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Grand Theft Auto III

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Grand Theft Auto III
"Sorry, babe. I'm an ambitious girl, and you... You're just small time!"
Protagonist(s): Claude
Genre(s): Action-adventure
Platform(s): PlayStation 2
Microsoft Windows
Mac OS X
Fire OS
Release: PlayStation 2
NA: October 22, 2001
PAL: October 26, 2001

Microsoft Windows
NA: May 21, 2002
PAL: May 24, 2002

NA: October 31, 2003
PAL: January 2, 2004

Mac OS X
WW: November 12, 2010
Android, iOS
WW: December 15, 2011
Fire OS
WW: May 15, 2014
Engine: RenderWare
Developer(s): DMA Design[1]
Rockstar Vienna (Xbox)
War Drum Studios (Android/iOS)
Publisher(s): Rockstar Games
Country: United Kingdom
United States
Series: Grand Theft Auto
Predecessor: Grand Theft Auto 2
Successor: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Grand Theft Auto III is an action-adventure video game released for the PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Xbox, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, and Fire OS. It was developed by DMA Design and published by Rockstar Games.


Claude is betrayed and shot in a bank robbery by his girlfriend and partner-in-crime Catalina. When he is being taken to prison, the Colombian Cartel attacks the police convoy, but Claude, along with fellow prisoner and demolition expert 8-Ball, escape in the chaos. 8-Ball introduces Claude to Luigi Goterelli, a member of the Leone Family Mafia and a pimp. Claude's quest is to work for many people in hopes of finding and exacting revenge on Catalina.

