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The Most Infuriating Moments In Grand Theft Auto

It often seems as though the biggest headlines involving the Grand Theft Auto series revolve around the long wait for Grand Theft Auto 6. With many fans focused on the series' future, it's easy to forget how much Grand Theft Auto content Rockstar Games has already produced. Grand Theft Auto 5 alone takes about 80 hours to beat on a completionist playthrough, and that doesn't include any of the GTA Online content.

Since its debut in 1997, the Grand Theft Auto series has featured hundreds of missions, side quests, and tasks — many of which are a blast. But of course, not all GTA content has been created equal. Most GTA titles include a few frustrating missions, with some of the most aggravating designed around two particular mechanics: stealth or flying. As far as some fans are concerned, Rockstar hasn't cracked the code on either feature, yet GTA games keep including missions focused on these mechanics. 

Stealth and flight are just two of the ways that Grand Theft Auto has left players cursing Rockstar's name. Here are some of the most infuriating moments in the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

'Demolition Man' - Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

With a Metascore of 95, 2002's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is one of the most beloved games in the series, but it's definitely not because of the helicopters.

Vice City wasn't the first game in the series to feature an aircraft the player could operate — that honor goes to Grand Theft Auto 3, which had an airplane nicknamed "The Dodo" for how un-flyable it was. However, Vice City was the first GTA game to feature flyable helicopters, including six varieties. And based on the fans' reactions, Vice City's helicopters weren't quite ready for prime time. 

Players on Reddit found the helicopters to be awkward and difficult to control, especially in the "Demolition Man" mission. In this section, Tommy Vercetti takes a job from shady real-estate developer Avery Carrington, who wants Tommy to plant bombs inside a massive construction site owned by one of his rivals. The site is massive, there are five bombs total, and there's a strict time limit. But the catch is, Tommy has to use a remote-controlled helicopter to lay the explosives.

Nearly two decades after the game's original release, commenters on the GTA subreddit still pointed to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's "Demolition Man" as one of the worst missions in the entire series.

'Paramedic' - Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Many Grand Theft Auto games have featured some variation of the "pick someone up and then drop them off" mission, often involving taxis. The basic structure is usually like so: the player obtains a specific vehicle, which then spawns NPCs who need to be picked up and dropped off within a set time limit. 

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's "Paramedic" was like a variation of the taxi missions, but with an ambulance. And even though "Paramedic" had similar missions preceding it, players on r/gaming still consider it one of the most annoying missions in the GTA series. 

Stealing (or "borrowing") an ambulance in Vice City would generate a patient who needs a ride to the hospital. After the pickup, there's the usual race against time to get the patient to the ER. However, the problem with "Paramedic" is its uneven balance of different mechanics. The player's condition requires the player to drive as fast as possible, but colliding with anything also lowers the patient's health. Even a gentle bump can take a big chunk out of the NPC's health bar, making volunteer ambulance driving more trouble than it may be worth.

'Pilot School' - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was released in October 2004 on PlayStation 2 and June 2005 for PC and Xbox. After Vice City introduced the series' first extensive roster of flyable helicopters, San Andreas introduced a ton of new airplanes to GTA, with more than ten models at the player's disposal

The "Pilot School" series of missions serve as an introduction to flight mechanics for both the player character, CJ, as well as longtime fans of the Grand Theft Auto series. This quest line also offered helicopter lessons for anyone who wasn't sick of them after Vice City

On its surface, "Pilot School," or "Flight School" as it's also known, isn't particularly complicated. Like the name suggests, CJ signs up for flying lessons. Each mission involves a takeoff, some kind of flying stunt, and a landing. But once again, according to players on r/GrandTheftAutoV, clumsy and unresponsive flight controls made an otherwise routine sidequest into a nightmare. 

Vice called it "the most hated mission" in San Andreas, and many fans were inclined to agree.

'Wrong Side of the Tracks' - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

At first glance, the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas mission "Wrong Side of the Tracks" seems like a straightforward chase job. In the mission, CJ and his associate Big Smoke try to crash a meeting of the rival Vatos gang. The meeting turns out to be an ambush, and four Vatos members attempt to escape on a train. CJ and Big Smoke hop on a motorcycle and pursue them. All the player has to do is drive the bike while Big Smoke shoots the Vatos. Simple, right?

In practice, "Wrong Side of the Tracks" is a nightmare. As documented by players on r/GTA and r/Games, the mission is rife with issues. Big Smoke is a notoriously poor shot, essentially leaving the attacking enemies unscathed. CJ has to dodge numerous obstacles like cars and pedestrians, and bumping into any of them sends CJ and Big Smoke flying. 

If the player fails, the game makes fun of them by having Big Smoke say, "All you had to do was follow the damn train, CJ!" Countless broken controllers later, that line has become a meme.

'Robbing Uncle Sam' - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

The Grand Theft Auto series includes seven full games, eight expansions, and GTA Online. Over those games, Rockstar has allowed the player to drive practically every kind of vehicle that exists, from submersibles to tanks to hovercrafts. But there is one case in particular where Rockstar could have been a bit less thorough.

What's the worst possible vehicle to take on a heist? A forklift, obviously. That's the gist behind "Robbing Uncle Sam," a San Andreas mission that players on r/GTASA have found particularly aggravating. This mission involves CJ sneaking into a National Guard armory, stealing a forklift, and then slowly loading boxes of guns onto a truck while soldiers blast away at him.

