Gang warfare is a feature in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It is available upon completion of Sweet's mission Doberman, but is temporarily unavailable after The Green Sabre until Home Coming. Taking over enemy gang territory gives the player more Respect and Money. The money is generated over time and can be collected in Grove Street outside of the Johnson House. Neighborhoods also become safer for CJ to travel around since enemy gang members will no longer appear in the area, instead being controlled by the Grove Street Families.
|Grove Street Families||Green|
|Los Santos Vagos||Yellow|
|Varrios Los Aztecas||Turquoise|
|San Fierro Rifa||Dark Blue|
|San Fierro Triads||Red|
|Da Nang Boys||Orange|
|Italian Mafia||Mission only|
Note: in normal play, only territories involving Grove Street Families, Ballas and Los Santos Vagos appear and can be taken over. The other territories only become available if the player exploits a glitch (see below).
Taking Over Enemy Territory
|Enemy territory||Gang war in progress||The hood is GSF's|
To take over an enemy gang's territory, enter the territory on foot and start attacking gang members (note: the initial kills must be done on foot). Once Carl has killed three gang members, an on-screen message notifies that a gang war has begun. Health and armor pickups spawn in the streets, and the first wave of gang members will move in on CJ.
Generally, an area with a darker shade of a gang color means a greater presence of that gang in that area. This means that an area that's shaded light purple, for example, would have few Balla members roaming around, which would make it hard to trigger a gang war in that area. To overcome this, walk over to the one or two Balla members, then get them to chase Carl until he finds some more Balla members. This will let Carl lure the three gang members required to trigger the war.
|Available Territories by District|
|East Los Santos||6|
|Playa Del Seville||1|
|Santa Maria Beach||2|
Another useful method is to tackle less concentrated areas first, leaving highly concentrated areas to be taken over last. This is because a gang war can also be triggered by shooting enemy gang members from afar. As long as the player is standing in the area with little enemy gang presence, he/she can bring that area to war by killing gang members from the neighboring areas. This sometimes cause a minor bug where, for example, killing Vagos members leads to a gang war with the Ballas.
There are a total of three waves of enemies the player must defeat. They are equipped with increasingly powerful weapons, depending on the overall strength and size of the territory. In the first wave, enemy gang members likely wield poor weapons such as Baseball Bats, Pistols and Micro Uzis, and can be finished easily. The second wave is slightly more difficult than the first wave as some enemy gangs will equip the MP5. The third and last wave is the most difficult as all opposing gang members now wield the AK-47 or MP5, and can easily swarm and kill CJ if he doesn't take cover immediately or gets too close.
Enemy gang members will spawn out of the field of view of the player if there is room. The player can thus usually determine the initial location of the enemy by facing an area where he/she doesn't want them to appear. Enemy gang members prefer sidewalks to roads while advancing towards the player. A safe strategy is to run around the territory until all of the enemy force is in one direction, crouch down on a paved sidewalk, let the enemy come, and take them down one by one with single shots aimed at the upper body.
Killing all three waves of the enemy will make the gang war win on the player's side and cause the territory to fall under Grove Street Families control, with Grove Street members beginning to wander the area. One enemy out of each wave does not need to be killed, because often one or more will run into inaccessible places, especially in hilly territories. The surviving gang member will continue to wander the streets, and will no longer be shown on the radar map. He may still attack the player's character.
An alternate strategy is to use a vehicle to run over enemy/do drive bys. A car, however, presents a big target for the enemy, which it is sure to hit, because the car can neither crouch nor strafe to take cover. If the opposing gang is equipped with AK-47, they can explode the player's car within seconds. Although vehicles will disappear from the roads during a gang war, any vehicle that has been brought into the area will remain accessible, up to and including a Rhino, arguably the vehicle that makes taking over and defending territory the simplest.
Taking over all of the other gangs' turf in Los Santos will mean that the Grove Street Families have completely taken over Los Santos; the player's territories will no longer be attacked.
Taking over 100% of territories is not a requirement for 100% completion of the game or its storyline, but does remove the random factor of territories coming under attack (which may occur while the player is engaged in another activity). After completing the game, gang warfare conditions continue when the game enters sandbox mode, meaning Carl can continue to take over and defend territories.
- This helps if the player just wants to get the warfare done to unlock the final mission or wants to take over the small territories: After surviving two waves, the territory is shared between Grove Street and the enemies. To unlock the final mission, this is enough. So if that is what the player wants, go to the territory of choice in the waiting time between the second and third wave and after the enemies spawn start&stop e.g. Vigilante/Taxi etc. and start the next war by shooting those gang members. If the player prefers, he/she can use this trick to start a war in small territories and then take over the big hood that was used to start that war completely after that. Credit mainly goes to 'S.' for that one.
