Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 26 October 2004 for PlayStation 2, and on 7 June 2005 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox. A high definition remastered version received a physical release for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on 30 June 2015 and 1 December 2015, respectively. 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 for Game Boy Advance. On 8 June 2018, the game was added to the Xbox One Backward Compatible library.
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 U.S. state of San Andreas, which is heavily based on California and Nevada.[b] 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-player story follows Carl “CJ” Johnson, an ex-gangbanger who returns home to Los Santos from Liberty City after his mother’s murder. Carl 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, Crips, and Hispanic street gangs, the 1980s crack epidemic, the LAPD Rampart scandal, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Considered one of the sixth generation of video gaming’s most significant titles, and by many reviewers to be one of the greatest video games ever made, San Andreas received rave reviews by many critics who praised the music, story and gameplay. It became the best-selling video game of 2004, and has sold over 27.5 million copies worldwide as of 2011; 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 scene. The next main entry in the series, Grand Theft Auto IV, was released in April 2008. 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).
1.1 Role-playing game features in character development
1.3 Other additions and changes
3 Marketing and release
5.1 Sales and commercial success
6.1 Hot Coffee mod
8 Other versions
8.1 Steam version
8.2 Mobile version
8.3 Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions
11 External links
The player driving a Banshee towards the Grove Street cul-de-sac in Los Santos around the afternoon.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is an action-adventure game with role-playing and stealth elements. Structured similarly to the previous two games in the series, the core gameplay consists of elements in 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, running, sprinting, swimming, climbing and jumping as well as using weapons and various forms of hand-to-hand combat. The player can drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, buses, semis, boats, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, trains, tanks, motorcycles and bikes. The player may also import vehicles in addition to stealing them.
The open, non-linear environment allows the player 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 the player can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, the player can freely-roam and look around the cities of San Andreas, eat in restaurants, 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 a vigilante. New additions include burglary missions, pimping missions, truck and train driving missions requiring the player to make deliveries on time, and driving/flying/boating/biking schools, which help the player 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 travel in locked locations early in the game, they would end up attracting the attention of SWAT teams, police, and police-controlled Hydras if in an aircraft.
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.
The player has a gunfight with members of an enemy gang.
In addition, players can swim and climb walls for the first time in the series. The ability to swim and dive underwater 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 fire-power, the player can also dual wield firearms or perform a drive-by shooting with multiple gang members who can be recruited to follow the player. Due to the size of San Andreas, a waypoint reticle on the HUD map can be set, aiding the player in reaching a destination.
Role-playing game features in character development
Rockstar has emphasised the personalisation of the main protagonist by adding role-playing video game elements. Clothing, accessories, haircuts, jewellery, and tattoos are available for purchase by the player, 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. The player must ensure CJ eats to stay healthy and 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 learn three different styles of hand-to-hand combat (boxing, kickboxing and kung fu) at the gyms in each of the game’s three cities. CJ can 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 for CJ when the cutscenes are excluded.
In total, there are around 250 vehicles in the game compared to approximately 60 in Grand Theft Auto III. New additions include bicycles, a combine harvester, a street sweeper, a jetpack and trailers amongst 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 eleven 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 hostile gangs for the protagonist’s gang, the opposing 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 system and nitrous 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 spoilers.
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 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, clothes, 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.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas takes place in 1992 within the state of San Andreas, which is based on sections of California and Nevada. It comprises three major fictional cities: Los Santos corresponds to Los Angeles, San Fierro corresponds to San Francisco, and Las Venturas corresponds to Las Vegas. The environments around these cities are also based on settings within the Southwestern region of the United States. Players can drive up the half-mile (800 m) tall Mount Chiliad (based on Mount Diablo), parachute from various peaks and skyscrapers, and visit 12 rural towns and villages located in five counties: Red County, Flint County, Bone County, Tierra Robada, and Whetstone. Other notable destinations include Sherman Dam (based on the Hoover Dam), a large secret military base called Area 69 (based on Area 51), a large satellite dish (based on a dish from the Very Large Array), Vinewood (based on Hollywood) and the Vinewood sign (based on the Hollywood sign) which is located in Mulholland, and many other geographical features. The bridges in San Fierro are based on the Forth road and rail bridges which link Edinburgh, the home of Rockstar North, to Fife although the road bridge is highly similar to the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. San Andreas is 13.9 square miles (36 square kilometres), almost four times as large as Vice City and five times as large as the Grand Theft Auto III rendition of Liberty City. The three cities are linked by numerous highways, a train system, and air travel. While its predecessors’ areas were limited to urban locations, San Andreas includes not only large cities and suburbs, but also the rural areas between them.
