Monday, September 2, 2013

The 15 Most Unforgettable GTA Missions

With what looks to be the history-making Grand Theft Auto V hitting stores in just fifteen days, I thought I'd come out of blogging-hibernation and bring to you another one of my little countdowns. The Grand Theft Auto series has created many memorable moments, and obviously they can't all fit here. I debated over these choices, and I'm sure many of you will disagree with them, but for me they are the fifteen missions that will never be forgotten, no matter how far the series stretches into the future. All choices come with video play-thoughs.

15.) Cop Land- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Like many things in Vice City, the title comes straight from hollywood (specifically the 1997 movie of the same name, starring none other than Tommy Vercetti himself, Ray Liotta.) The mission seemingly came out of nowhere, and ultimately doesn't contribute to the plot of the game, but perhaps that's what makes it stand out.

14.) All Hands On Deck- Vice City

The Colonel was one of my favorite employers in all of the GTA series. True, he was based in part on a minor character in Scarface (along with the rest of the game), but for me he was one of the first employers that wasn't a complete caricature. His final escape was a unique and lengthy mission for Vice City

13.) Sayonara Salvatore-  Grand Theft Auto III

Salvatore was the first main character to die in the GTA III cannon. He always provided some great one-liners in the game, and his assassination was something straight out of a mafia movie. The video below is the very simple, uncomplicated version of how to pull off the hit. I preferred to wait at the top of the hill by his mansion, and blow him away with the AK. You know, Sonny Corleone style. 

12.) Tunnel of Death- Grand Theft Auto IV

The first time I went through this tunnel I knew it was built for a mission just like this. When it finally came around, I was not disappointed...especially given the ending. The Packie- assisted missions were some of the best in IV, and this is a great example.

11.) Get Lost- Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned

The first "Episode from Liberty City" has a big step up from the III-era spin off Liberty and Vice City Stories. The missions in these two episodes were often as exciting and as difficult as the ones featured in the main game. The way the three games fit together was impressive. Lost and Damned ended with what these games had been begging for: a prison break. Although this one was more of a reverse-break, it filled it's purpose just the same.

10.) The Job- Vice City

A prison break is fun...but as the concept of GTA V has proven, Bank Jobs are where it's at. This first attempt by the series was one of the highlights of Vice City. 

9.) Departure Time- Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Gay Tony was a great game. I have replayed it far more than IV's main game, if I'm being honest. The weapons, vehicles, and even the concepts of some missions were far superior. The game's finale, and ultimately the end of the GTA IV era cannon, did not disappoint. (And the fate of the diamonds was an ironic conclusion, given the theme of the American Dream that ran throughout the trilogy.)

8.) A Home In The Hills- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

This mission used a little bit of everything that San Andreas brought to the table: planes, parachutes, break-ins, and fantastic interiors (at the time anyway). The decent upon the mansion is one the images that always jumps to mind when I think of this game.

7.) Dropping In- Gay Tony

...but it wasn't nearly as much fun as Gay Tony's parachute mission. "Dropping In" was exciting  and completely unexpected. Loved it.

6.) The Holland Play- GTA IV

GTA IV's big claim to fame was it gave the player a choices about how the story proceeded. Most however, didn't really effect the overall outcome of the game...until "The Holland Play". "The Holland Play" gave you the choice of killing either Dwayne or Playboy X. The game changed no matter who you chose, but Playboy was the obvious choice for me: Dwayne was a good man (as far as GTA criminals are concerned) and he posed no real threat to Niko. Playboy you get his penthouse so...there's that. Killing Playboy also allows Dwayne to become a friend and ally. If you do choose to back Playboy, he cuts off ties from you after you kill his mentor for him. Cold.

5.) End of the Line- San Andreas

San Andreas was always over-the-top. From it's layout, to it's star-studded it's incredible finale. The game that seemed like it would never end went out with one hell of a bang. 

4.) The Exchange- GTA III

GTA III's finale was just as epic, although a bit shorter. I remember just how hard it was compared to every other mission in the game. I also always loved how the game ended with a news report. Despite the poor graphics (poor in hindsight, of course), it still was a very satisfying ending to one of the most groundbreaking video games of all time.

3.) Deal/ Revenge-- GTA IV

"The Holland Play" was one thing, but when it came to choice, none was bigger than the this one. How to end the game? Which you are "supposed" to choose is fiercely debated. The first time through I made sure I didn't cheat and see the outcomes, both equally tragic and shockingly well done. For me, however, Revenge was the only way to go, the only way Niko would go. GTA IV was an unforgettable experience, and I think the final moments had a great deal to do with that. Although each choice comes with three separate missions, they all go together for me. I couldn't imagine taking a break between them. I don't think it's possible. GTA IV was the first truly cinematic installment to the franchise, and it's ending secured it's place among the greatest games of all time. Both versions are linked below. 

2.) Keep Your Friend's Close- Vice City

Until IV, Vice City was unquestionably the best game in the series. It's ending lived-up to it's movie- inspired (or ripped) plot. If you played the game, you will never forget it, and you can't tell me you didn't love playing through the Scarface Mansion. But even if you didn't like it...

everyone remember's The Last Dance For Lance Vance. 

1.) Three Leaf Clover- GTA IV

If you played the're not surprised by my number one. Rockstar is fully aware that this was their finest creation, and have structured all of GTA V to surround heists because of this mission. Three Leaf Clover was the ultimate heist mission. It was challenging, original, and kept you on the end of your seat. It is not only the greatest GTA mission, but it is also one of the greatest video game levels of all time. I don't know anyone who can disagree with that statement...but if you do, please, discuss. 

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