Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the eighth game in the GTA franchise. It went on to become the best selling Playstation 2 game of all time and was praised by critics. It was later released on both Xbox and PC.
Unlike previous Grand Theft Auto games, San Andreas actually takes place in an entire state rather than a city. The state is divided into three regions: Los Santos (based on Los Angeles), San Fierro (based on San Francisco), and Las Venturas (based on Las Vegas). San Andreas also has the most diverse setting in the series, with open countryside contrasting a variety of sprawling urban landscapes. In addition to the normal open-world gameplay, role-playing elements were introduced to the series in the form of stats, such as Muscle and Stamina.
San Andreas introduced a number of significant gameplay changes. For the first time, the player has the ability to swim, addressing one of the key complaints lodged against previous GTA games. Several of the game's missions feature swimming and diving as a critical element.
In addition to this, San Andreas allowed for major character customization. Clothing, hairstyles, and even the build of your character can all be changed, with a greater selection of stores being unlocked as you progress through the game. Players are required to eat food regularly to maintain their health, but eating too much junk food will cause the character will gain weight. This can be avoided by working out in a gym, which also has the effect of improving the character's strength and stamina.
Players are also able to customize their cars. To modify a car, you merely have to take it to a garage that caters to such a type of car, and then select various modifications to be installed. These could include things such as the availability of Nitrous, Hydraulics, as well as some minor cosmetic tweaks, such as the addition of rims and fenders.
In order to make customization of CJ and vehicle usage more valuable, you will slowly improve with different stats. If you use one weapon repeatedly, you will advance your skill level with it. Earning a higher skill level means that you can do more with the weapons you carry. The levels move from Beginner, to Gangster, and finally to Hitman. Generally, getting the Hitman level means that you are able to move while reloading. With some weapons, however, you can also dual wield them, as a bonus for reaching the Hitman level. Dual wielded weapons are much the same as the standard weapons, but with double the firepower. Some special weapons, such as the RPG-7 and the Flamethrower, do not have skill levels, so you cannot advance your abilities with them. Driving cars for long periods of time will increase your driving skill, and this will make vehicles more useful. Higher driver skill levels mean that cars will handle more responsively, and you won’t be fishtailing on a turn as often. Not only this, but a talented driver can also travel at higher speeds. CJ can also improve with his flight abilities, boating, and biking abilities too.
San Andreas also features a greater selection of aircraft than was seen in previous instalments. Players can increase their Flying Skill as they use aircraft to travel across the environment, with the effect that the different forms of aircraft become easier to handle and control.
San Andreas added in a ‘girlfriend’ feature, which did not appear in any previous game in the series. This system was somewhat revamped for its second appearance, in 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV. As you played through the game, you would occasionally meet a character who did not look like any other NPC. Chatting to them, and fulfilling certain criteria meant that you could take them on a date. The different girlfriends all have different criteria; for example: the police officer in the desert town likes overweight men. Once you had found a character to act as a girlfriend, you simply arrive at their home, and take them to where they request. Characters may want to eat, or go out dancing. One of the girlfriends has a request where you simply have to let her kill someone. Once you have completed the criteria, you return the character home, and your relationship with them will increase. Once you reach different milestones you will get different gifts from your chosen girlfriend. For example, getting to 50% will allow you to take their car, and getting to 100% will earn you a piece of exclusive clothing. Once you reach a milestone you will be invited into their house for some ‘coffee’ (see: “Hot Coffee” at the bottom of the page for more information).
CJ is a member of the Grove Street Families, one of the various gangs featured in the game. CJ has the ability to recruit fellow gang members who then will follow him to support attacks on enemy gangs. CJ can also instigate gang wars, either by himself or with others, by going to an enemy gang territory and killing three gang members. After doing so, three waves of gangs will spawn one after the other. If CJ defeats all of them, the territory will go under the control of the Grove Street Families. The more territories that are under their control, the more money that is generated. It is possible to hold all the territory in Los Santos, resulting in Grove Street being the only gang present. This requires capturing some territories that only hold one side of a street block.
Both Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City had a wide host of cheat codes available, and San Andreas is no different. There are somewhat normal cheats that grant players full health, armor, weapons, vehicles, and money, as well as some cheats that change world properties such as massive bicycle bunny-hops, flying cars, homicidal citizens, and super punching. CJ's RPG elements can also be modified through cheat codes. There are nearly 90 cheat codes in total.
The story of San Andreas follows one Carl ‘CJ’ Johnson, who has returned to the state after the death of his mother. Carl is, or rather, was, a member of the ‘Grove Street Families’, which were a powerful gang in the past. Carl was a founding member of the gang, and he left them when his brother Brian died, five years before the events of the game.
The game opens up with Carl at the Francis International Airport in Liberty City. He passes his luggage through the scanner, and proceeds to the plane. The game then cuts to his arrival in San Andreas. A police car pulls the taxi Carl is traveling in over, and the officers inside drag Carl out of the vehicle. Their plan is to frame Carl for homicide, after they shot dead fellow officer Ralph Pendelbury. Not only this, but to add insult to injury, they drop Carl off in the neighborhood of the Grove Street Families’ archrivals, the Ballas. The first main mission is mainly getting to grips with the game, and learning the controls of the BMX bike, which was a new feature added to the game.
Once CJ arrives home, he discovers the Grove Street Families are almost eradicated. The threat posed by the Ballas has shot up, and Grove Street is barely holding on. As Carl enters the family house, he is confronted by Big Smoke, a fellow gang member, who is wielding a Baseball Bat. Carl explains who he is, as Smoke seems to have forgotten him, and the two greet each other before Smoke invites Carl to travel to the funeral of his mother with him. Once the two men arrive, they are ambushed by the Ballas, who arrive in a Voodoo car, and start shooting. To survive, your group run to BMXs, and you are asked to escape the Voodoo and return to the Grove neighborhood. Once you return you will learn more about the gang and the members. The key members of the Grove Street Families are:
Sweet was the gang founder, and he is also Carl’s brother. Initially, he treats Carl with hostility after he ‘ran away’ five years ago. Early in the game he frequently asks CJ, “When are you going to run away again?”. Ryder and Smoke act as the gang lieutenants, and Smoke is the only member of the gang who seems accepting of Carl again. One of the key elements of the Grove Street Families is that they are strongly anti-drug dealing. The Ballas, however, are not, and make much of their profits peddling dope.
