Every time that a new Grand Theft Auto game is announced, I go through a spell of nostalgia that takes me back to my tiny dorm room in college and late nights frying my eyes in front of my sh*tty old desktop computer, playing the original Grand Theft Auto. I’ve never been much of a gamer, but the GTA games always kept me coming back for more, albeit a little slower than everyone else thanks to a severe lack of funds in my early and mid-20s.
But one way or another, I’d always end up getting my hands on a PlayStation or an Xbox, and I’d pick up a secondhand copy of whatever GTA title I could find so I could give some new missions the old college try. And it never failed, there was always one mission that made me throw down my controller in disgust and vow to never play video games again.
With the entire free world drooling over tomorrow’s release of Grand Theft Auto V (I’ll probably pick it up around the time that San Andreas Stories hits the store in 2016) I have indeed once again re-installed such old classics as GTA 1, GTA 2, London 1969, San Andreas and IV on my computer, as well as Vice City, GTA III and Chinatown Wars on my iPad, and in the six minutes of spare time that I have each day, I spent the majority of the summer reliving such incredible video game frustrations.
As I said, I’m no gamer and I’m easily befuddled, so mock me all you want with the knowledge that I am not ashamed to admit these 10 particular Grand Theft Auto missions have always haunted me.
(Screen caps via the GTA Wiki and YouTube)
Originally, I had two spots on this list reserved for “Bombs away!” and “Dildo Dodo” because they have both haunted and mocked me for so many years, but then I also remembered “Demolition Man,” the Sparrow missions and the RC Raider Pickup mission and I just said, “F*ck it, let’s lump ‘em all in together.” But “Bombs Away!” probably took about five years off of my life, and as I played it just the other day on my iPad, I beat the mission in five minutes. Of course I did.
“Dildo Dodo” was a different pain in the ass because it took me a dozen or so attempts to finally realize that you didn’t have to hit every marker in order, just the corresponding start and finish points. Face palms galore.
Any mission that involved slow-moving vehicles with piss poor turn radiuses might as well have been designed by Lucipher himself, because GTA III’s tight roads made this particular mission a nightmare. It took me several tries the first time I played it just to realize that you’re supposed to go for the straighter segments of roads or you’re a sitting duck for the helicopter. But like a sucker, I also tried more stupid strategies like hiding the police truck behind houses, since the computer police were too stupid to travel behind buildings, but the chopper still destroyed me.
Eventually, on my first go-around with GTA III, I passed the mission and moved on to the final missions, which were much easier to me, but when playing it again a few weeks ago, the light bulb finally went on over my stupid, stupid head – “Drive the truck to the airport!” Even better, as I tried to get to the airport, a cop car rammed me over a hill and down into the fenced in area next to the airport, where no cops could even get to me and I passed the mission with no problem.
As I was re-playing GTA III back in July, I thought about recording myself while playing the “S.A.M.” mission, which was the final mission of the Asuka Kasen storyline. Nothing made me angrier than getting through the tedious but easy part of finding the boat and then making it out to the buoys. Then it was just a matter of waiting a minute or so for the plane to make its way around into my line of sight, and of course I’d usually fire off a few rockets at the passenger planes out of boredom.
Once that small plane showed up, though, and I had my crosshairs locked just above it to compensate for its approach, I’d fire. And fire. AND FIRE. AND F*CKING FIRE! And I’d miss every damn time and I couldn’t figure out how I was missing it so much. I didn’t even care that I’d fail, but having to do the tedious part over and over again was maddening on an “All work and no play…” level, and when I finally shot the plane down? I couldn’t grab the damn packages quick enough because I sucked at driving the boat.
Finally, someone told me that the point is to let the plane land and then shoot it. Cool, now they tell me.
Chinatown Wars wasn’t a difficult overall game at all, but if you play it right after GTA III or Vice City, it can be a little tricky to get used to going back to the overhead style. That said, the driving could be really annoying in some missions – in fact, it took me way too long to even figure out how to ride a motorcycle properly for the biker gang missions – and it probably took me more than 10 times to save that poor bastard Uri’s life.
