Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
GTASABOX.jpg

Developer(s) Rockstar North
Publisher(s) Rockstar Games
Distributor(s) Take-Two Interactive (retail)
Valve Corporation/Microsoft (download)
Series Grand Theft Auto
Engine RenderWare
Version 1.01 (PC retail)
2.0 (PS2/XBOX retail)
3.0 (Steam)
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360,[1] Mac OS X
Release date(s) PlayStation 2[2]
  • NA October 26, 2004
  • EU October 29, 2004
  • AUS October 29, 2004
  • JP January 25, 2007
Microsoft Windows[3]
  • NA June 7, 2005
  • EU June 10, 2005
Steam January 4, 2008[4]
Games for Windows Marketplace June 8, 2010[5]
Xbox[6]
  • NA June 7, 2005
  • EU June 10, 2005
  • AUS June 10, 2005
Xbox 360 (Download)
October 20, 2008
Mac OS X[7]
  • NA November 12, 2010
Genre(s) Action-adventure, open world
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s)
Media/distribution Optical disc, download
System requirements

PlayStation 2

Xbox

  • Memory unit with 38 blocks free

Microsoft Windows[9]

Macintosh[10]

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is an open world action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. 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 October 2004,[2] the game has since been released for the Xbox and Microsoft Windows (PC) in June 2005, and has received wide acclaim and high sales figures on all three platforms, and is the best-selling game of all time on PlayStation 2. It was made available on Steam on January 4, 2008.[11] 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, which is based on Nevada, California, and Arizona, comprising three metropolitan cities: Los Santos, based on Los Angeles, San Fierro, based on San Francisco and Las Venturas, based on Las Vegas, with deserts, rivers, forests and a mountain separating the cities. Set in late 1992,[12] San Andreas revolves around the gang member Carl "CJ" Johnson returning home from Liberty City to Los Santos, San Andreas, 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 also adds a number of features such as car customization, character personalization, and interactive sexual relationships.

Contents

[edit] Gameplay

The player driving towards the Grove Street cul-de-sac in Los Santos during dusk.

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 (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, buses, semis, 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, 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 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 that can also 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 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 pay 'n spray, 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. It is possible - given the player's ability to swim - to enter the other areas ahead of time, although doing so results in the player being immediately attacked by law enforcement. The use of certain cheat codes can remove this obstacle and allow the player to free-roam virtually the entire state at will.

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. 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,[13] 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 an enemy gang, the Front Yard Ballas.

In addition, players can swim and climb walls for the first time in the series.[14] 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.

[edit] 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.[14]

San Andreas also tracks acquired skills in areas such as driving, firearms handling (when skills are high enough, dual-wielding of certain weapons is possible), stamina, and lung capacity, which improve through use in the game.[14] CJ may also learn three different styles of hand-to-hand combat (boxing, kung fu and Muay Thai) 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.[15]

[edit] Vehicles

In total, there are about 200 types of vehicles in the game[16] compared to the approximate 85 in GTA III. New additions include bicycles, a combine harvester, a street 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 airplanes 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.

[edit] Other additions and changes

Other new features and changes from previous Grand Theft Auto games include:

[edit] Synopsis

San Andreas
—  Fictional state  —
State of San Andreas
Country United States
States San Andreas
Cities Las Venturas
Los Santos
San Fierro
Area code(s) 342 Los Santos (323/424 Los Angeles)
514 San Fierro (415 San Francisco)
207 Las Venturas (702 Las Vegas)
Website Official San Andreas website

[edit] Setting

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas takes place 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.[14] The environments around these cities are also modeled after settings within the Southwestern region of the United States. Players can climb 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 three counties: Red County, Flint County, and Bone County. 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), and many other geographical features. San Andreas is 13.9 square miles (36 square kilometers),[20] almost four times as large as Vice City, and five times as large as the GTA III rendition of Liberty City. The three cities are linked by numerous highways, a train system, and air. 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. It also has a fictional version of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base called ingame the Verdant Meadows Airfield.

[edit] Los Santos

Los Santos, as seen from the ghetto district of Idlewood.

