Forget why we love, this is why I love the Three Leaf Clover Mission in GTA IV! I think this is without a doubt the best mission in any video game that I’ve ever played, but then again I’m completely obsessed with movies and I loved this almost flawless homage to Michael Mann’s Heat. By the time you get to this mission, you’ve already started to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld in Liberty City and you’re starting to get a bit cocky, so when you hear you’re on your way to a pretty big heist you can’t help but think, “I’ve got plenty of guns, some guys to back me up, and there’s probably a pretty quick getaway vehicle nearby, so how hard can this be?”
Getting into the bank is about as easy as it gets and initially things start to go fairly smoothly as you get the bank’s patrons to hit the deck and the staff comply with your wishes, which might have something to do with all the high powered weaponry you’re waving in their faces. Unfortunately, once the explosives are set Derrick and Patrick start arguing amongst themselves, which allows one member of the public, who’s a “gun club member” and fancies himself as a bit of a hero, to whip his piece out (insert childish laughter) and shoot Michael, before the two brothers snap out of their squabbling and end his 15 minutes of fame with some assault rifle action. Then the explosives blast the vault door open, the alarm goes off, and you all have to extract yourselves from this mess with the money in tow.
Before you take your first steps outside, the camera pans around and you see police helicopters circling the area, as a ridiculous amount of squad cars turn up to end your criminal activities and officers clear the public out of the area. At this point the adrenaline’s flowing and your thoughts have changed as panic sets in, “Oh my God, how are we ever going to make it out of here alive and then lose the cops?!!!!!”
This is where you need to calm your nerves, otherwise you’ll fall foul of a sharpshooter and you’ll be back to square one. In order to ensure your survival as you make your escape through a sea of SWAT teams, you’ll need to employ the following tactics: if you’ve got any grenades conserve them until you spot a situation that’ll cause maximum damage, like tossing them into a line of cars the police are taking cover behind; use cover wisely, hug walls before you turn around them, or duck down behind dumpsters until you’ve got a clear shot; take your enemies out as quickly as possible using whatever means are at your disposal; if you spot any health, ammo, or body armour lying around make sure that you can get to it safely otherwise leave it well alone because straying out into a path of bullets just isn’t worth it, unless of course you’re completely out of ammo, or you’re hanging onto life by the smallest of threads; and finally, keep moving, this one’s extremely important because hanging around in the same spot hoping you can completely clear the area just won’t work and’ll lead to you getting surrounded at which point you’re well and truly screwed!
Eventually you’ll come face to face with a chopper, which’ll cause you and your companions to take cover by diving into the nearest subway station. Unfortunately, this area’s also swarming with cops, so you’re back to using the tactics above, only this time you won’t have any cars littering your path to hide behind, or blow up. After jumping onto the train tracks, you’ll find a service stairwell to get back to the street and you’ll be tasked with jacking a four door car to zip back to Packie’s Ma’s house. Once everything’s all done and dusted, you’ll cruise away into the distance $250,000 better off!
The sense of achievement you get from completing this mission is immense and definitely leaves you with your jaw hanging open in amazement. Unfortunately, every other mission you take part in afterwards sits in its shadow because they simply cannot match up to its magnificence. Re-living this moment has made me really excited about GTA V and I can’t wait to see what Rockstar have got up their sleeves to top this one!
First published on Dealspwn (18 December 2011)