[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/05ca165b8e07e646d03b4074974e560b.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:I see nothing but good things for you, my boy...]]
->''"Sorry, babe. I'm an ambitious girl, and you... You're just small time."''
-->--'''Catalina'''

In Liberty City, a FictionalCounterpart to New York, you play a [[SilentProtagonist silent]], [[NoNameGiven nameless]] [[note]]later games reveal his name to be Claude[[/note]] protagonist who escapes from a prison transport and climbs the city's criminal ladder. You are hoping to get revenge your ex-girlfriend/partner in crime Catalina, who shot you and left you for dead after a bank robbery. It won't be an easy journey. Some will backstab you, and others will think you are in the way. But if you fight the good fight, this will be one hell of a ride.

Released on UsefulNotes/PlayStation2, then on the UsefulNotes/XBox and PC, and eventually got released on iOS and Android for its 10th Anniversary in 2011. This game was the first of the series to actually feature a full-fledged 3D graphics engine that took advantage of the state-of-the-art hardware of its time to render an entire city, basically setting the roots for the WideOpenSandbox genre as we know it.

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!!Distinct tropes of this game:

* ActionBomb: In the mission "Kingdom Come", the player is ambushed by drug-crazed madmen spawning from [[MookMaker mook-making vans]], complete with weird random chatter such as "Come to daddy!" and "I got a present for ya!"
* TheAllegedCar: More like Alleged Plane. The Dodo is the only airplane you can take control of in the game, but its wings are clipped, which severely hinders its flying capabilities. Hasn't stopped some players from successfully piloting it.
* AllPartOfTheShow: Spoofed with [[Radio/GTARadio one of Lazlow's callers]], along with TheNewRockAndRoll. A staunchly anti-video game mother claims that her very young game-addicted son witnessed his dog get run over in real life, only to look around for a reset button.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Cartel. Unlike all the other gangs, these guys are hostile to you from the beginning, and their leader, Catalina, is the one who (literally) fired the first shot.
* AntiHero: Claude. He's not even close to being a good guy, but his enemies are usually worse.
** Depending on how you want to view him, he may go across the spectrum of AntiHero to straight-up VillainProtagonist.
* AsianDrivers: The Old Oriental Gentleman is [[EscortMission not an easy person to protect]], particularly since he keeps slamming through traffic and mumbling, "[[ScrewPolitenessImASenior Geddoudda da weh!]]"
* ArmedBlag: An early mission, and a Portland docks side quest.
* AxCrazy:
** Catalina, full stop.
** The obviously insane Marty Chonks is in financial difficulty and has grievances with many people because of it. But he took care of these grievances by killing those who were the cause of the grievances and turning them into dog food.
* BadHumorTruck: A mission by El Burro requires Claude to blow up an ice cream truck near a group of members from the Forelli's mafia.
* BatterUp: The baseball bat is the only melee weapon available in this game.
* TheBigRottenApple: Liberty City is based off of New York City.
* BigBad: Catalina.
* BigFancyHouse: The Cartel mansion, which they stole from Donald Love in ''Liberty City Stories''.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: Claude is prone to fits of random violence, but the majority of the story missions are him working his way up the ladder and destroying various criminal organizations as he hunts down Catalina.
** May be EvilVersusEvil given no one takes the moral high ground in the game.
* BoundAndGagged: Offscreen, but from what's said, it's really obvious that Asuka tied Maria up, and for [[{{Dominatrix}} fun instead of for kidnapping]].
** Just bound, really; Maria is shouting that she knows she's been a naughty girl, but she really needs to pee.
* BrokenBridge: Played literally. The bridge to Staunton Island was blown up in the opening cutscene (thus justifying it in that case), the drawbridge mechanism on the bridge to Shoreside Vale was broken, and the tunnel connecting all three islands was still under construction.
* BrooklynRage: A large portion of the cast, including the protagonist.
* TheCameo: The [[MegaCorp Zaibatsu Corporation]] from [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto2 the previous game]] are mentioned in a radio commercial advertising their latest medical product, Equanox.
* TheCartel: The Colombian Cartel. Arguably, the main antagonists of the game.
* CashGate: There's two storyline mission that require certain amounts of money to be uncloked. Those are "Bomb Da Base Act II" and "The Exchange", which requires $ 100,000 and $ 500,000, respectively.