Why It's Anything You Want

  1. Not only is it the first game in the series to feature a 3D environment, but it's the first official open-world, sandbox game where you can go just about anywhere, expanding upon Shenmue's more closed-in design and doing more with what was introduced in The Nomad Soul. The world itself is that of a spoof on New York City (Liberty City) and has three different islands.
    • Portland is the old industrial district, consisting largely of workmen in old cars, and is home to the Leones, Triads, Diablos and the Forelli Brothers (mission appearances only).
    • Staunton Island is the business district. Lots of rich people can be found here, along with their fancy cars. The resident gangs are the Yakuza, the Yardies, and the Colombian Cartel.
    • Shoreside Vale is the suburban area of Liberty City. The wealthy live here, along with the middle-class residents and gangs. The Francis International Airport is also located here. The local gangs are the Southside Hoods and the Colombian Cartel.
  2. A lot of memorable characters, most prominently Catalina.
  3. There are radio stations for all tastes and unlike previous games, you can change the radio whenever you want, including:
    • Classical music (Double Cleff FM)
    • 80s Pop and Post-Disco from the film Scarface (Flashback FM)
    • Reggae (K-Jah Radio)
    • Trance/House (Rise FM)
    • Hip Hop (Game Radio)
    • Talk Show hosted by Lazlo Jones (Chatterbox FM)
    • Drum and Bass, Jungle (MSX FM)
    • Top 40 Pop, Rock, Hip Hop (Lips 106)
    • Modern Rock, Pop, Adult Contemporary (Head Radio)
    • The player can also add their own music on the Xbox and PC versions of the game.
  4. A good story for what there is about a mute thug who's been betrayed by his girlfriend and spends the whole game tracking her down.
  5. Good voice acting.
  6. The game has an inordinate amount of freedom, not just in the world but also missions. What this means is, despite what the game says, you can complete a mission in your own creative way.
    • For example, Anthony Burch talked about in his video "True Nonlinearity" that when reading a review on the game, someone got frustrated while trying to complete the mission Farewell 'Chunky' Lee Chong where you have to kill a Chinese cook by chasing him. As a result, the reviewer stole the cook's car, put a bomb in it, and when the cook got in his car, the car blew up and killed him.
    • Another example includes the mission Marked Man. The game has you take Ray to the airport and the game says you have to find another route to the airport seeing how the mission starts on Staunton and the airport in Shoreside Vale. You also can't just take the bridge too because agents are guarding the bridge and will instantly destroy your car. But if you have a sniper and get a good amount of distance, you can snipe each enemy and cross the bridge safely since they don't respawn making the mission much easier.
  7. Good soundtrack with a good share of both licensed and original music from the late 90's and early 2000's.
  8. Great graphics for its time thanks to Criterion's RenderWare engine with the Xbox version improving on them by allowing more polygons.
  9. There are 100 unique Hidden Packages to find throughout Liberty City, with some being hidden in some clever spots. Every 10th package the player finds rewards the player an item spawn in their hideout.
    • 10 Packages: Pistol
    • 20 Packages: Uzi
    • 30 Packages: Grenade
    • 40 Packages: Shotgun
    • 50 Packages: Body Armor
    • 60 Packages: Molotov Cocktails
    • 70 Packages: AK-47
    • 80 Packages: Sniper Rifle
    • 90 Packages: M16
    • 100 Packages: Rocket Launcher and $1,000,000
  10. This game introduces the "Odd Job" missions that would become a staple of the franchise. These are side-missions that can be started in numerous ways: by pressing the submission button in certain vehicles, entering certain parked vehicles, or started by standing on a mission marker.
    • Taxi Driver: Can be activated when driving a Taxi. This requires the player to drive passengers to specific locations within a time limit for a cash reward, ala Crazy Taxi. Completing 100 fares gives you a faster, more agile variant of the Cabbie known as the "Borgnine" named after the late Ernest Borgnine.
    • Firefighter: Can be activated when driving a Fire Truck. Each level consists of one burning vehicle which must be extinguished within the time limit. Dousing 20 fires on each island rewards you a free flamethrower spawn in the island's respective hideout.
    • Vigilante: Can be activated when in a law enforcement vehicle. The player is required to chase down and kill the indicated targets (other criminals) within a time limit. Killing 20 criminals on each island gets you bribe stars in each hideout. Bribe stars are items you can collect to lower your Wanted level.
    • Paramedic: Can be activated when driving an Ambulance. This involves the player locating, picking up and delivering patients to the hospital within a time limit. The hospital is the closest one to where the player began the side mission. Each new level adds one new patient to collect. The Ambulance can carry up to three patients at one time. Saving 35 patients will reward you with health pickups at your hideouts, and 70 for adrenaline pills. Best of all, if you complete level 12, you will earn infinite sprint.
    • TOYZ: In remote locations, you can find RC vans that trigger an RC mission. In these, the player takes control of RC cars and has two minutes to blow up as many select gang cars as possible. This side mission can be replayed indefinitely, each replay requiring to beat the previous high score in order to pass. If you beat your high score, you'll earn $1,000 for each extra car destroyed.
  11. There are 20 stunt jumps. Completing a jump adds $5,000 into each jump award (for the n-th jump, $5000*n). Completing all 20 jumps awards the player $1,000,000 instead of the standard incremental monetary award for completing the 20th jump ($100,000).
  12. There are two import-export garages & one export crane, where you are rewarded with money for delivering certain vehicles. Best of all, if you finish a specified list, you get $250,000 and the ability to get every included vehicle for free.
  13. Throughout the game, you can find certain parked vehicles that will initiate an Off-Road mission, which is where you have to drive the vehicle you enter through a set number of checkpoints under a time limit.
  14. There are 20 rampage missions. In these, you have to kill certain gangsters in a specific way, whether that'd be via drive-by, headshots, or with a specific weapon.
    • For completing one Rampage: $5,000 plus the monetary reward of the previous Rampage.
    • For completing all Rampages: $1,000,000
  15. Plethora of mods to install. For instance, a group of modders reverse-engineered the game's code which allowed for playing the game on a variety of modern consoles like the Nintendo Switch, the PlayStation Vita and etc. in addition to "quality-of-life" improvements such as Widescreen support, bugfixes, removing loading screens when going from island-to-island (toggled via "map memory usage" option), in-game map menu similar of that to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, PlayStation 2/Xbox effects such as reflections, rendering, screen rain droplets, and customizable color filter. Unfortunately, the reverse-engineering project was taken down through a DMCA being filed on the project's page.

