that there is a splinter group inside the gang called the Wonsu Nodong. Heston determines that the leader of the Wonsu is the one responsible for Yu Jian's theft and is a police informant who has been causing trouble for the Triads.

Meanwhile, Hsin enlists Huang in finding the informant, only to then suspect Huang himself and attempt to kill him. Kenny arrives and convinces Hsin to give them time to find the real rat, bringing haste to Huang's mission. Hsin enlists Huang to investigate two gangs who may be housing the rat: the Angels of Death and the Korean Mob. Huang gets into contact with Lester Leroc, a PI inside the Angels of Death and performs his own work against the Koreans. Huang is temporarily thrown off course by the intervention of mafia member Rudy D'Avanzo, who tricks Huang into believing the mole is a Messina Family member named Jimmy Capra. Hsin later reveals D'Avanzo's trickery and Huang kills him.

Both the Koreans and the Angels are determined innocent, leading to a new course of investigation. Heston employs Huang to hack into the servers of the FIB in order to find the informant. The information revealed two names, both Zhou Ming and Chan Jaoming as having talked to the police about the Triads. This is taken to Hsin, who, disgraced that his own son is a suspect, instantly steps down as leader and appoints Kenny as the new head of the Liberty City Triads. Huang then executes both Chan and Zhou, despite each denying their guilt. Shortly after the killings, Heston, who informs him that the information they recovered was fake and that he has learned of a meeting between the leader of the Wonsu and his allies, contacts Huang. Huang and Heston go to the meeting and find Kenny, who admits that he was responsible for the theft of Yu Jian and Huang's father's death. Heston and Huang pursue Kenny across town, cornering him at Hsin's residence. Here, Kenny explains that he was tasked by Hsin to retrieve Yu Jian, thus Huang's father would have to die for it to be passed on to him, in exchange for a position underneath Chan. Kenny complied with this, but attempted to have Yu Jian stolen to keep himself from such a dishonorable position and later framed Zhou and Chan to cover his tracks.

After a final confrontation between Hsin and Kenny, Hsin demands the hand over of Yu Jian. Kenny ironically responds by stabbing Hsin with the sword as his way of presenting it to him. With Huang as witness to the murder and truth, Kenny engages in an inevitable final battle with Huang, who is the only one left in the way of Kenny's undisputed rise to power. Centered on a fountain with Kenny slashing away, Huang eventually kills Kenny, fulfilling his promise to avenge his father. Immediately the IAD and FIB arrive to arrest Heston and Huang, however Heston claims that he was in deep undercover and orders the arrest of everyone except Huang. Hsin praises Huang with the loyalty and nobility to become his true successor as Triad Boss.

By completion of the story and locating the two Lions of Fo for the Rockstar Games Social Club, you can open up Xin Shan's missions. Xin instructs Huang to steal a Rhino to distract the police from a planned robbery. However, the cops ambush Xin; Huang attempts to take him to safety, but he succumbs to his injuries. Before his death, he makes the revelation that he is the brother of Ling Shan, a girl who was murdered early on in the game. Huang mourns for both of them.


Chinatown Wars has a different presentation than any previous game in the GTA series. Instead of a third person ground-level view behind the protagonist (GTA III - GTA IV) or a top-down perspective (GTA 1, GTA 2, GTA Advance), Chinatown Wars uses a fully rotatable aerial camera angled down at the action. This angle allows the camera to rotate dynamically during action sequences, and is only featured in this game out of the entire GTA series. The game uses a basic lock-on system for combat, which yields variable results, as sometimes the system locks on to vehicles instead of enemies. The game also locks on automatically when using melee weapons. One of the main features of the game, which distinguishes Chinatown Wars from the rest of the series, is the PDA. This is where many of the game's features are been accessed from, including the Ammu-Nation online shop and Trade Info, which is used in the drug dealing side feature. The PDA is also how the protagonist receives missions in the game in the form of emails, which is a nice substitute for the lack of voice acting in the game. While the top-down perspective may be beneficial in some ways, there are many downfalls. If one were to go under a building or other structure, the character would be unseeable. Also, this feature can make an IOS console such as an Iphone 4 or Ipod 4 run especially slow when not near WiFi.

Chinatown Wars re-introduces over-the-top gameplay, like in 3D Universe games such as GTA San Andreas and GTA Vice City, and to a lesser extent The Ballad of Gay Tony. The player can once again obtain and use weapons such as the Minigun, Flame Thrower, and Chainsaw. The game also re-introduces vehicles such as the Rhino, Bulldozer and the Speeder. Emergency side-missions such as Firefighter and Paramedic as well as Taxi driving also return.


There has been some controversy over a drug dealing minigame, along with comments that some Nintendo games are being aimed at children. The drug dealing mini-game allows you to peddle six types of drugs around the city, but the profit you make depends on market conditions, which will be based on the area in which you deal, and the amount of service this area receives from you regularly.