* CentralTheme: Betrayal and revenge drive not only the plot, but also the missions. Claude is apparently motivated by his desire for revenge against Catalina. Salvatore Leone is paranoid about his underlings betraying him (and rightly so). Donald Love gets the player to betray Kenji.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Catalina, of course. This also applies to Claude, given the sheer number of times he shifts allegiance from one gang to another. You can hardly blame him for that, since almost every faction he works for eventually decides to get rid of him. It's an entire world of CBD!
* ColdBloodedTorture: Asuka does this. At first she just hits the guy repeatedly, and it seems like it won't get any worse than that. Then, after [[spoiler: Maria]] gets involved, it becomes a ''lot'' worse.
* ContinuingIsPainful: Dying or getting arrested deprives you of all your weapons, and whatever mission you were in the middle of will fail on the spot. Collecting hidden packages will mitigate this to a [[DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist slap on the wrist]] with free weapon pickups appearing at your hideout, but you'll still have to drive back to the mission's starting point to retry it.
** It's even worse for missions that require you to spend a large sum of money in advance, such as "Bomb Da Base" and "The Exchange". If you fail the mission, the money you spent will be ''gone'' and you'll have to pay up again on every subsequent retry.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Donald Love.
* CoversAlwaysLie: A lot of the imagery found in both the game cover and the loading screens seems to run contradictory to the game itself.
** Misty's character drawing shows her holding a pistol and wearing a rather menacing expression on her face. In-game, she's portrayed as one of the nicer characters and is never shown wielding a gun.
*** She's also featured in the manual as one of 'the people who run this town'. In actuality, despite being fairly close to Joey, she's just a local prostitute working for Luigi.
** 8-Ball's character drawing shows him holding an M-16. 8-Ball's hands were crippled long before the year the game takes place in, and he mentions more than once that he can't hold a firearm anymore.
** That bearded guy at the bottom-left corner of the game cover? That's El Burro, a minor character [[TheVoice whose face you never see in-game.]]
** Half of the characters' manual/loading screen drawings look nothing like their in-game models. Salvatore Leone is missing his mustache, Asuka Kasen doesn't even have the same hairstyle, and several characters[[note]]Misty, Maria Latore and Tony Cipriani, to name a few[[/note]] are shown sporting completely different outfits from the ones they wear in-game.
** Catalina, the game's BigBad, is nowhere to be found on the game's cover. She's also missing from the manual.
*** What's even more bizarre is that her partner Miguel is featured in the game manual ''and'' in loading screens, despite him being the less important character out of the two of them.
* CrapsackWorld: "The worst city in America" indeed. Gangs turning hostile towards Claude, one of which is already hostile ([[spoiler:and only two gangs won't attack him on sight by the time the game is completed]]). Liberty City also houses a corrupt mayor, backstabbing mobsters and a dreary environment.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Well, for the 3D era, anyways. The gritty atmosphere, dirty streets, rains and cloudy time, and funny moments are quite attenuated even compared to the following sequels. Beside that, the protagonist himself is a remorseless killer without any of the moral compunctions put in place in most later protagonists.
* DeadlyGame: Liberty City Survivor, which is advertised on the radio in ''III''. The ad, complemented with fan footage from ''IV'', can be listened to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwRera2ig9k here.]]
* DeliciousDistraction: El Burro hires to you lure out the Forellis with a Mr. Whoopee truck.
* DevelopersForesight:
** [[http://www.g-unleashed.com/index.php?cat=14&pid=118 You weren't supposed to be able to get here you know.]]
** In "Cutting the Grass", the player must trace who is receiving leaked information from a snitch. The player may proceed to carefully trail the snitch riding on a taxi as instructed...or simply commandeer a taxi and pick the snitch up themselves, arousing little to no suspicion.
** [[spoiler:"Sayonara Salvatore" tasks the player with one simple task: Kill Salvatore after he leaves Luigi's club.]] However, the mission doesn't specify how the player should complete this task, so the mission has been programmed to accommodate different play styles, like a surprise charge that usually results in a chaotic car chase or an efficient sneak attack from a vantage point.
** There's a pedestrian in the game that wears headphones. If you stick close enough to him, you can hear very faint music leaking from them.
* DirtyCop: Ray Machowski. He has plenty of contacts in the Liberty City underworld, and even introduces [[AscendedExtra series staple, Phil Cassidy]].
