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A Glitch, or in some cases a Bug, is an error in the game that produces an effect that was unintended by its developers.

Description

Glitches often arise from mistakes or errors in the game's code which go unnoticed during development and testing of the game. Glitches may cause problems to the player, but some glitches may be used to the player's advantage. Some glitches are more prominent than others, and some can be specific to a certain console.

General glitches

Listed here are glitches that are not part of a larger, more generally abused game mechanic.

Accessing Joey's Garage

The player can access Joey's Garage and see the whole interior as seen in cutscenes by performing the following actions: If the player drives a car into Joey's left garage door, gets out, and runs at the left corner between the door and the garage, they will clip into the garage. This glitch doesn't work in the PC version of the game.

Ammu-Nation and rampages

If you go into an Ammu-Nation during a rampage and buy a weapon the normally used rampage weapon will get overwritten and you will get the bought weapon with infinite ammunition. Keep in mind that you can't complete rampages with weapons other than the one that was intended, and running out of time will still take away the weapon.

"Black cars"

The Steam version of GTA III has a glitch that makes all cars very dark and colors almost unnoticeable. This can only be fixed by replacing the particle.txd file in the game folder with a non-Steam version one.

Blue Hell

One of the most well-known glitches is nicknamed "Blue Hell", and is also referred to as out of bounds (OOB). It is possible to leave bounds in every game in the series since GTA III. Once the player goes out of bounds and enters Blue Hell, they will fall for several seconds before returning to the surface, unharmed.

Broken Import/Export Crane

If the player dies while a vehicle is being transferred to the boat by the Import/Export crane in Portland, the crane may become stuck in the position it was in when the player died, rendering it permanently unusable, making 100% completion impossible without loading a save. This can also happen when playing a replay (PC version only), so it is advisable to not play any as long as the crane is moving a vehicle.

Claude's "Killer Look"

When on foot, if there is anybody trapped under a car and the player uses the first person view, they will die instantly. The death will not be added to the player's stats. This also happens if the pedestrian is trapped under the car and the player starts a mission. This glitch is not present on the iOS version of the game.

Despawning traffic

There is an easy way to not be bothered by traffic: switching camera angles in a car. The game will clear all traffic (except police cars) outside a certain radius around you when you switch to the Top-Down perspective and drive over a certain (but fairly low) speed. By constantly cycling through camera angles, or, at high speeds, simply keeping the Top-Down perspective, there will not be almost no traffic to crash into.

Easy Vigilante Exploit

While performing a Vigilante mission, the player can get close to the target's car, pause the game, and then enter the menu screen. Once gameplay resumes, the criminal in the car will stop make their "getaway" on foot, being much easier to kill. Also, they will most likely shoot at other pedestrians if the player is not his nearest target. If this does not work the first time, just try again and get a bit closer.

Ghost Car

This glitch allows the player's vehicle to go through solid objects (buildings, the blocked parts of the tunnel, etc.). To activate the glitch, the player must have another person with them in their vehicle; missions like Drive Misty For Me, Bomb Da Base: Act IIKanbu Bust Out, Liberator, Marked Man. and Rumble are suitable. After this is done, they need to head to the crusher in Harwood. Park the car sideways next to the crusher and make sure that the driver's side is on the left, touching the crusher. Then, quickly get out of the car and continue pressing the button to enter the car. This will make the passenger get into the vehicle while the crane is picking it up. The player will then pull the passenger out of their vehicle, making the crane drop it. This makes the vehicle a "ghost car". To use it freely, the player must fail the mission by killing or abandoning the passenger. The only way to turn the ghost car back to normal is to store it in a garage. Not doing this will make the ghost car stay unsolid and make the player unable to enter it again. Another disadvantage is that it will increase in size the more it is driven.

Incorrect Vehicle Spawning

The 10th Anniversary iOS port of GTA III is notable for containing many car spawn glitches and other abnormalities. Occasionally, vehicles in traffic may spawn floating in mid-air before falling to the ground. Cars may also spawn incorrectly inside the Porter Tunnel, becoming stuck inside the walls of the tunnel or clipping into the road. 