"Nintendo wanted us to make GTA, and we wanted to make a game on their platform. They didn't want us to make a GTA for kids, and we weren't interested in making a game we wouldn't normally make."
Dan Houser

PSP version[]

File:Chinatown Wars PSP screen.jpg

A screenshot of the PSP version, showing the enhanced graphics


Due to poor sales (in comparison to other GTA titles) of the DS version of the game, Rockstar decided to put the game on the PlayStation Portable. In October 2009, it was released and features new missions, given by Melanie Mallard. The graphics have also been updated and, due to obvious differences between the two consoles, all the action was condensed to the one screen, with the touch screen minigames replaced by quick time events. The PSP version includes a more diverse soundtrack of 11 radio stations, compared to five in the DS version.

iPhone/iPod Touch version[]

An Apple iPhone version of Chinatown Wars was announced on 31st August 2009, and on 18th January 2010, was released on the App Store. It costs $4.99 (formerly $9.99). The graphics have reverted to the DS style, but has been updated with better colour and textures. It also features Independence FM, a custom radio station, where players can create a playlist of their favorite iTunes songs. The initial release required 186MB of storage memory on the iPhone/iPod touch [1] and included the same soundtrack radio stations as the DS version. Since 28th March 2010, an updated version includes the six radio stations that were exclusive to the PSP version. The additional music increased the size of the game to 232MB. On June 9, 2010 Take-Two Interactive revealed that an iPad version would be released within a month. The iPhone/iPod Touch version has no multiplayer feature, and does not have support for the Rockstar Social Club unlike the other two versions.


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iPhone gameplay

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Apple iPhone graphics

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Sony PSP graphics

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Nintendo DS graphics

List of gangs in Chinatown Wars:

  • Triads
  • The Lost MC
  • Midtown Gangsters
  • Russian Mafia
  • African Americans
  • Spanish Lords
  • Angels of Death MC
  • Irish Americans
  • Jamaicans
  • The Mafia
  • Uptown Riders

Chinatown Wars Lite[]

A free demo version for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad was released around the same time as the full game. It features the first three missions (Yu Jian, Pursuit Farce and Under the Gun) and full access to Liberty City. All radio stations were removed, with the exception of Deadmau5 and Ticklah ; also, a substantial number of in-game services like Auto Merchant and Drug Dealing were removed. All Unique Stunt Jumps were also gone. Safehouses are unusable.


  • Chinatown Wars is the third Grand Theft Auto game released on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) after Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
  • Chinatown Wars is the first GTA released on the Nintendo DS as well as Apple's iOS platform.
  • It was stated in the UK magazine Official Nintendo Magazine that this game contained at least 800,000 lines of code.
  • This is also the first game in the HD Universe to feature a prominent Top-down perspective.
  • This is also the only GTA game that does not mention any relative character or any event in the other GTA of GTA IV Era (HD Universe). 
  • If one had pre-ordered the game from GameStop, they were provided a cheat code that allows players to unlock all the weapons at Ammu-Nation and receive $10,000 early in the game, or the ability to acquire a bullet-proof Infernus at the Auto Merchant.
  • All of the bosses in the game have their own theme songs, which plays whenever their missions are initiated.
  • Unlike the covers of nearly all Grand Theft Auto games since GTA III with the exception of Grand Theft Auto: Advance, the cover of Chinatown Wars doesn't feature artwork of a helicopter in the top left corner, probably because they cannot be flown in the game, and only ridden in one mission.
  • In the top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right corners of the city (far out into the water), there are signs which say 'Here Be Dragons'.
  • If the player goes to the PDA Settings from the main menu, an "About BadgerOS" option can be opened, referring that for more information, the player should go to the game's official Rockstar Games site. It also has a date: 20:11:52 09/26/09, indicating that the game starts in 26th September of 2009 at 08:12 pm.
  • This is the only Grand Theft Auto game that does not feature "Stories" in its name for the PSP. It is also the only GTA for the PSP not to make part in the 3D Universe, being part of the HD Universe instead.
  • Chinatown Wars was the first Nintendo DS game to be rated for 18+.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, Ammu-Nation was closed by the mayor due to weapons prohibition in Liberty City. In Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, it's back, making it the first to introduce Ammu-Nation in the HD Universe.
  • Chinatown Wars is the first game in the series that allows the player to assemble a Sniper Rifle.
  • Chinatown Wars is the second game in the series to feature an Asian protagonist. The first being Mikki from the original GTA.
  • Alongside with the original GTA and GTA Advance, this is the only game in the series that the player cannot jump, instead, they can only roll.
  • It is possible to obtain a tank for free by going to the airport and pushing onto the road by using another vehicle such as the Patriot.
  • Using cheats in the game renders the swiveling gun of the Rhino, Police Boats, and Fire Hoses on the Firetrucks unusable on the iOS platform.

Game Information[]

  • Characters in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
  • Missions in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
  • Vehicles in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
  • Safehouses in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
  • Weapons in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
  • Features in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars


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