Ready to head for a ride back to GTA III? It’s been a long time since the first 3D version of GTA hit the shelves. Fortunately, now is an excellent time to revisit it because of a 20th anniversary edition. But what is GTA without the freedom to mess around a little? We’ll go over what the game has become and what cheats work best for it when you dive in.
Grand Theft Auto III Summary
While GTA V gets a lot of credit for being one of the best-selling games of all time, other excellent titles came before it. It was GTA III that revolutionized the genre in many ways, introducing a variety of famous concepts in 2001. These concepts helped draw new interest to the genre and propelled the GTA name to the forefront of the industry.
Most notably, this was the first GTA title to have an entirely 3D world, thanks to development work between DMA Design and Rockstar. It was an immensely successful change. The game skyrocketed to become the best-selling video game of the year. It also provided a template for other GTA games to follow in the coming years…and amassed many awards.
Today, the game is still playable thanks to numerous ports, most notably a 20th anniversary edition released in 2021. You can also download it as a PS2 Classic and other, similar offerings. The anniversary edition is the game we’ll focus on the most, but many of our tips will work for other versions of the game as well.
Grand Theft Auto III Premise
We mentioned above that GTA III was the first 3D game in the franchise, and one of the early examples of an open-world sandbox. This setup allows the player to go nearly anywhere. The game’s story follows a number of important missions, with side missions available as gamers progress. The open world covers three important parts of Liberty City: Portland, Staunton Island, and Shoreside Vale, which become unlocked over time.
As for the story, gamers play as Claude, a criminal caught in an ugly confrontation that led to him being badly beaten and his girlfriend running away. Claude doesn’t talk in the game, and is widely considered to be mute. To get revenge he goes on missions to join other gangs (notably the Leone Mafia) and join a turf war.
The Mafia wants to win a war against enemies such as encroaching triads selling new designer drugs in the city. Claude helps out, but dealing with the gang is a dangerous business, especially when betrayal is always around the corner. After a falling out, Claude is forced to run away and eventually begin work for the Yakuza. Now he must play a pivotal role in the war between the Yakuza and the Cartel.
We’ll talk below about when many of the vital GTA game mechanics were added to the franchise in the years after GTA III. For this game, the gameplay is a simpler, more focused experience. Players can run, jump, and drive a variety of cars encountered throughout the city. They can also wield a variety of guns, and choose to use an auto-aim system to hit targets during fights. Guns include uzis, M16s, sniper rifles, flame throwers, and more. Players can also use melee weapons and explosives.
Several pickups help players on missions. You can great health packs to restore your health directly if you’re damaged. Or you can pick up body armor to gain a shield against gunshots. Dying loses you everything you picked up and some of your money. And it wouldn’t be GTA if there wasn’t a problem with law enforcement. Commit crimes in public, and your wanted status will quickly rise. The higher it goes, the faster cop NPCs will chase the player. Players need to leave a location and hide to wait for the meter to cool down.
In addition to side missions, there are also a number of additional activities. Players can fight fires, chase thieves, and even run a paramedic or taxi service to make extra money. That can come with helpful benefits, including the ability to bribe cops.
Grand Theft Auto III Main Characters
GTA III was the first game of the franchise to add a truly full story to complete. It’s a little bare bones compared to the complex crime family drama that came afterward, but it’s still there. You can count on seeing important characters like:
- 8-Ball: 8-Ball is about the only friend Claude has left after your escape during a disastrous bank heist. Now Claude’s on the run, and 8-Ball has an idea: Claude can start working for the Leone Mafie, which will offer protection in turn. It’s about the only option Claude has left at this point.
- Salvatore Leone: The Don of the Leone Mafia, Salvatore agrees to hire Claude for a few jobs. He turns out to be very effective, leading to Salvatore’s direct interest. Salvatore wants Claude to destroying the new SPANK drug operations that are currently flooding the city, courtesy the mysterious “Cartel.”
- Maria Leone: Maria is Salvatore’s wife, but she has an eye for Claude and a poor sense of judgment. During a fit of anger, she claims that she’s having an affair with Claude to make Salvatore jealous. Salvatore immediately arranges for Claude’s death, which causes both Claude and Maria to flee. Now they’re stuck together on Staunton Island.
