The Car Crusher, also known for short as the Crusher, is a feature introduced in Grand Theft Auto 2, which the player may use to crush vehicles for rewards. The feature, however, enjoyed only limited use, appearing only in Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto Advance and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories thereafter.
The process of crushing cars in the games is simple. The player may bring a road vehicle to a designated location near or within the crusher and exit the vehicle, before a crane lifts it and drops it within the crusher, or the compactor moves in. The vehicle is then compacted, and a reward of a certain form is given to the player.
The crusher's function in GTA2 is two-folds. On one hand, the crushing of any car is certain to award the player money as it explodes when crushed (its amount depends on the score multiplier, as well as the vehicle); on the other hand, having certain vehicles crushed may also award the player with weapons, powerups and benefits. By crushing the Schmidt, for example, the player may be provided with health in the Commercial District, and a machine gun in the Residential District.
While the act of delivering a car for crushing is relatively straightforward, acquisition of the reward is more complicated. After a car is crushed, the crushed remains of the car will be lifted onto a moving conveyor belt that leads into a building; in exchange, the reward will be dispensed out onto a second adjoining conveyor belt and will be made available for only a period of time before it enters another building and becomes unavailable. For this reason, the player must hurry onto the conveyor belt to obtain their prize. Because the conveyor belts are elevated, the player can only gain access to them by way of climbing up a ramp or jumping from a platform of a similar height or higher; such props are usually available for the player to access the second belt and acquire their reward. While on the conveyor belt, the player must also be wary not to end up too far into the second building, or they will be "Wasted" for unknown reasons.
The crusher was carried over from its predecessor to GTA III. Located in the Harwood Junkyard in Portland Island, Liberty City, the crusher still crushes vehicles the same way, but its usefulness is reduced to simply awarding the player with small quantities of money, and is only prominently used in two missions ("Dead Skunk in the Trunk" and "The Crook") to familiarize the player with the crusher.
By GTA Vice City, the crusher is no longer available, although there were usable crushers in the beta.
GTA Advance and GTA Liberty City Stories
As GTA Advance and GTA Liberty City Stories reuse the GTA III rendition of Liberty City, the crusher reappears with minor improvements.
For GTA Advance, the player is required to drive their vehicle under the crusher, exit the vehicle and walk away before the compacter moves in. The amount of money given to the player is also generally greater than the average in GTA III, topping at more than four thousand dollars, depending on the size of the vehicle.
While the GTA Liberty City Stories crusher still functions similarly as the one in GTA III, the player may receive a multiplied amount of money from the crusher by completing specific levels of the Scrapyard Challenge. If the player completes the Scrapyard Challenge with 21 points, monetary rewards from the crusher will be increased four folds; a score of 31 points further doubles that amount (to achieve a total factor of 8).
The idea of being rewarded with a destroyed car comes back in GTA V with the scrapyard property. In which the owning protagonist is awarded with $150 per car destroyed.