|"S.A.M." redirects here. For the weapon, see Surface-to-Air Missile.|
- "There's a plane coming into Francis International in two hour's time. It is full of Catalina's poison. You can avoid airport security by a boat out to the runway light buoys and shooting the plane down on its approach."
- ― Asuka Kasen
S.A.M. is the final mission in Grand Theft Auto III given to protagonist Claude by Yakuza leader Asuka Kasen from a Panlantic Construction Company construction site in Fort Staunton, Staunton Island, Liberty City.
Claude visits Asuka and Maria Latore at the construction site in Fort Staunton. Asuka informs Claude that a plane containing a number of SPANK drug packages is arriving at Francis International Airport in Shoreside Vale. Asuka advises Claude to travel to the airport by boat to avoid the airport security, so Claude drives over to a jetty in Bedford Point. He picks up a rocket launcher on the jetty and takes a boat to sail over to the southern end of the airport. He kills the Colombian Cartel gang members guarding the exit of the airport. A short time later, the plane containing the drugs lands at the airport. Claude destroys the plane with the rocket launcher, scattering the drugs all over the runway.
After the plane is destroyed, Claude retrieves the packages before the police arrive. After escaping from the police, Claude leaves the airport and travels back to the construction site with the drugs.
In order to complete the mission the player must:
- Find the marker boat and get to the marker buoy
- Get to the runway marker buoys! The plane is on it's final approach
- Collect the cargo
- Stash the SPANK back at the construction site
- Numerous members of the Colombian Cartel - Killed by Claude for getting in his way of intercepting and destroying the DeadDodo containing a number of SPANK drug packages.
- Pilot of the DeadDodo - Killed by Claude in order to collect the SPANK that was contained in the DeadDodo.
- Asuka Kasen - Killed off-screen by Catalina in order to kidnap Maria and for disrupting Cartel activities.
- Miguel - Killed off-screen by Catalina for revealing Cartel secrets to Asuka.
Tips and Tricks
- This mission is easily one of the hardest in GTA III. Be sure to equip yourself with full armor and use a prostitute to set your health at 125 before the mission. Because of the police helicopters, the gangsters and all the forces firing a you, it is for sure you WILL take serious hits.
- If you stay true to the mission's name (S.A.M.), that is, trying to intercept the plane while it's still airborne (from the back of the boat), it will be very demanding for your accuracy. If you miss one (at most two) shot, the mission is almost surely to fail as response time is not enough to chase the plane. Rockets have delays so you must understand a bit about the concept of deflection shots. But if you have played games with armed vehicles that fire projectiles that take a little to hit the target, like those in the Battlefield series, you will have some experience dealing with these kind of tasks.
- If the plane is destroyed above the sea, there is a chance that packages will be dropped over the sea, then you must pick them up by boat. But hurry up! The police helicopter will soon fire at you, wrecking your boat if you don't hurry, get to the shore if your boat is going to explode.
- It is much safer to intercept the plane from the runway on its touchdown. To do this, it is advised to clear out the guarding 3 Cartel members on the ramp with a sniper rifle, then run to the runway and fire the rocket at the plane - almost sure kill.
- It is possible to storm into the airfield with a bulletproof vehicle (most preferably Ray Machowski's bulletproof Patriot from Marked Man), which allows the player to safely bypass the Colombians with M-16s guarding the runway. However, the player should be careful in driving as it is not immune to anything else but bullets and that it is not replaceable.
- One Cartel member has a rocket launcher so make sure to take him out from a safe distance with the sniper rifle.
- You can shoot police helicopters down with your rocket, but it's not recommended because it will rise wanted level to a terrifying 5/6 stars. So, tolerate some rounds, get back to the construction site and don't mess too much with the police on the way back there.
- If you have at least completed vigilante missions in two islands (20 kills in each of those 2 islands), there is a way to complete the mission eliminating the unwanted police attention; after you destroy the plane, snipe off all the Colombians, steal their car and head to a safehouse where you can pick up 4 police bribes, effectively losing your wanted level after which you can safely drive back to the construction site.
- If you decide to escape via land, the distance is great and you have to fight your way through multiple Cartel checkpoints and to deal with your (at least) 4-star wanted level. Also, the land route makes it necessary that you do as explained just above and don't gain more than 4 wanted stars, or the chase will get too hot.
- If you decide to escape via water, it is generally easier as you can bypass many M16-equipped Cartels, you will only have to worry about police helicopters hovering above you, and the chase of the police boats. However, again try not to gain more than 4 wanted stars, because at some point you will have to get off your boat and finish the mission in land; the car you left at the Staunton dock will not be erased so you can prepare a fast car like the Banshee at the beginning of this mission.
- Yet a more audacious and bold way would be escaping via air, flying with a Dodo! If you have mastered the art of flying with a Dodo, then get one from the airstrip and fly directly towards the construction site, it doesn't matter if you amassed 6 wanted stars, by escaping via air you will bypass all the army and police goons below you! Once you hit the ground the only enemies in the construction site will be the police helicopters hovering above your head, which won't pose a threat to you and your rocket launcher!
- For players that still don't know how to fly with the Dodo: accelerate while holding 6 in the right numeric keypad (or whichever key you configured to "tilt plane down", the numeric 6 is the default). Once you gain speed the nose of the plane will touch the ground and sparks will fly off it, when that happens release the 6 key and the plane will take off. Now keep regularly pressing 6 before the plane gets its nose too high, in this way it won't lose balance and will continually fly straightly. The Dodo is horribly responsive, so don't do sharp turns to the right or the left, rather turn it progressively. To land, slow down while you face progressively down, don't worry if you crash against the ground because you won't explode (as the game treats the Dodo as a car). Once you hit the ground drive it like a regular car.
The reward for this mission is $45,000 and the next and penultimate mission, Ransom, is automatically unlocked.
- After the DeadDodo is destroyed, its wreck bears the form of a standard Dodo, with the plane's wings becoming short and stubby.
- Despite the fact that Asuka says you can avoid airport security, going into the airport the normal way will not fail the mission and there will be no airport security to speak of and the player can save time. However going this way will leave Claude more open to attacks, as the Cartel members on the runway are all heavily armed and there is almost nowhere to hide on the runway.
- This is the only mission in GTA III where an NPC is armed with a Rocket Launcher.
- The mission name S.A.M. stands for "surface-to-air missile".