- Asuka Kasen: Maria has one friend who can help, Asuka Kasen. Asuka happens to lead the Liberty City Yakuza with her brother Kenji Kasen. They’re willing to help out Claude, if he’s willing to help the gang secure their foothold. It’s familiar territory.
- Ray Machowski: This police detective takes bribes from the local gangs to look the other way. However, the city’s getting a little too hot for him these days. He wants to get out, and Claude is assigned to help him do it.
- Donald Love: Donald is a popular businessman in the city, but he has a small problem. He wants to own construction sites that are currently under the control of the local gangs. So he makes Claude an offer he can’t refuse: Take down Kenji Kasen, frame the Cartel, and start a massive gang war. Claude has to agree, and switches sides yet again.
- Catalina: Catalina is currently the leader of the Cartel. She and her partner Miguel are in charge of spreading the new drug and claiming territory. Claude encounters her out on a mission for Donald, but she barely manages to escape.
Grand Theft Auto III Games in the Series
GTA III is the third game in the series, but not all the games are numbers. To keep it all straight, it helps to have a full list of the franchise to see what’s going on.
- GTA (1997): This title was an interesting top-down exploration across digital cities. It struggled for years before finally a rebrand changed the game to Grand Theft Auto, and the rest is history.
- GTA II (1999): The second game in the series brought a slew of updates, including a currency system and the now-famous wanted rating. Get too many wanted stars, and the police would start chasing you around.
- GTA III (2001): The transition to a 3D Liberty City was an enormous success. This game also added a central storyline that would become a key part of gameplay for the rest of the series. A follow called Liberty City Stories was also released in 2005, a sort of mini-sequel for those who enjoyed the game. This practice of adding more stories in additional titles remained for years.
- GTA: Vice City (2002): This game dropped the numbering system while introducing a new area to play. It also introduced some other crimes like robberies. The GTA system we know today was well on its way.
- GTA: San Andreas (2004): San Andreas greatly expanded gameplay mechanics. It added the ability to climb, swim, driving a wide variety of vehicles, and more.
- GTA IV (2008): And back to the numbers! The game also featured a return to Liberty City, and a new engine for crime. The story was more of a focus than ever before. But the game also included all the extra lifestyle and new crime elements from previous titles in one glorious package.
- GTA V (2013): Coming at the perfect time and place, GTA V remains one of the bestselling games of all time, and still frequently hits the top of the charts in some countries. One reason is that it allowed for a wide variety of modding and customization on top the original game. It was also just genuinely a huge game with a lot to do. It was quickly followed by addition of GTA Online, a live-service version of the game, which also attracted an enormous following. The only major downside was that no other games came after. We’re still waiting for GTA VI, which continues to be in development.
Grand Theft Auto III Cheats and Codes
What about the cheats? GTA III has a variety of cheat options depending on how you want to play. Take a look at some of our favorite options below to learn more.
Input Codes During Gameplay
GTA III’s era of games fully embraced in-game cheat codes. That means you can access a wide variety of cheats without needing to download any extra software, enter a debug console, or any of the other common tricks. Instead, you simply need to start a game and input the specific code while you are playing.