As you progress you will discover that Kendl, Sweet and Carl’s sister, is going out with a Mexican guy called Cesar Vialpando. Carl seems accepting of this fact, whereas Sweet says several stereotypical things about Cesar. However, Cesar introduces Carl to multiple different practices ongoing in San Andreas, such as illegal street races and lowrider meets. Cesar is a big fan of cars, and many of his missions revolve around driving and stealing them. Once you progress through the game, you will begin to take over territories for the gang, and start weakening the Ballas.
During missions, Ryder mentions a rumor that had been circulating. Apparently, a green Sabre sports car was the vehicle used during the shooting of Carl’s mother. Initially, this Sabre appears to be nothing more than a simple rumor. Sweet decides that it is time for the Grove gang to become the powerful alliance they were in the past, and they arrange a ‘sit-down’ between the leaders of the gangs that used to be the alliance. However, as this happens, the SWAT attack the motel the meet is ongoing in. Immediately, Ryder and Big Smoke speed off, explaining that it is “Every motherfucker for himself”. However, Carl chooses to enter the motel and save his brother. You shoot your way through the motel, and eventually reach Sweet. The two escape the motel, while Ryder and Smoke arrive to pick them up again. This section of the game acts as an ‘on-rails’ shooter where you merely have to unload into the approaching police forces. After this mission, Sweet wants to take the fight to the Ballas, and completely annihilate the gang. Carl is asked to help with this attack, which he accepts. However, Cesar calls him and asks him to meet him first, before doing anything. When Carl arrives he gets into Cesar’s car, and watches Ryder, Big Smoke, and the corrupt police officers walk out of a garage. Then the worrying thing happens: they open the door to the garage… which houses a green Sabre. Ryder and Smoke had a part in the death of Carl’s mother. As CJ sets off to Sweet, he realizes that his brother is walking into an ambush. Frantically, he tries to call him to call off the attack, but he is too late to do anything. The attack goes ahead as planned under the Mulholland Intersection, and Sweet is trapped in an ambush. When Carl arrives, he fights off the Ballas, before a huge number of police arrive to arrest the survivors. However, before this happens, Sweet takes a bullet to the chest. Carl surrenders as he fears about losing another member of his family.
San Fierro and Countryside
Once CJ surrenders, the game cuts to all black and voices. Carl has a bag over his head, and the corrupt officers from the start of the game, Eddie Pulaski, Hernandez, and Frank Tenpenny have Carl in the back of their patrol car. CJ pleads for them to take the bag off his head as he cannot breathe, and inquires about Sweet. Tenpenny says that Sweet is in a prison hospital, being treated for a bull et wound. He also says that they are in ‘The middle of fucking nowhere’, and leaves Carl there. In actual fact, you are in a small country village called Whetstone, which is near the largest peak in the game: Mount Chiliad. Tenpenny gets in contact with Carl, and instructs him to kill a man who is hiding out on Mount Chiliad. This man has evidence against Tenpenny and Pulaski, and they need to remove him from existence. Permanently. Once the killing is completed, you are instructed to take a photo of the corpse to prove that the man is dead.
Eventually, Cesar will get in contact with you again. He says the Los Santos gang scene has fallen into anarchy, and it’s extremely dangerous to be in a gang in Los Santos. When he asks where you are, he directs you to a cousin of his who may be of use to you. This cousin of his is Catalina. Catalina is a psychotic woman, who is obsessed with committing criminal acts. When CJ meets her, she wastes no time in explaining her plan for criminal deeds across the countryside of San Andreas. These missions basically involve different acts of theft, and then escaping the police. Catalina has frequent mood swings, as occasionally she is pleasant, before becoming extremely angry, extremely quickly. Not only do you meet Catalina, you meet a hippie by the name of ‘ The Truth’. This guy asks you to steal a Combine Harvester, so he may harvest drugs he is growing out in the countryside. He refers to his drugs as ‘whoop-de-doo’, and tells Carl he will be in contact with him again in the future.
Again, Cesar contacts you and asks you to meet him in the middle of the countryside so they can observe a meeting between Ryder and other key targets. These targets are known as ‘The Syndicate’, and will be integral to the game story. One by one the targets arrive, before you must take a picture of all of them individually. This is a reasonably straightforward activity, and is not extremely challenging. Before you go anywhere from here on, you must take part in two races. These races are both off road, and the second is merely the same course in reverse. The first run qualifies the winner to take part in the second race. In the second race, there is a driver by the name of ‘ Wu Zi Mu’, but he is known as Woozie. Woozie is extremely gracious in defeat, and calmly hands over the keys to the car he was driving: a black ZR-350. Not only does Woozie compete in this race, so does Catalina’s new boyfriend. This boyfriend happens to be Claude Speed, from GTA 3. Catalina hands over the deed to a garage in an industrial area of San Fierro, but refuses to hand over the keys to the car Claude was driving, as they ‘need it to go to Liberty City’. As soon as this race is completed, Carl receives a call from The Truth. The ‘whoop-de-doo’ is ready.
When Carl arrives at The Truth’s farm, he sees the quantity of drugs that The Truth has been growing. Some of the drugs had already been loaded into Truth’s van, but the police raid the farm with a helicopter before they could all successfully be loaded. The Truth tosses you a flamethrower and instructs you to incinerate everything, rather than allowing the police to confiscate evidence against him. Once the helicopter hovers overhead, The Truth then hands you an RPG-7 rocket launcher and orders you to shoot it down. He then drives a small distance ahead to avoid the explosion. However, he stops to allow you to get in. The Truth refuses to drive, because apparently he has not driven in 20 years, and his van engine is surviving on 15 year old cooking oil. Not only this, his van is weighted down with half a ton of drugs (however, it actually is able to reach the same speed as other models). You are tasked with driving the van to the garage that you won from Catalina a few missions earlier.
