The Los Santos Riots are the final events of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. A major event in the Grand Theft Auto series, the riots started because of the acquittal of Frank Tenpenny during the third-last mission in the game, Riot and it extends from that mission to the final mission, and concludes in the game's finale. The gameplay effects of the riots are enabled in-between missions, and make in-game gameplay frustrating and difficult, as one would expect from the utter chaos caused by such a large uprising in a big city. The riots are obviously (and in a somewhat comical way) based off of the 1992 LA Riots;
- Los Santos is the GTA counterpart of Los Angeles; and the state Los Santos is in is San Andreas, which is based off of California, where LA is located in.
- The LA riots took place during 1992, the same year San Andreas is set in.
- The riots caused massive widespread arson, murder and chaos throughout the city; in fact, this chaos actually takes place between missions and has drastic gameplay effects (that can be activated by cheats). In real-life, around a billion dollars of property damage was done whilst 53 people died and thousands were injured.
- In the real life LA, several LAPD officers were accused of unfair treatment to African-American Rodney King. Despite videotaped evidence almost certainly indicating the officers were guilty, they were acquitted, causing great public outrage and spreading the sparks that would ignite the rioting. In the game, the riots ensue for a similar (but not exactly identical) purpose, starting when corrupt C.R.A.S.H. officer Frank Tenpenny is acquitted because of lack of evidence.
At Tenpenny's trial, he is accused of many charges including assault, corruption, sexual assault and police brutality; however, he is acquitted of all charges against him and Eddie Pulaski. Pulaski does not appear during the trial -- he is believed by Tenpenny and the media to be on the run, but the player/Carl knows otherwise. The charge of the murder of fellow officer Ralph Pendelbury (as seen in The Introduction) is also dropped. This sparks mass public outrage, leading to city-wide riots, yet these are mostly centered on the lower-class areas in eastern Los Santos. Carl Johnson and his friends/family (Madd Dogg, his sister, his brother, Cesar, Maccer and The Truth) watch the events at Madd Dogg's Crib, and on his way back to his house from Madd Dogg's crib, he first notices the riots.
Gameplay Effects of the Riots
The following conditions are in place within Los Santos during the riots, which continue even in-between missions:
- Pedestrians will attack Carl, usually with their fists, with no provocation, while others will attempt carjacks, making maneuvering difficult.
- Carjacking -- the primary element of obtaining cars that the player has depended on so much throughout the game -- becomes a chore as the number of vehicles that the player can carjack plummets as many vehicles, including police cars and bikes, are abandoned and set on fire, exploding soon after.
- Engaging in certain outdoor activities, such as dating, spraying tags, and street racing, becomes more difficult, as riot conditions can interfere. Other activities such as gang warfare also become more difficult since the riot conditions will interfere.
- The sky over Los Santos darkens. Presumably caused by smoke from flames and gunfire.
- Loud murmur can be heard all across Los Santos.
The riots are confined to Los Santos; there is no rioting in Red County, Flint County, or any of the other cities and towns (San Fierro and Las Venturas). It is not recommended to attempt any gameplay activities during the riots; in fact, since the riots only last for 3 missions, it is recommended that you simply wrap up the game before continuing them.
The Riots End
In the final mission of the game, Carl Johnson takes down Big Smoke in his crack den in Los Flores/East Los Santos. After Big Smoke's death, the building is blown up by Tenpenny, who then escapes in a fire truck, attempting to escape to the airport. Sweet grabs onto the firetruck, with CJ pursuing him in a white Feltzer. After Sweet is pushed off the truck by another officer, CJ catches him in the Feltzer, and they pursue Tenpenny through Los Santos, with many of the rioters throwing molotov cocktails and creating blockades. In crossing a bridge over Grove Street, Tenpenny loses control of the truck, crashing it into the road below and dying on the pavement. Due to his death, justice is seen to be done and the riots subside. In real-life, the officers accused of racially beating Rodney King were sentenced. Also, since the primary and secondary (Frank Tenpenny and Big Smoke respectively) antagonists of the game are dead, the game finally comes to an end at this point. Although the riots end, their impact in the overall series is not to be ignored as so much death, destruction and danger came to the city during the brief but destructive riots. In the real-life LA, the riots lasted 6 days (ending upon the California National Guard's mass protection of the area) -- but that was enough time to cause 1 billion dollars in damage, 50+ deaths, 2000+ injuries and much wreckage in the city.
Gang member glitch
There is a major glitch in the game when the riots are happening in Los Santos. If you travel to any other town or city in the state, members from the Grove Street Families and Los Santos Vagos can be found talking in the streets, and driving around, quite frequently. The GSF members will recognize you and try to interact with you. The Vagos will also recognize that you are from Grove Street, but will react in a far less aggressive way than in Los Santos. In fact, if you aim a weapon at them, they will most likely run away. The two different gangs will keep peace, and will not interact with each other. GSF members, however, are less frequent than the Vagos, and can rarely be found anywhere else than in Las Venturas. Gang members cannot be found after the riot is over, and they will not appear if you cheat a "riot mode".
- The riots are not the only event in real-life LA history that inspires the game; others include the Bloods-Crips rivalry (portrayed as the Ballas-Grove Street rivalry), the Crack epidemic and the Rampart Scandal.
- If the player attacks a looter with a TV, the TV will drop and fall through the floor. If this is done on a bridge, the player can go to the water under the bridge and see the TV floating in the water.
- When you enter any emergency vehicle, then go to an area where the riot occurred, the following dialogues on the police scanner has changed. While listening to one of the conversations, you can hear screaming, people shouting, sirens, explosions, alarms, etc.
- Obviously, when a train passes where the riot is started, the driver will get out of the train, even though the train is indestructible.
- Enabling the Riot cheat (also known as the Chaos cheat) will engage riot conditions, however these will be statewide, and not confined to Los Santos.
- Strangely, if you walk close to a cloud of smoke coming from a building, and you stand over it, it disappears.
- The Johnson safehouse, and other properties owned by Carl may be seen to be on fire during the riot, but the buildings are never actually damaged by the flames.
- When the buildings and houses are set in fire, the firetruck that comes will shoot water out of control, not towards the house.
- Police Radio Chatter during the riots reports riot related disturbances throughout the state. It is possible that the riots were originally throughout San Andreas and Rockstar forgot to remove the reports.
- It is recommended to takeover as many enemy gang territories as possible before the start of the riots, because it's very difficult to start gang wars during the riot.
- Using the "give pedestrians weapons" cheat can make the riot a lot more difficult.