Burning Desire is the first mission in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas given to protagonist Carl Johnson by C.R.A.S.H. officers Frank Tenpenny, Eddie Pulaski and Jimmy Hernandez from the Jim's Sticky Ring donut shop in the Market district of Los Santos, San Andreas.
Carl enters the doughnut shop and is spotted by Frank Tenpenny, who tells him to come and sit with them. Tenpenny and Pulaski act with hostility towards Johnson, with Tenpenny reminding him that C.R.A.S.H. owns him. Tenpenny then informs Carl of a 'gangbanging, drug-pushing, cop-killing bitch' holed up in a building in East Los Santos that doesn't like them. Tenpenny tells Carl that he wants the gangster dead.
Carl first heads to an alleyway in Downtown to collect some molotov cocktails that C.R.A.S.H. had left, before heading over to the building in East Los Santos. Carl kills the Los Santos Vagos gangsters surrounding the building and then throws molotov cocktails into five windows around the building. The 'holed up' man, a member of the Los Santos Vagos, runs out of the building, on fire, and dies.
Carl then notices a woman trapped inside - to save her, Carl enters the building and gets to the upstairs bedroom she is in. Then, using a fire extinguisher he obtains from the kitchen, he puts out fires blocking their way, helping the woman escape the building. The woman graciously thanks Carl, and asks him to bring her to her house. Once there, she introduces herself as Denise Robinson, and both of them agree to meet some time later.
In order to complete the mission the player must:
- Tenpenny has hidden some molotovs in an alleyway in Downtown Los Santos. Pick them up
- You've got some molotovs. Go to the gang house and torch it
- Torch the house. Throw molotovs into the 5 downstairs windows - that'll make it burn
- You've trapped a girl inside the burning building. You'll have to save her
- Take the fire extinguisher upstairs and rescue the girl
- Drive the girl to her house
There is no monetary reward for completing the mission, although the player can collect some money inside the house. The missions Doberman and Gray Imports are unlocked. Carl also gains some molotov cocktails and a fire extinguisher, whilst Denise becomes Carl's girlfriend.
- The building can not be re-entered after the end of the mission, except when using the Hidden Interiors Universe.
- The interior of the building shows damage after the end of the mission, although the exterior looks the same.
- This mission is one of several to not work correctly if the 'peds attack each other' cheats is used before the mission (the others being Tanker Commander, 555 We Tip, Photo Opportunity and Madd Dogg. At the end of the mission, Denise will not move anywhere near the door of her home during the end cutscene, and will instead roam around the areas shown onscreen and eventually leave the screen completely, making the cutscene endless and the game unplayable without reloading a previous save. Using the pedestrians riot cheat before or during the mission will trigger this effect.
- Completing this mission is one of two lynch pin moments early in the game that serve to reduce Carl's (and the player's) "freedom" (the other is the Doberman mission). Whereas before, the time between missions can be spent exploring, undertaking side-missions, searching for tags, and locating unique stunt jumps, once you have a girlfriend you're also required to periodically visit her in order to maintain Carl's relationship status.
- That said, while you will receive the phone call from Sweet asking Carl to meet him at the Ammu-Nation (to launch the Doberman mission), there is no immediate need to go there.
- This mission also allows Carl to drive the C.R.A.S.H. team's police car which is parked in front of the store once the cutscene ends.
- While approaching the house, there is a Vagos member standing outside who appears to be talking on a cell phone. Upon closer inspection (using a camera or sniper rifle), the gang member is actually holding a pistol against his ear. This is because outside of cutscenes, Carl is the only character able to use a cell phone.
- If the player has a rocket launcher upon reaching the Vagos ganghouse they can blow up the windows of the house using the rocket launcher.
- After saving Denise inside the burning house, you have an infinite amount of time to escape the house, even having enough time to put out all of the flames.
- It's possible to collect up to $1 000 from the burning house. There are $500 next to the bed in the bedroom where Denise is waiting to be saved and another $500 on the first floor's living room.
- Even if you already have a molotov cocktail in your inventory before starting the mission, the game will still force you to collect it in the alleyway.