When GTA goes off the rails
Some people argue the Grand Theft Auto series has become too serious for its own good. Some people have selective memory. True, next to the Saints Rows, Crackdowns, and Just Causes of the open-world scene GTA can feel a little rigid, but when Rockstar decides to get weird, it can cut loose with the best of them. Here are some of the most ridiculous, cringe inducing, and I can't believe I'm doing this GTA moments we've enjoyed so far.
In the Air Tonight (GTA: Vice City Stories)
Random A-list cameo aside, working for Reni was an exercise in WTF from the start. It wasn't even the multiple sex-change operations that furled our brows, but the fact we were risking life and limb for an avant-garde director who dabbled in child torture and rhino sex flicks. The icing on Reni's WTF cake was having to defend the Phil Collins from deranged hitmen while he crooned for a conspicuously empty stadium. Remember, this wasn't some C-level voice-alike, either--this was Mr. Su-Su-Sussudio himself, who now maintains the record for largest celebrity cameo in a GTA game. We can only guess he owed Rockstar a favor, or he let a groupie manage his video game appearances.
Eddie Low encounters (GTA IV)
Think we're over-reacting? Go on, give Eddie a ride. We guarantee after dropping off body parts and listening to Eddie regale Niko with stories about choking children, killing his mom, and romancing corpses, you'll have a hard time resisting the urge to take a sharp left off the Algonquin Bridge. Thankfully, Eddie does get 'dealt' with, but even his short, two-mission appearance was enough for us to not only wonder WTF?, but also who the eff?!
Black Project (GTA: San Andreas)
Assigned to CJ by The Truth, Black Project tasked players with infiltrating Area 69 (Rockstar's tongue-in-cheek reference to Area 51), in search of a top secret project. What followed was a mission that traded San Andreas' gang-banging tropes for a cheesy sci-fi trip that catered to the conspiracy theorist in all of us. The highlight of our sci-WTF-fi mission (alien references and Half-Life shout-outs notwithstanding) was scoring a shiny new jet pack which made traveling San Andreas immediately 500% more fun, and 1000% more open to shenanigans.
Snappy Dresser (GTA: Liberty City Stories)
Rockstar Boss: Alright team, we need more meat for the Ma Cipriani missions. Ideas? Go!
Writer 1: Ok, Tony has to take incriminating pictures of this chef named Giovanni Casa to get Ma off his back.
Writer 2: And Giovanni is hardcore into banging hookers in parks...
Writer 1: ...while wearing an adult baby costume?
Writer 2: And later on Tony hacks him to death with an axe and brings his parts to Casa's deli to be sold as meat to unsuspecting customers.
Boss: Can we see his severed body rumbling around in the back of Tony's car?
Designer: That's doable.
Big 'n' Veiny (GTA III)
Big 'n' Veiny didn't blow the lid off of GTA IIIs mission design by any means. Does mission design even have a lid? Hmm... probably not. What it did was steal Claude away from more pressing matters to chase down a Spanked-addled porn thief and collect copies of El Buro's "Donkey Does Dallas" porn videos as they were tossed into the street. Big 'n' Veiny literally combined sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (depending on your station) into one WTF package and, in so doing, provided GTA III with one its most off-the-rails sequences.
Body Harvest (GTA: San Andreas)
Initially a ho-hum stealth mission, Body Harvest quickly devolved into a combine splatterfest that pitted CJ and his farmyard murder machine against an army of outdoor nutjobs. It was a wild romp through mother nature, set to the soundtrack of broken bones and gurgled screams. It was bloody, it was ridiculous, and it was a well-received break from San Andreas' typical buffet of guns, gangs, and street level chaos. Now, does anyone know how to clean fascists out of a thresher drum?
Brawn of the Dead (GTA: Vice City Stories)
We're no fools. We realize those shambling nightmares were supposed to be actors and not actual zombies. And that's the messed up part. Victor was no stranger to killing innocents, but slaughtering an entire cast of starved-for-work thespians? That's just cold. One could argue they were all pretending to be dead, but those screams and pools of blood looked pretty damn authentic to us.
Have a Heart (GTA IV)
Have a Heart is a straightforward mission made WTF by the sudden death of a (seemingly) important character and an objective that saw Niko careening through Liberty City while cracking wise about the bodies in his trunk (which conveniently seemed rigged to pop open with every bump). To top it all off, we're pretty sure Jay was only about 75% dead. Just saying. As for Elizabeta's doctor who was awaiting our delivery? He wasn't so much interested in giving Manny and Jay an honorable burial, as he was with replenishing his supply of black market organs. And how does Nico eulogize his fallen comrade? He'd been trying to help the streets his whole life. Maybe he'll actually be doing it now. Nice, Nico. Seriously, W.T.F?
For the Man Who Has Everything (GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony)
We've stolen an assortment of crazy items in our Grand Theft Auto careers, but there's something extra WTF-y about surfing a train and attracting the full ire of Liberty City's police force to yoink a subway car in transit. It wasn't like we needed the money either; it was all just so some rich dude could use it as an art installation halfway across the world. The Ballad of Gay Tony promised a to return GTA IV to its sillier roots, and this mission delivered.
Publicity Tour (GTA: Vice City)
Publicity Tour's gameplay isn't altogether zany. What secures this mission a display in our WTF Hall of Fame is the ridiculous premise and hilarious scripting which depicted Love Fist coming to grips with their mortality while chugging drinks and trying to defuse a bomb. Publicity Tour had zero bearing on Tommy's personal journey, but it remains one of our more cherished Vice City stories to date.
What the ... Fun!
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