Last modified on 18 November 2012, at 14:00

Wanted Level in GTA Chinatown Wars

The wanted level of the player is indicated by the amount of yellow stars and police cars on the top right hand corner of the player's screen. In this image, the player has obtained a four star wanted level.

A Wanted Level in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is a measure of how much the player is wanted by Liberty City law enforcement, and therefore how much force will be used in pursuit of the player. As in previous games, the GTA CW's Wanted Level System is measured on a six-star scale, ranking police lethality from the non-lethal one star to the extremely aggressive six stars.

Relatively minor crimes committed within sight of the police may attract one star. Committing serious crimes is likely to earn multiple stars outright — for example, killing or wounding a police officer with a firearm results in an immediate three star Wanted Level, rather than a two star Wanted Level like in previous GTA games.

Wanted Level stars are cumulative — repeatedly committing "one-star" crimes within sight of police may lead to a two-star rating, and so on.

Once the player has a Wanted Level, LCPD officers give chase and attempt to arrest the player; if caught, the player is transported to the nearest police station and released a few hours later after a fine (10% of the player's current cash balance) and the confiscation of all weapons.

Police officers can arrest the player by holding them at gunpoint — if the player is in a vehicle, the protagonist surrenders immediately; if on foot, the player can resist arrest by running away and/or fighting back, however this immediately escalates a one-star wanted level to two-stars (three if the player chooses to retaliate with a firearm and kills or wounds the arresting officer) and causes the officer to open fire, a risky endeavor at close range. If the player is at low health (flashing red), it is a better option to get wasted rather than busted as the player retains his weapons if sent to a hospital.

As the player's Wanted Level increases, law enforcement spends less energy trying to arrest the player and more trying to kill the player at all costs. As such, it is almost impossible to get arrested at a Wanted Level of three stars or higher, although police will attempt vehicular arrests if the opportunity arises.

Description

The wanted level in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is substantially different from previous iterations. Rather than the proximity-based system used in Grand Theft Auto IV, it returns to a version similar to that of the GTA III era. The most notable difference to this is how stars are lost. Though over time they do lower themselves, and can still be lost at a Pay 'n' Spray out of police view, stars can also be removed by disabling police cars. Each wanted level has a corresponding number of cars to take out (ie, the first level has one car, the second has two, etc). The cars can be taken out by ramming at high speed or by forcing them to crash, like bumping them into a wall. Using weapons to disable a pursuing police vehicle is considered as retaliation, and the disabled vehicle does not count towards reducing the current wanted level. There is a slight delay period after this before the rating will lower, and the player is on "probationary" stars for a period, as in GTA III era games, before being clear.

The visibility of the player to the police is indicated by the radar in the PSP version of the game.

The player finds out if he/she is in sight of the police by looking at the radar. The radar will flash between red and blue if the player is in sight of the police, but will stay blue if the player is out of sight of the police.

Losing a wanted level

Pay 'n' Spray

Unlike GTA III era games, Wanted Levels cannot be reduced by picking up police bribes, as these no longer exist; the Pay 'n' Spray service is, however, still available. Unlike in previous games, Pay 'n' Sprays cannot be used in sight of police, even for vehicle repair; visibility to police is indicated by whether the radar is flashing between red and blue (visible) or a stationary blue (out of sight). Pay 'n' Sprays instantly remove the player's Wanted level, and their use advances the in-game clock three hours.

Swapping vehicles

GTA CW gives the player the opportunity to swap vehicles while he is wanted. This makes the cops less likely to find the player as the police dispatcher relies on the last known location of the player as well as the colour, build, and model of the vehicle the player was last seen driving. Like the Pay 'n' Spray, swapping a vehicle can only be done if the player is out of the sight of the police. When possible, the player should obtain a replacement vehicle in a secluded area. At higher wanted levels, swapping vehicles is essential in order to keep police confused and to ensure that the player has a fresh getaway vehicle. The player must be careful not to stay in the area too long or meet any police car head-on while the radar is blue, as the police will eventually recognize the player, causing the radar to start flashing.

In-game help

When the player attains their first Wanted level, the game displays information to briefly explain the Wanted level system.

If a cop sees you commit a crime, you will get a wanted level, indicated by a yellow star.


The more stars you have, the more harder the cops try to take you down.
You can disable pursuing cop cars by causing them to crash or ramming them at high speed.
As you shake off more cops, the wanted stars will start to dim.
The radar will remain blue when you are hidden from the cops. Hiding will help you lose your wanted level.
When your stars are flashing, you have evaded the cops. Stay out of trouble to lose your wanted level completely.


Wanted levels

One star

A one star wanted level in GTA Chinatown Wars.
A one star wanted level in GTA Chinatown Wars.

A one star wanted level is obtained when the player does a "minor crime". Any LCPD police patrols will give chase and attempt to arrest the player on sight. Officers on foot use the nightstick against the player. Police cars follow the player at relatively low speeds. A one star wanted level can be removed by staying out of trouble and police sight for a short while, using the Pay 'n Spray, or disabling one police vehicle.

A one-star Wanted level is attained by committing the following crimes:

  • Attacking and/or killing civilians (explosives may lead to higher levels)
  • Damaging and/or destroying vehicles (explosives may lead to higher levels)
  • Attacking or crashing into a police vehicle
  • Discharging a weapon in a public place
  • Carjacking or stealing a parked vehicle
  • Driving a vehicle with the alarm going off
  • Breaking through a toll booth in a civilian vehicle without paying

Two stars

A two star wanted level in GTA Chinatown Wars.