Worst of all, the only reward for completing this mission is a bump in respect from the Grove Street families, which grants Tec-9 machine pistols to the gang members whom CJ can recruit. But even then, the player can unlock the Tec-9s anyway by completing all of the game's graffiti tagging opportunities, leaving you to wonder what the point of it all was. At least the forklift isn't a Segway?

'Supply Lines' - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Here's another mission involving a untraditional vehicle that has no business being involved in a firefight — and this time, it's a remote-controlled plane that you must use. CJ receives the mission from Zero, a paranoid electronics shop owner locked in a rivalry with another hobby shop owner, Berkley. In "Supply Lines," CJ pilots an RC plane around the city and destroys five of Berkley's delivery trucks.

As documented in detail by Redditors, there are lots of reasons why "Supply Lines" was much more annoying than it sounds. The RC plane is fragile and can be destroyed with only a couple shots. The plane also has limited fuel that could run out and cause you to fail the mission. And then there are the flight controls, which weren't nearly as responsive as players would have liked. 

"Supply Lines" is so reviled that even David Cross, the comedian who voiced Zero, denounced it on Twitter.

'Endangered Species' trophy and achievement - Grand Theft Auto 4

Many open-world games feature quests that involve collecting items scattered around the environment. Red Dead Redemption 2 had dreamcatchers, cigarette cards, and much more. Often the items are located in the most out-of-the-way places, and tracking them all down is a task for only the most dedicated players.

Grand Theft Auto 4 was released in 2008 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. Its "Endangered Species" achievement isn't a traditional collectible quest, as the player doesn't technically collect anything, but it uses a similar premise. To unlock this achievement, the player has to track down all 200 "flying rats" (or pigeons) scattered around the game and kill them however they want. Locating 200 birds in a massive, open world is already a major undertaking, but, as detailed by players on GTAForums, the in-game map that is supposed to help you find them isn't as useful as it should be. Even worse, a GameFAQs thread pointed out that shooting at pigeons can also trigger a police response. 

Finding and killing all 200 pigeons does unlock a new helicopter, but the main rewards are a trophy and a small bump in the completion percentage.

'Kifflom!' trophy and achievement - Grand Theft Auto 5

Grand Theft Auto 5 first released in September 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Even nearly a decade later, it's still difficult to forget Michael shouting "Kifflom!" 

The "Kifflom!" trophy and achievement can only be unlocked by completing the Epsilon quest line, in which Michael De Santa gets hooked into a Scientology-like "religion" called the Epsilon Program. De Santa's initiation involves several steps that are increasingly tedious and ridiculous. These steps are designed to test Michael's faith, but they also test just how much gamers are willing to put up with. 

The player has to "donate" huge sums of their hard-earned bank heist money to advance in the Epsilon organization. Once the player unlocks the Epsilon robes, they have to wear them for 10 consecutive days in the game. But the coup de grâce comes when you have to make Michael run around in the desert for five miles — without stopping once. 

Some fans on Reddit still point to it as one of the GTA franchise's most annoying missions.

Completing Triathlon #3 - Grand Theft Auto 5

In Grand Theft Auto 5, the player can compete in three triathlons. The first two are shorter affairs, taking about five minutes each to complete. But the third and most maddening triathlon feels almost as long as a real triathlon, requiring about 20-30 minutes to finish in real-time. Yes, a full half hour of swimming, biking, and running. Redditors who completed the event wondered if there was more to the mission, (there wasn't), or even if it was really happening (it was). 

In addition to the length, other players took issue with the way the third triathlon was designed. In the swimming portion, the other swimmers get a head start, and if they're passed they can recover almost instantly, making it nearly impossible to finish this segment anywhere other than last. In the biking portion, when the player passes another cyclist, the cyclist can automatically speed up and catch them. This is a phenomenon that racing gamers call "rubber banding." And then there was the inconsistent punishment system. Smashing into another cyclist could either cause a forfeit, or have no effect at all. 

'Criminal Mastermind' trophy and achievement - Grand Theft Auto Online

Grand Theft Auto Online gives players the ability to plan and execute heists with crews of friends. But the "Criminal Mastermind" trophy and achievement pushes your planning and robbing abilities to the limit.

To pull this off, a squad of the same four players have to complete all the setups and heist missions in GTA Online, in order, on the hardest difficulty setting, without dying once. While r/gtaonline has pointed out just how brutal all of these challenges are, other Redditors have identified the biggest hurdle as getting three friends to be online together at the same time. It seems as though even budding masterminds can get too busy to get a party together.

Unlike many of the more punishing GTA challenges, "Criminal Mastermind" does give the player a hefty reward in the form of a $10 million completion bonus. But to some, that's still not worth the hassle.

The 'Diamond Casino Heist' Silent & Sneaky approach - Grand Theft Auto Online

Grand Theft Auto isn't a stealth-based series, but a handful of missions still require the player to be sneaky. Some fans on GTAForums seemed to like aspects of the stealthy knife kills that were available in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas — but many players find the series' stealthier missions to be a real pain. Fans have complained about GTA's stealth system (or lack thereof) on Reddit, pointing out how easily the guards can spot the players. Meanwhile, some threads have focused on bodies being detected by seemingly invisible cameras.

The "Silent & Sneaky" approach documented by YouTube channel GTA Series Videos is one of the ways to complete the "Diamond Casino Heist" in GTA Online. This quest line culminates in the titular casino heist, which must be completed without alerting the guards. If you draw the guards' attention, more guards will show up and quickly overwhelm the players. According to r/gtaonline, alerting the guards is incredibly easy, which makes the "Silent & Sneaky" approach feel downright broken.