YMMV / Grand Theft Auto III

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Did Claude really shoot and kill Maria at the end of III? When God finally got around to answering questions about it, he just shrugged.
    • Claude's character in general is extremely open to interpretation given his status as a Silent Protagonist. Cold blooded maniac? Emotionless monster whose only joy is violence? It's really up to the player to decide.
  • Demonic Spiders: Any mook with an M16 was this. They can shred you apart and waste you in seconds before you can get a chance to react. Even if you have full armour/health, you can be killed in seconds if you're careless.
    • Mafia goons earn this distinction with flying colors once you have earned their eternal vendetta against you. They all have shotguns and even if you're in a vehicle, they'll immediately recognize you and open fire. Two solid shots will end your drive in a deadly explosion, unless you are in a Rhino tank or have unlocked special vehicles that are immune to gunfire. Additionally, if you're on foot, their shotgun blasts will likely knock you down and prevent you from moving while they close the distance. They will probably knock you down again if the shots don't kill you. Simply put, after you kill Salvatore, you'll never be able to set foot in the Saint Mark's district ever again. For this reason it's absolutely imperative that you finish all of Portland's side missions (ie Ambulance, Taxi, and Vigilante) before you unlock Staunton Island.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Staunton Island and Shoreside Vale are increasingly less detailed compared to Portland's bustling activity, varied scenery, and things to do. This is probably why Liberty City was revamped from the ground up in Grand Theft Auto IV, even if that effectively meant putting the game in its own continuity.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Asuka for her dominating personality and being one of the very few bosses who shows respect to Claude, most fans wished she was involved in the other 3D era games.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Grand Theft Auto III stands out from most games in the series in that it has not one, but two major female crime bosses in Asuka and Catalina. Both are also very attractive.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Grand Theft Auto III was hardly the first violent, M-rated video game to raise eyebrows; Doom, Mortal Kombat, and Duke Nukem have it beat on that front by several years. However, it was the first such game to become a mainstream pop culture sensation on the level of Pokémon or Super Mario Bros.. It was both acclaimed by critics and railed against by Moral Guardians for the then-unprecedented freedom it offered to gamers, which included all manner of violence and debauchery. Ignoring the many direct ripoffs that came out in the early-mid '00s, the success of GTA III has been pointed to as being responsible for the proliferation of Rated M for Money attitudes among both developers and gamers who demanded more "mature" (i.e. "rated M for Mature") content in games.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The M16. It is extremely unbalanced, deals a lot of damage and can shred apart cars, people and any form of law enforcement with its ridiculous rate of fire. It's no surprise why it was nerfed in Vice City.note 
    • Shotgun. It can destroy a vehicle by two or three shots and it can easily knock down any pedestrian on foot and it's blasts can prevent from moving. It is not as powerful as the M16 but still very lethal weapon.
    • The Rhino Tank- without the use of cheats it is extremely hard to acquire,(You have to either beat the game or reach a full 6 star wanted level and steal it) but once you are in one....
      1. Every vehicle, including all law enforcement (besides other tanks), blows up when it touches it.
      2. The gun is as strong as a rocket launcher, blowing up anything in one shot.
      3. You have unlimited ammo.
      4. The tank is EXTREMELY hard to blow up by law enforcement and gang members (though it is extremely vulnerable to fire, like from Molotovs), and reaching a 6 star wanted level is a breeze.
      5. Firing the gun creates recoil, which slows you down if it's pointing forward. If you point the gun backwards, however, firing it repeatedly will make you go absurdly fast.
    • The Drive-By-Shooting mechanic. Just get a submachine gun and let 'er rip.
    • The Banshee. It isn't the fastest car in the game and it has very low health, but its incredibly high acceleration and good handling make up for that, especially since a decent portion of Liberty City is made up of short, tight streets. Combine this with how there is an easy spawn for the Banshee on Portland Islandnote , and the car is fairly common on the other two, you will never need another car in most scenarios.
  • Goddamn Bats:
    • The Triads. They're likely going to be the first gang you piss off. They're not very tough by themselves, armed only with bats and pistols, but their territory covers almost half of Portland, making moving around it for the remainder of the game's first chapter a pain.
    • The NPC that looks like an old man in a trenchcoat is known for two things: having a very inbred family, and for always coming out of nowhere to punch you whenever you start shooting.
