Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is an open world action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 26 October 2004 for the PlayStation 2 console, and on 7 June 2005 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox. It is the seventh title in the Grand Theft Auto series, and the first main entry since 2002's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It was released on the same day as the handheld game Grand Theft Auto Advance.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is played from a third-person perspective in an open world environment, allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. The game is set within the fictional US state of San Andreas, which is heavily based on California and Nevada.[c] The state of San Andreas consists of three metropolitan cities: Los Santos, based on Los Angeles; San Fierro, based on San Francisco; and Las Venturas, based on Las Vegas. The single-playerstory follows Carl "CJ" Johnson, who returns home to Los Santos after learning of his mother's murder. CJ finds his old friends and family in disarray, and over the course of the game he attempts to re-establish his old gang, clashes with corrupt cops, and gradually unravels the truth behind his mother's murder. The plot is based on multiple real-life events in Los Angeles, including the rivalry between the Bloods and Crips street gangs, the 1980s crack epidemic, the LAPD Rampart scandal, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Upon its release, the game was acclaimed by many reviewers who praised the music, story and gameplay. It became the best-selling video game of 2004, and has sold over 27 million copies; it remains the best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. The game, like its predecessors, is cited as a landmark in video games for its far-reaching influence within the industry. However, the violence and sexual content of San Andreas has been the source of much public concern and controversy. In particular, a player-made software patch, dubbed the "Hot Coffee mod", unlocked a previously hidden sexual mini-game.
The next main entry in the series, Grand Theft Auto IV, was released on 29 April 2008, also to critical acclaim. San Andreas has been ported to various other platforms and services, such as OS X, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Fire OS). In October 2014, the game was taken off the Xbox Live Marketplace & PlayStation Store. It was later announced that the game would be re-released and enhanced for Xbox 360 to celebrate the 10th anniversary.
San Andreas is structured similarly to the previous two games in the series. The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large, open world environment in which to move around. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, eating, running, sprinting, swimming, climbing and jumping as well as using weapons and various forms of hand-to-hand combat. Players can drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, buses, semis, boats, fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, trains, tanks, motorcycles and bikes. Players may also import vehicles rather than steal them.
The open, non-linear environment allows players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain cities and content, they are not required as players can complete them at their own leisure. If the player passes the blocked area, then the player will get four star wanted level. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam and look around the cities of San Andreas, eat from the restaurant, or cause havoc by attacking people and causing destruction. Creating havoc can attract unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the authorities. The more chaos caused, the stronger the response: police will handle "minor" infractions (attacking pedestrians, pointing guns at people, stealing vehicles, manslaughter, etc.), whereas SWAT teams, the FBI, and the military respond to higher wanted levels.
The player can partake in a variety of optional side missions that can boost their character's attributes or provide another source of income. The traditional side missions of the past games are included, such as dropping off taxi cab passengers, putting out fires, driving injured people to the hospital and fighting crime as avigilante. New additions include burglary missions, pimping missions, truck and train driving missions requiring players to make deliveries on time, and driving/flying/boating/biking schools, which help players learn skills and techniques to use in their corresponding vehicles.
Not all locations are open to the player at the start of the game. Some locales, such as mod garages, restaurants, gyms, and shops, become available only after completing certain missions. Likewise, for the first portion of the game, only Los Santos and its immediate suburbs are available for exploration; unlocking the other cities and rural areas again requires the completion of certain missions. If the player were to try travel in locked locations they would end up attracting the attention of SWAT teams.
Unlike Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City, which needed loading screens when the player moved between different districts of the city, San Andreas has no load times when the player is in transit. The only loading screens in the game are for cut-scenes and interiors. Other differences between San Andreas and its predecessors include the switch from single-player to multiplayer Rampage missions (albeit not in the PC version), and the replacement of the 'hidden packages' with spray paint tags, hidden camera shots, horseshoes, and oysters to discover.
The camera, fighting, and targeting controls were reworked to incorporate concepts from another Rockstar game, Manhunt, including various stealth elements, as well as improved target crosshairs and a target health indicator which changes from green to red to black depending on the target's health. The PC version of the game implements mouse chording; the player has to hold the right mouse button to activate the crosshairs, and then click or hold at the left mouse button to shoot or use an item, such as a camera.
In addition, players can swim and climb walls for the first time in the series. The ability to swim has a great effect on the player as well, since water is no longer an impassable barrier that kills the player (although it is possible to drown). For greater firepower, players can also wield dual firearms or perform a drive-by shooting with multiple gang members. Due to the size of San Andreas, a waypoint reticle on the HUD map can be set, aiding the player in reaching a destination.
