Health as a statistic
Measurement of health on HUDs was not prominent in the original Grand Theft Auto, as the game has no indication of the player's health - players will simply die after an unspecified amount of minimal damage. Grand Theft Auto 2, however, gave players indication of the health for the first time, measuring it using a 5-heart gauge, with each heart denoted as full, half-sized and depleted, thus giving the health a 10-level scale.
From Grand Theft Auto III onwards, the 5-heart system is replaced by a numbered counter, with its default maximum as 100%; in most of these games, the player's health can be extended, usually as a reward for completing one or more side missions.
Health pickups scattered around the map can restore the player's health to the maximum level. Between Grand Theft Auto 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV, health pickups are generally shaped as rotating health icon with the symbol of a heart. In GTA IV, health pickups are shaped as medical kits. Health can be also replenished by up to 20% when entering Ambulances.
Many things can damage the player's health: being shot, stabbed, or beaten, fire, explosives, being struck by a vehicle, drowning, being thrown from a vehicle, and falling from heights. When the player's health is completely depleted, the protagonist is considered "wasted", and is then transported to the nearest hospital, after which a fee for healthcare will be assessed, and all weapons confiscated. Any mission that may have been in progress at the time is considered as failed.
Accessibility of health pickups varies between games:
- In Grand Theft Auto III, health pickups can be found in front of all hospitals and scattered throughout Liberty City, often in recreational areas such as rest stops, parks, and shopping centers. Employing the services of a prostitute also replenishes health to a possible total of 125%.
- In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, health pickups appear in Vice City primarily in front of hospitals and replenish the player's health to maximum for $100 (default 100%, which can be extended to 200%). Food stores only help you replenish up to 100% health. The player's maximum health can be increased to 150% by performing Pizza Boy side missions. The player's maximum health will be 200% after the 100% Completion.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, health pickups appear in San Andreas during gang warfare and in most missions involving a lot of gun fights. Health is replenished to maximum, which is a variable scale that can be increased by performing paramedic side missions and exercising (sprinting, swimming, or visiting a gym).
- In Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, health pickups like in the previous games appear randomly around the city and always inside safehouses and by hospitals. Maximum health can be increased by finishing the Pizza Boy and Noodle Boy side-missions, with each of them increasing 25% health, when completed.
- In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, health pickups here appear in the same form as in Liberty City Stories and are always inside safehouses and by hospitals. Increasing the maximum health requires completing the odd job, Air Rescue.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV, health packs are found all over Liberty City, generally in out-of-the-way locales, Hospitals, and in subway stations. The player can use their Phones to call Paramedics to their location to heal them for a fee. Food stands and stores are dotted around the city, and are great for replenishing health. A map of health pickups is shown in the game's website www.whattheydonotwantyoutoknow.com.The functionality of health packs in GTA IV is also extended in multiplayer modes, when it can also be used to repair a vehicle the player is in by simply driving onto a health pickup.
- If there is someone in your car in GTA IV, TBOGT and TLAD multiplayer and they are hanging out of the car window or got their arm out and you get a health pack and the window appears back and they are still out of the window when they have it stuck, but if they stop holding LT or L2, they put themselves back into the car, hold it again and then they smash the window.
- In GTA lIl and GTA Vice City you can increase your health above 100 by having sex with a Prostitute and it will slowly increase to 125 (GTA III) or 150 (GTA VC)
- GTA San Andreas is the first GTA III era game to feature a health bar, rather than the number counter.
- ln GTA lV, its episodes, and GTA CW the health/armor bars come in the form of a semi-circles, rather than bars.
- GTA IV is the first game in the whole series that shows physical damage on the protagonist, since as they get shot bullet holes and blood will appear on their bodies. Also, when burnt to death, their textures will change to one where their clothing and skin is burnt to ashes and when they kill a person near themselves, blood splatters on their faces.
- In GTA V, the protagonists have refilling health up to 50%.