Grand Theft Auto, you know it, you love it(probably), but you know the times that you’ve been playing and you had to kind stop and think about what just happened? I know GTA III changed the way I view games and will forever have an impact on my life. I had never played a game with such freedom and I’m surprised my PS2 didn’t die from me playing that game from the moment I got home from school to the moment I went to bed. With all that freedom came an unexpected thing, the amount of violence and disturbing content. Being able to kill random people on the street, and the ability to get prostitutes and kill them after you… ya know… played patty cake.
The series continued to be the most controversial gaming series ever but there were reasons for that. All the games are a satirical look at America at the time of the game’s release and that’s why they do some of the things they do. Now having said that, they do have some pretty disturbing scenes and characters in the games. We are gonna take a look at 20 of the most disturbing things in the GTA games over the years. A good bit of the list is from GTA V because they jammed that game with so many hidden things and was the talk of some controversy for one scene for a while after the game came out. So strap in and… check that, here’s the list.
GTA V came out in 2013 on PS3 and Xbox 360 but also came out a year later on the PS4 and Xbox One. It wasn’t just a simple port either, a good bit was added to the game and that included a first-person mode. Since GTA III came out, the series had been third-person but a first-person mode had been rumored for a while. It totally changed the way the game felt. It didn’t feel like a Call of Duty game or anything but instead had kind of a Skyrim feel to it. You do a lot of shooting in GTA V and the violence is pretty realistic. It just felt so damn disturbing the shoot random people in first-person, so when I played I just couldn't go on rampages or anything. Seeing it up close really puts the violence in perspective.
In GTA V there are a bunch of random encounters you will see on the side of the road or while exploring. Some are as simple as some needing a ride or sometimes they can start a whole string of side missions. One of the encounters has two guys pinning a girl down. When you first see it you may think they're trying to take advantage of her but no, it’s actually worse than that. They’re people who eat people and they're trying to EAT HER! Yes, eat her! Once you break it up you can kill them or let them get away and you take her to safety. I actually never saw this playing my first time and didn’t ever hear about it until the game came out on PS4. This takes place in Blaine County if you want to try and check it out yourself.
GTA IV was the first GTA game in high definition and with that brought vastly improved graphics! Liberty City looked like a legit New York City, and the same goes with GTA V. Los Santos is one of the most realistic video game environments I’ve ever seen!
Now with all the nice realistic graphics comes some disturbingly realistic violence, especially when up close to it. Rule of thumb in a shooter is to aim for the head to get easy kills and that’s the same with these games. A new combat system was introduced in GTA IV and improved in GTA V to better aim where you wanted. The headshots in these games are super realistic and, at times, made me uncomfortable. And if you want to see what I mean just load up GTA V and shoot a random person, then shot them again in the head when they’re on the ground. Now I sound crazy telling you to shoot a dead body… oh well.
Everyone and their grandma knows that GTA Vice City was based on Scarface. The story isn’t about an immigrant or anything but has a lot of the tensions from the movie even modeling the mansion you get around the one Tony had in the movie. Another thing that made its way from the movie is the chainsaw. It’s actually a weapon that you can carry around and use like a melee weapon. The place you find it is actually an easter egg to the movie because it’s in a hotel room and when you go in the bathroom there is blood on the wall of the tub. It felt odd to just walk up to a random person and chainsaw them to death!
If you played the DLC The Lost and the Damned for GTA IV then you are familiar with who Johnny is. You play as him and go through one of the best pieces of DLC in any game I’ve ever played. You do some hard-nosed stuff and get a sweet automatic shotgun in the process. Once his story ended I kind thought that would be the last we hear about him, but oh no! He appears a few hours into GTA V when Trevor is introduced. Trevor is actually sleeping with his girlfriend and he confronts Trevor about it. It’s one of the most disturbingly violent things I’ve seen in any form of entertainment, it’s also awesome! They have a close-up shot of his face and it’s haunting.