Bad Qualities

  1. Being the first 3D game in the series, several things are different or haven't aged well in this game compared to future entries:
    • No map is shown in the pause menus and there are no Pay n' Spray and Ammu-Nation icons are on the radar. This was added in the mobile version later on however.
    • You cannot buy property in this game, being restricted to a single safehouse per island instead.
    • Claude is the only silent protagonist in the 3D games. As a consequence, he also gets messages from contacts via a pager rather than a mobile phone as would be standard in all later games; Vice City Stories is the only game after III whose protagonist uses a pager rather than a phone, and that is more due to the game's time period rather than to accommodate a mute protagonist.
    • Everything was 10x more expensive in this game. An example would be the Pay n' Spray, which in this game costs $1,000 compared to Vice City's $100 cost. Conversely, reward payouts are adjusted to inflation as well.
    • You can't move the camera at all, instead you switch to a first person view when trying to look around. This is made worse when driving since you can't move the camera at all.
      • Camera movement was later added in the mobile version.
    • There are no motorcycles in this game. This was later explained on in Liberty City Stories where an ordinance was in effect during the events of III that disallowed motorcycle usage around this time.
    • Despite the "Strong Language" label featured on the game's content ratings, not a single F-bomb was dropped in the entire game, which is quite a glaring difference when compared to the later games in the series. A few milder profanities are being used and some characters use "shit" and a few variations of it. However, there is one pedestrian who nearly said the F-word just before getting cut short. There's also a moment with Toni, a high ranking Mafia member who says shit fairly often, nearly saying "fuck" before swapping it with "freaking" on the radio due to Lazlow saying that swearing on the show isn't allowed.
      • This would continue until Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, where it gets used to a higher extent.
    • Your health is not restored after saving the game. Starting with Vice City, your health is replenished after you save your game.
    • While there are still many fictional brands in the game, most of them would not be seen again after III, and more iconic GTA brands such as Sprunk, Burger Shot, and Weazel are nowhere to be found. This would be corrected in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories as well as in the Definitive Edition.
    • The story, while still good, is kind of underwhelming compared to future games as you don't know what happens to a majority of the characters and (unfortunately) no one will due to Rockstar having rebooted the franchise's story.
      • This is especially egregious given the fact that the game ends with Maria heard talking right before a mysterious gunshot, after which, she remains silent and is no longer heard. Even Rockstar (when they got around to explaining it) just shrugged.
    • Vehicles in this game are very fragile and have sharp handling in which they overtake corners and spin out wildly when crashing. This can make certain missions such as chases in which a few bumps can cause moderate damage.
      • In particular, the ambulance has low durability and terrible handling in this game as one sharp turn can overturn it. Also, traffic doesn't seem to care about you and they don't sway if you're on the wrong side of the road, making the Paramedic mission difficult as emergency vehicles can't be repaired during a mission. Thankfully it can be alleviated with the ghost car glitch.
      • You cannot also bail out of the moving vehicle in this game, so you must fully stop it to escape which can cost time if the vehicle is on fire.
    • You can't swim (at least without mods). The official explanation attributes this to the contaminated seawater around Liberty City where you'll lose health at an alarming rate and die if you do so.
    • The game's AI has several flaws, given that is the first 3D game in the franchise:
      • Ally AI is simplistic and allies will often run into enemy gunfire.
      • If pedestrians are given molotovs and rocket launchers through cheats, they will burn themselves to death or blow themselves up. This is because the AI with rocket launchers in this game aim in only one direction - downwards.
      • Enemies will often not take cover. This makes it easier to pick them off.