Invincibility

There is a way to make Claude impervious to any damage. This requires a vehicle, a cop and precise timing. For this glitch, get a wanted level and make sure a policeman is close to you. Next, damage a vehicle until it starts burning. Next is the hardest part: you need to start entering the vehicle and get busted right as the car explodes (It works because the busted animation that occurs when Claude is in the process of entering the vehicle makes him invincible. However, the animation gets interrupted by the exploding car but the invincibility state remains). This requires good timing and luck with the cop. However, if done right, Claude will now not take any damage from anything, be it explosions, fire, falling or bullets. Do not enter any vehicles until some distance away from the place you did the glitch, as the policeman is still loaded and you will get busted instantly if you enter one in the vicinity (you are free to enter vehicles in that place again after distancing and returning). Note that this also includes water, so if you jump into water, you will softlock; and it does not grant you immunity of being busted. A tutorial here

Missing Purple Nines

(Original PS2 version only) If the player starts a new game on a memory card with the mission Rumble completed, the Purple Nines, who are wiped out in that mission, will not spawn in the new game due to a programming oversight. This will make it impossible to complete Uzi Money and subsequent D-Ice missions, as killing Purple Nines gang members is the objective of these missions.

Overstuffed Garage

If the player manages to park three vehicles in a two-vehicle garage, the garage door will not close, and the sound of the garage door will play repeatedly to comedic effect. This glitch can be done easily with the oversized garage of the Staunton Island Safehouse by driving one car into the garage, parking another car halfway inside the garage to prevent the door from closing, driving a third vehicle into the garage, then driving the second vehicle the rest of the way in.

Police Officers Behavior

If a police officer chasing after the player is lured into attacking another pedestrian with his fist while having a low wanted level, depending on the kinds and in-game settings, the pedestrian will sometimes retaliate and attempt to fight back. If successfully, the officer will be hit by the NPC, but he will flee and the pedestrian will chase after instead of continuing beating the player up. Interestingly enough, the officer can still be heard seemingly taunting the player even if this happens. This glitch is somewhat common in some of the 3D Universe games, and is carried over to GTA:VC, but gets eliminated in GTA San Andreas.

Porter Tunnel Skip

One method of reaching Staunton Island and Shoreside Vale before they are unlocked, without cheats, is by exploiting a glitch that allows the player to walk above the Porter Tunnel. To do this, one must drive a car to the concrete sea wall above the tunnel entrance on Portland Island. The player then parks the car right along the edge of the wall, in line with the tunnel. When the player exits the vehicle, they will fall through the sea and into Blue Hell, landing "on top" of the tunnel. The player can then walk along the tunnel, then jump into Blue Hell at the Staunton Island or Shoreside Vale end. The game will teleport the player back in bounds in Staunton Island or Shoreside Vale. If the player is busted or wasted after performing this skip, they will be brought back to a hospital or police station on the last island they unlocked.

Rhino Spawn Glitch

If the player spawns a Rhino using the cheat code anywhere in the city, a second one will spawn in the middle of the street at Liberty Campus around the corner from the safehouse.

Subway Tunnel Skip

This glitch is similar to the previous sequence break. It can be performed at the subway in Shoreside Vale at the airport. When the train arrives at the platform, the player can enter and then quickly exit the very last door of the train. Claude will teleport above the platform and will be standing above Blue Hell, and the player will be able to see the tunnel. The player can run "on top" of the tunnel, so long as they jump over any ceiling props that would pull the player back in bounds. The player then jumps into Blue Hell at the other end of the tunnel, the game will teleport them to Shoreside Vale. Getting busted or wasted here will deliver the player to the last island they unlocked in the story.

