- "San Andreas is shocking, not necessarily because of its typically contentious subject matter (though there's plenty in it to rub those of a conservative disposition the wrong way) but because of the sheer scale of the experience...Is it really the best game ever made? Quite possibly, yes."
- ―John Davison, 1Up.com.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
26th October 2004
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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a Rockstar North-developed video game, and so has references to storylines and characters from both Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It is set in the fictional state of San Andreas. By far the largest and most complex playing field of any Grand Theft Auto III-era game, San Andreas consists of three fully-realized cities: Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas, and includes vast expanses of countryside, forests, a desert, and even a mountain and many hills. The game is centered around the return of Carl Johnson (also known as CJ) to his gang (the Grove Street Families), and their subsequent return to power.
- "Five years ago Carl Johnson escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos, San Andreas... a city tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Where film stars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gangbangers. Now, it's 1992. Carl's got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster. On his return to the neighborhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for the murder of a police officer. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets."
- ―The Rockstar Games Website
San Andreas is similarly structured to the previous two games in the series. The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large, open environment in which to move around. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, running, swimming (the first Grand Theft Auto game in which diving and swimming without drowning is possible), limited climbing, and jumping, as well as using weapons and various forms of hand to hand combat. Players can operate a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, airplanes, helicopters, trains, tanks, motorcycles, and bicycles. Players may also import vehicles rather than steal them.
Carl Johnson is Grand Theft Auto's most customizable protagonist due to the possibility in-game to change his clothes, tattoos, hairstyle, and even his body mass in which he can be fat, skinny, or muscular. Later Grand Theft Auto III-era games eliminated many of the customization, swimming, and climbing abilities enjoyed by CJ.
One aspect of Grand Theft Auto III (and the later Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories) that is eliminated in San Andreas is the "Welcome to" screens, which often disrupt game flow in those games; in San Andreas, transition between areas occurs with no such interruption. (This is likely due to the high number of races and other missions that cross into different areas of the state.)
- 100% Completion — Detailed information on how to complete the game 100%.
Grand Theft Auto series
- Assets — are places where you can periodically go to collect a predetermined amount of money.
- Businesses — There are many different types of businesses featured.
- Carl "CJ" Johnson — The protagonist of the game.
- Cheats — Cheat codes are available for the PS2, Xbox, and PC versions.
- Collectibles — Information about the types of items that can be collected.
- Controls — The controls are different for PS2, Xbox, and PC versions of the game.
- Criminal ratings — A list of the different criminal ratings in San Andreas and how many points you need to reach them.
- Gameplay Features — Gameplay mechanics and features in San Andreas.
- Gang Warfare — Gang Warfare is a tactical section of gameplay which involves taking over enemy gang territories.
- Girlfriends — Information on all six girlfriends in San Andreas.
- Main Story Missions — Walkthroughs for all of the main story missions.
- Mods — Third-party mods add different elements to the game.
- People — The people who make the gameworld immersive.
- Plot — The whole plot that makes the gameworld story understandable.
- Radio Stations — The radio stations heard in-game.
- Restaurants — See the food-chains in San Andreas.
- Restricted Areas — Restricted areas such as Area 69 and The Easter Basin Naval Base.
- Safehouses — All of the accessible safehouses and how to obtain them.
- Places — Many different locations are within San Andreas, you might want to visit them all.
- Schools — Information about the types of schooling offered such as the Pilot School.
- Statistics — Different statistics are used to track your progress.
- Vehicle Missions — Missions are available for specific vehicles.
- Vehicles — A list of the numerous vehicles found in the game
- Weapons — A list of the various weapons found in the game.
Gangs in San Andreas
Rockstar North conducted massive amounts of research before developing the gangs of San Andreas; this primarily involved talking to DJ Pooh, Mister Cartoon, Estevan Oriol, and hundreds of other well-known faces.
Gangs play a much larger role in San Andreas than they did in Vice City.
- The number of gangs has increased. As well as having the large, dominating gangs, there are smaller, more local gangs.
