GTA takes it to the 'hood
Windows XP / Windows 2000
With every new Grand Theft Auto game, it tops the last. That's very unlike many of the other franchises on the market where people say it's much of the same old, same old. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas was a huge sandbox game that was highly innovative for its time. Unlike in past games where you were in Vice City or Liberty City, San Andreas gives you a world of three different cities:
The Character You Play
You play the game as Carl Johnson or CJ for short. He returns home to his old neighborhood in Los Santos after five years away. Much has changed, and Carl has to set about getting back his gang's old reputation and their influence. Also, he has to deal with the tragedy of his mother being murdered. In addition, CJ isn't in the game for more than an hour before he encounters crooked cops who want to throw him right back into the lifestyle he left behind. The gameplay could be said to be a classic of the Grand Theft Auto games, and they'd be right. You have plenty of cinematic cut scenes, different mini games, and varied missions that hold your interest. Along with the more organized activities, you always have the option to roam freely in the sandbox world of San Andreas.
How San Andreas Differs from Its Predecessors
Unlike the past games, San Andreas takes the scale to a new and ambitious level with a massive set of three different cities, loosely based on Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Along the way, you also have countryside to explore, and what San Andreas does differently in this game is how you can even ride a bicycle. The story mode is huge and you will spend hours in the rags-to-riches tale of Carl Johnson rising to power with this massive and original story line. The story is told well, and the voice acting, for most part, will pull you deeper into the world.
Rich Selection of Many Characters
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas has always been known for having funny and crazy characters. Not to mention, all of them are well-varied, and you never feel like you saw the same character twice. In addition, you have 14 radio stations with a wonderful blend of 90s music, and you have hilarious advertisements. Like always, Rockstar Games did a phenomenal job of capturing the era of the specific cities of the time.
New Additions to the Game
The developers made some new additions to the game too. In the past, if you fell in the water, you were "Wasted." Even if you were on a boat and you fell into the water, you'd die and spawn back at a hospital. San Andreas now lets you swim underwater, but the one downside is it takes too long, and there's really nothing to see. The only real advantage here is how you will no longer die when you fall into the water. Also, you can race cars across the countryside, which can be pretty exciting. You might feel a bit frustrated at first; however, as you learn the new mechanics of racing down a dirt hill to the city. It's easy to go off road and get completely lost. Another one of the new things in the game is you have to graffiti over rival gangs' tags to take over a neighborhood. It replaces the more generic actions found in previous games where you had to collect a hidden package.
A Milestone in Sandbox Gaming
At the time, Rockstar Games had once again shot way above the gaming standards of the time. They have demonstrated time and time again, their commitment to achieving excellence above and beyond what it takes. The amount of fun you can have playing San Andreas is way over the actual price tag. The gameplay does have flaws like seeing through walls, which is very common. If; however, you look past some design mistakes, the game is pretty much unbeatable.
Learning About San Andreas
The game takes place in 1992 West Coast San Andreas. You start the game in Los Santos, which is loosely based on Los Angeles. You have the ritzy downtown area, and of course, the gangland ghettos found in South Central. San Fierro reproduces the hilly terrain of San Francisco, and you have an ever-present fog in this city. As you progress throughout the missions, you will finally be taken to Las Venturas, which is early-90s Vegas. It comes complete with a strip of casinos, and you have the surrounding desert. Rockstar Games handled the growth from Vice City to San Andreas in an intelligent fashion. You have plenty of things to do, and while Vice City had a lot of inspiration from Scarface and the Godfather. San Andreas looks more to early 90s films like Boyz N the Hood and Menace II. It's inspired by the gangsta struggle films and the ghetto.
Leaving Los Santos
As you go deeper into the game, you will have to leave Los Santos for your life. You take to the countryside of Los Santos, which is where you will encounter some of the most interesting characters in gaming history. After you have left Los Santos, San Andreas takes on a more GTA-style game. The story has been well-written with plenty of surprises to tie into the big picture.
San Andreas feels somewhat different from the Grand Theft Auto games of the past, but Rockstar Games was definitely on the right path when they changed the universe a bit. You still feel like you're playing in a Grand Theft Auto game with its overall immersive appeal and occasionally comical moments with the characters. The missions will have you driving people around, taking out specific people, doing drive-bys, burning marijuana plants with a flamethrower, and stealing military hardware. The missions never get stale, and you can spend hundreds of hours never even touching the story mode.