Like its counterpart of Los Angeles, Los Santos comprises several diverse areas. The urban area of Los Santos holds a population of 229 000 (1993 census). This includes the gang-ridden neighborhoods of Ganton, Willowfield, Jefferson, Idlewood and East Los Santos and Glen Park, based on their counterparts of Compton, Willowbrook, Watts, Inglewood, East Los Angeles and MacArthur Park, respectively. Also located in the city is a busy downtown section based on Downtown Los Angeles; the wealthy Rodeo and Mulholland districts (based on Beverly Hills and named after Rodeo Drive and Mulholland Drive, respectively); the beach-side districts of Santa Maria Beach and Verona Beach (based on Santa Monica and Venice Beach, respectively); and the glitzy Vinewood and the giant Vinewood Sign (based on Hollywood and its Hollywood Sign). Los Santos features landmarks reminiscent of Los Angeles, which include the Los Angeles River, the Watts Towers, the Los Angeles Convention Center, the Capitol Tower, the Los Angeles City Hall, the U.S. Bank Tower, the Griffith Observatory, the Forum, the Santa Monica Pier, the Vincent Thomas Bridge, Rodeo Drive, the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Union Station, and Grauman's Chinese Theater.

[edit] San Fierro

Gant Bridge, modeled after San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

Like its counterpart of San Francisco, San Fierro has a population of 205 105 (1993 census). It is characterized by a prominent cable car system and hilly terrain. San Fierro features several interpretations of many of San Francisco's districts and landmarks, including the Haight-Ashbury district (Hashbury), the Castro district (Queens), Chinatown, and the Golden Gate Bridge (Gant Bridge). Several other familiar landmarks have been recreated, from the Embarcadero Ferry Building, and the Transamerica Pyramid (Big Pointy Building) to Lombard Street (Windy Windy Windy Windy Street), alongside Edinburgh's Forth Rail Bridge (Kincaid Bridge)[21] and Forth Road Bridge (Garver Bridge), symbolising Rockstar North's Lothian heritage. San Fierro's City Hall closely resembles San Francisco's ornate city hall. San Fierro also contains remains of the Cypress Street Viaduct which collapsed in 1989 during the Loma Prieta earthquake. A naval base near the city's airport also has an amphibious assault ship and submarine docked in the bay.

[edit] Las Venturas

A casino on the Old Las Venturas strip.
The Welcome to Fabulous Las Venturas sign.

The city and surrounding outskirts (mainly of desert) has a population of 185 939 (1993 census). Like its counterpart of Las Vegas, Las Venturas is the home of legalized gambling and several casinos. In these casinos, the player can partake in blackjack, video poker, wheel of fortune, roulette, or play slot machines. In addition to gambling, strip clubs are also prevalent in Las Venturas. Many real Las Vegas Strip casinos are faithfully interpreted on Las Venturas' Strip, including the Excalibur Hotel and Casino (Come-a-Lot), the Sphinx and pyramid of the Luxor Hotel (The Camel's Toe), Treasure Island (Pirates In Men's Pants), The Mirage (The Visage), Circus Circus (The Clown's Pocket), Hard Rock Hotel (V-Rock Hotel, which is named after the Vice City radio station), Flamingo Las Vegas (The Pink Swan), Imperial Palace (The Four Dragons Casino), Caesars Palace (Caligula's Casino), Bally's Las Vegas (The High Roller), Fitz Casino & Hotel (The Emerald Isle), Barbary Coast Hotel and Casino (Starfish Casino), and Casino Royale & Hotel (Royal Casino). Other landmarks include a replica of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign and interpretations of Vegas Vic and Vicki as Vice City characters Avery Carrington and Candy Suxxx.[22] Suites in several of the hotels are available for purchase. In addition, Las Venturas features a large surrounding desert region, residential areas, and strip malls, as well as a seedy area (Old Venturas Strip) with several strip clubs and gambling parlors based on Las Vegas Downtown.

[edit] Characters

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 storylines and settings than in Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City. The player controls Carl "CJ" Johnson, 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) and an additional Vietnamese gang 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 GTA 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.[23] Young Maylay makes his debut as the protagonist, Carl.

The Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer's Edition lists it as the videogame 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.[24]

[edit] Plot

Grand Theft Auto series
fictional chronology

GTA era

1961London, 1961
1969London, 1969
1997Grand Theft Auto


GTA 2 era

2013Grand Theft Auto 2


GTA III era

1984Vice City Stories
1986Vice City
1992San Andreas
1998Liberty City Stories
2000Advance
2001Grand Theft Auto III


GTA IV era

2008Grand Theft Auto IV
(The Lost and Damned,
The Ballad of Gay Tony)

2009Chinatown Wars

After living in Liberty City for five years, since 1987,because of his brother's death, Carl "CJ" Johnson returns to Los Santos in 1992 for his mother's funeral. Upon returning, his cab is pulled over by police officers Frank Tenpenny and Eddie Pulaski, who had several run-ins with Carl before he left. The officers put Carl in the squad car, frame him for a fellow officer's murder, and drop him off in a rival gang's area of town. Once Carl finds his way back to his house, he finds his family and friends in disarray.

Carl's brother, Sean "Sweet" Johnson accuses him of their brother Brian's—and their mother's—deaths and berates him for abandoning the gang, the Grove Street Families. In an effort to win back his brother's favor, Carl then does jobs for Sweet, and fellow gang members Ryder, Big Smoke, and OG Loc. He also becomes protective of his sister Kendl after Sweet discovers that she is dating a member of another gang.Meanwhile,Carl dates with a girl named Denise(whom he rescued from a building who he set on fire on Tenpenny's orders)and helps OG Loc to manage his rapping carrer,along with sabotaging Madd Dogg's carrer(including drowning his manager locked in a car ond the bottom of the sea and stealing his rhyme book).

Thanks largely to Carl, the Grove Street Families return to prominence, and Sweet forgives him. While Sweet is preparing for a gang war against their rivals, the Ballas, CJ gets a call from Caesar, Kendl's boyfriend,to meet him in a small car under the freeway. Caesar shows him the Green Sabre ( the vehicle alleged to have carried out the shooting of his mother ) being escorted by Big Smoke, Ryder and Tenpenny. This proves the three were involved in CJ's mother's death and that Sweet's plan is doomed. Carl tries to warn Sweet but cannot reach him by phone; in desperation, he tries to rescue him. He withstands the Ballas long enough for SWAT and C.R.A.S.H. to arrive on the scene. Sweet is arrested and Tenpenny takes Carl away with him to 'the middle of nowhere' - a small village, Angel Pine, Whetsone, isolated between Los Santos and San Fierro. Meanwhile, the rogue faction lead led by Ryder and Big Smoke in league with the Ballas, take over Los Santos, flooding it with crack cocaine, Big Smoke then becomes a powerful figure.

Carl, realizing Tenpenny is his only hope of staying out of jail or getting Sweet released, continues to run the crooked cop's errands, and begins killing or discrediting people involved in building a criminal case against Tenpenny. During this time, Tenpenny introduces CJ to an old hippie named The Truth, and CJ helps the hippie with his marijuana farm. Meanwhile, Cesar gets CJ involved in a street-racing club run by blind Chinese Triad leader and businessman Wu Zi Mu (who is referred to as Woozie)and meet Cesar's cousin,Catalina who Carl has a brief relationship with. Eventually Carl wins the deed to a San Fierro garage from Catalina instead of the pinkslips (because she needs a car so she can go with her boyfriend in Liberty City), which he and his friends operate while they wait for an opportunity to return to Los Santos.

In San Fierro, Carl infiltrates the Loco Syndicate, who are supplying the Los Santos gangs drugs, doing jobs with the main members: Jizzy B. a pimp with a strip club for a front as a coverup, the 'concierge' who sets up the deals with other gangs, T-Bone, the gang's muscle, and their leader, shady businessman Mike Toreno. Carl is able to kill Jizzy after earning his trust, and tracks the others, along with Ryder, to a deal at the pier, where he kills T-Bone and shoots Ryder in a boat chase, and later blows up Toreno while in a helicopter. Carl also aids Woozie and the Triad in assasinating members of a Vietnamese gang, the Da Nang Boys. Carl and Caesar rethink plans for the garage.

