Phil Cassidy is a character in the Grand Theft Auto series who appears as a main character in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and a minor character in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto III.
In all of his appearances, Phil is featured as a manic heavy artillery arms dealer, selling the protagonist military-grade weaponry such as Grenades, Rocket Launchers, Miniguns, etc. Phil presents himself as a military veteran and regularly discusses his experiences, including claims of having "flashbacks" to the Vietnam War. However, Cam Jones claims that Phil was never in the army, and Phil's records show that he was repeatedly refused for service due to "drunkenness and unsuitable temperament for combat".
Phil has been featured as a heavy drinker. He distils "boomshine", a highly explosive mixture that can get a man drunk off its fumes, which he started distilling and selling in Vice City around 1984. During a phone conversation with Tommy Vercetti, he explains that, due to his heavy boomshine consumption, he is blind in his left eye.
Phil's most notable feature is his one arm. He lost his left arm in 1986 after he was caught in the blast radius of a boomshine bomb, during the events of GTA Vice City. His subsequent appearances also depict him with only one arm.
Phil's backstory was retconned between GTA III and GTA Vice City. In GTA III, Phil was said to have legitimately served in Nicaragua, where he lost his arm; this was later changed to make Phil a gun enthusiast who allegedly never served in the army and lost his arm in a boomshine explosion.
According to his interview on MeTV, he was part of the Army Catering Corps and received a dishonourable discharge.
In Phil's first chronological appearance in Vice City Stories, he appears in a MeTV patriotism report where he complained that the government wasn't properly looking after their veterans, which ended with him having an emotional breakdown and crying, and being ridiculed by reporter Jenny Mitchell. He is introduced to Victor Vance through Sergeant Jerry Martinez. Phil is Jerry's gun dealer. Jerry sends Vic to help Phil get rid of some Cholos that are giving him trouble. Through Phil, Vic meets Phil's younger sister Louise and her husband Marty.
After completing some jobs for Marty and eventually killing him because he tried to pimp Louise, Vic returns with Phil and saves him from Jerry's goons who want to finish him for betraying Jerry. After being saved by Vic, Phil promises to stay sober from now on; however, he begins to drink again when Armando Mendez kills Louise. Phil, wanting revenge with the Mendez Brothers, gets drunk and blows up the entrance of Fort Baxter Air Base, so that Vic can steal a Hunter helicopter to attack the Mendez compound.
In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Phil is sporting a handlebar moustache. Between 1984 and 1986, he has shaved it off permanently.
In his next appearance, Tommy Vercetti hires Phil to pull off a bank robbery in the mission "The Shootist". Phil is the one who suggests Tommy should employ Hilary King as a getaway driver. After the robbery, Phil invites Tommy to work for him in order to get fixed with firepower. After Tommy kills Phil's rival gun dealer, a drunken Phil invites Tommy over to check out a Boomshine bomb he had set up, wired to a remote detonator. The remote doesn't work the first time, so Phil changes its batteries for fresh ones sitting beside the bomb. Now standing just a meter away from the powerful explosive, in inebriated carelessness, he presses the remote's trigger, detonating the bomb and blowing his right arm off. Tommy drives Phil to an ex-army surgeon to be patched up. Tommy and Phil start an arms business, with Phil supplying Tommy expensive heavy weapons not available in local Ammu-Nations throughout the rest of the game.
In Vice City, Phil's mobile home is accessible. Gun Racks displaying several handguns, submachine guns and rifles are on the wall. When his bedroom is entered, his bed consists of a camouflaged mattress, an American Flag-styled pillow, and a few girl posters on the walls. A Kaufman Cabs calendar can also be seen in his mobile home. He also has a Patriot parked inside a hangar next to his home.
By 1998, Phil resides in Liberty City, where he owns a gun store, selling heavy artillery. Phil makes a short appearance during the mission "More Deadly Than the Male" as Toshiko Kasen's gun dealer. During the cutscene at the end, Phil admits that he does so much business at the docks he should set himself up there and not halfway down the island. This explains why he has left his heavy artillery store and has moved to his barracks, by the time of the events of GTA III.
In the mission "Arms Shortage", corrupt LCPD cop Ray Machowski commissions Claude to go and meet Phil at his shop, since some members of the Colombian Cartel tried to extort weapons out of Phil. Phil and Claude attack the Cartel men as they arrive and kill them, preventing them from stealing Phil's weapons. During this mission, Phil claims to have lost his arm in Nicaragua.
He is also mentioned in Manhunt, by members of the Carcer City Police Department. This implies he expanded his business over to Carcer City too, which is close to Liberty City according to the Lips 106 news segment in GTA III.
VCBI Crime Tree Record
- PHIL CASSIDY
- Phil's Army Surplus in Rockford, Staunton Island (GTA III)
- Phil's Place in Little Haiti, Vice City (GTA Vice City)
- Phil Cassidy's Fully Cocked Gun Shop in Bedford Point, Staunton Island (GTA Liberty City Stories)
- Phil's Depot in Viceport, Vice City (GTA Vice City Stories)
- Cassidy's Bargain Firearms Emporium in Carcer City (Manhunt)
Prominent Appearances in Missions
- Grand Theft Auto III
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
- Cleaning House
- Conduct Unbecoming
- Cholo Victory (Boss)
- Boomshine Blowout (Boss)
- Truck Stop (Boss)
- Marked Men (Boss)
- Blitzkrieg Strikes Again
- Lost and Found (Post-mission pager message)
- Over The Top
- Phil wears the same green outfit in his appearances in both GTA III and Liberty City Stories.
- Phil is one of three characters in the Grand Theft Auto series to physically appear in four different games. The others are Johnny Klebitz and Tony Prince.
- In the opening cutscene of the mission "Boomshine Saigon", Phil is clearly seen having his right arm - not his left arm - blown off. This is a developer oversight, as when the player completes the mission, a cutscene plays showing Phil missing his left arm, and all his subsequent appearances show him missing his left arm.
- In the original version of GTA Vice City, a confederate flag can be seen on Phil's muscle shirt. In Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition, the flag on Phil's muscle shirt has been changed to a skull.