The Rhino is the name of an armored fighting vehicle appearing since Grand Theft Auto III, commonly referred to by players and police chatters simply as the Tank. The Rhino has subsequently appeared in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.
Like its predecessor in Grand Theft Auto 2, the Rhino appears when the player attains a six star wanted rating. In all games, the Rhino can be avoided without much difficulty because of its slow speed and bad handling, but it's extremely deadly if the player attempts engaging one, and the soldier driving it always carries strong weapons. Also, when successfully stolen, authorities can bust the player due to the Rhino's slow speed. When it hits a vehicle, the vehicle most of the time explodes straight away; if not, it starts to burn instead, in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars however, this does not happen. Although the Rhino has a cannon it is never used by law enforcement, this however is changed in GTA Chinatown Wars as the Army will fire the cannon which causes massive damage to, and usually kills, the player. The Rhino is practically invincible to small arms fire and crashes; and only Satchel Charges, Dozens of other explosives and rockets and the Police Maverick's mounted gun can cause damage to it. Also, flame weapons (such as the molotov cocktails and flamethrower) can also be used to inflict damage. Note that it is also possible to destroy a tank with conventional ordnance, but it will take very long to destroy one. In GTA Liberty City Stories, if you can get the Rhino up and onto the tracks of the subway or the El-Train, the subway train or the El-Train will destroy the tank on impact.
In GTA: San Andreas and GTA: Liberty City Stories, it's possible to carjack a Rhino and even store one in a safehouse garage. Vice City Stories removes the ability to carjack the Rhino and unlike the other games where a Rhino spawn point is found, the tank is locked until a certain mission is completed (and even then the PS2 version of the game keeps the Rhino locked).
In GTA III, GTA Vice City, GTA Liberty City Stories and GTA Vice City Stories, the Rhino does not appear to be based off of any real life military vehicle. However in the front, does bear ressemblance to the 6 wheeled M93 Fox reconassaince vehicle, while the sides belongs to Panhard ERC 90. However its features also resemble the seemingly original but chunky design reminiscent of a modified M3 Stuart, but with a front that more closely resembles that of an M4 Sherman. Because of it's heavy construction, with doors on both sides that can be easily damaged with even the slightest hit, and a truck-style 3-axle drivetrain with easily seen wheels, The turret can only be rotated by pressing buttons, which makes precise shooting almost impossible.
In its original appearance in GTA III, the Rhino assumes a stark appearance with little detail on its armored body. The GTA Vice City rendition, however, saw the addition of a variety of equipment to the vehicle, as well as the enlargement of the turret's barrel. While the GTA Liberty City Stories and GTA Vice City Stories variants follow the design cues of the GTA III and GTA Vice City renditions, with the turret barrel of GTA Liberty Stories rendition even being of the same size and length as that in GTA Vice City, though the GTA Vice City Stories variant is even longer.
In GTA San Andreas, the Rhino looks like an M1 Abrams and it is much more realistic than its predecessors. It is colored beige (desert camouflage), has a normal tank entrance in front and a new drivetrain with smaller and more plentiful wheels, leading to even more of an increase in it's realism. It also has a new steering system, which finally allows the player to make very tight turns. The turret is operated with the mouse or right thumbstick (PlayStation 2), which allows the player to shoot directly at the target; however, this does mean the Rhino can no longer simply fire backwards to deter pursuit while the camera still faces forwards for steering. The Rhino in GTA San Andreas is also heavy enough to literally push aircraft, making a Rhino an ideal vehicle to push the destroyed Andromada from "Stowaway".
Interestingly enough, none of the pre-GTA IV versions have caterpillar tracks, unlike their real world counterparts; this is likely due to tracks being too complex for the game's engine to render. In one of GTA IV's DLCs, The Lost and Damned, the text files for a Rhino tank are included, even though it never appears in game.
The Rhino does not appear in Grand Theft Auto IV; this is assumed to be because of Rockstar's goal of making GTA IV more realistic than previous games. However, it is replaced with the APC in The Ballad of Gay Tony and GTA Chinatown Wars reintroduces the Rhino with an appearance similar to the original Rhino. The GTA Chinatown Wars' Rhino bears the distinction of being the first Rhino to ever be depicted as having tracks.
Performance and durability
|First Rhino||Second Rhino|
|Color||Green camouflage||Desert camouflage|
|Handling||Handling of this tank is terrible. Even at low speeds its turns are horribly wide. Unlike the normal tank it has very poor acceleration, when maximum speed is normal for this kind of tank. It has a working handbrake, but because of its wide turning radius and dual rear axles it is difficult to tighten turns with it. Tank is quite bouncy, so its wheels easily lose contact with ground. Its small ground clearance, bouncy suspension and low torque makes this tank very poor when driving off-road, or even through small barriers.||This tank has 2 steering modes: normal allows it to make turns a little better than trucks, and extra, activated with handbrake button, allows to make extra tight turns. It has little better off-road abilities, but it is still far from perfect. It has better acceleration and grip, but it still cannot go through high obstacles. It handles better on road. The turret now points to where the player's camera is pointed, making it difficult to aim in some circumstances. It has no lights or sirens.|
In GTA III and GTA Vice City, the Rhino is bullet-proof and explosion-proof and as such it is immune to all weapons except the flamethrower and molotovs. In GTA San Andreas, the Rhino is still a tough vehicle, however, after colliding several times with other tanks, it will start smoking and explode. While driving the Rhino, one should be careful not to drive through the flames left behind by vehicles that have exploded, as these will set the Rhino on fire doing massive damage and usually destroying it. In Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, the Rhino is immune to bullets but can still be destroyed by fire and about 10-15 hits from another Rhino's cannon or explosives.