%%* DiscOneFinalBoss: [[spoiler:Salvatore Leone]].
* DoubleEntendre: "Give Head Radio a listen this weekend, it'll blow you away."
* TheDragon:
** Miguel to Catalina.
** Toni Cipriani to Salvatore Leone.
* DroughtLevelOfDoom: The last level/encounter is supposed to be like this; the character is stripped of his guns and left to chase the Big Bad with only a machine pistol stolen from a mook. However, if one has been diligent in collecting the bonus packages, a nearby safe house will have a related number of weapons for the grabbing, if you can get to them fast enough.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Being the first 3D game in the series, several things are different in this game compared to future entries:
** This is the only 3D game developed under the DMA Design name. [[note]]In the [=PS2=] version, later revisions update it to Rockstar North[[/note]]
** There's an option for a top-down perspective akin to the 2D games, which ''Vice City'' onwards removed.
** No map is shown in the pause menus.[[note]]Once again, exclusive to the [=PS2=] original[[/note]]
** You cannot buy property in this game, instead restricted to a single safehouse per island.
** Claude is the only [[HeroicMime silent protagonist]] in the entire series.
** There were still instant monetary awards for street crimes, once again akin to the 2D games.
** Everything was 10x more expensive in this game.[[note]]An example would be the Pay n' Spray, which in this game costs $1000 compared to ''Vice City's'' $100 cost. Conversely, reward payouts are adjusted to inflation as well.[[/note]]
** No Pay n' Spray and Ammu-Nation icons are on the radar.
** You can't move the camera while driving.[[note]]Again, a [=PS2=] exclusive[[/note]]
** Rather than using actual textures, photographs and decals serve those roles.
** There are no motorcycles in this game.[[note]]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.[[/note]]
** The game doesn't feature harsh language almost at all; for example there is not a single F-Bomb being dropped in the entire game, which is quite a glaring difference when compared to more recent games in the series. A few milder profanities are being used, however.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: After wrecking half of Liberty City, Claude finally kills Catalina, massacres her Colombia allies, and rides off into the sunset with Maria. [[spoiler:Whether her whining gets her killed or not at Claude's hands is open to debate]].
* EliteMook: Of all the GTA protagonists post-''III'', Claude is the closest we ever get to one as he seems to have no ambition whatsoever beyond getting paid. He will kill anyone and do anything he is told to by any man/woman with a deep wallet without the slightest argument and is ultimately loyal to none of them. Fact is he really wouldn't seem out of place as a random henchman in one of [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV Michael De Santa's heists.]]
* ElvisLives: The newspapers that drift around the streets of Liberty City read "Zombie Elvis Found". The same drifting newspaper is reused for Vice City.
* EveryBulletIsATracer: At the very least, they're smoke trails. Smoke trails that stay exactly in one place, but still smoke trails.
* FaceHeelTurn: About a third of the way through the game, [[spoiler:Salvatore Leone]] sends Claude to pick up a car that [[spoiler:he's had rigged with a bomb in an effort to kill him.]]
** Arguably, [[spoiler: Claude]] does one when he [[spoiler: kills Asuka's brother and starts a war with the Cartel. His possibly killing Maria may also qualify.]]
* FakeBand: Almost all of the artists who appear on Head Radio and Lips 106 are fictional.
* FalseFlagOperation: In a bid to drop real estate prices, [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Donald Love]] has Claude start a gang war by assassinating the {{Yakuza}} crime lord [[spoiler:Kenji Kasen]], [[BodyguardBetrayal for whom Claude had previously worked as an enforcer]] and then framing TheCartel.
* GameBreakingBug: The original [=PS2=] version has the infamous Purple Nines glitch, in which a rival gang is exterminated after the D-Ice mission "Rumble." The problem is that completing the mission eliminates the Purple Nines from all save files on that memory block, preventing all other new and existing saves from loading the Nines. This becomes a problem because D-Ice's first mission involves performing drive-bys on this gang, making that mission impossible to complete on all other saves.[[note]]Thankfully, it can be avoided if one starts a new game without the affected Memory Card inserted, thus avoiding the affected save file from being loaded up.[[/note]]
* GoodCopBadCop: The two pilots of the police helicopters.
-->'''Pilot:''' You are surrounde-\\
'''Co-Pilot:''' Gimme that microphone! EAT LEAD!