    • Some missions can be permanently locked if you're careless and play them in the wrong order (i.e. you have to do Luigi Goterelli, Joey Leone and Toni Cipriani's missions before Salvatore Leone's). Use this to see what missions to do in order.
    • As the game progresses, five out of the seven street gangs become hostile and will attack Claude on sight, and this is annoying as it usually requires the player to avoid their turf. It will feel like the map gets smaller because of this.
      • To make matters worse, the only gangs that will not turn hostile are the Yakuza and the Southside Hoods. Staying on good terms with other factions requires finishing the game without doing some side missions, and of course, not achieving a 100% game. To put salt in the wound, there is no reward for 100% completion, although a Rhino will spawn at Phil's Surplus after completing "The Exchange", which some people confuse as a 100% completion reward.
      • It should be noted that this also happens in Vice City with the Haitians (and the military if you enter the base without the police uniform), but unlike the gangs in III, their hostile behavior is not as much of an annoyance since the sandbox map generates fewer gang members on the streets than in GTA III. Also, it's only one gang that becomes hostile to the protagonist, not five.
        • The most troublesome gang is the Leone Crime Family, as their men have shotguns that obliterate common vehicles within seconds. This is even worse when you pass by Saint Mark's. Other gangs are much less of a threat.
  2. Extremely tedious missions such as Bomb Da Base: Act II, A Drop in the Ocean, Grand Theft Aero, Kingdom Come, S.A.M., The Exchange, Paramedic, and the infamous mission Espresso-2-Go!; all of these missions are regarded as some of the hardest, not only in the game, but the entire series as well.
    • At least Rockstar did not ignore the terrible amount of difficulty from Espresso-2-Go! as the Leone Mafia will only use Micro Uzis instead of shotguns during this mission, and local gangs will attack the Colombian Cartel on their turf, making it somewhat easier for the player.
  3. The pre-Xbox graphics haven't aged well at all, with characters having blocky FNAF-like limbs that aren't connected to their torso.
  4. There's an infamous glitch in the original PlayStation 2 and PC versions called "The Purple Nines Glitch", where if you save your game after completing the mission "Rumble", and go back to a loaded game, you will not be able to complete the mission "Uzi Money" because the Purple Nines disappear. You can prevent this happening from by not having a Memory Card in your PS2, and have it on no save, while on the PC, you can install the "Silent" patch from the mod launcher for it to not happen.
  5. The police in this game are arguably one of the toughest to avoid in the entire GTA series. It is hard to lose them if you are at a 2 star and above wanted level since they will endlessly spawn regardless of whether you are hiding in alleyway or driving different vehicles (only 1 star will gradually disappear). Apart from completing missions, the only way to clear the level is to spend $1000 at a pay and spray or collect police bribes sparsely scattered across Liberty City.
    • Later games have made methods much easier to evade them. In Vice City and San Andreas, you can change clothes in safehouses or stores to reduce your level (will not work if you have 3+ stars in VC), or in San Andreas driving to different cities or staying in remote areas can gradually reduce that level.
  6. If you get wasted or busted after completing Marked Man and Ray's bulletproof Patriot isn't in a garage, it will disappear permanently, and going back to his lockup does not unlock it nor do you get a replacement, requiring reloading a save prior to the mission's completion. The bulletproof patriot is extremely valuable for the much harder missions.
  7. There are no flying vehicles aside from the Dodo which is a pain to fly, especially seeing that it wasn't meant to be flown.[2]
  8. In the Xbox version, money and weapons lack the glow underneath them, making them harder to see.
  9. The hostile gangs spam their chatter when attacking you, which can get a bit annoying.
  10. If the player fails a rampage on the first attempt, the pickup icon will move to a second location. If the rampage is failed again at this new location, the icon returns to its original position.
  11. The M16 rifle and shotgun are way overpowered when wielded by enemies.


Upon release, the game received critical acclaim, with praise particularly directed at its concept and gameplay. Grand Theft Auto III became the best-selling video game of 2001, and has sold over 17 million copies.

