Police Helicopter (GTA III)

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In Grand Theft Auto III, an unnamed, uncontrollable police helicopter is used in police pursuits on the player. The helicopter serves as the predecessor of the Police Maverick, which, debuting in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, has a official name and attributes inherited from GTA III's police helicopter.

Description

The police helicopter appears only after the player attains a three-star wanted level, initially hovering just over the player. Due to its airborne capabilities, the police helicopter is able to reach the places where conventional police forces can't (i.e. rooftops and off-road locales). However, the helicopter will retreat as soon as the player enters a enclosure where the helicopter cannot reach (such as a building interior or tunnel). Despite its availability in the game, the helicopter cannot be commandeered by the player in the same way as the Police Maverick.

The helicopter is defined as a large helicopter, with a body design similar to a Bell 212 and bearing a blue-and-white LCPD livery similarly adopted for the game's police road vehicles early in game development. The helicopter comes equipped with a gunner or turret, which fires bullets from its underside, a search light that is commonly used at night, and a loudspeaker used by occupants on board to (hilariously) address the player. According to in-universe materials, the helicopters were only recently introduced in Liberty City (circa 2001) to aid the police force in fighting crime.

At three stars, the helicopter will only open fire on the player if it is shot at in the first place. From four stars onwards, however, the helicopter will indefinitely shoot the player regardless. By five stars, a second police helicopter will join in, doubling police firepower from the air.

As is any airborne vehicle, the helicopter can be shot down using firearms. The rocket launcher, in particular, is effective in taking down any police helicopter with one hit, sending the helicopter spinning out of control before exploding and disintegrating on impact with a building or on the ground. The M-16 is also equally useful in disabling a helicopter, but requires a number of shots before the helicopter begins to loss control.

Unmarked variant

The police helicopter's model is reused in the final mission of GTA III, The Exchange, where it appears with a white body color instead of its standard police livery. The helicopter is used by Catalina as a means to drop explosives on Cochrane Dam in an attempt to kill the player. However, like the police helicopter, Catalina's helicopter can be shot down the same way: With a rocket launcher or a powerful gun.