- If one of the territories belongs to Grove is under attack and Carl doesn't want to defend it, simply trigger a vehicle side mission, and quit it. The territory that was under attack will still be under GSF control.
- Starting a gang warfare will wipe out any wanted level acquired prior to starting the warfare, and will prevent the player from acquiring a wanted level during the warfare. Once the player has successfully taken over a territory, acquiring a wanted level becomes possible again.
- It is also possible for Carl to make a trick of heavy weapons in Mike Toreno's Ranch. Get a Minigun then save. Repeat the process and he will have enough ammo for taking over territory easily.
- It is possible to start wars by killing gang members in cars, by blowing them up or shooting in their head. If hitting the car, some get out and start a fight, others flee.
- If Carl hasn't planned on taking over all territories, it is generally a good idea to make sure that the player still does take every territory which contains either an Ammu-Nation store, or a fast food restaurant. Fast food restaurants also make gang war in their area much easier, as not only the player can use them to restore health during a battle, but can also wait inside for a one star police rating to wear off as well.
- Make sure having body armor equipped, and the best weapons Carl obtained before starting a gang war. Sub-machine guns tend to be easier to use than shotguns. Grenades can be useful for dispersing crowds, but they can be difficult to throw accurately. However, Molotov Cocktails are very effective and can kill a large number of enemies with few throws. One Molotov is capable of taking down an entire enemy wave making them probably the best weapon in gang warfare. See photos:
- Be cautious when scouting for enemy gang members along the borders between Grove Street and enemy territory, as it's common for Grove Street members to enter the periphery of other territories and be potential targets for friendly fire. Killing one of the Grove Street Families members results in a respect penalty.
- Taking over a 'hood does not require killing all combatants. Some may run away, or CJ may kill enough to take over the territory. Watch out for "leftover" gang members who might still attack Carl. He'll also frequently encounter gang members at the start of the battle who do not appear as blips on the radar, but who might have been nearby when he made his initial attack to trigger the war.
- Some of the larger territories, when attacked, may spawn a gang car that will attempt to perform drive-bys on Carl. However, the car takes a random route and will soon leave the area instead of pursuing the player. Destroying it is not mandatory to get past the wave where it appears.
- Weapons, cash, and the health and armor pick-ups usually remain on the street for some time after the gang war ends giving the player the chance to restore health and armor if needed.
- It is strongly advised that Carl begin dating Katie Zhan before attempting the gang warfare in the later part of the game, as dating Katie will allow Carl to be killed and revived at hospital without losing his weapon inventory.
- If Carl is killed or busted during a takeover attempt, the color of the disputed territory will turn gray and Grove Street members might begin appearing within it, but Carl will still need to successfully survive the three waves for it to become fully Grove Street property.
- The smaller the rest of the territory of the other gang, the weaker the gang members that come in gang war waves.
- Some territories are extremely small, often little more than a sliver of land, and as such may not clearly show up on the map. If an area that is considered is clear is still being attacked, this means there must still be a tiny enemy gang territory on the periphery. If in doubt, attack any non-Grove Street gang members that are seen hanging about along the edges of a Grove Street territory, even if enemy colors aren't visible on the map. Small territories will also spawn less enemy waves, an example is the eastern continental part of Ocean Docks, where around 4 to 5 Ballas members appear and just one or two have light guns. Small territories can be extremely hard to take over, as enemy gang members can be extremely rare.
- Good cover is essential, especially places where it is able to crouch and shoot enemy gang members from. Standing in the open will get decrease the armor and health bars very quickly in gang wars. The player ideally wants to find checkpoints which only have a single way in, and are blocked off on the other three sides. This way the player can shoot gang members one at a time, as soon as they come into view.
- The player can leave the car on the sidewalk so that if hostile gangsters close to the car, it is possible to shoot it and blast them at once.
- A sniper rifle can be useful to take out enemies a distance away so it should noted that Carl wouldn't have to exchange gunfire nearby with them as its possible to lose health or armor in the process.
- It is possible to take over territories from gangs that are allies with CJ (Triads, Varrios Los Aztecas) and those that play no or a small part in the game (Italian Mafia, Da Nang Boys, San Fierro Rifa) involving a glitch. During earlier stages of development, it was reportedly possible to start a gang war with these gangs by normal means, and the ability to do so can be turned on again using modifications.
- If the player recruits a Ballas or Vagos gang member by activating the recruit anyone into gang cheat, the recruited Ballas or Vagos gang member will instantly attack the player.