The main character is a member of the Grove Street Families street gang, a set of a gang that also includes the initially-hostile Temple Drive and Seville Boulevard Families. The two main rival gangs are the Ballas and Los Santos Vagos, both based out of Los Santos. The Varrios Los Aztecas also operate in Los Santos. The main gangs of San Fierro are the San Fierro Rifa, led by T-Bone Mendez; the Da Nang Boys, a Vietnamese gang; and the San Fierro Triads, whose leader Wu Zi Mu forms an alliance with Carl. In Las Venturas, the only gangs are the Triads (run by Wu Zi Mu) and the Italian Mafia (consisting of the Forellis, Sindaccos, and Leones). The “Loco Syndicate” appears in the San Fierro mission chain, essentially made up of T-Bone Mendez’s Rifa gangsters, Mike Toreno and a pimp Jizzy B. In addition, the Russian Mafia makes a few small appearances in the storyline.
Main article: List of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas characters
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The characters that appear in San Andreas are relatively diverse and relative to the respective cities and locales which each of them based himself in. This allows the game to include a significantly wider array of story lines and settings than in Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City. The player controls Carl “CJ” Johnson (Young Maylay), a young African-American gang member who serves as the game’s protagonist.
The Los Santos stages of the game revolve around the theme of the Grove Street Families gang fighting with the Ballas and the Vagos for territory and respect. East Asian gangs (most notably the local Triads), an additional Vietnamese gang (the Da Nang Boys), and a force of Hispanic thugs working for the local “Loco Syndicate” (the San Fierro Rifa) are evident in the San Fierro leg of the game, while three Mafia families and the Triads who all own their respective casino are more prominently featured in the Las Venturas section of the game.
Like the previous two Grand Theft Auto games, the voice actors of San Andreas include notable celebrities, such as David Cross, Andy Dick, Ron Foster, Samuel L. Jackson, James Woods, Peter Fonda, Charlie Murphy, Frank Vincent, Chris Penn, Danny Dyer, Sara Tanaka, William Fichtner, Wil Wheaton, rappers Ice-T, Chuck D, Frost, MC Eiht and The Game and musicians George Clinton, Axl Rose, Sly and Robbie and Shaun Ryder. Young Maylay made his debut as the protagonist, Carl.
The Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer’s Edition lists it as the video game with the largest voice cast, with 861 credited voice actors, including 174 actors and 687 additional performers, many of those performers being fans of the series who wanted to appear on the game.
In 1992, Carl “CJ” Johnson (Young Maylay), a former gangbanger for the Los Santos-based Grove Street Families, returns home to Los Santos from Liberty City after learning of his mother’s murder in a drive-by shooting. Upon his arrival, CJ is intercepted by a group of corrupt police officers led by Frank Tenpenny (Samuel L. Jackson). Tenpenny coerces CJ into working for him by threatening to frame CJ for the murder of an Internal Affairs officer, whose death had been orchestrated by Tenpenny.
After Tenpenny lets him go, CJ reunites with his surviving family at his mother’s funeral: his brother Sweet (Faizon Love) and his sister Kendl (Yo-Yo). Sweet angrily confronts CJ about his long absence from Los Santos and blames CJ for the Grove Street gang’s declining fortunes. However, CJ wins Sweet’s grudging acceptance by promising to stay and help rebuild the gang. The two brothers work closely with their friends, Big Smoke (Clifton Powell) and Ryder (MC Eiht), to reunite the divided Grove Street Families and reconquer their old turf from their rivals, the Ballas. During the gang war, CJ is occasionally sidetracked by orders from Officer Tenpenny, who forces CJ to assist him with black market and drug racketeering. Later, Sweet asks CJ to investigate Kendl’s new boyfriend Cesar (Clifton Collins Jr.). Despite his preconceptions, CJ discovers that Cesar genuinely cares about Kendl, and the two men become friends.
With Grove Street stronger than ever, Sweet plans to ambush a major group of Ballas and end the war. However, before CJ can get to the fight, he receives a call from Cesar to meet elsewhere. Cesar shows CJ a shocking scene: Big Smoke, Ryder, Tenpenny, and the Ballas working together to hide the car used in the shooting which killed CJ’s mother. Big Smoke and Ryder had arranged the shooting, and were working with Tenpenny and the Ballas to sell out Grove Street. CJ rushes to warn Sweet, but is too late, as Sweet is badly wounded from the Ballas counter-ambush. Tenpenny shows up and arrests them both. With Grove Street’s leadership decapitated, Big Smoke and Ryder openly declare their alliance with the Ballas. They take over Los Santos and flood its streets with drugs, and with Tenpenny protecting them from police interference, they appear unstoppable.