The actual hardest part of Chinatown Wars was trying to find the damn swirly lion statue marker spots. I even tried writing down where they were when I last played and I’m convinced that the game moves them around once you find them. It’s a huge conspiracy, I’m sure of it.
Disclaimer: I’m not even sure that I’ve made it halfway through Grand Theft Auto IV yet, so I’m sure at some point I can come back here and update this with at least a dozen other missions. When I play this bank robbery mission, I think back to the bank robbery in Vice City and I just laugh, because I remember when I thought that was the hardest mission I’d ever played and this one just blows it away.
I don’t know what it is about the missions that have so many cops shooting at me, but I turn into the most manic spaz on the face of the planet and I just stand there spraying ammo into the streets while I clumsily try to switch to grenades so I can blow the cars up and run. In fact, if I were an actual bank robber, I’d probably wear big squeaky clown shoes and I’d step on a rake that would slap me in the nuts.
San Andreas is probably my favorite of all of the Grand Theft Auto games because the characters are so entertaining, but also because the missions aren’t as hard as they are in other games for some reason. Meaningless banter aside, just as plane and helicopter missions in Vice City made me want to scream at the heavens, this boat mission drives me absolutely bonkers. It’s not much different from the boat race mission in Vice City when Tommy has to fire at the other boats and guys on the jetty while Lance drives, but I CAN’T HIT THOSE GUYS WITH THE BOAT BOUNCING UP AND DOWN, LANCE!
That said, it took me probably 15 tries to finally knock off T-Bone (why no T-Bone???) and then gun down Ryder on the boat, but holy crap I felt like I actually deserved $15,000 for doing it.
When I decided to put together this embarrassing celebration of my inept video game playing skills, this was the first mission that came to mind. I played Liberty City Stories for about two weeks after a friend gave me his PS2 a few years ago, and this was the mission that caused me to quit and shut the game off like a spoiled child losing at HORSE. If I had to rank my frustrations on a scale from 1 to 10, this one would have been a 15. And I guarantee that this mission, in which Toni had to use only his katana to kill 20 people, was so simple to other people, but it drove me mad, because it probably hasn’t been played by anyone in years and here I am complaining about it.
In fact, I am so thankful that this is one of the few GTA games that isn’t available for the PC, because I’d probably be in an asylum.
Unlike Liberty City Stories, I thought that Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories was much easier, as this was the game that I replaced the prior hellish nightmare with during that boring summer of futility. My problem with this mission wasn’t that it took me more attempts to complete than I could count on both hands, but that any mission that involves “protecting” other gang members during a shootout usually ends with me panicking and getting killed or me accidentally killing those guys. I have this spazzy tendency to get overwhelmed and freak out when playing these games, and that’s typically when I become that guy who waves the controller all over the place like it’s going to help.
This mission from Grand Theft Auto IV is probably the perfect example of a mission that involved a large number of small tasks in order to complete one main goal, and it never fails that once I’ve completed 2/3 of the mission, I’ll do something stupid and have to start over. In this case, I usually fail by the time I have to take out the second wave of Ray’s men, and once I’ve failed I sit there and think about how much I’d have to go back and do again, and that’s when my blood boils and I can feel the vein in my forehead protruding.
What I’m basically trying to say in this list is that Auntie Poulet was a pain in my ass. The funny thing with “Dirty Lickin’s” is that there’s a slow motion pill on the roof of your sniping point in this mission, and that’s supposed to help you pick all of the Cubans off much easier than without it. But once you take out the first wave, the next two waves show up and I swear to Cthulhu that my Haitians just vanish or drop dead on the spot.
I finally read a strategy site (something I am strongly opposed to because I’m a video game conservative) that claims all you have to do is take out the first wave with the sniper rifle and then use any weapon of your choice for the rest, so I tried that and blew all of my own guys away with the machine gun.
Again, I’m terrible at video games.