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GTA San Andreas - A brief guide.
In short - Cars, Guns, Faster Cars, Rocket Launchers.
This game is brilliant!
I love the easy going story line. It isn't demanding nor brain washing. It's simple and easy to follow. It gives reason for the characters actions in the missions to come. Some are easy and fun going; others are challenging.
GTA SA has plentiful side mission, though oo many to list on here.
There is the typical find and collect all 100 items, like in vice city. Only in this instance its Oyster shells and Horse Shoes. These are scattered around the map for you to stumble across. Collecting them unlocks rewards like weapons or jet pack spawn points.
The driving school is great fun too! There are several challenges upon where your driving skills are tested. Drive accurately through cones, on two wheels or hand brake it into a parking space. Some of these are incredibly difficult to achieve the gold medal. But like the Oyster shells/ Horse shoes. Collecting all gold gains you reward. These are in the form of concept cars.
In the harbour side, there's a 'car boosting board' with a list of wanted cars to ship. Find these cars, load them onto the boat and reap the cash.
GTA offers a wide range of weapons, all of which are available from certain shops or found during missions. You casually smile as you Waltz around with a RPG in hand. The police just walk on by. But if you punch someone...all hell breaks lose.
These wacky rules make the GTA SA that much better. A none serious game with serious hours to be played. The map size is huge! To drive from one side to the other, I would hazard a guess to take up to 15 minutes by Sports Bike.
The landscape changes throughout the map from Forrest, mountains, urban town areas, big cities, and open desert.
GTA is famous for its title, now better known as a brand (GTA) which is an acronym sometimes forgotten (due to many mission not actually involving cars other than to reach mission starting points) that GTA stands for Grand Theft Auto. Talking of which, leads us on to cars in the game. Drive'em, steal'em, crash'em, jump'em, roll'em, drift'em, shoot'em, shoot out of'em, sink'em, tune'em, race'em, sell'em ....or just park them.... if that suits?
Driving characteristics in GTA are superb. Many games go from one extreme to the other I.e. too Arcady with basic steering and limited throttle control. (on or off). Others go for the serious simulation where by the slightest tap of the kerb, brush of another car or splash of a puddle and the car becomes a write-off. However GTA SA has it spot on!
Every car handles differently. The Coaches steer from behind the over hang of where the driver sits (as you'd expect)... the Semi's steer like ocean liners (as you'd expect)...and the garbage trucks float like ocean liners (as you'd expect- For a brief time anyway).
Sporty cars can be drifted with a well timed application of the hand brake. Motorbikes can pull wheelies, and the Monster trucks ...pretttty much do all of the above. It isn't just all 'Cars' either. There are trains and planes to high jack; golf cadies, boats and awesome Military vehicles to acquire.
Plotted around the map are tuning garages. With these, you can modify your car. Though it is only fair to say that the game was never designed to be a street racing game and so the modifications are basic. However, I will say the different design of fender/bumpers, body kits and wheels are quite funky and you can get some cool looking muscle cars from it. Nos and hydraulic suspension are also possible. ( take note however ) If you crash your lovely new street passion wagon to destruction. You lose it. It really is a one of a kind car in the game.
There are many jumps to drive off at high speed which gain you stunt bonus points and if you jump them all you gain achievements.
In the Desert you have an opportunity to own your own private runway. In the Forrest, your own truck company. Or take part in a timed crosser track.
You can even enter betting shops but win or lose, that's up to you!
The variants of law enforcement are similar to that of Vice City where 2 stars involve two police cars, maybe 3 on crazy afternoons, or the extreme 5 stars with the entire Military army after your cheese sandwich.
GTA San Andreas has so much to offer. Even now when its 7 years old, it's an excellent game.
"Why I'm Still Playing San Andreas and Everyone Else Has Moved On"
Maybe I'm just being nostalgic.....this was the thought running through my head as I ordered a cheap second hand copy of San Andreas off Ebay - I've owned and sold it on before but I never finished the game - and here's why I'm still playing it and everyone else has moved on....
Before we start here's my opinion: - this game is made by adults for adults - and anyone letting young impressionable kids play it is harming them, this game contains graphic violence i.e. as seen in gangster movies, scenes of a sexual nature, lots of swearing and is basically a crime simulator or "How To Act Like A Nasty Guy" teach yourself guide, so no - we don't need kids to copy it thanks. This is a crossover game between gaming and movies - as is the case with many games for adult gamers in the last ten or so years, GTA San Andreas portrays American culture set in the 90's and focuses often on gang culture - it successfully mocks fast food chains and does mock things in a cartoonish and pleasant way - critics of the morals to the game should remember the value of having challenging art forms, and this is what this is - art that adult game players can appreciate and enjoy, violence within other media is attacked less by the moral crusaders as gaming is an easy target, if these games inspire people to commit violent acts then why aren't we all affected? Because fortunately we have the free will to play highly enjoyable games and to ignore the bleating of moral crusaders.
In this last outing for the Grand Theft Auto series on the older generation of consoles you play Carl Johnston - a young black man returning home to find his brother and mother have been killed - as his friends inform him. He starts to try to rebuild his hood and gain back a reputation - the start of the game involves some very enjoyable missions - battering a local drug dealer, stealing goods from the local army base, killing rival gang members that are on top of a speeding train while you chase after it on a motorbike etc...