Once the van arrives at the garage, which is in the industrial area of Doherty, you discover that Catalina has played you. The place is a mess, and is completely worthless. Cesar, and Carl’s sister Kendl both arrive at the garage as well. The only member of the group who sees the potential that the garage has, is Kendl. She sees the building as an opportunity to live a normal life with a legitimate business away from criminal activities. However, Carl and Cesar see the same option: an illegal chop shop. The Truth says he can possibly get some of his connections to be a help to the business. He has a lot of connections, and these men he knows are ideal for working with vehicles. CJ and The Truth set off in an Emperor car to find them at their current places of employment. One works at a gas station, and the other works at a hot dog van. Both of them are more than willing to get a different employment. However, the other man is Zero, a genius with electronics and computers. Zero is responsible for many of the gadgets you’ll use in missions, and he’s also interested in the chop shop idea. Once the chop shop is up and running, Tenpenny will be requesting you deal with a man. The man in question happens to be the DA (District Attorney), and he wants to frame him. To do this, you need to kill one of the valets at a hotel and steal his uniform. When the valet enters you need to take his car to your chop shop where it is to be loaded with drugs and then returned.
After a while, you will receive the opportunity to visit Woozie. One of Woozie’s guys tells you that Woozie is actually blind, yet has incredible fortune. Apparently they call Woozie their ‘Lucky Mole’. Woozie wants to meet with another Triad group and see what is the cause of the goings-on in their neighborhood. However, when you arrive with Woozie you find the other Triad group massacred, and are ambushed. You find one of the other Triad members hiding in a garage because of the shooting, and Woozie takes pity on him and allows him to flee without punishment. The assailants who ambush Carl and Woozie are part of a newer Vietnamese gang, called the ‘Da Nang Boys’. Carl and Woozie escape in a stolen Da Nang Sentinel car, and kill the would-be assassins. After this, Woozie invites the leader of another Triad group to his location. This leader is ‘Ran Fa Li’, and the Da Nang Boys are planning to assassinate him as he leaves the building. Carl offers his services, and drives a decoy car into the countryside as a lure. The Da Nang assassins take the bait and Ran Fa Li escapes the assassination.
After some time, Woozie arrives at the garage, where he uses his knowledge to give information on the different syndicate members. Unfortunately, Woozie only knows two of the three people. However, they are T-Bone Mendez, leader of the San Fierro Rifa, and Jizzy B, the pimp who owns the Pleasure Domes. Mendez acts as an enforcer for Jizzy, and Carl decides to try and earn their trust. Initially, Jizzy gives Carl a list of objectives to complete. These objectives are merely to save his ‘hos’, as he calls them, from clients. Once the final client is killed, the police wanted level shoots up to three stars, and Jizzy tells you to keep the car, dump it, whatever – he doesn’t want a hot car back. After this, Jizzy sends you out with T-Bone to track down a member of the Syndicate, who was in a drug van, that had been hijacked. However, the only idea where the van is, is from the member of the, Syndicate who happens to have been forced into the back of the van, and is calling you through his cell phone. However, his phone has only a few minutes of battery left, and you have to find him quickly. Once you find him, a shootout ensues, and you must destroy the van. It’s better to have a setback in the loss of the drugs, than a full stop in the form of being arrested. Once the van is destroyed, all you have to do is escape to the Pleasure Domes and the mission is completed. Jizzy begins to trust Carl after this incident, and eventually, you are told to kill him. To do this, you break into the Pleasure Domes and work your way through the building. Jizzy escapes to his car, and you have to chase him down and destroy the car to kill him.
Not only this, but Woozie is also interested in your services. The Da Nang boys are becoming more of a threat, and they try to stop you picking up a drug car for Woozie from the San Fierro airport. Once the vehicle is delivered, one of Woozie’s missions will begin with him asking if you are good underwater. He wants you to sneak onto a boat used by the Da Nang Boys, that happens to be in the harbor and plant a bug in it. However, after this, the next mission involves you strafing over the boat, killing Da Nang members with the mounted minigun. Woozie mentions in passing before this, that he is starting a new business venture that he wants you to be part of. He says he will call you when everything is finalized, and ready for business. However, as the helicopter performs strafing runs of the boat, one of the Da Nang Boys will strike the chopper with an RPG-7, causing it to plunge into the water. Everyone on board, except Carl is killed by this. However, you do take a casualty in the form of the loss of weapons. Once you have executed the Da Nang Boys leader, the mission is a success.
Before you may leave for Las Venturas, Cesar calls. He says he’s overlooking a meeting by members of the syndicate you’ve been tracking for some time. Among the men present, are Ryder, and T-Bone. Woozie volunteers the services of some of his men in the attack, where Carl plans to kill Ryder and T-Bone. To begin with, the Triad are cut down, and the only option you have is to go in guns blazing. Ryder will attempt to flee and steal a boat, where if you’re quick, you can snipe him immediately. Additionally, more information has appeared about the third man: Mike Toreno. After shooting down Toreno’s helicopter, you assume he is dead, before heading to Las Venturas and the desert surrounding it.
Las Venturas and Desert
Before too long, you are contacted by an unknown caller who happens to know about Sweet and his impending sentence. He invites you to visit him at his ranch in the deserts. However, to prove you are worthy he makes you race in a Monster Truck around the landscapes, and show your dedication. After this, he introduces himself as Mike Toreno…. the government agent. Toreno was working to take down the Syndicate as well, and that is why he ordered the destruction of the van back in San Fierro. It wasn’t to avoid being set back… it was to be a setback. Toreno has a lot of influence in the government, and he could have Sweet’s record and sentence cleared altogether, should he have a reason to. And his reason for doing so, unfortunately, means that Carl will have to attempt to complete some near-suicidal objectives.
Carl is ordered by Mike to steal a truck with a trailer full of goods. The goods themselves are never explained, but the truck needs to be hijacked as it travels down the freeway. Toreno recommends that Carl calls Cesar. However, he has already called Cesar for him, as he arrives just after the objective is explained. Cesar jumps to the truck, and then you need to commandeer it and take it to the defined location. After this, Carl is asked to do some other errands, such as shooting down a helicopter to cover some government agents as they parachute in. Initially, Toreno is quite hostile towards Carl, and sees him as nothing more than an expendable asset, but by the end of his final request, the two are reasonably friendly. One of the things Toreno needs you to do, is to learn how to fly a plane. He needs you to fly a plane to do some ’things’ for him. This means purchasing the Verdant Meadows airstrip in the desert for $80,000. Toreno requests that you deliver some goods to a location in San Fierro’s countryside, and then return. You need to do this without appearing on radar, or there will be fighter jets chasing after you, making the mission impossible. At the end of these missions, there is a huge plane sitting on the airstrip, and guys in suits are loading it. According to Mike, these men are a splinter cell from the governmental agents and they need to be stopped. To do this, you need to use a bike and speed into the plane as it prepares to take off. Once this is done, the plane needs to be destroyed in midair.