RPG features in character development
Rockstar has emphasised the personalisation of the main protagonist by adding many role-playing game elements. Clothing, accessories, haircuts, jewellery, and tattoos are now available for purchase by the player, and have more of an effect onnon-player characters' reactions than the clothing in Vice City. CJ's level of respect among his fellow recruits and street friends varies according to his appearance and actions, as do his relationships with his girlfriends. Players must also ensure CJ eats to stay healthy and also exercises properly. The balance of food and physical activity has an effect on his appearance and physical attributes.
San Andreas tracks acquired skills in areas such as driving, firearms handling, stamina, and lung capacity, which improve through use in the game. CJ may also learn three different styles of hand-to-hand combat (boxing, jujutsu and wrestling) at the gyms in each of the game's three cities. CJ can also speak with a number of pedestrians in the game, responding either negatively or positively. According to Rockstar, there are about 4,200 lines of spoken dialogue.
The player is in a street gang called the Grove Street Families (based on the Bloods), a part of the set of other gangs including the Temple Drive and Seville Boulevard Families. The other street gangs in the game include the rival Ballas (based on the Crips), Los Santos Vagos (based on the Latin Kings), San Fierro Rifa (based on Mexican Norteño Gangs found in Northern California), Da Nang Boys, San Fierro Triads, and the Varrio Los Aztecas (based on Mexican Sureño Gangs found in California).
In total, there are around 248 vehicles in the game compared to approximately 60 in Grand Theft Auto III. New additions include bicycles, a combine harvester, astreet sweeper, a hovercraft, trailers and others. Car physics and features are similar to the Midnight Club series of street racing games, allowing for much more midair vehicle control as well as nitrous upgrades and aesthetic modification.
There are several different classes of vehicles that serve different purposes. Off-road vehicles perform better in rough environments, while racing cars perform better on tracks or on the street. Jets are fast, but usually need a runway to land. Helicopters can land almost anywhere and are much easier to control in the air, but are slower. While previous Grand Theft Auto games had only a few aircraft that were difficult to access and fly, San Andreas has 11 fixed wing aircraft and nine helicopters and makes them more integral in the game's missions. There is also the ability to skydive from aircraft, using a parachute. Several boats were added, while some were highly modified.
Other additions and changes
Other new features and changes from previous Grand Theft Auto games include:
- Gang wars: Battles with enemy gangs are prompted whenever the player ventures into enemy territory and kills at least three gang members. If the player then survives three waves of enemies, the territory will be won and fellow gang members will begin wandering the streets of these areas. The more territory owned by the player, the more money that will be generated. Occasionally, the player's territory will come under attack from enemy gangs and defeating them will be necessary to retain these areas. Once all marked territories are claimed from one of the two other gangs for the Grove Street Families, that gang can no longer attack. Once the player takes control of all the territories, none can come under attack.
- Car modification: Most automobiles in the game can be modified and upgraded at various garages. All car mods are strictly visual apart from the stereo andnitrous oxide upgrade which increases bass and gives the car a speed boost when activated respectively; and hydraulics, which lowers the car's height by default and allows the player to control various aspects of the car's suspension. Other common modifications include paintjobs, rims, body kits, side skirts, bumpers and stereo system upgrades.
- Side-mission: There are some side-missions in GTA San Andreas. It can be played at any time by the player. The player can steal a taxi and start the side-mission. In taxi side-mission the player have to drive the taxi and give service to the crowds and earn some money. There are many other side-missions such as Police service, Fire brigade service, Ambulance service etc.
- Burglary: Continuing the series' tradition of controversy, home invasion is included as a potential money-making activity. By stealing a burglary van, CJ is able to sneak into a residence at night, and cart off valuables or shake down the occupants.
- Minigames: Numerous minigames are also available for play in San Andreas, including basketball, pool, rhythm-based challenges (dancing and 'bouncing'lowriders with hydraulics), and video game machines that pay homage to classic arcade games. In addition, there are the aforementioned casino games and methods of gambling, such as betting on virtual horse races.
- Money: The money system has been expanded upon, compared to previous titles. Players can spend their cash on gambling, tattoos, meals, etc. Excessive gambling loss can force the player to sink into debt, which is shown in red negative numbers. When the player leaves a safehouse, CJ gets an unexpected call and a mysterious person tells him about his debts. Four gang members suddenly appear and shoot Carl on sight if he does not erase the debt when the mysterious person calls him a second time.
- Multiplayer: Rampages have been modified to allow two players to complete them. The players are both shown simultaneously on the screen, meaning they must stay within close proximity of each other. The multiplayer rampages provide such functionality.