Missions

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Missions are storyline objective tasks given to the protagonist in the Grand Theft Auto series by other characters in order to further advance the storyline. Missions act as a modern version of levels in video games, and the equivalent of quests in role-playing games.

Missions are usually given to the protagonist by contacts such as gang leaders, either directly or through mediums such as phone calls. However some missions are taken on by the protagonist themselves in response to a changing situation.

Missions make up the bulk of 100% completion of the game, not least because they introduce and encapsulate many aspects of the game, including controls, vehicles, locations, weapons, food, clothing etc. 100% completion of the game is entirely optional, and only used as a personal statistic. However most people prefer to complete the story Missions.

Story Missions

Side Missions

Side missions are 'optional' missions, separate to the storyline, that can be taken repeatedly at any time. These range from Vehicle-based missions to importing/exporting cars.

Vehicle Missions

Vehicle Missions include Vigilante, Taxi Missions, Paramedic missions, and others. These are activated by entering a relevant vehicle and pressing the side-mission button. When the mission starts you have a time limit to complete the set of objectives in that level, which is calculated with respect to distance. Cash is rewarded for completion within time. If you run out of time, or leave the vehicle for too long, the mission fails and you must start from level 1.

Each level gets progressively harder, but the remaining time on the previous levels stacks up to make the harder levels easier. Once the top level is completed (usually level 12), a relevant reward is given to the player. For example in GTA San Andreas, completing the Firefighter missions grants the 'Fireproof' ability, which makes the player immune to flames.

Collectibles

GTA III Era games require the player to collect various collectible items to obtain 100%. These include Hidden Packages, Photo Ops, Horseshoes etc. Rewards are obtained for collecting certain amounts of the collectibles.