Review by supreme dar

"Good conversion of the Playstation 2 version... the conversion of the controls however..."

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is an Action game made by Rockstar North. It is the prequel to Grand Theft Auto 3 and the sequel to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. This game is the biggest Grand Theft Auto, with an audio collection much bigger than Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and a map size bigger than Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City combined. It is released one year after the Playstation 2 version

Gameplay 8/10
The gameplay of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is amazing. This is a game that has so much to offer, that everyone will find something that he or she will like. There essentialy are no big differences with the Playstation 2 version. The only difference is that the PC version does not have the ability to go into a 2-player mode in some parts of the game. The 2-player mode however isn't that impressive, so PC gamers aren't missing much.

San Andreas is not a city, San Andreas is a state. This state consists of three cities: Los Santos (Los Angeles), San Fierro (San Francisco) and Las Venturas (Las Vegas). Besides these three cities you also have some countryside: the Badlands (with mountains and forests) and the Dessert (with cliffs and mountains).

In this state there are many things that you can do. It is like a simulation of the life of a criminal. You can drive cars, planes, boats and many more vehicles. The handling of these vehicles feel very realistic and it is very fun to handle them.

One of the big changes in San Andreas is that there are hardly any health tokens scattered throughout the game and in order to be fit and regain your health you can eat at restaurants, fast food places, bars and many other facilities.

Unlike Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, where you could also eat at some pizza place, eating in this game actually has an important function in this game, other than refilling your health. Eating is also a way to keep fit. You could actually starve your character if you don't give him something to eat every now and then.

In San Andreas you can go to the gym to work out. You can actually become really fat, by eating to much or become really skinny, by eating almost nothing. Eating junk food results in a fat increase. You can go to the gym to work of some of this fat.

In the gym you can also work out to increase you muscle percentage. You can actually become a very muscular game character if you work out enough.

Starving your character by hunger results in a stats loss of either your fat or your muscles. This means that you must eat regularly in order to maintain fit.

If you work out enough and have nice clothes you will have a certain sex appeal and people on the street will respond to that by saying things like "you're looking real gangsta now" if you're real muscular or more humiliating things if you are real fat or skinny.

In the previous games, when you fell in the water, you were immediately dead. In San Andreas however you can swim in the water and you can also dive under water. Swimming however also give you more freedom, which means that you can enter all of the cities from the beginning of the game. This however does not go without a penalty, since the moment you set foot on land you are restricted to enter, you will have a 4-star wanted level which means you have the cops after you and they will try to kill you. So things balanced out eventually.

CJ does not start with a knowledge of how to handle each weapon or each car. This requires skill and this is something you should build up. The more you drive, the better your driving becomes. The more you shoot with an MP5, the better your handling with that weapon becomes. The more you fly, the better your flying skills becomes.

There are easier ways to improve your skills to handle certain vehicles. You can enter schools to learn how to handle each vehicle. As for the shooting skills, the more you shoot at persons, cars, bikes, the better your handling with that weapon becomes.

One of the biggest differences is that there are no loading times between cities. The game runs smoothly at all times. There are only loading times when you enter or exit a building.

San Andreas introduces a new vehicle with no motor: bikes. This is one of the funniest vehicles in this game. You can do all sort of stunts with these bikes like bunny hop, wheelies and stoppies.

Other than bikes, there are also many new vehicles introduced (more cars, planes, motorbikes). Many of these cars can be modded in special garage to match your own personal flavor. If you equip a car with hydraulics you can even enter a low-rider competition.

In San Andreas you won't have much money. It is the early nineties and money is hard to get. Other then completing missions and robbing people on the streets there are even more ways to make some money that are more rewarding.

One of these ways is gambling in casino's or in some betting shop where you can bet on a horse race. This is a quick way to make some money as well to spend some money.

Another way to make some quick money is to break in to someone's house. This is a new side game in San Andreas called burglar missions. Breaking in to someone's house is very fun side game and a way to make some money.

The (in)famous Hidden Packages from Grand Theft Auto 3 and Hidden Statues in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City have returned in San Andreas... times four! There are three cities to search for Gang Tags (Los Santos), Snapshots (San Fierro), Horse Shoes (Las Venturas) and Oysters (the ocean!). There are more thing to search for, but then again, the rewards are more rewarding.