Ultracop

Rarely, the player may encounter a different breed of police officer. Instead of running to the player's car as normal, an Ultracop will quickly float towards or teleport at the player's car door and pull them out, busting them instantly. The formidable Ultracop is also present in GTA Vice City. The name was invented and popularized by the GTA speedrunning community.

Vehicle Challenge Timer Exploit

During any one of the four vehicle missions (Patriot Playground, A Ride in the Park, Multistorey Mayhem or Gripped!,) the player can drive through a checkpoint just as or just after the timer reaches zero seconds. This may cause the timer to disappear and allow the player to take as much time as they like to complete the challenge. This is a useful exploit due to the considerable difficulty of these challenges.

Zombie Car

By abusing cheats when the player steals a car, the player can drive destroyed cars. While stealing a car, entering the "blow up all cars" cheat and the "heal" cheat in quick succession will allow the player to drive the car's husk. This exploit is possible in GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas as well.

Replays

Replays only exist on the PC version, so all glitches in this section are PC only.

Replay firefighter

This is a very easy glitch. Simply start the firefighter submission and play a replay - the fire will immediately be extinguished. This can be done 20 times for easy completion on every island.

Bribe replays

If you make a replay over an active bribe, you can use that bribe replay to quickly decrease your wanted level by repeatedly playing it, as the bribe will not actually be collected and stay active.

Package replays

If you collect a package, make a replay of Claude standing in the original position of the package, and then start a new game or load a game (in which the package is not collected) and then play the replay, Claude will collect the package in the replay and it will disappear from the world map, however it will not actually count towards your package count, making 100% completion impossible.

Megajump

Certain transitory animations of Claude have a property that causes a huge increase in forward speed when playing a replay during them. These animations are: attack (punch or any weapon except the rocket launcher and sniper rifle) -> jump and jump -> second jump. For the punch method, punch/shoot/throw and then quickly jump and play a replay very shortly after. For the double jump method, jump and jump again and play a replay immediately as Claude is initiating his second jump. Short tutorial here

Notes

  • Do not do this on flat ground or facing upwards on a slope. The huge speed will kill Claude immediately and/or launch him far into the air.
  • Megajumping can be used to easily and quickly get to Staunton Island before it is unlocked, as it is possible to reach the piers on the east side of the island from the west coast of Portland. It requires somewhat precise angling, but nothing too difficult.
  • It can also be used to get to the Portland Rock.
  • Paired with the invincibility glitch, this trick can be used to quickly traverse huge distances on foot, even on flat ground.

30000 ammo glitch

By playing a replay on the same frame a rampage ends (either because of completion or running out of time), you will be given 30000 ammunition for the weapon you had. This is essentially luck, but there are ways to make it easier. Firstly, playing a replay that was recorded on a different island will give you a short loading screen which makes it easier to get the perfect timing. Secondly, by recording a very short replay and spamming the replay key as fast as you can shortly before the rampage ends.

Completing rampages during replays

This only works with rampages that require you to destroy vehicles. Record a replay with 1 or more car wrecks in them and make the replay at least 10 seconds long (car wrecks in replays have the strange property of exploding again after several seconds). Now, start any of those rampages. Play the previously recorded replay until the car wreck/s explode and you will notice that the number of required vehicles will decrease - the explosions in the replay count for the rampage. You can do this again and again until you complete the rampage. Completing the rampage with this method will also always trigger the "30000 ammo glitch".

"Freezing" the game clock

Replays have the property of resetting the current ingame minute - which means you can stop the clock by constantly playing a replay before the next ingame minute appears. Very useful for time of day based missions (Like the Marty Chonks ones).

Skipping weather cycles

GTA III has primitive weather compared to later games - there are only 4 weather types and they change suddenly, always at xx:00 on the clock. This last property has an interesting glitch - by playing a replay in which it is xx:59 on the clock, you can skip the next weather cycle and keep the current one. This is useful to avoid rain or fog. A thread with more information

Glitches relating to the onmission state

The onmission state is an internal state of the game which relates to the starting and ending of missions. If the state is om0, you are essentially in "free run mode", you can start missions and submissions. If the state is om1, you are "on a mission" and cannot start other missions or submissions. There are several ways to exploit this state, some of which are detailed here.

