The Vortex is a single-seat hovercraft, distinguished by its unique large fan and an air cushion below its main hull. The vehicle uses a steering wheel that is connected to two rudders located on the back, giving the steering ability on it. The engine uses two exhaust pipes than seems to have no extra fixing point, therefore the player can see them wobbling while driving the vehicle.
Like some of the vehicles in the Grand Theft Auto series, the Vortex is probably an original concept from Rockstar Games. The Vortex may spawn with a two-tone paint scheme, with the secondary one as a wide stripe on the middle, as well as the large fan case and rudders.
Being an amphibious vehicle, is capable of moving both on land and water. The vehicle has rather poor handling and average speed, due its primary source of locomotion being a large fan with a rudder attached to the back and gliding across the ground, thus having no grip. Judging by its engine, the Vortex appears to be powered by a twin-cylinder engine.
The Vortex is also capable of gliding short distances if the player sends the vehicle flying off of a high location, which behaves similarly to controlling an airborne car. With some effort, it is possible to 'fly' the Vortex from the summit of Mount Chiliad to Whetstone and beyond.
- Three Vortexes with unique color schemes can be found during the mission Cut Throat Business. Two of them, which are used by Carl Johnson and Madd Dogg to chase OG Loc, are all-white, while the third Vortex driven by OG Loc is black with a white stripe. The player can only store any Vortex in a garage by failing the mission, as the chase eventually switches to a Kart chase at a pier, forcing the player to abandon the hovercrafts. In addition, while it is possible for the player to use any of the hovercrafts to chase OG Loc while he is on a Kart, the player will ultimately lose the vehicle upon completion of the mission.
Prominent Appearances in Missions
- The Vortex makes an appearance in the mission Cut Throat Business, where OG Loc attempts to escape from Carl Johnson and Madd Dogg by using one of these. Following this, Carl and Madd Dogg also uses two Vortexes to chase OG Loc.
- The Vortex is also used for two tests in Boat School, although in the latter, the player cannot exit the vehicle.
Like the Kart, the Vortex will only spawn in specific locations after the mission Cut Throat Business, appearing in the following locations:
- The Panopticon, northeast Red County in a shed
- On a pier at the end of a short river in Marina, Los Santos (beside a Gang Tag)
- Available at Easter Basin docks for importing after third list completion for $20,800 on Sunday
- At the Pirates In Men's Pants casino, The Strip, Las Venturas
- Spawns on a beach in Bayside, and is known as the 'Ghost Vortex' because it moves by itself off the beach and into the water.
- On a jetty near Valle Ocultado (near a unique stunt jump)
- In the lower deck of the aircraft carrier in Easter Basin Naval Base.
- During the mission Cut Throat Business, the white Vortex is more easily attainable, requiring the player simply ignore the instruction to chase OG Loc at any point of the hovercraft chase, failing the mission and gaining full control of the vehicle. OG Loc's hovercraft is attainable after he ditches the vehicle at the pier, and also requires the player cease to pursue him and fail the mission. Another method involves killing Madd Dogg before the cutscene where OG Loc runs to the Vortex. All of the Vortexes are full immune before the cutscene followed by the pursuit. To obtain the indestructible variant, simply stop before the cutscene activates, somewhere near the trees, have the vortexes on sight, and kill Madd Dogg to fail the mission and choose a vortex. The player can obtain both variants by driving them both to the nearest garage while alternating between them, so that they won't disappear.
- The vehicle can also be spawned using a cheat code.
- The Vortex plays Radio X by default when entered.
- According to the game's files, the Vortex is considered an aircraft rather than a boat or a car. Because of this, a moving Vortex will not experience motion blurring and when it is about to explode, it will first become engulfed in black smoke, and the resulting explosion will be significantly stronger and noticeably more violent than a regular car. In addition, Hydras will attempt to shoot the player down at a four or five-star wanted level and Police Mavericks will not engage the player. However, the player will not attract missiles if the Vortex is driven into or around Area 69.
- In the PS2 version of San Andreas, exiting a Vortex while going at high speed will freeze the game. This may be explained by either the lack of code for the "exiting animation while running at high speed", or by how the game handles the Vortex (it is considered to be an aircraft).
- A Vortex left floating on the water may suddenly sink when out of the player's camera view.
- There may be a glitch where the Vortex's sound effects will change for a different (and strange) sound effect.
- The Vortex in the Easter Basin Naval Base cannot be driven out of the lower deck of the aircraft carrier as it is too large to be driven through the doors. Aditionnally, entering the base will give an instant 5-stars wanted level, spawning a high amount of SFPD officers inside the ship, making acquiring it nearly impossible.