The Annihilator's design and real-life counterpart is comparable to that of the Raindance in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It fills the attack helicopter role previously taken by the 3D Universe Hunter. The Annihilator is upgraded in The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, where it moves more quickly and fires explosive rounds instead of the regular ones seen in Grand Theft Auto IV.
Operated by the LC Patriotism And Immigration Authority, or NOOSE, the Annihilator is one of two armed Law Enforcement Vehicles (the other being the Fire Truck, which is a "law enforcement" vehicle used for riot control) in GTA IV. It is occasionally seen patrolling the skies above Liberty City in single player mode, often over the East Borough Bridge and Hickey Bridge. Its livery is modeled after the US Custom And Border Protection's Office Of CBP Air and Marine Colors.The helicopter moves quicker than any other vehicle in GTA IV, but is more difficult to slow down as a result. An effective way to slow down is to stop accelerating, pull back, and accelerate once again with the L-Stick still held back, as opposed to simply reversing.
The Annihilator is armed with four side-mounted miniguns, which are difficult to aim and require reloading after prolonged fire, but are very devastating to people and vehicles alike, and are supplied with an infinite amount of ammunition, although they overheat after 100 rounds are fired, so the player would have to wait for two seconds or so before they can resume firing. Players can also use the spinning rotors as weapons as they will slice people who get caught in them and make the vehicles fly, along with chopping off parts of other helicopters, such as the tail. AI-Controlled Annihilators never use their miniguns, instead relying on two NOOSE Tactical Response Unit Officers seated on the two rounds to fire on the player with M4A1s.A passenger in an Annihilator (or any other helicopter) can fire a rifle whether they are in the large passenger bay in the center of the chopper, or in the co-pilot's seat. However, this is very difficult, as the helicopter's speed and lack of steadiness will not aid in the accuracy of the weapon. Also, when a pistol or submachine gun is fired from the Annihilator's, it will usually not have the range to hit the target.
The only weapons that can truly duke it out with the Annihilator are RPGs, assault rifles, or other Annihilators. The RPG can completely destroy the Annihilator, or blast its tail off, forcing it to spin out of control. Annihilators facing other Annihilator's can do the same, or they can shoot off the rotor, also causing a crash. Rifle users have the range and stopping power to potentially kill pilots and/or passengers. Patient snipers may also be able to pluck a pilot out of the sky with a headshot.
Entering the Annihilator in multiplayer automatically grants the player a RPG with 8 rounds.
Episodes from Liberty City
The Lost and Damned
In The Lost and Damned, the Annihilator is given explosive shells, and the top speed is increased, albeit not very noticeably. The minigun rounds will destroy cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even other helicopters and enemies with only a few shots. However the rounds fired from the Annihilator cannot be visible in TLAD, making accurate shots harder, but the explosive rounds make up for the inaccurancy. When the explosive rounds, speed, and damage resistance are all put together, this equates to an extremely deadly vehicle, especially when facing an experienced pilot.
The Annihilator is very difficult to acquire in single player in TLAD, possibly because Johnny lacks flight qualifications for any type of aircraft (conversely, Niko knows how to fly helicopters from his time in the military and Luis has recently received a pilot's license). It cannot be seen parked on any of the helipads in the city. As a result, it can only be acquired with cheats, or by sniping an Annihilator pilot flying low enough so that the helicopter won't explode upon crashing. The Annihilator remains available in TLAD's Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch.
The Ballad Of Gay Tony
In The Ballad Of Gay Tony, the helicopter remains the same as TLAD's version, but this time it is easier to obtain during gameplay, occasionally spawning on the MeTV building or the LCPD station in Lower Easton. NOOSE may now employ the helicopter's miniguns in full effect to assault the player during the missions High Dive, Not So Fast, and For the Man Who Has Everything. However, during normal gameplay, they will not use the miniguns.
The Annihilator is also removed from Team Deathmatch and Deathmatch, just as Annihilators were removed from TLAD's freemode. The Annihilator is still fairly balanced when compared to Buzzard. The Buzzard is equipped with twin miniguns along with missiles, and is a lot more agile. However, the Annihilator is faster and can hold four people while the Buzzard only holds two, and additionally the Annihilator has more armor and its explosive ammo makes up for its lack of missiles.
Grand Theft Auto Online
Visually, the Annihilator remains mostly the same as its GTA IV predecessor. It has gained some visual updates, like a red light that illuminates the passenger bay and a more detailed metal fuselage texture. There is also, like most helicopters, a nightvision camera that allows a co-pilot to look through.
On the other hand, in terms of performance, it now differs a lot from its predecessor; the miniguns fire at a much faster rate and, thanks to now having a crosshair (like other armed aircraft in GTA V), it becomes much easier to aim and hit targets with them, but its still relatively ineffective at longer ranges. They are, like in IV, normal minigun rounds, instead of the explosive ones featured in the episodes, yet that doesn't make them any less deadly against enemies, whether on foot or in vehicles. Another big advantage is the fact that it can now carry 2 more players, therefore being able to easily transport a team of 6 around the map. On the other hand, the Annihilator is now much slower, and feels even heavier to handle, being comparable to the Cargobob. This makes it hard to compete against the Buzzard, but still makes the Annihilator remain as a useful and great transport for crews.
GTA IV Singleplayer
- One on a helipad at the East Holland Police Station in Algonquin. It is watched over by LCPD Officers armed with M4A1s, but stealing it will only attract the usual one star for vehicle theft, which can easily be evaded with the chopper.