Once this is done, The Truth has some uses for your airstrip as well, and he wants you to sneak into a restricted governmental area and steal a prototype for him. This means infiltrating the base at night, and sneaking through it to steal the object, known as the ‘Black Project’. The Black Project turns out to be a Jetpack that you can fly with. This pack means a lot to The Truth, as it allows him to find something he wants. Once you have the Jetpack he tells you to fly to a train travelling across the desert and steal, ‘Whatever it is they least want you to get’. This means killing everyone on board the train and then stealing a jar of green ‘goo’. According to The Truth, this goo proves the existence of aliens, as this is their DNA.
Once you have helped these two people, Woozie will call to let you know that his business venture is back up and running. It happens to be an Asian-themed casino along the Venturas Strip. The casino is called the Four Dragons, and he wants to offer you a partnership in the business. The meeting is disturbed however, by the announcement that someone was caught trying to vandalize the machines. Woozie says it’s madness, as he’s trying to open a Triad casino in a Mafia town. However, Carl decides to be creative with torturing the thug. Carl asks one of the Triad members to tie the man to the front of a car, before driving dangerously to try and squeeze information out of him. Eventually the guy on the hood of the car cracks and says he’s part of the Sindacco family. This is all the information required.
The Sindaccos are in a shared business with at least one other crime family, and that happens to be the Caligula’s Casino, which is also located along the strip. Woozie and Carl decide to build a plan to ransack Caligula’s, and make the Three Dragons the bigger of the two casinos. To do this Carl builds the trust of the men at Caligula’s, by working for them. One of the biggest requests is that Carl flies back to Liberty City, and kills a man for Salvatore Leone. This mission involves stealing a plane, and then flying to a point where the game loads the part of the city required (St. Mark’s Bistro), and then you get the opportunity to kill the target. Once this is done, you return to San Andreas, and report the success to Salvatore. After this, the other Mafia are enraged and send a hit squad to San Andreas to assassinate Salvatore Leone. However, he is prepared for this, and commands Carl to kill the assassins mid-flight. To do this, you steal a Dodo plane at the Las Venturas airport, and leap to the hostile plane, which is a Shamal. Once you are in the plane you merely need to kill the men traveling aboard it, and return to complete the job.
After some time you will find a mission where the rapper, Madd Dogg, is planning to jump from the roof of a casino due to the actions you undertook back in Los Santos for OG Loc. A crowd of gamblers have gathered to encourage him to jump, and Carl wants to avoid it happening. He steals a Walton truck and angles it to break Madd Dogg’s fall. After this, you drive him to the hospital. He asks for you to be his manager in the future.
Before leaving and returning to San Andreas you will meet with Tenpenny and his ‘Polish lapdog’, Eddie Pulaski. They take you out to a desert town and instruct you to dig your own grave. Suddenly, Hernandez runs in, before hitting Pulaski around the head with a spade and announcing he’s with the DEA. Pulaski then kills Hernandez as well, before running to his car, which is a white Buffalo. The only vehicle apart from it that is sitting nearby happens to be a Bandito, so it is your only option for pursuit. As you chase Pulaski, he shouts obscenities and taunts you. One of the most vicious of these is that the police touched his mother’s corpse, and this angers Carl in a major way. Once the Buffalo is badly damaged, Pulaski gets out. He is armed with a Desert Eagle, so he can cause severe damage. Carl asks Pulaski if he has any last words as he lies against his car, dying. The final thing Eddie Pulaski said to Carl was “Can I fuck your sister?”
Los Santos (return)
After completing all the requested missions, you will return to Los Santos. Initially, you parachute over Madd Dogg’s mansion as it has been taken over by a drug lord. The mansion will become the new base of operations for the group, once it is reclaimed. To reclaim it you simply have to kill your way through before killing the drug lord in possession of it. Initially you jump with a group of Triads, who can help you during the mission. However, at least one of them will die due to the scripted cutscene. Madd Dogg needs his mansion back, as he wants to kick-start his career again, and what better way than to take back his mansion?
The next mission begins with Madd Dogg rapping, and then his sound booth being hijacked by Mike Toreno, who instructs Carl to leave the building and meet him outside. Toreno wants Carl to infiltrate a governmental aircraft carrier, and steal a Hydra fighter jet from the boat. This jet will be needed to destroy some ships that are being used for spying by enemies of the state, apparently. After the jet takes off you will be pursued by two AI enemies, who pose little threat if you use lock-on with the heat seeking missiles on them. After destroying the boats, you are told to land the Hydra at Verdant Meadows. After this, Carl screams at Mike that he is never doing anything for him again. However, the Hydra will now spawn at this airstrip for the player to use.
After completing this mission, and starting the next one at Madd Dogg’s mansion, Toreno will personally enter the building and ask Carl to do one last favor for him. CJ pulls out a pistol and threatens him, but Mike says that the mission is to pick Sweet up. Toreno fulfilled his promise, albeit after requesting some suicidal tasks. Once Sweet has been picked up, he wants to be taken home to the Grove area. He does not approve of Carl’s wealthy new lifestyle, and makes his feelings known. Carl feels that there is more to life than the Grove Street Families, and Sweet disagrees, saying that he was born in the Grove and he would more than likely die in the Grove too.
The final mission involving Madd Dogg’s mansion involves Madd Dogg himself. He wants to get his revenge on OG Loc for
stealing his works and exploiting them as his own, and he chooses to do this by intervening at an interview with Loc. OG Loc flees on a hovercraft after this, before switching to a Go Kart when he reaches the Santa Maria Beach in Los Santos. Eventually, he is cornered, and surrenders the work of Madd Dogg to him.