      • To be fair, many pedestrians will come out of nowhere to punch Claude, after he blows up cars with weapons such as the Rocket Launcher and the Carbine Rifle (M16).
  • Good Bad Bug: Due to the way normally unuseable special vehicles and garages work, you can gain access to a number of cars with unique properties by first wrecking said cars near a garage and then using a sufficiently heavy vehicle to push them in far enough that the door closes: once it opens back up, they'll be as good as new and their doors will be unlocked, allowing you to drive around in the only car in Liberty City with working door locks the police can't figure out how to open when trying to bust you or ones that're immune to bullets, flames and/or explosions.
  • Les Yay: Asuka and Maria certainly seem to be more than friends, but it's never confirmed outright.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Hey, I'm bored. When are ya gonna drill me?"
    • "You want the chainsaw, gringo?"
  • Moral Event Horizon: See here.
  • Most Annoying Sound: When you get on the bad side of the Triads early on in the story, expect to hear "Somebody call a medic!", "And the winner by knockout is..." "I see pain in your future!" every five seconds.
    • Let's not forget about the Cartel that you encounter on Staunton Island & Shoreside Vale. When you unlock Staunton Island, prepare to hear "You want the chainsaw, gringo?", "I'm going to kill you!", "You're gonna be sorry!" and "There's no problem to kill you!" a LOT.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Given the dark tone and Crapsack World nature of the game (especially compared to other 3D-era GTA games), pretty much anything can send chill down to your spine. One of the most standout examples is a group of four hobos in the hidden tunnel beneath Saint Mark's district in Portland Island. They stand in circle surrounding a Hidden Package, and just stand there doing nothing. What's even scarier is that they drop molotov upon being killed. Some players also claim that they never respawn again after you kill them and/or take the hidden package. Just what the heck are they? Some kind of a cult? Nothing Is Scarier, indeed. note 
    • Marty Chonks, the near-bankrupt owner of the dog food factory in Trenton, kills people if they get on the wrong side of him, and being the owner of a processing company, you can guess what he does to discard his evidence. That includes his banker whom he accuses of stealing funds from him, two thieves he hired to commit insurance fraud in the fear they could snitch out to him, and even his wife because of her heavy spending and for cheating on him. Bonus points for the fact his toothbrush-style mustache makes it fairly obvious to whom he resembles. Thankfully, his wife's cheating boyfriend discovers this quick and kills him.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: An unintentional example - The piano track that plays inside Salvatore's mansion plays constantly, even after his death. There's a reason why visiting the house after "Sayonara Salvatore" can be rather creepy, especially when doing "Gang-car Round Up" mission for King Courtney, where going to the mansion's parking lot is one of the few ways to obtain the Mafia Sentinel safely.
  • Polished Port: The version available on Android and iOS devices has completely customizable controls (both touch interface and external controllers are supported), adjustable graphics for ease of use on a large range of devices, minimal loading, improved graphics on the higher settings, and to top everything off, the entire thing only costs $3 and less than 1.5GB of storage space.
  • Porting Disaster: Although the PC version is usually considered the best version thanks to it's control scheme, the Steam version suffers from every car being dark and shiny as a result of fixing another graphical bug where headlights wouldn't show up. Thankfully, this can be easily fixed.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • Inevitable considering the game's age and how both the Grand Theft Auto series and Wide Open Sandbox have evolved over the years. Liberty City is comparatively small, the shooting mechanics are very simplistic, the story is disconnected and is of an Excuse Plot than anything, and the missions feel very basic in comparison to the set pieces employed in future titles. But back when it was released, this was considered to be a very Crazy Awesome game that allowed for an unprecedented level of freedom with how it combined driving, exploring, and shooting in one seamless package, with nigh unlimited Video Game Cruelty Potential to boot.
    • While GTA III has a good share of laughs, most of them are relegated to the radio. Story cutscenes focus mostly on the boss in question briefing Claude on his next objective, and they seldom feature the interactions between characters that are necessary for humor. Even the jokes on the radio are notably dry and down to earth. Considering how Denser and Wackier things would become in the future, GTA III feels notably somber and oppressive in comparison.