At two stars, officers shoot to kill more often. Officers in cars now chase the player, rather than simply following behind, and often try to overtake the player or run them off-road. Two Wanted stars are attained by:

  • Killing or wounding a police officer
  • When drug dealing, there is a random chance of a drug bust happening, which leads to two-stars.
  • Continuing to cause collateral damage (killing civilians and destroying vehicles)

Three stars

A three star wanted level in GTA Chinatown Wars.

At three stars, a police helicopter chases the player. Roadblocks are also set up using Police Cruisers, and the NOOSE joins the LCPD. The NOOSE uses the heavy Enforcers which are harder to take out by disabling them. The NOOSE teams also use the Micro Uzi to engage the player.

Three Wanted stars are attained by:

  • Continuing to retaliate against law enforcement
  • Continuing to cause collateral damage

Four stars

A four star wanted level in GTA Chinatown Wars.

At four stars, more Enforcers and Police cars are dispatched. The FIB also gives chase using the FIB Rancher. The FIB Ranchers are slightly easier to take out than the NOOSE Enforcers, but are much faster to compensate. FIB teams come only one a vehicle and use the Micro Uzi to engage the player.

Four Wanted stars are attained by:

  • Continuing to retaliate against law enforcement
  • Continuing to cause collateral damage

Five stars

At five stars, a greater number of FIB Ranchers, Enforcers and Police Cruisers pursue the player and become more aggressive on foot and on the road.

Five Wanted stars are attained by

  • Continuing to retaliate against law enforcement
  • Continuing to cause collateral damage

Six stars

At six stars, the army joins the fray. The army engages the player relentlessly without any regard for collateral damage. The army sends Rhino tanks after the player. Unlike the GTA III era soldiers, the army uses the Rhino's turret in full effect. Soldiers on foot are armed with AK-47s, and the player must move and/or retaliate quickly to avoid being cut down by gunfire.

Six Wanted stars are attained by:

  • Continuing to retaliate against law enforcement
  • Continuing to cause collateral damage

Tips

  • Your getaway vehicle you're driving in is important:
    • On a 2 to 4 star wanted level, a sport (also a muscle or a tuner) car is a better vehicle to be used as it's speed easily outruns any police vehicles or you could go into any restaurant or anything you could go inside and lay low for a while.
    • On a 5 star wanted level, where FBI Ranchers tend to knock you off road, large vehicles like Dumper, Bus, Barracks or other large vehicles are recommended since its size means it isn't easy to be pushed around.
    • On a 6 star wanted level, a Rhino is your last hope of running away from being "Busted" since any vehicles that runs into it will simply explode (except motorbikes in GTA San Andreas, but you can be knocked off of one easily). Even Rhinos themselves are not all that durable against other Rhinos, as this vehicle can only be damaged by hitting another Rhino, or fire (making Molotov Cocktails an unlikely, but practical choice of weapon if one has good cover).
    • A slow vehicle is NOT be recommended for a 3 to 6 wanted star level.
  • If you have one wanted level star, go to any alley or places that people don't usually hang out.
  • Prioritize escaping from or killing officers with advanced or heavy weaponry, as they can kill a player near instantly.
  • A good strategy to lose a one star wanted level is to enter the subway system with a vehicle (preferrably a motorbike) and follow the underground routes until out of the search radius, but the player must be careful not to get lost in the system or getting hit by the oncoming Subway Trains.
  • Stunt jumping gives the player considerable distance from the police but may not guarantee total escape, as certain factors, such as wanted level radius, environment of the stunt jump, "projectile" motion concept of physics, and the position of other police units, come into play.
  • The player can listen to the police radio while being chased; it will indicate which vehicles the police are sending after the protagonist. The "dispatched from [location]" gives the general spawning point for police vehicles. Some are: "Dispatch X (number of police units, usually 2-6) units from __", "Dispatch Air Unit from __", "Dispatch FIB team from __" and "Dispatch NOOSE team from __".
  • Run through alleys and narrow streets to give the cops the slip.
  • If the player is low on health, it is better for the player to get wasted rather than busted because if the player gets wasted, they lose money, but get to keep their weapons while getting busted makes the player lose both money and their weapons.
  • On high wanted levels (at least 3 stars), constantly swap vehicles to confuse the police, FIB, NOOSE and military, as this makes the cops less likely to find the player as the police dispatcher relies on the last known location of the player as well as the color, make, and model of the vehicle the player was last seen driving. At higher wanted levels, swapping vehicles is essential in order to keep police confused and to ensure that the player has a fresh getaway vehicle.
  • When swapping vehicle to confuse the police, like the Pay 'n' Spray, swapping a vehicle can only be done if the player is out of the sight of the police. When possible, the player should obtain a replacement vehicle in a secluded area.
  • The player must be careful not to stay in the area too long or meet any police car head-on while the stars are gray when they are swapping a vehicle or driving a swapped vehicle, as the police will eventually recognize the player, causing the wanted radius to refocus to the player's current location.
  • To save money, only use the Pay 'n' Spray if you have a wanted level of at least 3 stars, as it is easy to escape 1 and 2 star wanted levels.
  • Hijack a law enforcement vehicle whenever a wanted level of at least 3 stars is obtained. That way, you can hear where the LCPD, FIB and NOOSE will send reinforcments and where they are waiting to ambush you.