Due to the introduction of treads for GTA Chinatown War's Rhino, the tank gains another a minor advantage in that it can turn while in a stationary position. The durability of the game's Rhino, however, is turned down a notch, being more vulnerable to explosive damage than previous renditions; a pristine Rhino will begin burning as a whole after receiving seven direct hits from a Rocket Launcher or another Rhino's turret.
In the tank, the player can perform vigilante missions, which means catching and killing suspects. The Rhino isn't necessarily the best vehicle to do this mission (especially not in games where the Hunter is available) because the player risks increasing his own wanted level at an accelerated rate due to the tank's penchant for collateral damage. On the other hand, if the player cannot complete the missions with the other, comparatively flimsy police vehicles, the Rhino might be better. If the player can intercept the enemy vehicles, rather than chasing them, the player may be able to strike the targets with the tank instead of firing on them. This method cuts down on the wanted level the player receives, which may help him avoid having to fight the military on some occasions.
In GTA Vice City, there is a mission in which the player has to steal a tank, Sir, Yes Sir!. Its doors are closed, so the player needs to wait until the driver hops out to buy some doughnuts, or kill the soldier on top of the tank. This tank has a self-destruct mechanism which the player must disable before it destroys the tank. In GTA Liberty City Stories, during the mission "Shogun Showdown", the Yakuza are storing weapons in a warehouse and along with that Toni Cipriani finds a Rhino which he later destroys by detonating it with a bomb. In GTA Chinatown Wars, during the mission Deadly Xin, Xin Shan has the player use a NOOSE Rhino parked at Francis International Airport to create havoc, diverting the police from his own machinations.
In GTA: San Andreas and GTA: Liberty City Stories, the player can use the Rhino to complete the Vigilante side-mission. Given its near-indestructibility and ability to destroy vehicles on contact, it is considered the easiest vehicle with which to complete the mission, even taking into account its slow speed.
- Spawns at Phil Cassidy's Army Surplus in Rockford after completion of The Exchange.
- Military officers pursue the player at a 6-star wanted level.
- Can be spawned using cheats.
GTA Vice City
- Can be found inside the Fort Baxter Air Base after having collected 90 hidden packages.
- Can be encountered during a 6-star wanted level.
- Driven by the military during the mission Sir, Yes Sir!.
- Can be spawned using cheats.
GTA San Andreas
- Available inside Area 69.
- Will spawn underneath the overpass going above the end of Grove Street after 100% is achieved.
- Can be spawned using cheats
- The military will pursue CJ at a six-star wanted level, sometimes using Rhinos.
GTA Liberty City Stories
- Spawns in Fort Staunton when 100% is achieved.
- Spawns during the 6 star wanted level.
- Stolen from the Yakuza compound and destroyed by Toni in the mission Shogun Showdown.
GTA Vice City Stories
- Inside the Fort Baxter military base, it is there from the beginning of the game but unlocked only when the mission Over The Top is done. This also applies to Rhinos that spawn under a 6-star wanted level; they are only unlocked after Over The Top. Note: this does not seem to apply to the original PS2 version of the game as the Rhinos remain inaccessible, even after completing Over the Top, but in the double pack version, the Rhinos are almost always unlocked.
GTA Chinatown Wars
- Available for purchase from the Auto Merchant when the main story is complete, at $10000.
- Can be found in a fenced-off warehouse area at the southern end of Francis International Airport; activates Fast Tracks. Players will warp outside a parked Rhino at the starting point regardless of whether or not the player completes or fails the mission (Note: To be used normally, the Rhino must be entered, before the player quits the side mission and reenter the Rhino quickly, or start a Vigilante or taxi mission and entering the Rhino).
- In GTA San Andreas, the vehicle is completely bulletproof and near to explosionproof, requiring more than 100 hits from a rocket launcher and 5 hits from a Hydra. It is vulnerable to fire, however.
- The Rhino was originally supposed to return in Grand Theft Auto IV and The Lost and Damned. It was cut as a result of the games' focus on realism and believability.
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- In real life, a battle tank was used only a few times in history for law enforcement functions in the United States, most notably the 1993 siege in Waco, TX. Like in the Waco siege, the military in the GTA III era did not use the tanks cannon.
- Sometimes a glitch occurs in GTA San Andreas, where the player is flying and has full six stars, an NPC-controlled Rhino may randomly jump up in the sky and be spinning around very fast.
- Low-detailed LOD models of the Rhino in GTA San Andreas appear to assume a design more similar to older Rhinos. This difference is apparent when the player views one of the tanks from afar.
- The Rhinos in both GTA San Andreas and GTA Vice City fire rounds similar to air burst rounds. The main differences are the way the rounds will explode on contact but if fired into the air they will detonate in mid air.
- Despite its size, it is possible to successfully park (and therefore save) the Rhino inside the Johnson House garage in GTA San Andreas, and possibly others.
- A glitch that involves one of the health cheats in San Andreas creates a whole new axel dead center in the drive train. (confirmed in the PS2 version)
- Sometimes in GTA Vice City when you use a cheat to spawn a Rhino while standing on the road it will sometimes spawn on top of you and trap the protagonist inside the Rhino. The only way to get out the Rhino is to suicide or reload a save file, but no damage is dealt on the player
- The Rhino can be listed in the vehicles.ide file in Rockstar's Max Payne 3 along with several other vehicles, indicating that the Rhino, along with the military, may possibly return in Grand Theft Auto V.
- Tank, GTA1, GTA2 and GTA Advance equivalents.
- Royal Pain, GTA London 1969 equivalent.
- Tiger Tank, GTA London 1961 equivalent.
- APC, The Ballad of Gay Tony equivalent.