- Generally, gangs cause a bit more trouble than they did in previous titles — toppling cars, crowding streets, and using various new methods of attack. In some areas of the map, the player is welcome, and in others, the player is not.
- San Andreas gives you the ability to "take over" areas of the map, and recruit new members into gangs to help and defend you.
Gang members are recognized by their clothing, tattoos, and hand signs. These are useful for two reasons: it allows police to identify a gang set or victim, and it allows gang members to interact with one another. Each gang has its own territory, indicated by street warnings, wall graffiti, or simply violence. In Los Santos, each of the four gangs are split up into different "sets". While not all sets get along, at least there's always plenty of backup available.
Gang Wars & Territory
Winning territory involves gang wars, so this must be done carefully. Enter the area you wish to control, and kill every opposing member in sight. Killing three members on foot will provoke a gang war, and the area under attack will flash red on the radar. The opposing gang will attack in three waves to defend their land. Keep a close eye on the radar, and watch where the attackers come from. They may attack unexpectantly or in large numbers, so make sure you have a plentiful supply of health and armor before starting the war. If possible, shoot from long distances or from rooftops.
Survive the three waves, and the area is yours. The area is now highlighted green on the map, indicating your gang has gained possession over it. Similarly, other gangs may try and take your territory; it's up to you to defend it.
Gang wars and territory are introduced during the mission "Doberman". After the mission "The Green Sabre", CJ no longer has the ability to win new territory, or defend his own. This feature returns during the mission "Home Coming", in the Final Missions strand.
CJ can recruit other members of his gang. The number of gang members he can recruit is based on CJ's respect level, with the game-wide maximum number being seven. There is also a limitation of number of seats in your vehicle. A typical car can carry two to four people, whereas a coach or bus can hold all seven members.
While your homies are recruited, you can get them to follow you or stay put. Your homies will return fire to those who attack you, and shoot at rival gang members and cops. They will also participate in drive-by shootings, just like Sweet, Smoke, and Ryder demonstrate in the mission "Drive-By". Don't depend on your homies too much, as they aren't very reliable. They can, however, draw fire away from CJ. CJ can also take a picture of him with his homies.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas―just like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City―is heavily based off many crime-drama movies in the '90s. Plus the gangsta rap, and rock 'n' roll like soundtrack was also taken from the '90s era.
The biggest counterpart of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the 1993 hood film Menace II Society, many aspects were taken from this movie such as Los Santos being based off of Los Angeles during the movie, plus Grove Street itself is a reference to the film, and lastly some of the lines in the game were taken from the movie.
New Jack City is another film that influenced Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as Wesley Snipes character looks like CJ (if you make CJ wear the clothes from Victim), and Big Smoke's Crack Palace closely resembles the Carter Apartment Buildings in the film.
Other influenced on San Andreas are:
- Boyz n' the Hood ― Most of the gameplay are elements in this film.
- Casino ― The Las Venturas portion of the game is based on this movie.
- Easy Rider ― The Truth (who was also voiced by Peter Fonda) is a parody of his character in this film.
- Pulp Fiction ― As the character Vincent Vega call his friend Lance, Lance realizes that Vincent is on his cellphone about how he has a girl in his car who is flatlining fast but Lance hangs up knowing how the cops might be listening on them repeating the line, "I don't know you, wrong number, prank caller, prank caller!" This line was said in the game when The Truth calls Carl about the drugs Tenpenny needs Carl to get before saying the line.
- To Live and Die in L.A. ― One of the car chases in the game is similar to the car chase in this movie.
- Training Day ― Officer Tenpenny is a parody of Denzel Washington's character.
Tips and Tricks
- The Helicopter Sniping Trick
- Killing drug dealers is a very good source of money.
- In strip club, stand in front of the stripper and earn money!