- The neighborhoods of Temple, Glen Park and Willowfield are fully covered by enemy territories, except for a neutral area not obtainable by the player.
- The smallest territory of the game is located in Temple, this consists of a 24/7.
- Taking over many territories in a row will result in Total Respect stat bar going out of the box. It can be seen by the green bar shows how much respect Carl has "picked".
- When recruiting gang members while the player has a two star wanted level or more, CJ will tend to shout more and use profanity (for example, he might say something like "Are you gonna put in work or be a punk ass bitch?" when the player recruits a new gang member whilst having a higher wanted level).
Defending Grove Street Territory
When a Grove Street Families territory is attacked by an enemy gang, the area flashes red on the map, and an icon will flash on the in-game radar. Carl will also receive a pop-up warning of the attack soon.
If Carl does not go to defend the territory, after a period of time it would be lost to the attacking gang, and respect would be drained. Once at the site of the attack, there will be one or more enemy gang vehicles blocking the road and a single (though sometimes large) wave of enemy gang members that need to be killed. Beware that some enemy gangs are equipped with a Shotgun that would likely lead to a hazardous and fatal result. Health and armor pick-ups will spawn in the area, just as they would during a takeover attempt.
There are three ways to avoid defending without losing that territory:
- Save at a safehouse. (Not recommended as this can cause damage to the game files.)
- Commence a side mission, such as Paramedic.
- Become wasted or busted.
Attacks will typically not occur when Carl is outside of Los Santos.
Recruiting Gang Members
Carl can recruit gang members at any time he wants. Once they are recruited, he has the option of either calling them to him, having them stay put, or allowing them to scatter.
If gang members are following Carl, they will attack any person that attacks him. They will also attack anyone the player attacks. If CJ attacks an enemy gang member, the recruited gang member will attack any member of that gang. When driving in a car and there are enemy gang members walking down the street the recruited members will attack them automatically if they have a weapon. If the police are chasing on CJ, they will shoot at the police.
Occasionally, however, gang members might "go rogue", hijacking vehicles or chasing off after someone.
Gang Members do not have the best aim, and thus, are better served as a 'distraction' to waste Carl's time to attack, rather than as 'protection' to CJ.
if CJ recruits a gang member and attack another gang member which is not recruited, the recruited gang members will attack him, but will never hit.
Unlocking More Territory
If Carl controls a plane and fly east or west for 15 or more minutes, then crash the plane in the water and let CJ drown, there will be more Gang Territory unlocked all over San Andreas after re-spawning at a hospital. This also works in a boat or in a car with the drive on water cheat activated.
This method will give Grove Street, Ballas, and Los Santos Vagos territory across the entire map. These territories won't come under attack. It is hard to take them from the rival gangs, since they will rarely spawn gang members in them.
It is possible to use this method to unlock more territory. As noted above, make sure Carl's dating Katie Zhan before attempting this glitch.
Modification uses such as "Paul's GTA SA Savegame editor" (preferably version 3.2), allow the player to edit territory or unoccupied zones. For example, it is possible to make Grove Street and Italian Mafia members to appear in a zone in Las Venturas at a same time. The editor is also used to change the owner of a territory.
Can't trigger turf war
The PS2 has a glitch that may be triggered after the conclusion of the main storyline. Several territories in the El Corona area north of the Los Santos Airport will be shown to be in enemy hands (even if these territories were taken over by Grove Street earlier). Although enemy gangs will be encountered, it's not possible to trigger a gang war and take over these areas, preventing 100% takeover of gang areas by Grove Street. If possible, these territories should be taken over before doing the final storyline mission.
Other gangs attacking the Grove territory
The player can make the Varrios Los Aztecas or any other gang, attack Grove Street territory. For example, first, wait for some Ballas to attack the hood. When one of the Grove's territory is attacked, lure 3 Ballas gangbangers into El Corona or Little Mexico, and kill them there. Then drive to the attacked hood. Blue points will appear on the map, either Glendales, Broadways or Hermes blocking the turf and Aztecas attacking it.
Enemy gang members spawn underwater
When claiming territory close to the sea, a wave of attackers can spawn in the sea bed so they won't drown, making them virtually impossible to kill. This can happen near the lighthouse in Santa Maria Beach so to avoid this, face towards the lighthouse before the next wave of attackers appear as they won't spawn in the direction the camera is facing.
In some versions of the iOS/Android release of the game, pedestrians will strangely stop judging CJ's apparel, even if held at gunpoint and/or stood next to for a long time. This glitch appears to happens both times when Gang Warfare is unlocked, although it stops happening until Home Coming is complete.
Silent's Extended Gang Wars mod reenables the gang warfare for all gangs, as Rockstar had intended in the beta.