Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony – Emperor of Nightlife [RETRO – 2009]

RETRO – You can run nightclubs, deal drugs, stolen goods, and even go on skydiving missions in one of the best episodes of Grand Theft Auto IV, starring Louis Lopez: “Gay” Tony’s right-hand man. Steam Ceiling is one of the most enjoyable games in Grand Theft Auto IV, including this sub-genre that launched as DLC back in the day, so we dove into this gangster adventure.



Until the release of The Ballad of Gay Tony, we had two very unique characters to control in Grand Theft Auto IV: Niko Bellic, a Serbian immigrant who arrived in Liberty City aboard an Eastern European ship, and Johnny Klebitz, the leader of a wild motorcycle gang. In the latest episode, we are once again in the shoes of an interesting criminal: Louis Lopez, business partner and confidant of nightclub owner Tony Prince.



In the hustle and bustle of the night


Louis has no mercy when it comes to protecting his business interests, and he even likes to kill people for money. Yet he’s a complex and sympathetic character: we’ll like him as much as we like the hero of the base game, Niko Bellic. A former prominent member of the Dominican drug cartel, he was sent to prison as a teenager and after many years out of prison, bar owner Tony Prince helped him get back on his feet.

As a result, he is fiercely loyal to Gay Tony, but also to others he likes: his financially troubled mother, his old pals and other acquaintances – and some characters only get good money.

So it’s back to the usual Grand Theft Auto missions: everyone needs the main character’, and Louis will take on the most inane tasks, often with a grunt or a gnash of teeth.



Free after Tarantino


The story of the game is as first-rate as we have come to expect from Rockstar. The characters are all original and most of them are really funny, whether you’re looking at the drug-addicted, gay Tony Prince or Yusuf Amir, the fat, stupid and megalomaniac son of an Arab sheik. The transition scenes could be the set of a Quentin Tarantino film: all of them feature brilliant dialogue and great ‘performances’.

Furthermore, the missions themselves are much more varied and in some cases even more exciting than those in the base game or Lost and Damned. In addition to the usual car-based action, we’ll also get to take part in helicopter aerial combat, for example, shooting down rival yachts or police helicopters with missiles, parachuting over Liberty City, taking part in illegal boxing matches and even playing golf.

We’ll even get to see old scenes from Louis’ point of view, just like in Lost and Damned, so you can shed a nostalgic tear. I dare say that the missions are even more fun than in the base game, certainly compared to Lost and Damned.



We play on PC, but it’s not PC


Gay Tony was released as DLC back in the day, and is now part of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Complete Edition on Steam. It takes 10-12 hours to complete the main quests, which is quite an achievement for a full-fledged game these days.

The only thing that looks a bit old to today’s eyes is the game’s graphics – though Steam Ceiling’s small screen doesn’t make it that bad. The slightly dated graphics are amply compensated for by the complexity of the GTA world, the great story and the exciting missions.

And as for Rockstar’s content, which seems scandalous in the PC era, the company has not been shy about the adult scenes: for example, Louis is orally satisfied by an old girlfriend in one scene, until the door is broken down. Can there be any greater pleasure nowadays than being introduced to an overstuffed, irritatingly stupid PC with a middle finger by a Rockstar game? Can’t it?



+ Laughter, fun, story, with a relaxed, lovable protagonist
+ More options and gaming experience compared to the basic one
+ Shows the middle finger to the overpowered PC, woke


– In today’s eyes, even Steam Deck has outdated graphics – especially in the transitions
– A little too frivolous at times
– If you live or die for PC, you won’t like it

Publisher: Rockstar Games

Developer: Rockstar Games

Style: Action-adventure

Published: October 29, 2009.

Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Gameplay - 9.2
Graphics - 7.5
Story - 9.4
Music/Audio - 9.2
Ambience - 9.2



Gay Tony is not just a great addition to the base game, it's also one of the best GTA episodes: well-developed characters, a brilliant story and a varied, exciting gameplay experience are its main features.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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