- Get Rich Quick Betting Trick
- Infinite Munition Without Cheats
Prior to its release for the PlayStation 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was one of the most highly anticipated video games of 2004, along with Halo 2. San Andreas met most of these expectations, as it was praised as one of the PlayStation 2's best games, with an average review score on 98%, according to Metacritic, tying for the fifth highest ranked game in PlayStation 2 history. IGN rated the game a 9.9/10 (the highest score it has ever awarded to a PlayStation 2 game), calling it "the defining piece of software" for the PlayStation 2. GameSpot rated the game 9.6/10, giving it an Editor's Choice award. San Andreas also received an A rating from the 1UP.com network and a 10/10 score from Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. As of March 26, 2008, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has sold 27.5 million units according to Take-Two Interactive. The Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer's Edition list it as the most successful game on the Playstation 2, with 17.33 million copies sold for that console alone, from a total of 21.5 million in all formats. The New York Times' Charles Herold gave the only non-positive review for San Andreas, giving it a 'mediocre' rating of 4.0 out of 10, criticizing the "annoying" mission structure, and the casualness of the intense violence featured in the game.
- PS2 - 17.4 million
- PC - 2.3 million
- Xbox - 5.9 million
The game has received widespread acclaim for its technical achievements and free gameplay. However, it also received widespread criticism―initially due to its "gangster" elements, which include drugs, prostitution, and murder; but later due to the discovery of disabled interactive sex scenes, nicknamed Hot Coffee, which could be re-enabled using third-party mods. This led to the re-rating by the ESRB of the game from Mature to Adults-Only until a second version, with the sex scenes fully removed, was released.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas contains many references to the popular '90s hood film Boyz n' The Hood. Some characters in the game are visually and/or mentally based on characters from the film, as well as some events that take place.
- Somehow, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City files and beta pics exist in .txd folder. The beta files consist of the beta map, beta intro and outro pictures, and beta loading screen.
- The word "fuck" and its derivatives are used 365 times, not counting the soundtrack or random NPC interactions.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the first Grand Theft Auto game to use strong, and sexually explicit language, i.e. "Fuck," "Motherfucker," "Cunt." It also uses these words (except "cunt" due to its one use versus the four uses in Grand Theft Auto IV) more than any other Grand Theft Auto game so far.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is also the first Grand Theft Auto to include many features, such as customizing Carl Johnson in many ways (Clothes, Tattoos, Haircuts etc), ability to go to the gym and gain muscle, swimming, and the ability to go on dates with girls.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was the only Grand Theft Auto III era whose main storyline centered around urban street gangs (e.g., the Grove Street Families, the Los Santos Ballas, etc.) rather than Mafia families (e.g., the Leone Family, the Forelli Family, etc.).
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas takes place in the winter, as seen in Saint Mark's Bistro.
- It could be said that San Andreas is more dark and mysterious than its predecessors, due to the inclusion of the desert and countryside, not to mention the several myths and legends in the game.
- BradyGames published the Official Strategy Guide for the game; however, the book contains many errors and appears to be based upon a pre-release version of the game. For example, locations of many pickups and "hidden package"-style items shown on the maps differ to where they really are in the game, and there are additional pick-ups for adrenaline shown, even though that item is not available in the final game. Some mission walkthroughs also make reference to gameplay elements not in evidence in the final game (such as evading the police during the Madd Dogg's Rhymes mission), and in a few cases, some activities are stated as being unlocked by certain missions despite being available earlier in the game (such as the dancing minigame).
- Sometimes when during a gameplay cutscene with people, they will start attacking each other. The vendors also do this when in regular gameplay. This is a glitch and is most likely caused by saving while using cheats.
- This is the only Grand Theft Auto game so far to have a map that spans more than one city, as it features Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is so far the most best-selling game of the Grand Theft Auto III era (second in the whole franchise) with over 21.5 million sales and in PlayStation 2 (17.33 million copies).
- This is the only Grand Theft Auto game that has missions with the same name of the characters like Madd Dogg, OG Loc, Cesar Vialpando, Ryder, Big Smoke, Jizzy B., Mike Toreno, T-Bone Mendez, Wu Zi Mu, Ran Fa Li, and Mountain Cloud Boys.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the only game that shows vehicles with gas tanks.
- In the credits, it says that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was recorded at Rockstar NYC, but it isn't mentioned anywhere else.
- Currently, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the best selling PlayStation 2 game, and is in the top 10 list of best selling Xbox games.