During the time Carl has been away from the Grove, and Sweet has not been there to maintain it, the entire area has become territory of the Ballas. Sweet feels it is time to make the presence of the families known, and wants to push the Ballas out of their territory. Some of the Grove gang members have also dropped their flags, and are now working for the Ballas as drug suppliers and dealers. One of these men is B-Dup, who is now living in Glen Park, in the heart of Ballas territory. When Sweet and CJ pay him a visit he orders his drug fiend friend, Bear, to take care of them. However, Bear turns around and punches B-Dup, flooring him. Bear says he is ‘tired of the drugs, and tired of making your [B-Dup’s] goddamned toilet sparkle’. Bear and Sweet drive off in a car stolen from B-Dup, and Sweet says he’s going to help Bear get over his addiction.
After this, it shows the trial of Officer Frank Tenpenny. Tenpenny is being convicted for masterminding a major crime syndicate, and killing fellow officer Ralph Pendlebury. However, in an incredibly corrupt turn of events, Frank is let off without any charges being pressed, due to an apparent lack of evidence. This shock ruling drives the citizens of Los Santos into a frenzy, and starts a riot. During this riot, Cesar requests Carl’s assistance in using the events to his advantage. His plan is for his gang to push the Vagos out of their hood, and this means killing every one of them, during the anarchy ongoing. Not only this, but Sweet wants to find Smoke and kill him too.
The finale of the game involves an assault on Big Smoke’s crack palace in Los Flores. Sweet and Carl arrive at the building to discover it is well protected, and it will be difficult to enter the building… unless, of course, a large enough vehicle ran into the walls. Conv eniently, there is a SWAT tank sitting down the road, fending off rioters along with the SWAT teams. Carl steals the tank, and drives it into the front of the building. After this, you must fight through the building solo, as Sweet wants to keep an eye on what is ongoing on the streets. There are multiple different floors to the building, and you need to reach the top one to find Smoke. Once you fight your way to the top floor you will see Big Smoke playing on a games console, almost trying to ignore what was going to happen. Carl confronts Smoke, and Smoke runs away wielding an AK-47. After taking some damage, Big Smoke will turn the lights off in the room, but he leaves a pair of Nightvision Goggles sitting in the room, which you can steal to make the fight much, much easier. After succeeding to kill Smoke, he lies against a wall bleeding. Carl asks Smoke why he did it, and Big Smoke says he wanted people to remember his name, before he dies.
After Smoke dies, Carl turns around and prepares to leave. However he is confronted by Frank Tenpenny, who is pointing a SPAS-12 (Combat Shotgun in-game) at him. Tenpenny orders Carl to open the safe beside Smoke’s television and put the money into the bag that he hands him. Frank is preparing to flee the state, before the public find him and turn against him. Once Frank has the money, he sets the building ablaze before running. Carl has to fight his way out of the burning building as well as try to extinguish some of the flames. Once you escape the building, you will see Tenpenny climbing into a fire truck, before Sweet sprints along his car’s roof and leaps onto the ladder. Carl has to give chase – not only to kill Tenpenny but to prevent his brother dying. After some time, an officer tries to loosen Sweet’s grip on the ladder. However, you get the car under the ladder so Sweet lands safely in the car. He takes control, and this plays as another ‘on-rails’ shooting scene. Tenpenny’s engine cannot be destroyed so you merely have to focus on killing the enemies pursuing. Tenpenny tries to make it over the bridge at the Grove Street area, but he loses control, before crashing off the bridge into the Grove, where he dies. After this, there is a cutscene where Madd Dogg announces his success, and the Gold Record award that the group has earned from getting his rhymes back.
Considering the sheer size of San Andreas, additional side missions were to be expected. While these side missions are not essential to completing the game, they are important for getting the 100% completion statistic. Below are the side missions contained in the game:
Once you complete the Driving School in San Fierro, you will receive a phone call to let you know that the dealership opposite the garage is for sale. The dealership happens to be called ‘Wang Cars’, and is on sale for a mere $50,000. Once you purchase the dealership, you will get some missions. Generally, these missions ask you to steal certain cars. Completing the mission will make the car you collected appear in the dealership. There are five missions for the Dealership strand, and they will earn you the following cars for your dealership:
Import and Export
After completing the Dealership side mission strand, you will be able to access a chalkboard at the docks. This board lists some cars that you are required to steal, and then return to the ship at the pier. There are several different lists that you must complete to finish this activity. You are paid for each car you return to the ship, but the price varies depending on what condition the car happens to be in. If the car is not damaged in any way you will earn the top price. When you enter a car required for this activity, a popup window will alert you to this fact. Once you have the car, you need to drive it onto the pier, before using the crane to move it onto the deck of the ship. After a car is delivered, you can use the board to purchase a car of the same model for yourself. This is a good way to acquire rarer cars, after delivering one to the ship. Once you have completed a list you will earn a large cash bonus, and there will be two different vehicles you can buy after this. These include special vehicles, such as the Monster Truck.
If you enter a Taxi or Cabbie, you will have an option to engage in taxiing missions. These missions feel similar to the gameplay of Crazy Taxi. You need to find a fare, and then drive them to their desired destination within a time limit. Not only this, but there is a ‘tip meter’ that depletes depending on if you crash, and how long it takes you to arrive. You can still complete a fare with a fully depleted tip meter, but you will not earn much money. Not only this, but people will refuse to enter a badly damaged taxi, so driving neatly is very well rewarded. You earn extra money for completing multiple fares in a row. These rewards come in increments of five fares (5 in a row, 10 in a row, 15, etc.), and will give a considerable cash injection. You must complete 50 fares in total to ‘complete’ this activity. After doing so, all the Cabbies and Taxis in the game will spawn with nitrous and hydraulics.
If you enter a police vehicle, such as the Police Car, Rhino tank, HPV-1000, or FBI Rancher, you will be prompted to start the Vigilante side mission strand. These missions revolve around chasing down and killing criminals. What makes this mission strand difficult is that you can still earn a Wanted Level, and the criminals are always armed. Generally, the easiest way to complete these missions is through using the Rhino tank, due to its power and strength.
