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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
(hx) 10:31 AM CEST - Jun,20 2005

Who on this planet have not heard about Grand Theftt Auto: Vice City, especially after its successful debut on the Playstation 2 last year. So it's not surprising when Rockstar Games announced they are porting San Andreas to the PC and Xbox. And now, the PC version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is finally here!

Grand Theftt Auto: San Andreas takes the series back to the early 90's, set in the fictional California-ish state of (what else?) San Andreas. It follows a young thug named Carl Johnson (CJ) who returns to Los Santos (modeled after Los Angeles) from Liberty City to bury his mother who was murdered. CJ's own family and friends care little for him, though, since he's spent the last five years on the other side of the country. He's going to have to start completely over, and regain the respect of his gang as well as his friends.

The first thing you'll notice when playing the game is that San Andreas is a state, not a city. San Andreas, loosely based on California, is made up of 3 cities (each roughly the same size of Vice City). Los Santos is based on Los Angeles, San Fierro is based on San Francisco and Las Venturas is based on Las Vegas. Each city has their own unique look (style of terrain, vegetation, architecture) that is specific to their real-world counterpart, which helps created a sense of authenticity even though you're playing in a game world. The map is really huge! It takes at least 30 minutes to drive from one end of the world to another, although you can at least skip the drive if you're redoing a failed mission.

As with the previous Grand Theft Auto games, there's one epic storyline that you go through. The majority of the game revolves around completing missions rather than simply jacking cars and running over people as in the early versions. The missions range from completing simple drive-bys and getting your gang back on the map when you enter Los Santos to much more complex and interesting ones later in the game. Despite all the missions (almost) boil down to some combination of driving, shooting and collecting, even after the nearly hundred missions that make up the core story, they stay unique and interesting. The number of time also extends if you partake in the vigilante missions, optional races, robbery missions (all you need to do is hop in a van at night), dating missions (which typically require you to take a girl out to eat without upsetting her), dance missions (DDR-like rhythm games), etc. Then there's also gambling, pimping missions, jumping from really high skyscrapers with a parachute, and much, much more! Driving and racing is a total blast, as usual. You can crash into everything, run over people, antagonize the police, lead chases, etc.

To add even more depth to the gameplay, the developers added a skill-based system for CJ. For most tasks, CJ will fare poorly at the beginning, and slowly improve as he gains more experience. CJ needs to eat and be in shape, but more importantly needs experience with weapons if he wants to hit something besides his foot. Once you get CJ to a certain point with certain types of guns, his range and accuracy will improve (he will be able to run and shoot at the same time, etc)You're also rated in a lot of different vehicle categories, like driving, riding motorcycles, bicycling, and piloting aircraft. There are numerous schools that will test and grade you in all sorts of maneuvers, from wheelies to stoppies to 180's and driving a car on 2 wheels. However, the most important skills are his strength, stamina, amount of body fat, respect amongst the gangs, sex appeal and his ability to swim. You have direct control over CJ's physique, by controlling when and what he eats, and how much exercise he gets. If you don't eat, you will get weaker. If you eat too much junk food, you'll get fat and slow. You can also customize CJ's looks by changing his hairstyle, tattoos, and clothing. The types of clothes you wear and the cars you drive determine how your in-game girlfriend will respond to you. Girlfriends give you bonuses such as holding your cash and "equipment" while you get "wasted" or "busted".

What is different between PS2 and PC version of GTA: Vice City? In terms of content, the PC version of Vice City is identical to its PS2 sibling. Of course, the PC version look much better than PS2 version, especially if you've got the rig for it (don't forget to remove frame eate cap and pump up all the settings!) Control in the PC version is full of options. You can decide to hook up a dual analog gamepad so that you can play it just like the console versions, or you can instead opt for mouse-and-keyboard control. Needless to say the mouse-keyboard combination does take some time to get use to - my one real beef with this is that you'll now have to constantly hold down the "aim" key if you want to pop up a crosshair on the screen. Also flying with keyboard & mouse is almost impossible. Because of the terrible flight controls with a mouse, you'll probably need some sort of gamepad or Prozac :P The PC version also comes on DVD only and is packaged with a fully bound book that serves as the manual and a full-size poster with a map of San Andreas on it.