Toreno reveals himself to be alive still alive and an agent for an unnamed branch of the U.S. Government. Carl becomes immersed in the affairs of Toreno, who implies that he will release Sweet if Carl helps him with his covert operations. After training to become a pilot, CJ then carries out operations for Toreno. Later, Carl is invited by Woozie to become a partner in the Triad's casino in Las Venturas, where they are facing harassment from the Mafia-run Caligula's Palace casino. Carl is then introduced to Kent Paul after The Truth asks him to save the rock-band manager and member Maccer, whom The Truth lost during a trip into the desert. Kent Paul introduces Carl to the casino's manager—ex-lawyer Ken Rosenberg, a former drug addict who has fallen in a depression because of the Mafia feud. Carl helps him by rescuing Johnny Sindacco from the hands of the Forellis. During Carl's and Ken's visit to the Sindaccos, Carl and Ken escape a shoot-out. Ken later phones CJ to tell him that the Leone Family have moved into the casino. Carl does jobs for Salvatore Leone, the Mafia don, to gain his trust whilst planning a heist on Caligula's with Woozie. During this time, Carl outlives his usefulness to Tenpenny, who tries, and fails, to have him killed. Eventually, Carl and the Triads successfully rob Caligula's. Before going back to Los Santos, Carl prevents the suicide of Madd Dogg, who is severely inebriated.

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 re-establish the Families rather than rest on the laurels of Carl's success who has based himself from Madd Dogg's mansion. Tenpenny goes to trial for several felonies, but the charges are dropped for lack of evidence, as - thanks to Carl - all the prosecution's witnesses are either missing or dead. Tenpenny's release sends anger and shock throughout Los Santos. The citizens of Los Santos launch a citywide riot, similar to the 1992 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.Carl invades the crack palace,assassinates Big Smoke, Tenpenny suprises Carl who reveals that he plans to escape town with a couple of rookies who have comandeered a Firetruck. Carl is almost killed by Tenpenny but escapes,but Tenpenny shoots at the generators and the whole building sets on fire, Carl manages to escape 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 with Tenpenny mortally injured. Carl is about to shoot him, but Sweet stops him, as it would look less suspicious if Tenpenny simply died from his injuries,telling:"Let it down.A police officer died in a traffic accident." Tenpenny does die and the Johnson family are reunited.Somebody knocks on the door and both Carl and Sweet raise their guns,but it turns out that Madd Dogg enters and shows his new record managed to get to number 1. position and has a gold record, and then Rosenberg,and the Truth enters along with Kent and Maccer.As everybody celebrates,Carl turns to leave. When asked where he's going, he replies, "Fittin' to hit the block, see what's happening."Carl steps out,and he is now the co-owner of The 4 Dragons Casino, succesful rapper Madd Dogg's new manager, owner of pilot's license and a airport in desert, owner of the garage and showroom in San Fierro,and in the end, the leader of the biggest and most powerful gang in all of San Andreas.

[edit] Continuity with other Grand Theft Auto games

Many characters, locations and fictional elements from previous Grand Theft Auto games reappear in San Andreas. Catalina, the main antagonist in GTA III, accompanies CJ on a number of missions. Claude, GTA III's protagonist, also makes a brief appearance as Catalina's new boyfriend after she "dumps" Carl. They proceed to compete in a street race, which Claude and Catalina ultimately lose. Catalina hands Carl a deed to a garage in San Fierro instead of the car's pink slip, stating that, "He needs his car to get to Liberty City". In a bit of an inside joke, numerous remarks are made about Claude's apparent muteness, due to the fact that he had no spoken lines in GTA III. Catalina also continues to call Carl through the rest of the game in an attempt to make him jealous of her new relationship.

Ken Rosenberg and Kent Paul, from GTA: Vice City, feature prominently in several Las Venturas missions in connection with Salvatore Leone, the Liberty City mob boss featured in GTA III and Liberty City Stories. Maria, who later becomes Salvatore's wife, also appears as a waitress in Caligula's Palace.

During a shootout at a meat packing industry run by the Sindacco crime family in Las Venturas, in which Ken Rosenberg, subsequently under the influence of cocaine, tries to solidify his relationship with the recently hospitalized Johnny Sindacco, Ken shouts "It's just like old times, Tommy!" (making an indirect reference to the GTA: Vice City protagonist Tommy Vercetti). CJ then replies, "Who the fuck is Tommy?".