The number of (storyline)missions in San Andreas also have increased, compared with the previous two games. There also are a lot more side games to play (Taxi, Ambulance, Burglar, etc.)

The controls of the game also are great, except for the vehicles that you control in the air. This is not nicely converted, and the control scheme does not work very well. The controls are messy and I can assure you that many people will have a hard time flying vehicles.

Another flaw of this version (PC version) of the game is that the game has many bugs and no patch have been released to fix these bugs. These are not minor bugs, but very big bugs (like computer turning of for no reason), that will possibly ruin the game experience for many people.

Apart from these messed up controls and bugs, the game is very fun to play and is a good conversion of the Playstation 2 version.

Story 10/10
The story of this game totally blew me away. First let me give you a little glimpse at the plot.

In this game you play the role of Carl "CJ" Johnson. He finds out hearing from his brother Sweet, that his mother died. CJ of course is shocked by this and takes the plane to San Andreas from Liberty City.

The moment CJ arrives in San Andreas he gets hold up by some police officers and then the troubles begins

When you play trough the first city, you might get the feeling that this game is totally different compared with the previous Grand Theft Auto games. You might think that they have absolutely no connection with the other games. This assumption however is false.

After witnessing a very exciting plot twist, the story really starts to unfold and it was especially after the plot twist that the story really amazed me.

I was impressed how they made connections with grand Theft Auto: Vice City and how they give you hints for the story line of Grand Theft Auto 3. If you have played any of these two games, you'll really going to like the story of this game.

The story of this game also is much bigger than any of the previous Grand Theft Auto's. It however is not as impressive as the story of Grand Theft Auto 3 or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, but the connections that are made between these games in San Andreas make up for that. This makes the story very exciting, because you want to know what actually happened when Grand Theft Auto: Vice City ended and what happens before Grand Theft Auto 3 started.

Because of the connections that are made to the previous two games, you get to know the relations between the various characters that are introduced in Grand Theft 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Audio 10/10
The selection of music in this game is quite impressive. This game has something to offer that suits everyone's music preference.

Although the Rap and Hip-Hop music dominates 30-40% of the stations, there also are Rock radio stations, country music radio stations, Jazz stations, Trance radio stations and of course the famous talk stations. Also there is a station which plays your MP3's so you will always be able to listen music of your preference.

On top of this impressive music selection there are some very hilarious commercials between the songs. These ads really shape quite an atmosphere. There even are some ads or announcements that take place after some events in the game have occurred, which is fun to notice when you're driving trough the cities.

The music selection is representative for the setting of the game, which is in the early nineties. This really shapes an atmosphere that suits the game. Every city has a radio station that is representative for the area. If you are for example driving trough some farms and you steal another car, that cars radio station will most likely be tuned to some country music radio station.

Video 10/10
The graphics of this game are amazingly nice. There are much more details compared to the Playstation 2 version.

The draw distance is much farther when comparing it with the previous two Grand Theft Autos. You can see farther and you can really tell the difference, because you can shoot someone with an AK-47 or M4A1 that is like four blocks away from you.

Also the textures are much more detailed. When you look at the pedestrians or at the houses, you can see that they are drawn more detailed. Especially when you look at the cars you'll see a noticeable difference with the previous installment.

The cars are not only drawn more detailed, but they also have some real time reflections on the hood of the car or any other place of the car that can reflect the city you're driving in.

Replayabilty 10/10
This game has tons of replay value, because this is a game that never ends. Its open ended gameplay gives you so much freedom, that you can do whatever you want. You may choose to don't do any of the missions and just roam freely trough the cities.

It will take a long time before you even complete the game 100% and even when you do have completed this game for 100% you most likely have spend over 100 hours to do so. Even after the 100% you can still access the game and roam in the cities and do side games like burglar or taxi missions.

In short, this game has so much to offer which leads to an infinite replay value.

Closing Comments
I recommend this game to anyone who has enjoyed any of the previous Grand Theft Auto's. This game is definitely worth a purchase. Apart from some messed up controls and bugs, the game is still very fun to play and it's a good conversion of the Playstation 2 version.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/11/05

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