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Gang Warfare in GTA San Andreas

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Gang warfare is a feature in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It is available upon completion of Sweet's mission Doberman. Taking over enemy gang territory earns you 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.

After The Green Sabre, CJ temporarily loses the ability to control territory; this feature returns upon completing the mission Home Coming.

The gang territories in San Andreas are denoted by colored areas on the map. This is a list of gangs whose territories you can take over, with their corresponding colors:

Gang Color
Ballas Purple
Grove Street Families Green
Los Santos Vagos Yellow
Varrios Los Aztecas Turquoise
San Fierro Rifa Blue
San Fierro Triads Red
Da Nang Boys Grey
Russian Mafia White
Italian Mafia Black

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 yours
Territory Territory3 Territory4

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 you've killed three gang members, you will be notified 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 you.

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 you until you find some more Balla members. This will get you the three gang members required to trigger the war.

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 you are standing in the area with little enemy gang presence, you 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 or 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 win you the gang war 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, especialy 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 tank, 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.

Tips, Tricks and Trivia.

  • This helps if you just want to get the warfare done to unlock the final mission or want 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 you want, 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 you wish, you can use this trick to start a war in small territories and then take over the big hood you used to start that war completely after that. Credit mainly goes to 'S.' for that one.
  • You may also want to do a trick in Mike Toreno's Ranch. Get a Minigun then save. Repeat the process and you will have enough ammo for getting into a Gang Warfare.
  • You can start wars by killing gang members in cars, by blowing them up or shooting in their head. If you hit the car, some get out and start a fight, others flee.
  • If you don't plan on taking over all territories, it is generally a good idea to make sure that you still do 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 can you go into them to restore health during a battle, but you can also wait inside for a one star police rating to wear off as well.
  • Make sure you have body armor, and the best weapons you can get before starting a gang war.  Machine guns tend to be easier to use than shotguns.  Grenades can be useful for dispersing crowds, but they can be hard 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:
    Wave of enemies

    The third wave of Ballas in a gang war.

    Molotov effects

    A single Molotov burning an entire wave.

  • 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 your own gang members results in a respect penalty.
  • During gang wars, any wanted level would be prevented from increasing for the duration of the battle. Killing a cop after triggering a war would only give a 1 star level, if one wasn't earned already. If you have a wanted level, the incoming police would temporarily stop chasing CJ, but officers already involved would still try to kill. If no cops are in the area, they would not spawn until the battle ends unless the player goes to a spray shop, collects enough police bribes, or is wasted during war.
  • 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.
  • Weapons, cash, and the health and armor pick-ups usually remain on the street for some time after the gang war ends.
  • 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.
  • Also, getting busted is less likely, but to avoid a similar issue Carl should also start dating Barbara Schternvart before entering into serious gang warfare.
  • 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 the territory of the another 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 you think 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 you see 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.
  • Good cover is essential, especially places where you can crouch and shoot enemy gang members from. Standing in the open will get your health and armor drained very quickly in gang wars.  You ideally want to find checkpoints which only have a single way in, and are blocked off on the other three sides.  This way you can shoot gang members one at a time, as soon as they come into view.
  • You can leave the car on the sidewalk so that if they're close to the car, you can shoot it and blast them.
  • It is possible to take over territories from gangs that are allies with CJ (Triads, VLA) and those that play no or a small part in the game (Italian Mafia, Russian Mafia, San Fierro Rifa).
Available Territories
East Beach
East Los Santos
El Corona
Glen Park
Las Colinas
Little Mexico
Los Flores
Playa Del Seville
Santa Maria Beach
Unity Station
Verona Beach

Defending Grove Street Territory

When a Grove Street Families territory is attacked by an enemy gang, the area flashes red on the map, and a flag appears on your radar. You'll also receive a pop-up warning of the attack.

If you do not defend the territory, after a period of time you will lose it to the attacking gang, and you will lose respect. 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 end you up in hospital. Health and armor pick-ups will spawn in the area, just as they would during a takeover attempt.

There are two ways to avoid defending territory:

  1. Save at a safehouse.
  2. Commence a side mission, such as Paramedic. Both cancel out the attack with no penalty.

Attacks will typically not occur when Carl is outside of Los Santos.

If Carl is killed while defending a territory, that territory will remain in Grove Street hands when he comes out of the hospital. This may be due to a glitch.

Recruiting Gang Members

You can recruit gang members. Once they are recruited, you have the option of either calling them to you, having them stay put, or allowing them to scatter.

Respect # of Members
1% 2 members
10% 3 members
20% 4 members
40% 5 members
60% 6 members
80% 7 members

If gang members are following you, they will attack any person that attacks you. They will also attack anyone you attack. If you attack an enemy gang member, your gang member will attack any member of that gang. When you are driving in a car and there are enemy gang members walking down the street your members will attack them automatically if they have a weapon. If the police are chasing you, they will shoot at the police.

Occasionally, however, gang members might "go rogue", hijacking vehicles or chasing off after someone. As the BradyGames official strategy guide recommends, do not rely on them for protection, but more as distraction for the enemy.

Glitch: Unlocking More Territory

If you take 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 you re-spawn 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.

You can repeat this method to unlock more territory. As noted above, make sure you're dating Katie Zhan before attempting this glitch so that you don't incur weapon or money penalties.

Glitch: 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.

Glitch: Other gangs attacking your territory

You can make the Varrios Los Aztecas or any other gang to attack Grove Street territory. For example, first, you'll have to wait for some Ballas to attack your hood. When your territory is attacked, lure 3 Ballas gangbangers into El Corona or Little Mexico, and kill them there.Then drive to the attacked hood.You will see blue points on the map, either GlendalesBroadways or Hermes blocking the turf and Aztecas attacking it.

Glitch: 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.

See also

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