During the events of the game, Carl briefly returns to Liberty City to assassinate a high ranking Forelli Mafia member at Marco's Bistro, under orders from Salvatore Leone. The mission takes place in a section of southeast Saint Mark's, where Carl must fight through attacking Mafia members in Marco's Bistro and kill his target in the back lot of the restaurant.

According to interviews with the developers, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories, Grand Theft Auto: Advance, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas are considered part of the Grand Theft Auto III canon, while Grand Theft Auto IV marks the beginning of a new series canon where different gameplay rules are observed.

[edit] Soundtrack

As with the previous two entries in the Grand Theft Auto series, San Andreas has an exhaustive number of tracks taken from the time period in which the game is based.

San Andreas is serviced by eleven radio stations; WCTR (talk radio), Master Sounds 98.3 (rare groove, playing many of the old funk and soul tracks sampled by 1990s hip-hop artists), K-Jah West (dub and reggae; modeled after K-Jah from GTA III), CSR (New Jack Swing, Modern Soul), Radio X (alternative rock, metal and grunge), Radio Los Santos (gangsta rap), SF-UR (old school Chicago house music), Bounce FM (funk), K-DST (classic rock), K-Rose (country) and Playback FM (classic hip hop).

The music system in San Andreas is enhanced from previous titles. In earlier in the series, each radio station was essentially a single looped sound file, playing the same songs, announcements and advertisements in the same order each time. In San Andreas, each section is held separately, and "mixed" randomly, allowing songs to be played in different orders, announcements to songs to be different each time, and plot events to be mentioned on the stations. This system would be used in Grand Theft Auto IV. WCTR, rather than featuring licensed music and deejays, features spoken word performances by actors such as Andy Dick performing as talk show hosts and listener callers in a parody of talk radio programming.

The Xbox and Windows versions of the game include an additional radio station that supports custom soundtracks by playing user imported MP3s, allowing players to listen to their own music while playing the game. [25]

[edit] Reception

Awards
IGN's Best of 2004 PlayStation 2 Game of the Year,[26] Best PlayStation 2 Action Game,[27] Best Story for PlayStation 2[28]
GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2004 Best PlayStation 2 Game,[29] Best Action Adventure Game,[30] Readers' Choice - Best PlayStation 2 Action Adventure Game,[31] Readers' Choice - PlayStation 2 Game of the Year,[32] Best Voice Acting,[33] Funniest Game[34]
2004 Spike TV Video Game Awards Game of the Year, Best Performance by a Human (Male), Best Action Game, Best Soundtrack

Prior to its release for the PlayStation 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was one of the most highly anticipated video games of 2004, 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 of 95%, according to Metacritic,[35] 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.[19] GameSpot rated the game 9.6/10, giving it an Editor's Choice award. GameSpot said "San Andreas definitely lives up to the Grand Theft Auto name. In fact, it's arguably the best game in the series".[14] San Andreas also received an A rating from the 1UP.com network[36] 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.[37] Nevertheless, since its release, San Andreas has been regarded to be one of the greatest games of all time, placing at number 28 in Edge's Top 100 Games to Play Today. Edge declared that the game remains "the ultimate expression of freedom, before next-gen reined it all back in."[38] In Cyprus, the whole GTA series is popularly referred to as the "San Andreas" series, for example:"San Andreas IV", "San Andreas Chinatown Wars" etc.

[edit] Sales

By March 3, 2005, the game had sold over 12 million units for the PlayStation 2 alone, making it the highest selling game for PlayStation 2.[39] As of September 26, 2007, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has sold 20 million units according to Take-Two Interactive.[40] As of March 26, 2008, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has sold 21.5 million units according to Take-Two Interactive.[41] The Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer's Edition list it as the most successful game in the PlayStation 2, with 17.33 million copies sold for that console alone, from a total of 21.5 million in all formats. In 2010, GTA: San Andreas is the 3rd Best Selling game of all time.[24]

[edit] Hot Coffee mod

A screenshot of the hidden sex minigame unlocked by the "Hot Coffee mod"

