Adrenaline pills are items scattered around Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto III and Liberty City Stories as well as Vice City in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City that boosts the player's strength and slows down the game's time.
When collected by the player, the adrenaline pills give the player a temporary boost of speed while seemingly slowing down time. While the game's speed is slowed down, the player's aiming speed is the same as it would normally be, which is handy when engaged in gun battles such as police, gangs or during rampages. The player can also jump further than normal. Strangely, entering a vehicle resets the speed to normal again.
In Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, there seems to be a glitch where making the smallest of drops, such as walking off a sidewalk and onto the road, can cause some considerable damage.
Many players consider the adrenaline pills to be an illicit drug the player takes, which may also explain their absence in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, since the main characters in these games have a dislike towards drugs. However, in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, an "adrenaline effect" cheat code exists which makes the same impact when entered.
It appears the adrenaline was removed from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas at a late stage of development, as the BradyGames Official Strategy Guide not only shows numerous pick-up locations across the state for the drug, primarily around Las Venturas, but the walk-through even suggests its use during missions in the Casino Heist strand.
- The usefulness of adrenaline pills is somewhat limited, as they come into effect as soon as the player collects the icon and wear off a predetermined amount of time later; unless there happens to be an adrenaline pick-up close to a major confrontation, the inability to trigger the effect on command means much of the benefits will simply be wasted.
- In Liberty City Stories, when playing the "shooting from the bike" minigames, by pressing the X button the player will take this pill (until a maximum of three). Furthermore, this is the only time the adrenaline pill doesn't lose the effect when in a vehicle (on the bike in this case).
- A similar feature to the adrenaline pills returned in Grand Theft Auto V in the form of special abilities for Michael and Franklin, who can slow down time for use in gun battles and whilst driving, respectively.