The first thing you notice while initially playing the game is the sheer effort that's gone into making it - the storyline has improved, the script is better - guest voiceover spots from Samuel Jackson as Officer Tenpenny for example, the producers have created hours of material for the vehicles radio stations - some cracking tunes by Guns 'n Roses amongst many others can be blasted out while you speed through the city - the GNR tune creates a genuine homage to one of my favourite films "Terminator 2" and there are many other moments of tribute to this film and other classics.
Every aspect of the previous "Grand Theft Auto 3" & Grand Theft Auto Vice City" has been improved on or expanded - more vehicles, huge playing area to explore, RPG elements have been included that are more fun than for any real reason - if you eat lots of burgers, pizzas then CJ becomes fat, if you go to the gym CJ can buff up and CJ can also buy clothes, get haircuts and find a girlfriend (although I keep accidentally running them over!!!)
The main criticism of the game is one that I've had for the whole series - the controls. Driving is fine, much joy can be had cruising around the city or boating around or even later flying around - however shooting (which forms a good chunk of the missions) is a nightmare. The targeting system is awful, being attacked by two enemies - try shooting and killing one and then clicking the target button for the second and CJ will target an innocent wall. Or a bystander. Or a car. Or at worst, a policeman. But rarely the second enemy and often the player has to target enemies several times to get the right one. It's a great shame as the shooting and targeting system do let the game down.
As the story progresses CJ can buy houses, increase his reputation and hood and make money - it will take you hours of playing to finish all the missions (I still haven't and have been playing for months now) and some of the missions are very difficult, but the game will make you want to finish a hard mission just to see the next one that the game throws at you or you can go and do something else in the city such as the taxi, police or fire & ambulance side missions and come back to the main game later on (in my case after sulking or thinking "how do I shoot the last baddie on the train?") the variety and scale of the countryside to explore are elements that other games just don't have.
To end I'd state that this is a classic game, one that will be enjoyed by myself and has been by many others for a long time - these are the kind of games we want to play as we get older as gamers, we know it's not real life and it doesn't make us (more) violent but gaming had to grow up, as did it's customers and I can only see what we'll be playing in the next five or ten years. I'm sure that I'll still now and again put on GTA San Andreas.....
When I was a nipper, it was all Sonic the Hedgehog round here. You jumped over imaginary hybrid animals, collected rings and tried to bounce a mad scientist into retirement. That was cutting-edge in 1992.
We're now down to the last puffs of 2008, and things are very different. If you haven't happy-slapped someone, sent the footage to YouTube and passed out with alcohol poisoning by the time you're fourteen, you may as well just give up. And in an era such as this, extremely fast blue hedgehogs just aren't going to cut the mustard.
The Grand Theft Auto series recognises these facts, and since its move to a 3-D first person perspective total immersion game it has become a safe way for people like me to get all the thrill of machine-gunning a bus full of tourists without any of the mess. It's become a target for the moral majority, who claim that video games are a major cause of the decay of society. This, of course, is grossly unfair. Anybody who seeks to copy whatever they see in a video game is quite simply a law unto themselves.
GTA San Andreas allows you to control Carl "CJ" Johnson, who left "Los Santos" (Los Angeles) for Liberty City (New York) five years ago to escape a world of gang warfare where he had become a marked man. In the aftermath of the gang-related death of his mother, he returns to Los Santos looking for answers, and finds himself a whole world of problems. Corrupt cops lean on him to do his bidding, while his gang (the Families) are fractured and a rival gang, the Ballas are expanding their influence with the aid of a pervasive crack-cocaine industry. Carl's job is to resurrect the Families while staying out of trouble. Easier said than done...
The game engine allows you to explore far and wide, with a number of side-missions to hold your interest. So it's not all clubbing crack dealers to death, you also have to get the hang of driving, kit yourself out in suitable clothing (your gang wears green, so you need to fly the colours. Unfortunately this will attract the wrong kind of attention, so it's worth arming yourself at the earliest opportunity), romance the right girls and bulk yourself up at the gym.
The more missions you complete, the more of the game opens up to you. As well as Los Santos, the game includes a San Francisco clone (San Fierro) and a Las Vegas as well (Las Venturas). In-game radio stations give news reports on happenings in the San Andreas area (most of which you will have had a hand in) as well as having a range of classic songs (Radio X being a particular favourite of mine).
GTA San Andreas is ludicrously addictive. You find yourself wanting to complete missions because the other characters in the game are depending on you. There is a suitable balance between excessive force and fiendish cleverness, and the game can be completed with a minimum amount of blood spilt. That will take ages though, and unless you have the patience of a saint you will find yourself popping caps in asses indiscriminately.
As console platforms grow more powerful, games become more like movies, and this is one that will keep you gripped until the credits roll. An incredibly dry sense of humour (along with some truly awful double entendres) along with some well-rounded characters (shady federal agent Mike Toreno is especially good value) as well as genuine variety in the pace and intensity of missions make this game one you'll keep coming back to.