Pretty much everyone — gamers, casuals or otherwise — has heard of the Grand Theft Auto series. While opinions might differ (sometimes towards unnecessary extremes), most gamers agree that Rockstar's brainchild is arguably one of the greatest video games of all time — if not the greatest. There are a number of factors that come into play that contribute to making this series so great. The open world, exploration possibilities, side activities, missions, high-octane set pieces, and the characters are just a few of the many elements that shine in every Grand Theft Auto title (at least in the 3D games). But there's another crucial thing that Rockstar in known for when it comes to these games — the painstaking attention to detail.
The world of every Grand Theft Auto game is ridiculously packed with content (both hidden and otherwise). Everything from small nuances to hidden easter eggs. The average completionist will be salivating at the thought of finding these tiny little things. Whether it's a product of desire or madness is a completely different thing. Seriously, there are some tricks and secrets that have taken years after their respective game was released to be completely uncovered. Here are 25 of the most obscure tricks from the Grand Theft Auto series you probably have not heard of.
25 The Heart Of Liberty City (GTA IV)
Grand Theft Auto IV is a game rife with secrets, but akin to its successor there are some secrets that are best left undiscovered due to their sheer creepiness. The Statue of Happiness (which is inspired by the Statue of Liberty, in case that wasn't clear enough) seems tame enough, but a closer inspection reveals a pretty dark secret.
In order to land on the platform which houses the entry to this secret, you need to jump from a plane/helicopter, or make a well-timed landing from a parachute. You'll come across a door that boldly states, 'no hidden content in here.' So obviously, you walk through the (fake) door, climb up a tall ladder... and witness one of the most disturbing sights ever in the form of a massive living, beating heart bound by chains.
24 Access The Hidden Interiors Universe (GTA: San Andreas)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has a completely different plane of existence above the height-limit that most planes can reach. Naturally, it should be impossible for players to access this area, but we wouldn't be discussing this particular topic if there wasn't. In fact, there are multiple ways to access the hidden interiors universe (what a mouthful), but we'll be discussing the easiest one.
Go to the Ganton Gym and kill all the NPCs there. Then, use a jetpack to fly through an invisible section of the roof in order to access this universe. There's a particular spot that you can visit which will give you access to a warehouse of sorts that lets you enter any interior section in the game. Just to give you an idea, there are 152 interiors, without including the various rooms that were cut from the main game.
23 Access The Ghost Town (GTA III)
The introductory cutscene of Grand Theft Auto III takes place in an area that is not accessible in-game — at least, not by any legitimate means. However, once you've obtained and managed to fly the Dodo, you can go beyond these boundaries and explore the vast emptiness of the oceans that surround these worlds. Fly in the right direction, however, and you'll come across a rather peculiar sight.
This so-called Ghost Town wasn't meant to be in the game, so you can fly through these harmless textures without any worry whatsoever. There are only a few solid objects present in this area, but they're insignificant at best.
Since you've managed to fly the Dodo so far, you might as well make an effort to try and find an easter egg hidden by the developers as well...
22 Developers Masked As Town Names On Minimap (GTA III)
To find out this rather interesting easter egg, you need to fly the Dodo all the way to the north side of the map. After a few minutes of flying, you'll reach the boundary of the map, and here you'll witness a little extra something that the developers left in the game.
You'll see several odd town names being displayed on the minimap for some reason. A closer look, however, will indicate that these are just the developers who decided to alter their names, so it sounds more like a very oddly-named town. Some examples of these changes are Obbeburgh (Obbe Vermeij), Aaronsville (Aaron Garbut), Woodcunty (Alisdair Wood), Les County (Leslie Benzies) and Garystown (Gary McAdam).
21 Hidden Beach Ball Mini-Game (GTA: Vice City)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was a landmark title for the series. The game switched from an ambitious expansion into a fully-fledged standalone title that garnered rave reviews for its technical achievements and overall improvements made to the series. In typical Rockstar fashion, the world is filled to the brim with tons of features and content that most players will take ages to find.
One such example of this is an obscure mini-game that is barely hinted at in the game. After finding beach balls lying around in various pools in Vice City, one needs to shoot/kick it multiple times to start making it bounce. After doing so, every consecutive bounce will be reflected by a hidden counter that comes up near the protagonist's head. A fun time-waster — albeit a somewhat bare-bones one.