Let’s look at some of our favorite codes to enter this way. We’ll look at both the PC versions of the codes and the PlayStation equivalent (when available). In either case, you should practice entering the code a bit, as they need to be entered very quickly to enable them:
- Get all weapons in the game: GUNSGUNSGUNS / R2, R2, L1, R2, LEFT, DOWN, RIGHT, UP, LEFT, DOWN, RIGHT, UP
- Add $250,000 in money: IFIWEREARICHMAN / R2, R2, L1, L1, LEFT, DOWN, RIGHT, UP, LEFT, DOWN, RIGHT, UP
- Get full armor: TORTOISE / R2, R2, L1, L2, LEFT, DOWN, RIGHT, UP, LEFT, DOWN, RIGHT, UP
- Get full health: GESUNDHEIT / R2, R2, L1, R1, LEFT, DOWN, RIGHT, UP, LEFT, DOWN, RIGHT, UP
- Raise your wanted level on demand: MOREPOLICEPLEASE / R2, R2, L1, R2, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT
- Lower your wanted level on demand: NOPOLICEPLEASE / R2, R2, L1, R2, UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN
- Turn all pedestrians hostile to each other: ITSALLGOINGMAAAD / DOWN, UP, LEFT, UP, X, L2, L1, UP, DOWN
- Arm all pedestrians and turn them hostile to each other: WEAPONSFORALL / R2, R1, TRIANGLE, X, L2, L1, UP, DOWN
- Turn all pedestrians hostile to you: NOBODYLIKESME / DOWN, UP, LEFT, UP, A, RB, RT, LB, LT
- Spawn a tank: GIVEUSATANK / CIRCLE, CIRCLE, CIRCLE, CIRCLE, CIRCLE, CIRCLE, R1, L2, L1, TRIANGLE, CIRCLE, TRIANGLE
- Move extra fast: TIMEFLIESWHENYOU / TRIANGLE, UP, RIGHT, DOWN, SQUARE, L1, L2
- Speed up time: MADWEATHER / CIRCLE, CIRCLE, CIRCLE, SQUARE, SQUARE, SQUARE, L1, TRIANGLE, CIRCLE, TRIANGLE
- Make vehicles easier to control: CORNERSLIKEMAD / R1, L1, R2, L1, LEFT, R1, R1, TRIANGLE
- Turn your vehicle invisible: ANICESETOFWHEELS / L1, L1, SQUARE, R2, TRIANGLE, L1, TRIANGLE
- Destroy all vehicles: BANGBANGBANG / L2, R2, L1, R1, L2, R2, TRIANGLE, SQUARE, CIRCLE, TRIANGLE, L2, L1
- Spawn a flying car: CHITTYCHITTYBB / RIGHT, R2, CIRCLE, R1, L2, DOWN, L1, R1
With a little bit of translation, these codes should also work on Xbox and the Switch. Oh, and if you’re playing on an Android you can attach a keyboard and enter the PC cheats to activate them too (works on many phones).
Get Rid of Traffic
If you’re in traffic and it’s annoying you or you’re trying to meet a timer goal, you may be able to get rid of it. Switch the camera up to the top-down view while you are driving. This re-loads all the current traffic, but many times the traffic won’t reload or it will load very slowly. That allows you to drive on clear roads without worrying about getting into accidents.
Restore a Vehicle
Vehicle damage is annoying if you find a vehicle you really like or need for a mission. If you want to fix vehicle damage before the vehicle is completely destroyed, enter the health code we listed above. As long as you’re driving a vehicle, the health cheat should restore the vehicle as well as your character.
Unlock the Flame-Thrower
You can unlock many kinds of weapons for your hideout as you play the game and obtain packages. But the flame-thrower is a unique option. To get it, complete 20 fire missions and you should find the flame-thrower at your local hideout. You’ll have to complete 20 missions in each area of Liberty City to unlock it for each hideout.
Get Hidden Packages
Each section of the city is also filled with hidden packages. Collecting these packages will an increasingly powerful array of great weapons to your hideouts. You can get grenades, armor, an uzi, a sniper rifle, a rocket launcher, and more. Fortunately, fans have already compiled decent lists of the hidden package locations that you can easily access on the wiki. It’ll save you a lot of time!
Grand Theft Auto III Cheats FAQ
We bet you still have some questions on how GAT III cheats work. Here are a few final explanations to help you get started.
Will Cheats Work on the Latest Versions of GTA III Too?
In general, yes. If you have a Definitive or Anniversary edition of the game, the cheat codes should still work. There have been some reports that certain cheats no longer work on the newest versions of the game, such as getting an invisible car. However, all the important cheats for health, weapons, etc. should still work.
What Platforms is GTA III Currently Available On?
Lots of them! You can play it on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, Android, and iOS. Of course, it may play better on some systems than others. When properly translated, our cheat codes above should work across systems.
Do Cheats Come with Any Consequences in GTA III?
You shouldn’t save your game after using cheats…keep them for fun only. If you try saving after using a cheat, it could brick your game, so be warned if you try. Also, if you’re on a platform that has achievements, all achievements will be disabled for that game save after you use a cheat on it.