Grand Theft Auto III is considered to be one of the most significant titles of the sixth generation of video games, and by many critics as one of the greatest video games of all time.


  • Claude does not have any dialogue in the game whatsoever, but he grunts, moans or coughs when he jumps off a building, takes damage, is run over by vehicles or drowns in the ocean.
    • In the first trailer of the game that was released in February 2001, Claude can be heard saying "Get out of the car". This was actually a re-used voice clip from GTA2.
  • Ironically, despite being the first game of the 3D era for the GTA series released it's actually the last game chronologically in the 3D era timeline. The game was released and takes place in the year of 2001, while the last game for the 3D era, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, is actually the first game in the timeline - VCS was released in 2006, but the game takes place in the year of 1984.
  • This game has the darkest story-line in the series along with Grand Theft Auto IV.
  • "O Mio babbino caro" on Double Cleff FM, most likely because of licensing problems or its expiration, is absent in all non-PS2 versions of the game. However, the song is still featured in all of the game's promotional trailers, as well as a Trap remix by Hudson Mohawke used for the mobile version and Definitive Edition trailers.
  • The pager theme is the theme of the original game called "Grand Theft Auto" by Da Shootaz, which is also coincidentally one of the songs on the LIPS106 radio station.
  • There is a rare version of this game that was made before the events of 9/11, most of which is also in the first European release on October 26th. This version contains an amount content that were not in the US version for obvious reasons. One example is the "Dead Dodo"'s flying route originally flew too close to be different and etc.
  • The developer's names are at the edge of Liberty City, taking in the place of street names.
  • The Ghost Town easter egg, the area that the opening cutscene takes place, is actually out of the map and on the other side of Shoreside Vale. It's not solid, but it is cool to look at.
  • Another easter egg, being a hidden sign in Staunton Island that says "You weren't supposed to be able to get here you know."
  • You can explore the Liberty Memorial Coliseum, but it is very hard to get to; and you need to get a Dodo in order to fly on top of the Coliseum, but if you land in it, a lot of the Coliseum isn't solid due to the developers not expecting you to get there, and you can easily fall into the Blue Hell and respawn outside the Coliseum near Aspatria. Fortunately, there are mods that make the Coliseum solid and easily accessible. Another way to get there is by using the ghost car glitch.
  • There's a gay construction worker who spouts out lyrics to Village People songs randomly.
  • There's a news headline by the Liberty Cock saying "Zombie Elvis Found - Win Shit". The newspaper is everywhere in Liberty City, and even appears in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PC version only).
  • One mission takes a shot at the Driver series, involving you getting to kill Detective John Tanner. They even mock the wobbly walking animation Tanner has and even gave him the female walking animations!

Game Tips

  • When playing Vigilante, if you pause as your approaching a car, the criminal driving will get out and become easy targets.
  • Never go into a mission without armor.
  • If you plan on completing the game, complete most of the side activities on each island before furthering the story. This is because of BQ #1.
  • Get familiar with the Ambulance's controls for paramedic missions.
  • Play the story missions in order because of BQ #2.
  • For unique stunts, get the Banshee. The car's easily accessible and surprisingly fast.
  • Use the freedom of the game to your advantage. (WIR #10)
  • You can complete the firefighter side-mission easily by abusing the replay feature. (PC only)
  • The Ghost car glitch can be very useful for harder missions.

Explanation of Wanted Level stars

  1. Cops will chase after you, and will throw you out of your car. Some police cars will spawn as well. They will give up if they can't catch you after some time.
  2. Cops will open fire on sight and attempt to run you over with their squad cars.
  3. A police helicopter will join the fray in trying to kill you along with more police cars.
  4. The SWAT team joins with their Enforcer trucks.
  5. A second police helicopter joins the fray while the FBI replaces most law enforcement units.
  6. The military replaces the FBI with their Rhinos and Barracks OLs. It is very hard to survive at six stars without another Rhino or any vehicle immune to ram damage as Rhino otherwise destroys them on contact.




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