20 Sliding Glitch (GTA: San Andreas)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a landmark title for the series, for a number of reasons. The game managed to expand on the existing scope of Vice City, providing us with one of the greatest open-world games of all time. In fact, the game is massive, clocking in at almost 50 hours for a normal playthrough. If this game time seems too long at a glance, then there's an exploit to help you get through the game at a blindingly fast pace.
This exploit is known as the Sliding Glitch, and it lets you move much faster than normal while aiming your weapon. To trigger this glitch, you need to start moving in a crouched position, then get back up and quickly aim your weapon. If done correctly, then CJ will start 'sliding' much faster than normal, with the ability to aim your weapon as well.
19 Lower Wanted Level Without Cheats (GTA III)
Grand Theft Auto III is a challenging game, there's no doubt about that. Health is a valuable resource, body armor becomes almost essential in later stages, and the cops are an absolute pain to deal with — especially if you're in the middle of a mission. If you wish to play the entire game without cheats, then there's a way for you to exploit the replay system and ensure that the wanted level will never pose an issue for you.
First of all, you need to find a bribe token (the floating badge icon that's scattered all over the open-world). Step on it and instantly save a replay. The next time your wanted level becomes somewhat unmanageable, all you need to do is trigger the saved replay over and over again until your wanted level reaches zero.
There's another title in the series that lets you exploit the replay system to your own advantage...
18 Purchase Assets For Free (GTA: Vice City)
Properties are a huge part of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, some of which are necessary to be purchased in order to progress the story. These properties are extremely pricey, and achieving 100% completion can become somewhat of a grind if a player wishes to gather the cash to purchase all these properties. But with the replay exploit, one can save their precious cash with a simple method.
In order to take advantage of this particular exploit, you need to walk over the asset icon until the prompt comes to let you purchase the asset. As soon as this happens, you need to start a replay, at the end of which you need to quickly trigger the purchase. If done correctly, you can purchase the property for free. Keep in mind that you need the required cash at hand before attempting this exploit.
17 Shooting The Moon (Multiple GTAs)
The action of shooting the moon has become commonplace in the 3D Grand Theft Auto games. Doing this rather peculiar action in Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, San Andreas, or any of the PSP spin-offs, will lead to the moon changing its shape with every shot.
There are a number of running secrets in the 3D universe like this. A commonly known one would is a constellation in the shape of the Rockstar logo. While there are many little secrets that Rockstar has inserted in the series, shooting the moon is perhaps the most unique — and coolest — of them all.
16 Get The Rare Sultan RS (GTA IV)
Grand Theft Auto IV has a number of impressive vehicles which are an absolute riot to drive, like the Infernus, Banshee, Buffalo, F620, and Bullet GT. One such vehicle —that boasts the highest acceleration out of any other car in the game and has an enviable top speed— is the Sultan RS. It is an absolute beast of a machine that is extremely hard to locate due to its rarity.
However, there's one hidden behind the bushes of an abandoned mansion in Westdyke, Alderney. The mansion is located at the end of a dirt road on the northernmost point of the island, and the vehicle is placed behind a garage in the bushes.
Obviously, this isn't the first time that Rockstar has done something like this...
15 A Caddy Hidden Near Ocean Beach (GTA: Vice City)
Whenever you find a vehicle hidden in an utterly ludicrous location, you'd expect it to be something great (like the Sultan RS discussed in the last entry). In Vice City, there's always the off-chance that you might need a getaway vehicle on a beach. Thankfully, if you're stuck in this exact situation in Ocean Beach, then Rockstar's got you covered, as a bush near the beach houses the perfect escape vehicle... a golf cabby.
There could be a number of reasons as to why Rockstar decided that the best vehicle to hide in such an odd location would be a freaking cabby of all things. Whatever it might be, it's not like we'll ever know.
14 Cheeky Signs In-Game (Multiple GTAs)
The Grand Theft Auto series is known for many running gags throughout the series, but perhaps the most well-known — not to mention hilarious — one has to be the funny hidden signs found in the games. San Andreas had one at the top of the bridge which was an adaptation of the Golden Gate bridge, while Grand Theft Auto IV had one on the fake door at the base of the Statue of Happiness.
