The Hunter is based on the Boeing (formerly Hughes, then McDonell Douglas) AH-64 Apache. In GTA Vice City and GTA Vice City Stories, the Hunter is an aesthetically correct AH-64A, though in VCS, it is technically a YAH-64 as the helicopter did not formally enter service with the United States Army until 1986. The version featured in GTA San Andreas has a similar design, however it omits the co-pilot/gunner's seat, uses an eight-bladed tail rotor and has a canopy that swings open vertically, as with the Hydra jet.
A deadly aircraft, the Hunter is armed with a semi-autonumous targeting chin-mounted chain gun and dual rocket launchers, which can launch two unguided rockets simultaneously. Like the Rhino and the Hydra, both weapons have unlimited ammunition. In addition, it is highly resistant to damage, but is by no means indestructible. Despite being an army vehicle, it is never used by the military or hostile factions in any game outside scripted circumstances.
A special Vigilante Mission is available with the Hunter, the Brown Thunder mission.
The Hunter is in the trailer for The Simian, and like in GTA VC, GTA LCS, & GTA VCS, is based on the Apache but unlike those renditions this one also features a Fenestron-style tail (fantail similar to the now defaunct RAH-66 Comanche)in place of the tail rotor similar to the Apache from Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf & 4 Hydra rocket pods (instead of 2 rocket pods and 8 Helfire missiles. The standard loadout for an Apache). The Hunter is also seen on Warstock Cache & Carry's Lifeinvader page listed under attack helicopter(?) and will possibly be made avaliable as a DLC.
Notable appearances in missions
The Hunter's most notable use is in the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories missions Over The Top and Last Stand, when Victor Vance steals a Hunter (in Over the Top) in order to attack the Mendez Cartel (in Last Stand). It appears too in a previous mission, From Zero To Hero. It also appeared in Learning to Fly, race event Heli Hell and two flown by NPC in Up, Up and Away! (part of casino heist mission) from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City it makes one single appearance in the mission All Hands On Deck.
Although it isn't considered a mission, the Hunter appeared in a multiplayer match for the PSP version of GTA Vice City Stories named "Might of the Hunter".
The Skywolf mission is a side mission in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories available after Last Stand, it is activated by simply entering the Hunter at Escobar International, the mission requires the player to use the Hunter's weaponry and destroy a certain amount of targets while flying through some rings. The targets are actual boats, cars and for the last part, another helicopter. Completion of the mission gets the player a step closer to 100% Completion
- Though it does not appear within the game, leftover Hunter files from Vice City are present in the code of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. With the aid of third-party trainers, a fully functional Hunter can be spawned. It has the same design as the Vice City model, but cannot be used for vigilante missions nor is named in-game.
- In GTA Vice City, San Andreas and Liberty City Stories, the player is able to play the game's radio stations while flying the Hunter. However, this ability was removed in GTA Vice City Stories. The default radio stations for the Hunter are V-Rock in GTA Vice City, K-DST in GTA San Andreas.
- The Hunter is the fastest helicopter in the series, but has the widest turning radius. This isn't true for San Andreas, though, as the Sea Sparrow, Sparrow, and News Chopper are all faster.
- If San Andreas is modded to make the Hunter replace the Police Maverick when pursued by the police, the AI-controlled hunter will almost always crash shortly after spawning.
- In GTA Vice City the Hunter's machine gun has a firing sound like the M-60, instead of a 30mm Chain Gun.
- In GTA San Andreas, using the turret to destroy any vehicles does not attract police attention, but killing people on foot using the turret or firing rockets, unless they hit ground, a structure, directly at criminals spawned by vigilante mission or explode in the air, does attract a wanted level.
- One must be careful when shooting the rockets from the Hunter in Vice City Stories because if the helicopter strafes too much, the rockets will hit the chopper immediately after firing, thus, destroying it in the process. Same is true for any Hunters in other game when firing too close to the ground as the splash damage will instantly kill the player.
- In San Andreas if the player fits a Hunter into a Pay n' Spray it will be sprayed and if you have a wanted level the stars will flash. (Note: it is extremely difficult to fit a Hunter into a pay n' spray' so you'll have to squeeze as much as you can into the garage until the door closes)
- The Hunter makes a brief cameo in GTA V when watching the movie Meltdown. During an advert for the movie The Simian, some Hunters will make a brief appearance at the start of the ad. Only the pilot is seen here, so the capacity is 1.
- Even though it has the correct two cockpit arrangement, The Hunter in Vice City only have the control stick in the gunner position. Real Apaches have control sticks in both cockpits. Also, Tommy flies the helicopter from the gunner station. Real Apaches have the pilot in the rear cockpit.
- The Hunter's "Brown Thunder" Vigilante mission is the best way to earn money in GTA:VC, and third best in GTA:SA (after the Inside Track Betting trick and using Rhinos in Vigilante missions) since high up, there is almost no traffic and unless the player uses the rockets, gain no wanted levels. This allows the player to blast the criminals at his leisure. Once at a high level (level 30 beyond in VC, level 150 in SA), the money earned can be massive, sometimes over 100K easy.
- Jacking the Hunter from Fort Baxter without a police uniform is not easy. The easist way is to fly another helicopter (purchase Hyman Condo is the easiest) to the rear of the base (Where the Hunter is parked), then slam down and land right next to it, hop out, and then jack it. This must be quick since eventually, guardsmen will spawn around the base and with their M-4, will shoot the player down.
GTA Vice City
- Fort Baxter Air Base - Inside the base after completing either Keep Your Friends Close ) or collecting all 100 hidden packages (Will appear only after a certain percentage of the game is complete).
- Ocean Beach - At the helipad next to Lance Vance's house after finding all 100 hidden packages and completing Keep Your Friends Close.
GTA San Andreas
- Easter Basin, San Fierro - On a helipad inside the Easter Basin Naval Station after completing Flight School with all golds. The player instantly gains a 5 star wanted level upon entering the base and therefore will be assaulted by two NPC Hydras firing heat-seeking missiles.
- Verdant Meadows, Bone County - At the airstrip after getting gold on all flying school tests. (Note: When both the Hunter and Leviathan are unlocked at Verdant Meadows, only one of them can spawn at a time. Arrive from the west to spawn the Hunter and arrive from the east to spawn the Leviathan.)
- Used in Heli Hell - instead of completing the course, take the Hunter to the aircraft hangar in Verdant Meadows.
- Can be spawned by inputting the cheat during gameplay.
GTA Vice City Stories
- Escobar International Airport - At the southern part of the airport near the Biplane after completing Last Stand. Starts the "Skywolf" side-mission automatically upon entrance.