Can I fly any helicopters in this game?
Top Voted Answer
If you are playing the game "as intended" (not using any cheats or exploits), then there are no available helicopters to use until you've unlocked the bridges to the mainland by playing through the storyline. The player is not meant to have such free-roam capability this early in the game.
However, the Police Maverick and VCN News helicopters will spawn on top of their respective buildings in the downtown area of the mainland regardless of how much of the storyline has progressed...so you could use a cheat (such as flying or floating cars) to drive to the mainland whenever you want, or use an exploit (such as driving a PCJ600 *through* the Southern bridge's barricade or jumping over the film studio walls) to do the same thing. Visiting either of those buildings allows you to use their respective helicopter whenever you choose. It should be mentioned that any use of such "exploits" to gain early access to the mainland could be considered as "cheating"...even though the game engine does not recognise it as such.
There are 3 other helicopters that you can force the game to spawn earlier than intended. The easiest of these is the regular Maverick, which is given to you upon purchase of the Hyman condo in the downtown area. Due to a glitch, it's recommended that you do not purchase the Hyman condo before the bridges have been unblocked in the original version of the game until you've collected at least 70 "hidden packages"...or some of your weapon spawns may not appear there. IIRC, this glitch was corrected in revisions.
The other two helicopters are "awards" for such hidden package collection. Both of them are armed:
* The "Sea Sparrow", which spawns behind the Diaz mansion on Starfish Island following collection of at least 80 hidden packages. This helicopter features an auto-targeting "chain gun" assault weapon with unlimited ammo, and is capable of landing on water.
* The "Hunter" helicopter, which spawns on the North end of the Ft. Baxter military base following collection of all 100 hidden packages. This helicopter features the same unlimited-ammo chaingun weapon the Sea Sparrow has, but can also fire an unlimited number of explosive rockets. This vehicle is also valid to use during the "Vigilante" sub-mission (if begun within this vehicle, it is called "Brown Thunder"...but the mission is essentially the same) - and you are still given the option of swapping to a ground police or military vehicle (or visa-versa) within a mission in progress. This is much easier to obtain after you have access to a police uniform so that unprovoked guards will not shoot at you...but it is possible to steal while they are still a threat. Try flying in from the North and swapping vehicles before they get a chance to spawn! ;-)
Other flyable craft featured in the game require a given degree of storyline completion to "unlock":
Maverick (Vercetti Estate): spawns on the rooftop helipad following completion of "Rub Out" - in which you take control of the Diaz mansion. Differs in no way from the Maverick you can aquire atop the Hyman condo.
Sparrow (at 4 locations): used to complete "Checkpoint Challenge" races once the bridges have been unblocked. Unlike the Sea Sparrow, these helicopters are not capable of landing on water.
Dodo floatplane (behind the Northern wall of the film studio on Parwn Island following completion of the "Di|do Dodo" asset mission): Not a helicopter, but an air vehicle regardless.
Sparrow (within the film studio's walls on Prawn Island): Appears here following completion of the "Martha's Mugshot" asset mission. Differs in no way from the Sparrow helicopters featured in the checkpoint races.
Hunter (from the helipad at the Southernmost point of the Eastern island you start out at): Appears here upon completion of the storyline AND all packages have been collected. There is some degree of difficulty to get this helicopter to spawn, but it will eventually. Differs in no way from the Hunter which spawns at Ft. Baxter following hidden package completion.
Nukey_Shay (Expert) - 5 years ago
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