Despite the game receiving widespread acclaim for its technical achievements and free gameplay, it also received widespread criticism – initially due to its "gangster" elements, which include drugs, prostitution, and murder; but later due to the discovery of disabled interactive sex scenes, nicknamed Hot Coffee, which could be re-enabled using third-party mods. In mid-June 2005, a software patch for the game dubbed the "Hot Coffee mod" was released by Patrick Wildenborg (under the Internet alias "PatrickW"), a 38-year old modder from the Netherlands. The name "Hot Coffee" refers to the way the released game alludes to the unseen sex scenes. In the unmodified game, the player takes his girlfriend to her front door and she asks him if he would like to come in for "some coffee". He agrees, and the camera stays outside, swaying back and forth a bit, while moaning sounds are heard.

After installing the patch, users can enter the main character's girlfriends' houses and engage in a crudely rendered, fully clothed or nude sexual intercourse mini-game. The fallout from the controversy resulted in a public response from high-ranking politicians in the United States and elsewhere and resulted in the game's recall and re-release.

On July 20, 2005, North America's organization that establishes content ratings for video games, the ESRB, changed the rating of the game from Mature (M) to Adults Only (AO), making San Andreas the only mass-released AO console game in the United States. Rockstar announced that it would cease production of the version of the game that included the controversial content. Rockstar gave distributors the option of applying an Adults Only ESRB rating sticker to copies of the game, or returning them to be replaced by versions without the Hot Coffee content. Many retailers pulled the game off their shelves in compliance with their own store regulations that kept them from selling AO games. That same month in Australia, the Office of Film and Literature Classification revoked its original rating of MA15+, meaning that the game could no longer be sold there.[42]

In August 2005, Rockstar North released an official "Cold Coffee" patch[43] for the PC version of the game and re-released San Andreas with the "Hot Coffee" scenes removed (Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas 2.0), allowing the game to return to its "M" rating.[44] The PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions have also been re-released with the "Hot Coffee" scenes removed in the Greatest Hits Edition, the Platinum Edition, the "GTA Trilogy Pack"[45] for Xbox and PlayStation 2, as well as a Special Edition for PlayStation 2 that includes the documentary film Sunday Driver. The updated game disc has "SECOND EDITION" text under the "M" rating logo.

On November 8, 2007 Take-Two announced a proposed settlement to the class action litigation that had been brought against them following the Hot Coffee controversy. If the proposed settlement is approved by the court, neither Take-Two nor Rockstar would admit liability or wrongdoing. Consumers would be able to swap their AO-rated copies of the game for M-rated versions and may also qualify for a $35 cash payment upon signing a sworn statement.[46]

A report in The New York Times on June 25, 2008 revealed that a total of 2,676 claims for the compensation package had been filed.[47]

[edit] The Introduction

The Introduction, an in-engine video, was provided on a DVD with the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Official Soundtrack, as well as the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Special Edition re-release for the PlayStation 2. The 26-minute movie chronicles the events leading up to the events in San Andreas and provides insight on the development of the characters of the game, to the point when Carl learns of his mother's death in a phone call from Sweet and returns to Los Santos to find his life is ruined. The game incorporates locations from the original Grand Theft Auto III game. The PS2 release also includes a live-action documentary on the customized-vehicle culture (featured prominently in the game) called Sunday Driver.

[edit] Follow-ups

Rockstar released two major follow-ups to San Andreas: Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories before retiring the GTA III continuity and relaunching with Grand Theft Auto IV. Both games include references to characters featured in San Andreas, with Liberty City Stories set about 6 years after the events of San Andreas (in that game, for example, radio reporter Richard Burns, featured in news bulletins in San Andreas, returns as a radio call-in guest). Both games feature far smaller sandbox playing areas than San Andreas, and also eliminate gameplay elements introduced in the earlier game, including the ability to swim (in Liberty City Stories, but reintroduced in Vice City Stories) and climb. Except for news bulletins, radio programming in the later games also does not change based upon player progress. While character customization elements such as wardrobe changes are retained, the designers of the later games eliminated the need for the game protagonists to eat and exercise.

[edit] References

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