* GuideDangIt: A few of the missions are tough as hell unless done a certain way, and the game gives no hints to those methods.
** "Espresso-2-Go" requires intimate knowledge of the city streets, at the very least.
** The locations of the vehicle challenges are quite obscure, with them being out of the way and do not appear to be unique at a glance. The worst however has to be Multistory Mayhem, which actually requires you to drive a Stallion to the inconspicuous starting location, and then re-enter the Stallion to start it.
* GrandFinale: GTA III is [[BackToFront actually]] the chronological end point of the main GTA 3D era.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard:
** The Colombian Cartel unwittingly doomed itself when they kidnapped the Oriental Gentleman, who coincidentally shared a transport with a vengeful Claude.
** Marty Chonks kills people by inviting them to his warehouse. Eventually when his wife's cheating boyfriend discovers this, he kills him when he is about to be invited.
* HeroicMime: Even if Claude isn't quite a hero. And apparently he's a literal mute, too, as even when he returns in a prequel, he never says a word.
* INeverToldYouMyName: Parodied when Tony Cipriani calls in to Chatterbox FM. He claims his name isn't important, but then accidentally refers to himself as Tony. Lazlow starts his response by calling him Tony, which immediately makes him suspicious and hostile, threatening to murder Lazlow and insisting his name is ''not'' Tony, only to go on unintentionally referring to himself by his real name.
* KarmaHoudini: The Yardies leader, King Courtney. Besides being quite hostile with Claude, he betrayed him, allying with Catalina and never received a deserved punishment.
* KillEmAll: Except for Claude, of course. The jury is still out on [[spoiler:Maria]].
* ALighterShadeOfBlack:
** As terrible a person as Claude is, the crooks he opposes, namely those dealing in SPANK, are even worse.
** This extends to the gangs and criminals as well. All the crooks and gangs that Claude is ostensibly allied with are staunchly opposed to the drug trade and are working to get SPANK off the streets.
* MafiaPrincess: Maria, although this is her at the tail end of that life.
* MistakenForGay: When Maria calls up [[Radio/GTARadio Chatterbox]], she thinks Lazlow is gay.
* MoralGuardians: It started up a whole new round of discussions about the dangers of violent video games.
* MythologyGag: A few.
** A New York City [[NoCommunitiesWereHarmed stand-in]] by the name of Liberty City first appeared as the setting of [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoClassic the first GTA.]]
** Subway advertisements for ''Top Down City'', a reference to the previous games' TopDownView.
** El Burro was a potential employer of the player in the first game's San Andreas.
** A "Claude Speed" resembling the Claude of ''III'' appeared in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto2''[='s=] live action intro. He gets shot in both.
** The [[MegaCorp Zaibatsu Corporation]], here reduced to peddling pharmaceuticals, was an employer in all zones of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto2''. This is possibly {{justified|Trope}}, since ''GTA 2'' takes place in [[spoiler:2013]] while this game is set in October of 2001, so this was likely either prior to their [[StartOfDarkness conversion]] into the powerful crime syndicate we know in the former game or when they were still [[FromNobodyToNightmare small-time criminals]] whose activities were below even the police's radar.
** Both of the previous games included a radio station named "Head Radio."
* NewYorkSubway: The Portland Island El, and the Liberty City Subway itself is based off of the New York City Subway.
* NoGearLevel: The final mission.
* NoPronunciationGuide: While for the most part, Creator/MichaelMadsen (Toni Cipriani's VA) pronounces his name "Sip-riani", there is one instance in one of his missions where he messes up and pronounces it "Kip-riani".
* PermanentlyMissableContent: Some Portland missions need to be done before you leave. Also, [[spoiler:Kenji will get killed at a certain point]], so you need to complete his missions before then. Ditto Asuka after you take the construction site; you lose the condo missions.
* PrettyInMink: Maria's tiger skirt, and she mentions she knows a lot about leopard skin furniture.
* PsychoExGirlfriend: Catalina.
* RegionalRedecoration: In ''Grand Theft Auto III'', a massive construction site sits where there was a neighborhood in ''Liberty City Stories.'' Why? [[spoiler:Because Toni set off a massive explosion under it under orders from Donald Love.]]