One of the more disturbing mysteries in GTA San Andreas are the body bags in the desert. In El Castillo del Diablo there is a mass grave dug with a truck backed into it. In the mass grave, there are several body bags, unopened, just sitting there. Even though the game has been out since 2004, people still aren't sure what the bodies mean. There are rumors that a grave robber is in the game and this is his dumping grounds and that maybe he had to dump them and run and that would explain the truck being there. Or maybe it was just Rockstar putting them in the game to check the list of stereotypes about bodies being buried in the desert outside of Vegas. It was pretty creepy the first time I was exploring.
So there’s no way that they people at Rockstar didn’t play Saints Row the Third because GTA V has some weird stuff in it including aliens. And not like South Park aliens that are just background stuff, like a mission ends with Michael being drugged by his son, getting abducted by aliens, and falling out of the ship to 80s music! There’s also a string of missions that has each character smoking some altered weed and when Michael does it he has to kill a bunch of aliens charging at him. So if you see the aliens and thought they were creepy, then imagine having 17 of them charging at you trying to eat you! You do have a mini-gun so that helps sort them out nicely. There’s also an alien frozen under ice in the opening mission and it’s disturbingly realistic looking.
In GTA V there is a side mission in which you try and solve the murder of a girl. There are cryptic messages written all over the place that points to who did it and where you need to go to try and solve it. The messages look like they are carved with a knife or something on the side of buildings. One of the messages is poolside at the Gentry Manor Hotel and it reads “Old Fred acts nice, but it ain’t so!” The end of the mission is pretty disturbing because you ultimately find the victim at the bottom of the ocean. She has a hood over her head, her hands tied, and her feet in cement classic mod style. It feels weird to get up close to the body because it’s disturbingly realistic with the hood waving with the flow of the water.
In GTA San Andreas there were rumors about Bigfoot being in the game. There is a big chunk of the game that takes place in the country-side and it was said he was there roaming around if you were in certain spots at certain times of the day. Well, turns out they were indeed just rumors, he’s not in the game. Fast forward to when GTA V came out and the Bigfoot stuff came up again, this time rumors weren't needed because he is in the game. There’s a series of hunting side quests that you can do and he is the target in one of them. You can’t actually shoot him but it’s cool to finally see him in a GTA game. He looks pretty much like the standard look that Bigfoot gets in other forms of media.
So while playing as Trevor in GTA V you will get a few optional encounters with people. They are simple things like driving people home or taking someone to meet her boyfriend who works in radio, they all involve driving someone somewhere. Well, you can actually take them somewhere else if you're feeling a little sadistic. Once you pick them up an option will appear on the map marked with a skull. It’s high in the mountains and is sealed off with a big wall when you get there. Once you pull up to the door people come out and get the person in the car and drag them screaming to their hideout.
During the course of the story in GTA V you will have a lot of encounters with the main villain, Devin Weston, and in some of these scenes, he will be with his lawyer Molly Schultz. There some pretty funny moments with Trevor having a crush on her and he asks about her through the campaign. So there’s a late game mission that has you going to the airport to try and stop a plane carrying Devin and chasing a car with Molly in it. The car crashes and she gets out and it becomes an on foot chase. During the chase, she walks in front of a plane with its jet engine turning on and she gets sucked in and spat out the back of it. It’s kinda cool though, too.
One of the most know secrets in GTA IV is that there is a living heart in the Statue of Liberty. A lot of people know about it and have probably read about it but seeing it is different than reading about it. It can be a tad annoying to get to because you have to get a chopper and fly out to the statue. Once you get near it you have to get the right angle so you can jump out of the chopper and get on the set of stairs near the statue. Once you're on the steps then you just go up and open the door. All the outside noise is cut and all you hear is the heart beating in the hollow statue. The statue is totally red inside and the heart is actually beating when you look at it.
Once you get the ability to play as Trevor in GTA V you have a string of missions dealing with his business Trevor Philips Enterprises. As part of that you go to a house full of competitors to kill them, and in the process, you blow up their house. Even if you haven’t played the game, you’ve probably seen the house explosion in trailers. After that, you have no real reason to go back to the house unless you want to see your destruction, but voices can be heard there at certain times. If you go there around 2-3 in the morning (game time) then you may hear a random baby cry. It doesn't happen every time you go so you may have to go a few times to hear it but if you do it’s creepy! It sounds likes something out of a Blair Witch movie!