Perhaps the best one one out of these all is the sign that started it all — in Grand Theft Auto III, there's a car park in Bedford Point with a wall that can be scaled using a big vehicle like an ambulance. Jump into the hidden alley, and you'll bear witness to the message displayed in this picture. In Liberty City Stories, an altered version of this sign can be seen instead. A cool touch.
13 Borgnine Taxi (GTA III)
Rockstar has always been fond of referencing other forms of media in their games, either as a form of parody, tribute, or both. In Grand Theft Auto III, after dropping off 100 passengers during the taxi side-mission, you'll obtain the powerful Borgnine Taxi, which can absolutely destroy most cars that stand in you way.
The red hue of the car and the bloody spikes on its front and rear bumpers strongly suggest that the car is a reference to the wildly popular — and quite controversial — game Carmageddon. The destructive capabilities of the car support this widely accepted theory as well, although it wouldn't be surprising that Rockstar would pay homage to a game in a series known — among other things — for its controversial content.
Speaking of pop culture references...
12 Drive The GTA Version Of The DeLorean (GTA: Vice City)
Back To The Future is one of the greatest and most widely-recognized movie series of all time. The various tropes and iconic moments in the trilogy have become a mainstay of pop culture, and for good reason. Due to this, there had to be a moment when Rockstar would pay homage to this iconic series... and that's exactly what they did in Vice City.
After purchasing the Sunshine Autos Import Garage, the player will need to complete a total of four lists as a side-quest of sorts. While this might sound grueling, don't worry since only the first list needs to be completed to unlock a car called the Deluxo. It won't take too much of a hard look to figure out that the car is based on the DeLorean DMC-12, which was made famous through its use in the Back To The Future series.
11 Use The Impound Garage To Store Large Vehicles (GTA: San Andreas)
In GTA: San Andreas, police stations have an impound garage situated underground which store the vehicles you lost after getting busted. Trying to enter these garages normally will lead to an instant wanted level, so it's advised to use a law enforcement vehicle to enter safely — and if you wish to exploit this garage, use said vehicle to keep the door propped open.
You see, the bottom floors of these impound garages are empty and are perfect to store vehicles otherwise impossible to fit in any normal garage. This includes planes as well, so it's advised to stock the powerful Hydra as soon as you can in these garages to make the game much easier for you.
10 The Ghost Of Mount Gordo (GTA V)
Grand Theft Auto V has a ton of secrets and occurrences in its vast open-world landscape, most of them being rather tame, funny, or a combination of both. However, some of them are downright creepy, like the ghost you can witness just before midnight near the peak of Mount Gordo.
The figure can disappear if you come too close, so it's recommended that you use a sniper rifle's scope to look at this disturbing silhouette (although in the extended edition, you can aim down the sights and approach the spectre to prevent this from happening). The story behind the ghost is quite unnerving as well — her name is Jolene Cranley-Evans, and she was apparently pushed off the cliff by her husband, Jock Cranley. This is evidenced by the fact that under her silhouette, the words 'Jock' are spelt out in blood.
9 Make The Taxi And Vigilante Missions Easier (GTA III)
The taxi and vigilante missions need to be completed in Grand Theft Auto III in order to attain 100% completion, so here are a few tricks to make these jobs easier. For the taxi mission, hold the button that'll initiate the job, then get out of the taxi and enter the vehicle of your choice. After doing so, you can release the button to initiate this side-job in a better vehicle.
As for the vigilante missions, there's an extremely simple exploit to make this task more feasible. While chasing the criminal, just pause and resume the game. The felon will simply get out of the vehicle he's driving, allowing you to swiftly and effectively finish him/her off.
8 Scooter Brothers (GTA V)
Grand Theft Auto IV was a great game that afforded the player a ton of options and choices they could make within the game for their own amusement. Apparently, one of them included following random NPCs and shouting 'Scooter Brother' in a loud and obnoxious voice, because gamers are weird that way.
Props to Rockstar for not only recognizing this viral sensation, but adding it as a tribute to the creative player in Grand Theft Auto V. Occasionally when you switch over to Trevor, he'll be driving a scooty alongside another fellow moped driver, calling him a 'Scooter Brother' in an obnoxious fashion. Even an NPC would be annoyed by this immature — and yet still hilarious — behaviour.