If you enter an Ambulance, you will be prompted to begin the Medical side mission strand. The aim is to pick up wounded civilians and drive them to a hospital. It plays similarly to the Taxi missions, but crashing can potentially kill a patient who is in the vehicle. What can make this somewhat easier is by using the siren to clear the roads, allowing you the right of way.
Once you finish the mission ‘777 We Tip’, you will earn a Valet uniform in your Wardrobe. This uniform needs to be worn to complete this side mission. To play this mission you have to travel to the hotel in San Fierro where the mission took place. Civilians will drive over, and leave their cars to be valet parked. You must take the car, and then park it in the underground lot at the hotel. You must park a specified number of cars before moving onto the next level. You earn more money for parking a car well, and for not damaging a vehicle. You are punished for killing the other valets, however. After completing the six levels of this mode, you will begin earning money from the hotel.
Weapons in San Andreas are purchased in an Ammu-Nation gun store. There are several of these in each area of the city, and they all stock the same weaponry. Below is a breakdown of all the weapons you’ll encounter in the state of San Andreas:
- Brass Knuckles: Found under the bridge in the Grove Street. This replaces your default fist and does considerably more damage.
- Knife: Capable of performing stealth kills where you slit the target’s throat, assuming you are crouched behind the target.
- Baseball Bat: Acts as a form of club, and does a lot of damage. Generally the first hit floors a target, while the second hit will make sure they never get up again.
- Chainsaw: Found on the Doherty construction site, amongst other places. One hit kill to enemies, and arguably one of the best melee weapons in the game.
- Katana: Able to occasionally kill an enemy with one hit. The Katana occasionally can decapitate, killing instantly.
- Nightstick: Found on the corpses of the police. Very common, albeit reasonably effective.
- Pool Cue: Earned through playing a game of pool.
- Golf Club: Found inside a Golf Caddy and on the grounds of the Avira Country Club.
- Shovel: Found in Ryder’s back yard.
- 9mm: Common pistol used by police and gang members. It deals low damage with a large magazine size.
- Silenced 9mm: Silenced version of the 9mm. Seems to do more damage.
- Desert Eagle: Deals an incredible amount of damage, although it only has 8 rounds in a magazine.
- Shotgun: Easily found in police vehicles. Deals decent damage, albeit pump action lowers rate of fire.
- Sawn Off: Shorter range than the standard pump action, although it deals much more damage.
- Combat Shotgun: Deals a large amount of damage, and is semi-automatic. The Combat is arguably the best shotgun in the game.
- Tec-9: Frequently used by gang members, and fires fairly slowly. It doesn’t do much damage either, but it is cheap and common.
- Micro Uzi: Similar to the Tec-9, albeit with a higher rate of fire and a bigger magazine. It is also used by different gang members.
- SMG: Fires quickly and does the highest damage of an SMG. Comparable to an assault rifle, and is based on an MP5. It’s used by some gang members when in a gang war.
- M4: Used by the military. It has a larger magazine than the AK-47 but less accuracy.
- AK-47: Used by some gang members. It has a smaller magazine than the M4, but it is more accurate.
- Rifle: Low rate of fire with high damage and precision. Also, it needs loaded with each round and is reasonably cheap.
- Sniper Rifle: Precise, albeit with a low rate of fire due to the bolt action mechanism. Can deal major damage to targets over range.
- Combat Sniper: Identical to the standard sniper rifle, but with a higher rate of fire.
- Grenade: Difficult to throw accurately, but can be quite effective against vehicles.
- Satchel Charges: Precision detonation and throwing, with high power. However, they are expensive.
- Molotov Cocktail: Can torch areas of the environment, and ideal against human targets.
- Minigun: Overwhelming rate of fire, and extremely high damage. The minigun is extremely helpful in some sticky situations, such as during a gang war.
- RPG-7: Effective against vehicles, and also against clustered groups of enemies. The RPG also deals splash damage, which can be very beneficial.
- Stinger: Absolutely ideal against aerial targets. It works in the same way as the missiles on the Hydra jet do.
- Flamethrower: Does low damage, but does stop enemies firing at you, assuming they are caught in the blaze.
- Flowers: These are more of a gift for girlfriends than an actual weapon. Nonetheless, they can be found at gas stations.
- Dildo: Again, another gift for girlfriends, but it can be found in the showers at the Los Santos police building.
There are many different vehicles available in San Andreas, and they fit into different categories depending on what they are capable of. Here is a breakdown:
There are different forms of road going vehicles in San Andreas, but the one characteristic shared by them all is that they cannot travel on any terrain apart from the ground. This grouping can be defined further, as:
- Transport: The transport section is built up of vehicles that can transport goods. While all vehicles can do this, these are more the kind of vehicles that you would encounter in a business. This section includes the Rumpo, the Pony, and the Boxville.
- Emergency Vehicles: Vehicles that respond to emergencies. These can range from police cars to fire engines, as they all fall under the ‘Emergency Vehicles’ category. This section includes the Rhino tank, as well as the Police Car and the FBI Rancher.
- Special Vehicles: This section is built up of vehicles you do not normally see on the roads, but are still road-going. Special Vehicles are vehicles such as the Bloodring Banger, the Hotring Racer, and the Go-Kart.
- Civilian Vehicles: Common vehicles driven by everyday civilians. This section contains the majority of vehicles in the game. While not all the vehicles are common, they are driven by civilians. This section contains vehicles such as the Elegant, the Huntley, and the Bullet.
- Gang Vehicles: While all the vehicles driven by gangs in San Andreas are also driven by civilians, they are deserving of their own section, as anyone who is familiar with the vehicles of San Andreas will pay attention to a vehicle from this section, in case it happens to be a gang car. This section contains the Tahoma, Tornado, and Majestic.
Air-based vehicles are just that. They are merely vehicles that travel by air rather than roads. Not only this, they can also be split into two different subsections:
- Planes: A plane is a fast and mobile vehicle. The easiest way to define the difference between the planes and helicopters is with the question: can this vehicle hover in the air? The only vehicle that can vary from this is the Hydra due to the fact it is a fighter jet. This sub-section contains vehicles such as the Rustler, the Hydra, and the Nevada.