* RetiredBadass: You'd never know it just from this game, but just three years before Claude met up with him, [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoLibertyCityStories Toni Cipriani was every bit as crazy and murderous as him.]]
* RewardingVandalism: This was the last ''GTA'' game where [[TheArtifact smashing into/blowing up cars earned money on its own]].
* RooftopConfrontation: Squaring off with Catalina's helicopter on the Cochrane Dam.
* ShoutOut: [[ShoutOut/GrandTheftAuto All on this page.]]
* SmallRoleBigImpact: Nothing in the game would have happened were it not for the "Old Oriental Gentleman" and the Cartel freeing him from the police transport, which also allowed you to get free too.
* TheSociopath: Catalina, Claude too if you choose to go on a rampage.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Violent gang activities + Double Clef Channel = This.
* SpareAMessenger: You fail the mission where you kill [[spoiler:Kenji Kasen]] if you kill everybody else since you need someone alive to report that the assassination was carried out by the Colombian Cartel. Interestingly, the victim previously gave you a mission where you do something similar and you fail if you ''do'' leave anyone alive.
* AStormIsComing: Immediately after the credits roll. The game resumes with Claude $1 million richer, and a thunderstorm raging over the city below. Mwu ha ha.
* SuperDrowningSkills: [[HandWave Supposedly]] because the waters of Liberty City are insanely toxic.
* TakeThat: Asuka contracting you to kill a "[[VideoGame/{{Driver}} strangely animated undercover cop]]." Even his car is the same.
* TitleDrop: A notoriously difficult mission, where you must steal 3 cars and deliver them to the Yakuza within 6 minutes and without a single scratch, is called "Grand Theft Auto". Later followed by an even more difficult mission involving intercepting an airplane, called "Grand Theft Aero".
* ThirdIs3D: Averted. [[VideoGame3DLeap Although this game brought the series into 3D]] the title opts for a simple III rather than the typical "3D."
* TheUnintelligible: The Yardies. Good luck interpreting their accents with subtitles turned off.
* VideoGame3DLeap: A leap so huge [[WideOpenSandbox it created a whole new genre]].
* VillainOfAnotherStory: Donald Love is probably the singlemost most vile person in Liberty City, but he's only tangentially involved with Claude's quest for revenge. He's ultimately just a white collar criminal Claude does a few jobs for that just so happen to help Claude get closer to his goal.
* VillainProtagonist: Claude, with some AntiHero traits.
* TheVoice: The leaders of three gangs each situated on one of the three islands in the city call you via pay phone and have you run errands for them. At no point in the game do you actually get to meet them.
** In Portland, you are contacted by El Burro of the [[GenericEthnicCrimeGang Hispanic Diablo Gang]].
** When you reach Staunton Island, you are contacted by King Courtney of the [[TheYardies Jamaican Yardies]].
** After unlocking Shoreside Vale, D-Ice of the [[GangBangers Red Jacks]] gives you a call.
* WeUsedToBeFriends: Claude and Catalina used to be lovers.
* WhatAPieceOfJunk: The Hoods Rumpo XL, the gang vehicle of The Southside Hoods. It is a rusty and defaced van, yet it goes surprisingly fast and handles well. And since it spawns in the poor Wichita Gardens, it is easily the best vehicle you can find in that area.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Donald Love will simply disappear when the mission "Decoy" is finished. The only thing he leaves behind is an empty box. Although you unfailingly see a plane flying away during the cutscene where Claude finds that box; it can be assumed that he's on it.
* WretchedHive: This version of Liberty City might very well be the worst city in the series. It's dank, it's dirty, it's home to at ''least'' nine feuding gangs[[note]]The Leone family, Forelli family, Diablos, Triads, Yardies, Yakuza, Cartel, Red Jacks, and Purple Nines[[/note]] alongside other small-time crooks, a highly addictive drug called SPANK is being pushed in the streets, the police force is corrupt and brutal, and the resident media billionaire is building his own criminal empire. And knowing how the GTA-verse works, the government is also buried in corruption when it's not being incompetent.
* WritersCannotDoMath: An AdBumper for Head Radio calls the station "the rock of Liberty City for sixty years". This would mean they started out in 1941, Rock & Roll wasn't invented by then.
** This becomes a RunningGag in ''Vice City'' (set in the 1980s), in which Lazlow, there the DJ of the rock station V-ROCK, claims the station has been around for seventy years.
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