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Getting Around Town
From the moment you step off the boat, Liberty City can be a daunting place. It's huge, and you start out with just your two feet for mobility. How are you going to get from point A to point B? Well thankfully everyone seems to own a car, so "borrowing" it is a great option. There are also motorcycles if you want to really speed through town. You have to keep your eyes out for the police however, or your wanted level will instantly go up a level.
What if you don't want the hassle of police intervention though? Taxis in this version of GTA are new and improved. They're everywhere, and you can literally tell a taxi to take you anywhere in town. All you have to do is create a waypoint on your map, and the taxi can take you there. Don't want to sit back and enjoy the ride? You can skip the trip for a small fee and arrive in seconds. If you see a taxi with a passenger, you can even kick them out in plain sight of the police. Evidently they don't care as long as taxi has a passenger. If you have a wanted level however, forget it. Taxi drivers don't want anything to do with your kind of trouble.
Maybe travel by sea is your favorite method. Relax, there are boats all over that you can jump into for a ride on the waterways. Much like stealing a car, if you're seen, your wanted level will go up. But you're a professional, right? Boats also give you a quick way to get from one island to the next. Just be careful if an island hasn't opened up yet, or your wanted level will jump right to the top.
The train system in Liberty City is well developed and works very similarly to taxis. You're not able to jack a train of course, but you have the choice to either sit back and enjoy the ride or skip the trip for expediency. The scene ry is pretty nice, but it's up to you.
As far as air travel, you can't fly airplanes unfortunately. There are a couple helicopters available for your use though. They're not easy to find, but they can make for some fun times in the Liberty City skies. The Maverick copter is down at Helitours in southeast Algonquin. If you're really looking for a challenge, the police have a heavily armed copter called an Annihilator.
You can also catch a cable car to Colony Island or ride a window washing unit to the top of a building.
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Making A Few Friends
As you get to know your way around, it's good to make a few friends. As you gain friends, you get access to some interesting benefits. You have to learn what activities and food people you meet like. When you spend time with them in these activities, they make it worth your while. For example, keeping up a good relationship with your cousin Roman allows you to call on him anytime, for a free taxi ride to any location in town.
Little Jacob is another noteworthy friend you need to woo. Once your "Little Jacob Like" stat rises above 75%, Jacob can become your personal weapons dealer. He'll stop by wherever you are, pop open the trunk, and you have instant access to some sweet deals.
Brucie is your neighborhood testosterone-filled tough guy, but having him on your side has some sweet benefits. When his "Like" stat rises above 75%, you can call on him for a helicopter ride to anywhere in Liberty City. Now thats a nice perk.
Are you having trouble with a mission? If you are Dwayne's best bud (i.e. his "Like" stat is above 75%), you can call in a favor and he'll send over two homies to back you up. They come packin', and the extra firepower can make all the difference.
Packie may be Irish, but he can really help you out if he likes you enough. If he's your friend, you can call him anytime and he'll drop off a car bomb for you. Place it under the car of your choice, and detonation is only a phone call away.
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GTA IV takes the prospect of dating to a whole new level. There are a number of potential girlfriends for you, but like any relationship, they want attention. They don't all have the same personality, so you're going to have to figure out just what it takes to make their heart beat. But once you have them wrapped around your finger, the possibilities really begin.
Kate and Michelle are two girls you can date early on. Unfortunately, the only benefit to keeping them happy is if you're looking for the 100% achievement. Other than that, they don't really do much for you. Carmen is a different story. If Carmen is happy with you, you can call her up for a quick health boost. Kiki is another girl who has provides some nice...services. When she likes you, she can help you get rid of up to three wanted levels. Alex is the girl for you if you like to shop. Her adoration allows you to receive a 50% discount at all clothing stores for 24 hours.
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Off The Beaten Path
You can play through the game, merely following the main storyline. But if you really want to get the most out of the game, you need to keep your eyes open. Occasionally as you drive around, you'll see blue icons on people. These are random encounters that pop up from time to time, and they provide some side missions you can work through. While they don't give you any long-lasting benefits, they do serve to lengthen your game time and immerse you deeper into Liberty City.
Much like previous versions of GTA, there are jump locations throughout the city for your action enjoyment. You'll see a ramp (or something that can be used as a ramp) just begging you to drive over it at high speed. Many of them require the speed of a motorcycle, and some are downright difficult to achieve. If the visual becomes cinematic, you know you've made it. These are also necessary if you're looking for that 100% achievement.
You can also take a look at the Most Wanted lists in police cars. These provide quick takedown missions where you try to capture criminals for various crimes. Interestingly enough, your name is not on the list for some reason. Reminiscent of an episode of Cops, these diversions from the main storyline can be a blast. Stepping outside the police car for more than 30 seconds however, ends the mission. Incidentally, these missions do not become available until you have finished the Crime And Punishment mission.