- Helicopters: Helis are much slower than planes, but they can be more precise at the same time. Using an armed chopper allows you to aim accurately due to the hovering ability that they possess. This sub-section is built up of vehicles such as the Sparrow, and the Hunter.
Boats, and other such vehicles are hard to define any further, if it is even possible. Water-based vehicles include such things as the Squalo, and other boats. In short: if it floats, it’s a boat.
Hot Coffee Scandal In June of 2005 "Hot Coffee" was released by Dutch modder Patrick Wildenborg. What this software patch did was to unblock a previously inaccessible section of the game which had been created by Rockstar but then abandoned before release of the game. The section of the game in question was part of the "dating missions" where CJ could start a relationship with up to 6 girlfriends. Once he had successfully dated a girl she may invite him into her house for "coffee" and from there the player gets an exterior view of the house, from which they could hear CJ and his girlfriend engaging in sexual intercourse. With the Hot Coffee mod installed this scene is replaced with a minigame in which the player controls CJ's actions during the sex scene. None of the 6 possible scenes contained any nudity (although nude textures were later added by third-parties) and the animations and textures were clearly unfinished.
| Rockstar initially denied that such a minigame was created by them and claimed that it was the result of "hackers". However it was later shown that Hot Coffee could be unlocked in both the Xbox and PS2 versions of the games. Both Rockstar and the ESRB ratings board came under fire for allowing the game to be rated M with no mention of sexual content.|
On July 20th 2005, the ESRB announced that the current version of San Andreas at that time would be re-rated AO while Rockstar stated that it would produce all future versions of the game with the offending scenes removed. Rockstar owners Take-Two is said to have lost an estimated $6.9 million as a result of the controversy.
"Myths" surrounding the game
With the game's immense scale, it was only a matter of time before myths and rumors popped up about what was roaming in the state of San Andreas. From things like Bigfoot and UFO's, to people like Leatherface appearing. Even the game's satirical cult the Epsilon Program, became a source of myths and legend. Most (But not all) of these myths have been debunked in the years since the game's release. There were confirmed ones though like a rusted wheelchair on a dock which was in reference to a then future release of Manhunt 2. Also, a cemetery that glowed at night at certain times.
When the game released on PC, many players took to the modding of San Andreas. Considering the scale of the game, there have been some extremely large tasks and projects organized by different PC gamers. Some players have made extremely comprehensive mods, including completely different stories, and reworked cities. Many GTA modding sites frequently still have mods for San Andreas uploaded daily. Some of the most common mods for the game are different cars and weapons. Videos of San Andreas on PC frequently show licensed cars due to modders creating them for use in the game world. It may not always be possible to mod versions of the game. Only the disc-based copies of San Andreas can support modding, and even then, only Version 1.1 of the game can be modded on. However, due to the works of the community, newer versions can be downgraded with different programs and software. On top of this, some coders have built programs to automatically install mods for players who are unsure of swapping files in the game folder.
One of the most ambitious mods, and one of the mods most commonly used alongside San Andreas is SA:MP. This mod allows players to create multiplayer matches and play with friends. Many of the servers created have different rules, and RPG servers are fairly common. They aim to simulate life, allowing players to own houses, cars, and so on. 'Deathmatch' servers are also commonly encountered, as players enjoy killing each other. Some mods can cause instabilities with certain features. For example, some modded cars cannot be altered in the garages. Trying to modify these cars can cause the game to stop responding or crash.
Like all the Grand Theft Auto games, there are several different in-game radio stations. There are many different stations in the game, but the music played by the stations remain the same. However, with Radio Los Santos, initially the radio is advertised on by Madd Dogg, but after completing missions to make OG Loc more popular, he will take over the show. Once the game is completed, Madd Dogg will return as the advertiser. Below are the names of all the stations in San Andreas, their logo, their genre of music, and their playlists.
|WCTR Talk Radio|
|Genre: Talk Show|
- The News - Leanne Forget
- The Tight End Zone - Derrick Thakery
- The Wild Traveller - James Pedeaston
- Entertaining America - Billy Dexter
- Gardening with Maurice - Maurice
- I Say, You Say - Peyton and Mary Phillips
- Lonely Hearts - Christy MacIntyre / Fernando
- Area 53 - Marvin Trill
Lazlow himself appears in one of these shows. No music is played on WCTR, which makes it an exception to the other stations in the game. If you listen closely to the radio you will find that WCTR stands for "West Coast Talk Radio". Lonely Hearts is unique in the game, as it is initially hosted by Christy MacIntyre. However, during the show Fernando interrupts and takes control.