So there’s a ghost in GTA V… if you didn’t know. If you have been playing the game since it came out then you may know about her but if not then you're in for a nice surprise. You need to go to the peak of Mount Gordo late at night and you should see her floating on the edge of the cliff. She looks straight out of Ghostbusters with her animation, but she is creepy. The ghost won’t do anything to you so you can approach her and even shoot at her if you want, the bullets will just go through her. She also doesn’t make any creepy noises or anything. Apparently, she is the dead wife of a famous stuntman in-game named Jock Cranley. He pushed her off the cliff when she questioned his career. Her name is Jolene Cranley-Evans.
This is one of the best easter eggs I’ve ever seen in a game! So in GTA V, there’s a place in the Chiliad Mountain Wilderness that is an easter egg about the movie No Country For Old Men. When you get there you’ll see a few empty cars and dead bodies all over the place. It’s just like Josh Brolin’s character from the movie who stumbles on a deal gone wrong. And also like in the movie, there’s a guy still alive with a briefcase. He tells you to not take the case because men will chase you down for it if you do. It contains $25,000 for whichever character you are when you find it, or you could just not take it. But come on, who’s not going to take it?
At the end of the story in GTA V, you play as Franklin and you are given a choice to kill Michael, kill Trevor, or team up with them and take down Devin Weston. Taking down David Weston is the canon ending, but you can totally kill either of the other characters and have that be an ending. It’s fitting that Trevor got the more violent ending since he’s basically a psychopath. If you choose to kill Trevor then you and Michael chase him down until he crashes his car into a gas truck. He gets drenched in gasoline and Franklin pulls out a lighter and sets him on fire. It’s kind of disturbing because they focus on his burning body a while. There are a few disturbing deaths in the game but this is the most, simply because how long they focus on it.
GTA III came out in 2001 and changed how I viewed games. To have a game that wide open blew my mind and I spent hours just roaming the city to see what it had to offer. Another thing that really caught my attention was the first time I realized that you could actually not only harm the civilian NPCs, but you could kill them! You could put a cheat code, get a rocket launcher, and blow up 10 people at once! It was equally amazing and disturbing. Because if you killed too many people the cops came after you and could kill them too! Just a normal cop doing his job? Get rid of him. Granted, the military shows up after that. I never lasted long then, but still.
GTA San Andreas ended the PS2/Xbox generation of GTA games and it sent them out with a huge controversy that ended up completely changing gaming. I’m talking about the Hot Coffee situation. So it was basically a mini-game that was originally going to be in the game but taken out. You took a girl out on a date and when she offered you coffee at her place it would take you to a mini-game. It was nothing very graphic or anything but still. People would mod their PS2/Xbox to access the mini-game and that resulted in the game getting an A/O rating and the game was pulled. Rockstar patched the game and re-released it but the damage was done. Hillary Clinton was a prominent figure battling against the game after that. She actually appeared in GTA IV with her face on the Statue of Liberty holding a cup of coffee.
Once you complete the early missions with Trevor in GTA V he finds out that Michael is alive and leaves the country to go to Los Santos. He leaves with Wade who says that they can stay with his cousin Floyd. So the first few missions with Trevor in the city center around staying with Floyd and getting ready for a heist centering on the docks where Floyd works. Well, the final cutscene with Floyd shows his girlfriend Debora come home. They get into a fight and she is super mad that Trevor is living there and pretty much everyone is screaming at everyone until there’s a hard cut. It shows Trevor walk out the front door of the apartment breathing heavy. It’s assumed that Debora and Floyd are dead but we never see inside the apartment after that.
So if you’ve played GTA V then you're familiar with the scene about halfway through the main story. You team up with the government to try and find a guy to take out. Trevor stays in a basement with the guy who has info on him and Michael goes to a party he is at to take him out with a sniper. The main gameplay of this mission has Trevor use different methods to try and get information. If that’s not bad enough, you have to do these things. The game doesn’t give another option to avoid them. I’ve heard some people say that they stopped playing the game because of this mission alone. The reason the mission is like that is to show that America still uses torture even if we say we don’t, but that still doesn’t make it any less gruesome to play though.