Holding the submission button

Note: This only works if the submission button is set to the same button as the on-foot "look behind" button. This is standard on PS2 and XBox, but might need to be changed on the PC version.

Taxi Driver Glitch

The player can perform the Taxi side-mission in any car by executing this glitch. This exploit relies on the fact that in GTA 3, side missions start when the side mission key is depressed instead of when it is initially pressed. If the player enters a taxi cab, and holds down the side mission button without releasing it, they can then enter any car they like. When the key is released, the taxi mission starts as normal, only now doable in the car the player is currently occupying. This doesn't work on vehicles that have side missions associated with them, however, such as police cars or fire trucks. This exploit is not present on the iOS port of the game.

Instapassing the Taxi mission

There is a way to pass Taxi Driver instantly with holding the submission button under a specific circumstance. To do this, you need a taxi and having Cipriani's Chauffeur unlocked. Now, drive the taxi to the mission spot and start holding the submission button. Get out of the taxi, get into the marker and play the mission normally until after the cutscene at the laundromat - without letting go of submission. After the cutscene has ended, let go (Letting go before the cutscene will cancel the mission and just start Taxi Driver, letting go during the cutscene will crash the game). If done right, you will get the pager message showing you completed the Taxi submission and the Borgnine will start spawning.

Doing rampages during missions

You can start rampages while being om0 (with 2 methods, one of which is PC only) and therefore start missions during rampages. One method is detailed here. Take any vehicle that can start a submission and drive to a rampage icon. Start holding the submission button, get out of the vehicle, collect the rampage icon and let go of the submission after. This should start the rampage but cancel the submission and therefore make you om0 - meaning you can start regular missions or even start a second rampage (which is not advisable). Starting missions that give you a weapon will overwrite the rampage weapon with whatever weapon was given to you. The Exchange will still take away all weapons.

More general cases

Having an om0 rampage, starting a mission and letting the rampage run out of time will keep the mission running but you will be om0, meaning you can start a different rampage or even start a different mission (however, most mission combinations will crash the game!)

2nd method for om0 rampages

(PC only, as it requires replays) For this method, record a replay on a spot where a rampage would be while being om1 (either during a mission, during vigilante or by starting a submission, then holding the submission key, getting out of the car and recording the replay and then moving away from the rampage spot and letting go of the submission key). Now, get into a vehicle that can start submissions. Hold the submission key and play the rampage replay, then let go of the submission key. Now you can cancel the submission and you will be on an om0 rampage.

Duplicating vigilante

This can be done with any mission that does not crash when starting vigilante during it. By starting both at the same time, vigilante will be duplicated and 2 criminals will spawn. One of those will be static and won't move - this criminal will actually count twice. The other will drive around normally and also count normally.

"Dupe and fail"

Certain missions - namely ones in which end with the player destroying or killing certain cars/enemies without any other objectives - can be completed by starting them twice and then failing the mission (the easiest way is to get an om0 rampage, start the first instance, let the rampage timer run out and then start the second instance). This works because when you fail, both sets of targets get unloaded, however one instance of the mission will still be running - as the targets unload and therefore cease to exist, the second instance will pass.

There are a total of 10 missions that this affects, though not at all can completed in this way from the start of the mission and certain objectives must be met first:

Instapasses

As detailed before, most mission combinations will crash the game - however, some will lead to one or both the missions passing immediately (the Taxi Driver instapass is a case of this). There will only be a few examples listed here, as an exhaustive list would be gigantic and include mission combinations which cannot normally exist.

  • Mike Lips Last Lunch and vigilante - starting vigilante during this mission will instantly pass it. However, it will also kill vigilante forever and make 100% completion impossible.
  • Smack Down and Gripped! - by starting Gripped! while Smack Down is running, Gripped! will instantly be passed.

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