7 An Actual Easter Egg (GTA: Vice City)
It's no secret that Vice City has a ton of secrets, but this one might the most creative (and probably the most difficult one to get into as well). Most interiors have a marker to indicate that the player can enter them, but the Vice City News Building has no such marker. However, a player can still walk into its doors to be teleported to the roof of the building.
After you reach the rooftop, there'll be a building close to the edge. Jumping into this building might seem like suicide, but if you get the specifics right then you'll jump through a false wall and land in a room that has an actual easter egg placed on a pedestal. A fun little thing to find out, although it might not be worth the risk.
6 Buy Tickets At An Airport (GTA: San Andreas)
San Andreas managed to perfect the core concept of the games and improved on a ton of things that required some tweaking. One thing that truly stands out in the game is how fleshed out the open-world is. There are a ton of things that you can do in the game that make it feel all the more immersive. However, there's one thing that seems rather mundane, but still comes as a surprise to a lot of players.
You see, there are three major areas in San Andreas, each with their own respective airports. What is truly extraordinary is that CJ can actually buy a ticket and take a trip to the other areas! This might seem pretty obvious, but the vast majority of San Andreas still don't know about this surprisingly hidden aspect of the game.
5 Suggestive Hotel Lighting (GTA: Vice City And Vice City Stories)
The WK Chariot Hotel in Vice City (which was not-so-subtly renamed as Van Khoff On The Beach in Vice City Stories) is a pretty prominent building standing across the Malibu Club. While the building itself might seem rather unremarkable, it's during the eventful hour of midnight that the player can truly witness something... magical.
At certain times from 11 to midnight, the lights on the hotel will form a phallic shape, coupled with a suggestive spray of water from the top of the hotel. In Vice City Stories, this water spray was removed, and instead, is represented as a part of the lights as well. Never change, Rockstar.
4 The Famous Swing Glitch (GTA IV)
Ah, the swing glitch. Once this particular glitch was discovered in Grand Theft Auto IV, gamers devoted a sizeable chunk of their playing time in order to test this glitch out. Seeing how far your car can be flung by the ensuing force is tons of fun — that is, unless they weren't flung out of the window to their death at launch.
If you're one of the two people who doesn't know how this glitch works, know that most of the swings in the game are capable of doing this. Just back your car up towards the swing carefully (or sometimes drive into the swing for some cars) and watch in glee as Niko and his vehicle are flung straight into the air at blistering force.
3 Thelma And Louise (GTA V)
This easter egg simultaneously managed to blow people's minds, and spoil the ending of a great movie at the same time. The Thelma and Louise easter egg is an event that can be witnessed between 7 pm and 8 pm by flying (and only flying) towards the Chiliad Mountain State Wilderness.
Upon reaching the area, the player will notice a car with two occupants being fired at by police. After a while, the car (which happens to be a convertible) will drive off the edge of the cliff, exploding dramatically. This is a reference to the ending of Thelma and Louise, and is probably one of the coolest pop culture references Rockstar has added in a Grand Theft Auto game ever.
2 Ghost Car (GTA: San Andreas)
After release, there were a ton of urban legends that came up regarding various odd and creepy things that could happen in San Andreas. The majority of them were pretty much false (the one about Bigfoot perhaps being the most well-known one). However, there was one odd event that occurred in the forests of the game that surely sent shivers down unsuspecting player's spine.
When in an isolated area like the woods, the game decides to provide a helping hand to CJ by spawning a car in the area. The problem is that there's no one around to drive said car, meaning that most players would mistake this phenomenon to be a creepy ghost car that appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the woods.
1 The Mount Chiliad Mural Mystery (GTA V)
There's no better way to close this list out than to mention an infamous mystery that was solved 3 years after Grand Theft Auto V was released. After reaching 100% completion in the game, the player can witness a UFO if a storm is happening as well (this can be done through cheats). The UFO sighting is mentioned in a mural present in the Mount Chiliad lift station.
However, that's not the only thing that the mural is referring to. In fact, the scale of the information provided by this mural is way too much to be listed here. In brief, the mural depicts the entire story of Grand Theft Auto V, along with critical plot points and the various branching paths in the story.