  • That One Level:
    • "Bomb Da Base Act II" is an early mission taking place a bit before unlocking Staunton Island. You have to snipe the Cartel and help 8-Ball plant the bomb inside a freighter. Granted, it's not that hard once you know which gang members to shoot at, but a first-time player will most likely fail this mission once or twice.
      • That said, this mission's difficulty drops significantly once you realize there is an Adrenaline pickup hidden amongst the mobile trailers that are located near the mission site.
    • "Espresso-2-Go!" is another timed mission with its nine targets all over Liberty City and a strict time limit. One of which is in Shotgun-toting Mafia territory and they will shoot at you. If your car catches fire and it's a fast car or you have a wanted level, you might as well forget it and restart the mission. Made a lot easier if you use the bulletproof Patriot given to you by Ray to get around.
    • "Waka-Gashira Wipeout!", in which you need to waste Kenji. The problem is that not only is he heavily guarded, but you have to kill him and his guards without ever leaving a car, rendering your body armor and any weapon other than UZI useless in this mission.
    • "Pay Day for Ray" can be a very hard mission, considering that it is not only time limited, but you have to go to several pay phones far from each other around Staunton Island and the game doesn't feature any map to help you with that.
    • "S.A.M." is a mission in which Claude need to take down a plane using a rocket launcher. You have two options to do it, get a boat and take down the plane by the sea (which makes it very hard to aim, considering the distance and speed of the plane) or head straight to the landing strip in the airport, where several heavily armed mooks wait for you. After the plane is destroyed, Claude's wanted level will raise a lot and he will have to go back to the construction site with several law enforcement NPCs after him. It may get a little easier after you get Ray Machowski's bullet proof Patriot, but this is still a pretty hard mission.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • "Big 'n' Veiny". You have to follow a long trail of, um... magazines in a van with a high chance of tipping over. You have a time limit which goes up by one second for each magazine you pick up (so at least you can skip a few). The longer you wait to do this mission, the harder it gets: if you wait to do it until you get to Staunton Island, the route will take you through three gang territories (Diablos, Triads, and Mafia), whose members will shoot your van. And if you happen to build up a wanted level, forget it... The good news is that this mission is optional.
    • All the missions requiring a visit to Mafia territory after killing Salvatore are optional, and thank goodness for that. Those easy Marty Chonks missions? You better hope there aren't shotgun-wielding wiseguys along the way.
      • "Rigged to Blow" by D-Ice luckily averts this, for the most part. While the final destination of the job is within the Mafia territory, the gang AI for the duration of this job was altered to 'neutral'. This is a good thing, since the rigged sports car you're driving (under a time limit) can't take much damage before blowing up, meaning the job would be practically impossible to complete otherwise.
    • The Paramedic mini-game is easily at it's hardest in this game, due to the wonky physics. There is no map, and the island layouts can thus be very confusing. The game also doesn't take the city layout into account, instead only calculating the timer according to their distance from the hospital, meaning that if you're given 30 seconds to reach an NPC who is nearby but can't be reached without a detour, you're pretty much fucked. Because of this system, Portland is probably the easiest island to complete the minigame in; but the aforementioned Mafia makes that impossible if not done right at the start of the game.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Kenji Kasen. An ungrateful prick who doesn't care how much you do for him, and who blames you for one of his men starting a fight with the colombians. Thankfully, you get to kill him.
    • Maria. She is source of many trouble for Claude. Overlaps with Damsel Scrappy in finale, and it doesn't help that she was Kicking The Dog right before that.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Gang hostility. As you go through the story, you'll eventually anger a gang to the point where they will shoot you on sight, and there's no way to undo this. By the end of the game, all but two of them will want you dead, and you can't go anywhere in the city without being shot at (and you can forget about going into St. Marks District where the Demonic Spiders are), which can make completing some side missions difficult if not outright impossible. Later games in the series let up on this by reducing the number of gangs that want to kill you, weakening them considerably, or even giving you the ability to take over their turf.
  • Uncanny Valley: Since it's the first 3D game in the series, you may notice that many, MANY character models including Claude himself never blink, neither their eyes move. To make things even worse, their faces are completely frozen!
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: The Ax-Crazy Big Bad Catalina is voiced by soul singer Cynthia Farrell in her first acting role outside advertisement jingles and voiceovers. Tropes Are Not Bad however, as Catalina turned out to be one of the most memorable characters in the franchise.