However, Tenpenny decides to get more use out of CJ. Instead of throwing CJ in prison, Tenpenny drives him into the rural country outside Los Santos, and threatens to arrange Sweet’s death in prison if CJ doesn’t co-operate. Exiled in the countryside, CJ is forced to carry out favors for C.R.A.S.H, under threat of Sweet being transferred to a cell block where Ballas affiliates are housed. He also works with Cesar’s cousin Catalina (Cynthia Farrell) to make money by carrying out several heists in the area. He also befriends a hippie named The Truth (Peter Fonda) and a blind Chinese-American Triad leader named Wu Zi Mu (James Yaegashi). After winning the deed to a garage in San Fierro in a race against Catalina and her new boyfriend, CJ goes there with The Truth, Cesar and Kendl to get it up and running so they can make a living. While in San Fierro, CJ crosses paths with the Loco Syndicate, Big Smoke and Ryder’s drug connection. CJ infiltrates the organisation and identifies its leader, Mike Toreno (James Woods). CJ kills Ryder and the other Loco Syndicate leaders, Jizzy B (Charlie Murphy) and T-Bone Mendez (Kid Frost), and shoots down Toreno’s helicopter. CJ then destroys the Syndicate’s drug factory.
Soon after, CJ is called by an unknown man using a digitally distorted voice, who asks CJ to meet him at a ranch in the desert. There, CJ finds Mike Toreno alive, thus revealing Toreno as the caller. Toreno reveals that he is actually an undercover government agent spying on criminal operations and enlists CJ’s help in several shady operations in exchange for Sweet’s freedom. Meanwhile, CJ travels to Las Venturas, where Wu Zi Mu invites him to become a partner in the Four Dragons Casino, where the organisation is facing problems from the mob families that control the city. Seeking to wrest control of Venturas from them, CJ helps Wu Zi Mu plot a robbery of the mob’s casino and gains the mob’s trust through various jobs for mob boss, Salvatore Leone (Frank Vincent). Eventually the heist is carried out successfully, earning the Triad a place of power in Las Venturas, although causing the mob to detest CJ. CJ also encounters rapper Madd Dogg (Ice-T), from whom he stole a rhyme book to help rapper OG Loc (Jas Anderson) become a name in the business. After rescuing Madd Dogg from a suicide attempt, he asks CJ to be his manager once he returns from rehab.
Tenpenny, fearing his arrest is inevitable, tasks his partner Pulaski (Chris Penn) with killing CJ and Officer Hernandez (Armando Riesco), whom Tenpenny found out was informing on them to Internal Affairs. While Pulaski forces CJ to dig his own grave, Hernandez, severely injured after being hit over the head with a shovel, manages to attack Pulaski, leading to his death. Pulaski attempts to escape, but CJ kills him. Madd Dogg returns from rehab, prompting CJ to return to Los Santos to get his music career started again. Toreno contacts CJ for one last favor, and finally has Sweet released from prison. Now rich and successful, CJ attempts to cut Sweet in on his businesses, but Sweet becomes angry that he ran away and let their home be taken over by rival gang members and drug dealers to make his fortune. While CJ helps Sweet once again kill the rival gangs, Tenpenny is arrested and tried for felonies that he has been charged with, but the charges are dropped due to lack of evidence, prompting a citywide riot. CJ helps Cesar regain control over the barrio and also regain territory for his gang, so as to have enough power to obtain knowledge of Big Smoke’s whereabouts.
Sweet soon learns that Big Smoke is holed up in a fortified crack den in the city, and he and CJ go there to confront him. CJ enters the building alone, fighting his way to the top floor and confronting Smoke. CJ attempts to reason with Smoke, but the latter engages CJ in a gunfight. CJ defeats him and Smoke confesses that he betrayed the GSF in order to gain more power and money, and dies shortly after from his injuries. Tenpenny then arrives and holds CJ at gunpoint, before stealing Big Smoke’s money, intending to use it to leave the city. Tenpenny escapes and CJ and Sweet pursue him. During the pursuit, Tenpenny loses control of a fire truck that he was using as a getaway vehicle, driving off the bridge over the Grove Street cul-de-sac and crashing at the entrance to it. CJ and his friends watch as a fatally wounded Tenpenny crawls from the wreckage and dies.