The GTA franchise has always done a great job of putting players right in the middle of a maelstrom of chaos, crime, violence, and mayhem. Perhaps the most integral part of what makes a crime-action game exciting is the presence of gangs or organized crime families that make life extremely difficult for players.
In the GTA games, gangs typically appear as primarily occasional allies. GTA San Andreas took things a bit further by letting players play as CJ, a former gang member returning to the fold and becoming an active member of the Grove Street Families.
The GTA franchise has seen its fair share of gang violence and organized crime, and here's a look at some of the most deadly gangs present in the series.
Five most lethal gangs of ever in the GTA series
#5 - The Russian Mafia (GTA 4)
Of all the games in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, perhaps none had a better atmosphere and world-building than Grand Theft Auto 4. It did an incredible job at selling Liberty City as a truly godforsaken land that often wears its residents down and swallows them whole.
Perhaps that atmosphere is best reflected in the presence of many dastardly gangs in the city, including The Lost MC. However, the fiercest presence in Liberty City is that of the Russian mob with the explosive Mikhail Faustin at the helm.
Faustin is then replaced by the diabolical and slimy Dmitri Rascalov that takes the mob to new lows and commits a series of dastardly acts. The Russian Mafia is a dominant presence throughout the game and one of the series's deadliest groups.
#4 - Ballas (GTA San Andreas, GTA 5)
While fans would love to think that the Grove Street Families would eventually gain more power and respect in San Andreas than the Ballas, the events of GTA 5 don't reflect so.
In GTA 5, players get to see how Los Santos and the Grove Street Families fared, with their minimal presence in Davis. The streets were dominated by purple, and Ballas remained a strong presence in 2013.
This meant Ballas eventually fared far better than their green rivals, possibly due to the leadership, CJ and Sweet, leaving the gang after the events of GTA San Andreas. Ballas are a major nuisance in Los Santos and one of the most notorious gangs in the city's history.
#3 - The Madrazo Cartel (GTA 5)
Martin Madrazo, whose home Michael accidentally wrecks, thus incurring his wrath, is one of the most feared men in all of San Andreas. The Madrazo Family made its fortune in the cartel business and expanded upon the empire Martin inherited from his father.
Martin is a man not to be messed with as he is often described as psychopathic, with a hair-trigger temper. The Madrazo cartel takes after its leader in the way that they are completely ruthless and will often even eliminate members of their own family should they pose a threat.
Despite the stiff competition the Madrazo cartel faces in Los Santos, Martin doesn't even break a sweat, and remains atop the criminal ladder in the city.
#2 - The Leone Family (GTA 3)
Perhaps in the biggest nod to crime epics like Goodfellas and The Godfather, GTA 3 included a powerful crime syndicate as the most dominant presence in Liberty City.
The Leone Crime Family were indeed the Mafia at the height of their powers, wiping out the Yakuza in one fell swoop with ruthless efficiency. Salvatore Leone and his lieutenants were the epitome of ruthlessness as practically nothing could ever come in their way.
While the family eventually lost its grip on Liberty City, the likes of their notoriety were never to be seen again.
#1 - The Vercetti Family (GTA Vice City)
Tommy's rise to the top of the criminal underworld in Vice City is the stuff of legend, as a ruthless Hawaiian shirt-clad man took over the city in a matter of months. After being ambushed by Diaz, Tommy was left hanging, and under pressure from both the Forelli Crime Family and the opposing forces of Diaz.
Instead of caving in, he dug deep and got in close with Diaz, eventually murdering him and taking over his Vice City operations. Slowly but surely, Tommy took over every profitable avenue in the city and thus began his reign of terror.
When the game leaves Tommy, he has already wiped out the Forellis and solidified his claim as Vice City's true kingpin. While fans haven't heard from them since, it is safe to assume that no one is likely to miss with them as long as Tommy is still around.
Note: This article reflects the author's views.