- One on the helipad atop the Lower Easton Police Station in Algonquin.
- One in Purgatory near the Golden Pier. Taking this will attract no Wanted Rating, since no one is guarding it. It can also be found in Multiplayer.
- One in Francis International Airport in Singleplayer. Taking this will attract a 4 star wanted level, as the Annihilator is in the FIA runway area.
- An Annihilator spawns on top of the MeTV building in Algonquin in place of a Maverick after the player shoots all 200 pigeons.
- Spawn by dialing 359-555-0100 using the phone. This disables the Walk Free and One Man Army achievements.
- One can be seen flying over the Hickey Bridge.
GTA IV Multiplayer
- At the Helitours heliport.
- One on top of the Fire Station in Southwest Alderney.
- On top of the police station on the West Side of the Parking Building at the Francis International Airport.
- On top of a building in The Exchange.
- On top of a building in Castle Gardens.
- Can be seen patrolling around Charge Island.
- Can be found at the heliport in the airport in IV and TBoGT.
- On top of the police station in Northwood in IV only.
- On top of the Liberty City Rampage building IV only.
- Can be bought for $1,825,000 from ElitasTravel.com after reaching Rank 37.
- Can be found on numerous helipads at Rank 37 and above.
Prominent mission appearances
- Grand Theft Auto IV
- The Snow Storm
- Three Leaf Clover
- Out of Commission (Revenge Ending)
- A Revenger's Tragedy (Deal Ending)
- The Lost and Damned
- The Ballad of Gay Tony
- Grand Theft Auto Online
- When entering or landing the Annihilator in crowded areas, pedestrians will flee the area to give the Annihilator ample space to land. Vehicles, however, will not flee the area. They will instead try to drive around.
- During development, the Annihilator was painted black overall, with a NOOSE emblem. The final version includes a yellow stripe along the fuselage.
- The Annihilator is the only helicopter in the original GTA IV that is not a variant of the Maverick.
- The helicopter, like all other helicopters in the game, can lose its main rotor or tail broom, causing it to either hurtle towards the ground or spin continuously.
- Although the Annihilator has four M134 7.62 NATO miniguns, each has an unrealistically low rate of fire (ROF) of 200 rounds per minute (RPM). The ROF of all four guns is 800 RPM (13 rounds per second), comparable that of an SMG; in real life, each of these should fire at least 4000 RPM, with the helicopter's total ROF being 16000 RPM (266 rds/second) to 24000 RPM (400 rds/second) with all miniguns firing. However, when heard from a third-person view, it sounds as if the miniguns are firing much faster than during normal circumstances.
- Along with the APC and Buzzard, the Annihilator is one of the few vehicles in GTA IV and its episodes to have mounted weapons (along with the Fire Truck, which has a mounted water cannon not specifically intended as a weapon).
- The Annihilator is the only Law Enforcement Vehicle in single player, aside from the Prison Bus, with a radio.
- If the tail is broken or shot off, it is possible to keep the helicopter airborne. The player must keep holding the throttle down to keep the helicopter from descending, and use the left thumbstick to keep the helicopter from flipping upside down. As with other helicopters which have lost their tail, it is possible to move slowly in a general direction by nudging the joystick forward when the helicopter is facing the right way.
- Just as the main rotor blades can be broken by keeping them in a confined space the tail rotor blades can to be broken, this gives the same effect as the whole tail being broken off, just spinning around in circles.
- If the player attempts to climb onto the helicopter's back wings, the player will immediately fall off and take a little damage. Same applies when climbing on the top of mounted miniguns though it is rare to fall off.
- If you do break off the tail, you can use the health cheat to make it reappear ; strangely, sparks will fly out of the tail as if it were not there, but is still functional.
- The Annihilator exists as a modification for GTA San Andreas, its default replacement is the Hunter.
- Although the Annihilator does not come equipped with a Police Computer, it can still be used for Vigilante Missions. Simply activate the side mission in a different police vehicle, then leave it and enter the Annihilator. The mission will continue as normal. However, the helicopter must descend to street level when approaching the criminals to actually continue with the mission.
- The Annihilator has a bullet-proof windshield and door windows, however, when Niko steals one, he will break it with his arm.
- Although the Annihilator has been updated on the PC version of GTA IV, the Annihilator has arguably faster miniguns and also has very high amount of damage output. The miniguns seen on the PC Annihilator do not exist on the console versions, therefore for making it harder to kill other players or inflict damage. Although the Buzzard's miniguns shoot at the same speed, they do not have the same amount of damage output when compared to the Annihilator on the PC version.
- If you are fortunate enough to find an Annihilator that has crashed and landed, (blown up or not) running into the helicopter will give you an instant 1 star wanted level because it is considered a vehicle of the LCPD.
- The Annihilator in the final mission (A Revenger's Tragedy or Out of Commission) of GTA IV has unique properties: it has one back door closed and the helicopter has a unique warning sound.
- Because there can be two NPC operated Annihilators on the map at once, they will constantly crash into each other and buildings. Sometimes, if very lucky, the Annihilators will crash and kill themselves without the player doing anything.
- The Annihilator's minigun barrels don't actually rotate, as opposed to in real life.
- The Annihilator can be found in the GTA V single player. It is just very hard to obtain.
- Buzzard, another attack helicopter in The Ballad of Gay Tony and Grand Theft Auto V.
- Police Maverick, another law enforcement helicopter.
- Hunter, an attack helicopter from GTA Vice City to GTA Vice City Stories.