|Genre: Groove / Soul|
DJ: Johnny 'The Love Giant' Parkinson
- Express Yourself - Charles Wright
- Cross The Tracks (We Better Go Back) - Maceo and the Macks
- Smokin' Cheeba Cheeba - Harlem Underground Band
- Jungle Fever - The Chakachas
- Nautilus - Bob James
- Green Onions - Booker T and the MGs
- Rock Creek Park - The Blackbyrds
- Hot Pants - Bobby Byrd
- I Know You Got Soul - Bobby Byrd
- Funky President - James Brown
- The Payback - James Brown
- Think About It - Lyn Collins
- Rock Me Again and Again - Lyn Collins
- Soul Power 74 - Maceo and the Macks
- Grunt - The JBs
- Low Rider - War
- Tainted Love - Gloria Jones
- So Much Trouble In My Mind - Sir Joe Quarterman
|Genre: Classic Hip-Hop|
DJ: Forthright MC
- Road to the Riches - Kool G
- Warm it up Kane - Big Daddy Kane
- The Godfather - Spoonie G
- Me and the Biz - Masta Ace
- Children's Story - Slick Rick
- Rebel Without a Pause - Public Enemy
- I Know You Got Soul - Eric B and Rakim
- It Takes Two - Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock
- BYS - Gang Starr
- The Vapours - Biz Markie
- Brand Nubian - Band Nubian
- Critical Breakdown - Ultramagnetic MCs
DJ: The Funktopus
- I Can Make You Dance - Zapp
- Hollywood Swingin' - Kool and the Gang
- Love Rollercoaster - Ohio Rollercoaster
- Cold Blooded - Rick James
- Twilight - Maze
- Yum Yum - Fat Back
- Between the Sheets - Isley Brothers
- West Coast Poplock - Ronnie Hudson
- Fantastic Voyage - Lakeside
- Loopzilla - George Clinton
- Let it Whip - Dazz Band
- Candy - Cameo
- Funky Worm - Ohio Players
- Love is the Message - MFSB
- Odyssey - Johnny Harris
- Running Away - Roy Ayers
- You Dropped a Bomb on Me - The Gap Band
|Genre: Classic Rock|
DJ: Tommy 'The Nightmare' Smith
- Slow Ride - Foghat
- Green Water - Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Barracuda - Heart
- Strutter - Kiss
- Hold the Line - Toto
- Young Turks - Rod Stewart
- Running Down a Dream - Tom Petty
- Woman to Woman - Joe Cocker
- Get Down to It - Humble Pie
- Some Kind of Wonderful - Grand Funk Railroad
- Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
- A Horse with No Name - America
- Eminence Front - The Who
- Smokin' - Boston
- Someone Up There Likes Me - David Bowie
- Two Tickets to Paradise - Eddie Money
- White Wedding - Billy Idol
|K-JAH Radio West|
|Genre: Reggae / Dub|
DJ: Marshall Peters and Johnny Lawton
- Don't Let it go to Your Head - Black Harmony
- Ring My Bell - Blood Sisters
- Wicked in a Bed - Shabba Ranks
- Batty Rider - Buju Banton
- King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown - Augustus Pablo
- Revolution - Dennis Brown
- Armageddon Time - Willie William
- Sidewalk Killer - I Roy
- Funky Kingston - Toots and the Mayhals
- Cocaine in My Brain - Dillinger
- Pressure Drop - The Maytals
- Bam Bam - The Pliars
- Here I Come - Barrington Levy
- Drum Pan Sound - Reggie Stepper
- Great Train Robber - Black Uhuru
- Chase the Devil - Max Romeo and the Upsetters
|Contemporary Soul Radio|
|Genre: Contemporary Soul|
DJ: Philip 'PM' Michaels
- I'm So Into You - SVW
- Keep On Moving - Soull II Soull
- So You Like What You See - Samuelle
- My Lovin' - En Vogue
- Rub You the Right Way - Johnny Gill
- Sensitivity - Ralph Trevsant
- Groove Me - Guy
- Don't Be Afraid - Aaron Hall
- Motown Philly - Boyz II Men
- Poison - Bell Biv Devoe
- I Got The Feeling - Today
- New Jack Swing - Wrecks 'n' Effect
- Don't Be Cruel - Bobby Brown
|Genre: Alternative Rock|
- Unsung - Helmet
- Personal Jesus - Depeche Mode
- Midlife Crisis - Faith No More
- Mother - Danzig
- Cult of Personality - Living Colour
- Movin' On Up - Primal Scream
- Welcome to the Jungle - Guns 'n Roses
- Pretend We're Dead - L7
- Hellraiser - Ozzy Osbourne
- Rusty Cage - Soundgarden
- Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine
- Been Caught Stealing - Jane's Addiction
- Fool's Gold - Stone Roses
- Them Bones - Alice in Chains
- Plush - Stone Temple Pilots
DJ: Mary-Beth Maybell
- Amos Moses - Jerry Reed
- Louisiana Woman, Mississipi Man - Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn
- Hey Good Lookin' - Hank Williams
- Queen of Hearts - Juice Newton
- The Letter that Johnny Walker Read - Asleep at the Wheel
- One Step Forward - The Desert Rose Band
- Crazy - Willie Nelson
- Three Cigarettes in the Ashtray - Patsy Cline
- Make the World Go Away - Mickey Gilley
- Mamma Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys - Ed Bruce
- Always Wanting You - Merle Haggard
- All My Exes Live in Texas - Whitey Shafer
- I Love a Rainy Night - Eddie Rabbit
- New York City - Statler Brothers
- Bed of Roses - Statler Brothers
|Radio Los Santos|
|Genre: Modern Hip-Hop|
DJ: Julio G
- The Ghetto - Too Short
- I Don't Give a Fuck - 2Pac
- Hood Took Me Under - Compton's Most Wanted
- Nothin' But a G-Thang - Dr. Dre
- Fuck Wit' Dre Day - Dr. Dre
- Deep Cover - Dr. Dre
- La Raza - Kid Frost
- How Could I Just Kill a Man - Cypress Hill
- It's Funky Enough - The Doc
- Alwayz into Something - NWA
- Express Yourself - NWA
- It Was a Good Day - Ice Cube
- Check Yo'Self - Ice Cube
- Eazy-Er Said Than Dunn - Eazy-E
- Murder Rap - Above the Law
- Guerrillas in the Mist - Da Lynch Mob
DJ: Hans Oberlander
- Make My Body Rock - Jomanda
- Pacific - 808 State
- Weekend - The Todd Terry Project
- Let the Music Use You - Nightwriters
- Move Your Body - Marshall Jefferson
- This is Acid - Maurice
- Can You Feel It? - Mr. Fingers
- Voodoo Ray - A Guy Called Gerald
- Ma Foom Bey - Cultural Vibe
- Someday - Ce Ce Rogers
- I'll Be Your Friend - Robert Owens
- Your Love - Frankie Knuckles
- Promised Land - Joe Smooth
- I Need a Rhythm - 28th Street Crew
- Break for Love - Raze
- The Morning After - Fallout
- 1GHz Pentuim III or AMD Athlon
- 256MB RAM
- 8x Speed DVD Drive
- 3.6 GB Hard Disk Space
- 64MB Video Card
- DirectX 9 compatable sound & video drivers
- Intel Pentuim 4 or AMD XP Processor (or better)
- 384MB RAM
- 16x Speed DVD Drive
- 4.7GB Hard Drive Space
- 128MB Video Card
- DirectX 9 compatible sound & video drivers
- Mac OS X 10.5.8, Mac OS X 10.6.2 Snow Leopard
- Intel Core 2 Duo Processor or higher. This game will NOT run on PowerPC (G3/G4/G5) based Mac systems (PowerMac)
- 1GB RAM
- At least 9GB of free Hard Disk space
- ATI X1600, NVIDIA 7300 GT or Intel X3100 integrated graphics chip