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|Game:||Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas|
- "Grove Street - Home. At least it was before I fucked everything up."
- — Carl Johnson
Carl Johnson is seen placing a suitcase on a luggage carousel at Francis International Airport in Liberty City whilst the dialogue from a phone conversation between Carl and his brother Sean is played, with Sean explaining that their mother has been murdered.
The scene changes to Los Santos, with Carl's taxi being pulled over by a police car. Carl exits the taxi with his hands on his head and is confronted by three Los Santos Police Depeartment police officers. The officers are members of the C.R.A.S.H. unit, led by Officer Frank Tenpenny, a corrupt policeman and long-time nemesis of Carl's. Tenpenny seizes Carl's money, which he claims is drug money, before another officer, Eddie Pulaski, bundles Carl into the police car. Tenpenny explains that Carl is to be framed for the recent murder of LSPD officer Ralph Pendelbury (which has actually been carried out by the third C.R.A.S.H. officer, Jimmy Hernandez). Tenpenny warns Carl that he will be watching him, before throwing Carl out of the car in an alleyway in Jefferson. Carl mounts a nearby BMX and makes his way to his mother's house in Grove Street.
No actual mission takes place after the cutscene, but the game instructs the player to:
- Get familiar with the controls, and mount the bicycle.
- Follow the blip on the map to the "CJ" icon on Grove Street.
After the introductory cinematic scene, CJ is in an alleyway in Jefferson (the territory of the Ballas, a rival gang), with $350 and no weapons. As Carl is in no immediate danger, it is advisable for the player to take a few moments to familiarise themselves with the controls, pause options and Radar. Once comfortable, mount the BMX bike with the blue cone marker hovering over it.
Pedaling your way home
Follow the roads to "CJ" icon on the map. It is southeast of the starting location. It is advisable to read the bicycling tips that pop-up as the player rides, especially if this is their first time playing the game.
Optionally, before heading for the map icon, the player can take a detour for extra items. After mounting the bike, leave the alley and go around the corner on the left to the red building, Jefferson Motel. Climb the stairs to find a MP5 on the roof. Continue on the way to the map icon, but look beneath the bridge overpass near the Johnson House for Armour and a Micro SMG. There's also a Pistol in a back-yard nearby, a shovel in Ryder's backyard, and a Tec-9 on Sweet's roof.
Enter Grove Street and walk into the mission marker in front of the Johnson House to unlock the first mission, Big Smoke.
- In the PC version, if the host computer is not running at around 25-30 frames per second, Tenpenny will drive on before the train has passed the level crossing, causing the car to pass through the train.
- The police car driven by Tenpenny in the cutscene is not the same model as the regular LSPD car. In the PC version, the car does not have specular reflection, causing it to look much darker than a normal LSPD car.
- During the cutscene at the airport, Carl has a Rockstar Games logo on his suitcase.
- The name of this mission is not usually displayed in-game. It can be seen by collecting enough money to buy a safehouse, and saving the game. The save file will display "In The Beginning".
- Carl is stopped by the police outside the Pawn Shop behind the Johnson House, next to the alleyway that leads into Grove Street.
- The woman at the airport who takes Carl's suitcase has very low texture details.
- Activating the "Jetpack Cheat" before Carl is thrown out of the police car will render him invisible and wasted at the same time, this also allows Carl to access stores before starting the mission after respawning.
- Carl's line, "Ya'll can't leave me here, it's Ballas' country!" is a reference to Duke's line in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, "We can't stop here, this is bat country."