Overall, there is plenty of stuff I said about San Andreas but I've only scratched the surface. The endlessly free roaming world makes this game well worth the six months wait and is a must play for all who hasn't played the game yet.

Warning: The M rating is highly appropriate and parents should absolutely not let kids play this.

related links: walkthrough, cheats, trainer +27, 100% savegame, Hot Coffee Mod (sex), Music Extractor, MTA: San Andreas, other mods, maps, vehicles, etc.

System Requirements:
Minimum : 1GHz Intel Pentium III or AMD Athlon Processor, 256 MB of RAM, 64 MB Video Card with DirectX 9 compatible drivers ("GeForce3" or better), DirectX 9 compatible Stereo Sound Card, 8 speed DVD-ROM Drive, 3.6 GB of free Hard Disk space for a minimal install, Keyboard, Mouse

Recommended: Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon XP processor (or better), 384(+) MB of RAM, 128(+) MB Video Card with DirectX 9 compatible drivers ("GeForce4" or better), DirectX 9 compatible Surround Sound Card, 16 speed DVD-ROM drive, 4.7 GB of free Hard Disk space for a full install, Game pad with twin axis analogue controls (USB or Joystick Port), Keyboard, Mouse

Supported Operating Systems are: Windows 2000 Pro SP1 (Workstation)  / Windows XP (Home and Professional) SP1 or higher plus DirectX 9

snd: 5/5 - excellent voice-acting (Samuel L. Jackson, Ice T, James Woods, Peter Fonda), terrific music (Soundgarden, 2Pac, Faith No More, Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy...), weak weapons sounds
gfx: 3/5 - quite OK, accurate versions of the three cities and all of the countryside in between them, decent character models, feel dated compared to other PC games, some glitches, clumsy camera
playability: 5/5 - perfect crime game, highly addictive, huge map + zero load time, lite RPG elements, wide range of new and old vehicles, high replay value, some AI issues, no quick save, occasional slowdowns, two-player co-op missions have been removed
genre: action/criminal simulation
platform: PC DVD-ROM (also available on PS2, Xbox)
release: June 2005
developer: Rockstar North
publisher: Rockstar games
Overall: 91%

last 10 comments:

Anonymous(02:51 PM CEST - Jun,20 2005 )

kosxx(06:13 PM CEST - Jun,20 2005 )
great review for a realy great game!!!!!

xxxx(06:52 PM CEST - Jun,20 2005 )
Played it. Boring. Sound track sucks too. Vice City is the only one I liked. It was original and way more fun that just GTA3.

Played SA on PS2....nothing fantastic. I wonder u guys saying excellent review, did u finish GTA 3 and GTA Vice City, or is this ur first attempt at a GTA title? And when I say "finish" I mean, explore every avenue, quest etc in GTA 3 and Vice City. And what is "new" in SA that hasn't been done in previous titles? Didn't see anything commented on about what is NEW to the game.. Just the same rehashed stuff, different graphics.

Interestingly, this "new stuff" commentary is what drags down other games in reviews but magically disappears on other reviews. Not enough new stuff in SA, just the same stuff as before with 'slight;y' better gfx. Everyone I know who played it on PS2 and thats about 4 people all said... "snore", same thing different place. If you played GTA3, Vice City, this game will seem too repetitive. I tend to agree, having played it for approx 6 hours on PS2...

Anyhow, I'm not getting this one. Maybe if the graphics actually got more upgraded from Vice City, it might have been interesting but in the end it's just another console port where no effort was put forward to get the game up to todays graphics standards.

