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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Information about Grand Theft Auto San AndreasGrand Theft Auto: San Andreas (abbreviated as GTA: SA) is a sandbox-style action-adventure computer and video game developed by Rockstar North. It is the third 3D game in the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise, the fifth original console release and eighth game overall. Originally released for the PlayStation 2 in Oct. 2004 (9 years ago), the game has since been ported to the Xbox and Microsoft Windows, and has received wide acclaim and high sales figures on all three platforms, and is the highest selling game of all time on PlayStation 2 so far. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was succeeded by Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and was preceded by Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
The game is set in the fictional state of San Andreas, comprising three metropolitan cities. Set in Mar. 1992 (21 years ago), San Andreas revolves around the gang member Carl "CJ" Johnson returning home from Liberty City to Los Santos after learning of his mother's murder. CJ finds his old friends and family in disarray. Over the course of the game, CJ gradually unravels the plot behind his mother's murder while exploring his own business ventures. Like other games in the series, San Andreas is composed of elements from driving games and third-person shooters, and features "open-world" gameplay that gives the player more control over their playing experience. The game adds several features, such as car customization, and character personalization.
Much like the previous entries in the Grand Theft Auto series, San Andreas's critical and commercial success has not been without controversy. The most notable controversy was over the explicit "Hot Coffee" sex minigame found on the Microsoft Windows game, which was disabled but left within the game's code. Its discovery led San Andreas to be re-rated briefly as an adult game and pulled from retailers' shelves. After the Hot Coffee minigame code was removed, the game was re-rated as M again. But nonetheless, covert sexual references still remain.
HistoryFollowing the success of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (5 walls), consumers anticipated a new Grand Theft Auto game on the PlayStation 2 in late 2003 (10 years ago). The first concrete evidence of a new installment came on Oct. 29, 2003 (10 years ago), when Take-Two Interactive announced that an untitled GTA game was set for release in the "later half of the fiscal fourth quarter 2004". Although no further information was available at that point, as to the setting or plot of the new game, there were rumors that it would be based in either the fictional city of San Andreas, California or a Las Vegas-themed Sin City, Nevada.
On Mar. 1, 2004 (9 years ago), Take-Two announced in a press conference that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas would be released on Oct. 19, 2004 (9 years ago) in North America, Oct. 22 in Europe, and Oct. 29 for Australia. The first news of the game's content was revealed on Mar. 11, when it was divulged that San Andreas would not be a city, but rather an entire state consisting of three whole cities and the surrounding territory.
On sep. 9, 2004 (9 years ago), in Take-4's third quarter financial results for 2004 (9 years ago), it was announced that the release date would be pushed back by a week. In the same release, Take-Two announced the Microsoft Windows and Xbox versions of the game.
San Andreas was released for the PlayStation 2 on Oct. 26, 2004 (9 years ago) in North America and on Oct. 29, 2004 (9 years ago) in Europe and Australia. It was released in Japan on Jan. 25, 2007 (6 years ago). The Windows and Xbox ports were released on Jun. 7, 2005 (8 years ago) in North America and Jun. 10, 2005 (8 years ago) in Europe and Australia.
On Oct. 20, 2008 (5 years ago) it was made available to download from the Xbox Live Marketplace as an Xbox Original.
GameplaySan 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 environment in which to move around. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, running, swimming, climbing (the first GTA game in which swimming and climbing is possible) and jumping, as well as using weapons and various forms of hand to hand combat. Players can drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, airplanes, 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. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam and look around the cities, or cause havoc by attacking people and causing destruction. However, 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 people, pointing guns at people, stealing cars, killing a few people, etc.), whereas SWAT teams, the FBI, and the military respond to higher wanted levels.
- The player can also partake in a variety of optional side missions. 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 a vigilante. New additions include robbery 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.
Unlike Vice City and GTA III, which needed loading screens when traveling between different districts of the city, San Andreas has no load times when the player is in transit (which is notable, given how much larger the in-game map is than in the previous games). 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 colors 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.
The player has a gunfight with members of the enemy gang, the BallasIn 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. Also, due to the immense size of San Andreas, a waypoint reticule on the HUD map can be set, aiding the player in reaching a destination.
RPG features in character development
Rockstar has emphasized the personalization of the main protagonist by adding many RPG features. Clothing, accessories, haircuts, jewelry, and tattoos are now available for purchase by CJ, and have more of an effect on non-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 also tracks acquired skills in areas such as driving, firearms handling (when skills are high enough, double-wielding of certain weapons is possible), stamina, and lung capacity, which improve through use in the game. CJ may also learn three different styles of hand-to-hand combat (boxing, kung fu and kickboxing) 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.
In total, there are nearly 200 types of vehicles in the game , compared to the approximately 85 in GTA III. New additions include bicycles, dune buggies, a combine harvester, a street sweeper, a hovercraft, and many 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, 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 airplanes and 9 helicopters and makes them more integral in the game's missions. 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 (either alone or accompanied by fellow Grove Street Families members) ventures into enemy territory and kills 3-4 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 for the Grove Street Families, they no longer 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 a nitrous oxide system which gives the car a speed boost when activated; 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.
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 were removed from the PC version of the game. However, for the PC version, there are also online multiplayer mods called Multi Theft Auto and San Andreas Multiplayer which allow players to connect with hundreds of people online through various servers and fan-made game modes.
PlotAfter living in Liberty City for five years, Carl "CJ" Johnson returns to Los Santos in 1992 (21 years ago) for his mother's funeral. There, he finds his family and friends in disarray. While ironing out issues with his fellow friends and fighting gangs for territory within the city, Carl begins to bring his old gang back to prominence. However, with the Grove Street Families on the cusp of retaking control of Los Santos, he discovers that his best friends, Big Smoke and Ryder, are working with the crooked Officer Frank Tenpenny and a rival street gang, the Ballas, who have been the Grove Street Families' sworn enemies for years. Smoke and Ryder set a trap and help the Ballas ambush Sweet, Carl's brother. Tenpenny sends the police to arrest Sweet and kidnap Carl, whom Tenpenny ditches in the distant rural countryside. Carl, realizing Tenpenny is his only hope of staying out of jail or getting Sweet released, continues to run the cop's crooked errands, in the process killing or discrediting people involved in building a criminal case against Tenpenny.
Carl steadily befriends new allies, among them blind Chinese Triad leader and businessman Wu Zi Mu, an old hippie named The Truth, and Cesar Vialpando, a person who, like Carl, has been betrayed by his old friends (And is head of a small street gang (Varrios Los Aztecas) roaming the streets of Little Mexico and El Corona). Carl and his friends open a garage in San Fierro while they wait for an opportunity to return to Los Santos. After finding and killing Ryder, Carl becomes immersed in the affairs of a shady government agent, Mike Toreno, who implies that he will release Sweet if Carl helps him with his covert operations. Then, Carl works alongside Wu Zi Mu to promote the growth of a new casino in the mafia-run Las Venturas. Consequently, Carl enjoys newfound wealth and eventually returns to Los Santos. Toreno makes good on his earlier promise to release Sweet, but much to Carl's surprise, his brother wants no part of Carl's new lifestyle. Sweet insists on returning to Grove Street and working to reestablish the GSF rather than rest on the laurels of Carl's success.
Tenpenny goes to trial for several felonies, but the charges are dropped for lack of evidence, as all the prosecution's witnesses are either missing or dead. Tenpenny's release sends the citizens of Los Santos into a citywide riot, similar to the 1992 (21 years ago) Los Angeles Riots. Fueled by Sweet's resolve to topple Big Smoke, who has become the city's biggest drug kingpin, Carl reacquires lost gang territory and hunts down the traitors responsible for pushing drugs that destroyed the Families. He kills Big Smoke in a shootout, escapes from the burning crack palace and pursues Tenpenny, who has fled with Smoke's drug fortune. Sweet and Carl chase Tenpenny through the streets of Los Santos until Tenpenny loses control of his firetruck and drives it off a bridge. Carl is about to shoot him, "just to make sure it's finally over," but is stopped by Sweet. Sweet simply tells him, "It's just a cop that died in a car accident." Tenpenny then dies from his injuries. The final scene shows the Johnson family reunited. As his friends and allies celebrate their success, Carl turns to leave. When asked where he's going, he replies, "Fittin' to hit the block, see what's happening."
ReceptionPrior to its release for the PlayStation 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was one of the most highly anticipated games of 2004 (9 years ago), along with Halo 2. San Andreas met most of these expectations, as it was praised as one of the PlayStation 2's best games, with an average review score on 95%, according to Metacritic, tying for the fifth highest ranked game in PlayStation 2 history. IGN rated the game a 9.9/10 (the highest score it has ever awarded to a PlayStation 2 game), calling it "the defining piece of software" for the PlayStation 2. GameSpot rated the game 9.6/10, giving it an Editor's Choice award. San Andreas also received an A rating from the 1UP.com network and a 10/10 score from Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. Common praises were made about the game's open-endedness, the size of the state of San Andreas, and the engaging storyline and voice acting. Most criticisms of the game stemmed from graphical mishaps, poor character models, and low-resolution textures, as well as various control issues, particularly with auto-aiming at enemies. Some critics commented that while a lot of new content had been added to San Andreas, little of it had been refined or implemented well.
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