John123(12:35 AM CEST - Jun,21 2005 )
Gotta agree with xxxx. Vice City was much better.
I think the graphics are substantially WORSE than VC.
Giving a 3 / 5 is extremely generous for the graphics. The cut scenes look absolutely shitful. 1998 graphics.

I think they went a little overboard with the extra shit in this game - Eating / Going to the gym, clothing mods, haircuts. It's all pointless shit that takes away from the game. The map SUCKS and there are too many freaking icons on it (Even though you can turn most of them off).

I think this game is just getting good reviews as it was mega popular on PS2 and earlier versions were great on PS2 / PC.

Overall, it's a cool little game, but doesn't really deserve a score over ~80%.

v1m(05:45 AM CEST - Jun,21 2005 )
GTA3 was amazing. Vice City was fun, too, but after a few hours of jacking cars and blowing off heads it was hard to stay interested.

Now, this style of gameplay is the only future that matters in gaming. Nonlinearity all the way.

But the same old franchise repeating itself over and over isn't doing it for me. Been there, killed that.

KingArthur(02:44 PM CEST - Jun,21 2005 )
xxxx> I wonder u guys saying excellent review, did u finish GTA 3 and GTA Vice City, or is this ur first attempt at a GTA title? And when I say "finish" I mean, explore every avenue, quest etc in GTA 3 and Vice City. And what is "new" in SA that hasn't been done in previous titles? Didn't see anything commented on about what is NEW to the game.. Just the same rehashed stuff, different graphics.

I do not say the review is excellent I say the GAME is excellent.

did I finish Grand Theft Auto 3 and VC? yes, I did every thing I possibly could I bought every property and did every mission I could do, fire truck taxi police ambulance, the motor bike missions every thing I could find and some things I found with a walkthrough I did every thing and when that was done I cruised around doing nothing but causing mayhem.

now Grand Theft Auto III was ok the terrain was good but the features sucked, no popped tires no shooting through windows no bikes no helicopters or plains.

Vice City on the other hand at least had all of those things but the terrain was shit, it was so flat it made Vice City seem like Grand Theft Auto 2, it was crap.

now I don't know how you can even presume to have an opinion for not only playing San Andreas for only 6 hours but for playing the PlayStation version I mean this review was for the PC so put that door stop where it belongs and buy the PC copy.

now for new things SWIMMING, its about damn time we can swim. Well I like how when you ram into cars people get out some times, I like how you can shoot people through the side or back windows, I like the driving/boating/flying/biking schools they help teach a lot of stuff like the PIT maneuver I like the parachute so I can fly over a city and Parachute down, gambling is great, eating isn't a problem I just grab a cheese burger when I am around a fast food joint, gaining muscle is awesome I can kick major ass, I love being able to change my clothes.

we cant forget the 100 spays, 50 oysters, 50 pictures and 50 horse shoes that's 250 things to find instead of just 100.

and lastly my FAVORITE part, you can no go on gang wars and control the streets I spend hours taking territories and protecting them.

SIX HOURS?!? I still can't believe you have the audacity to even post with only six hours under your belt. some of your people do not even deserve video games!

xxxx(06:15 PM CEST - Jun,21 2005 )
Correction, I played for 6 hours cuz it was boring and that's how long it took me to lose interest. Didn't find anything in it to keep me interested. To me SA is just another rehash game trying to capitalize on further profits from VC. Glad I got some mild agreements. Hehehe. My friend was an addict of VC and he played it and finished it like 3 or 4 times. You "think" he'd be gaga for SA but instead we "BOTH" played it and we "BOTH" were like, wtf oh well so much for SA. I've seen PC screenshots and of course I know the PS2 gfx, there isn't much difference unless ur cranking game up to 1600x1200...don't know what you guys are seeing since I have one of the best video cards on the market today.. lol. But hey, it's like anything.. whatever turns your crank, right? Least we know HX liked the game. His review is very forgiving.

xxxx(06:22 PM CEST - Jun,21 2005 )
SIX HOURS?!? I still can't believe you have the audacity to even post with only six hours under your belt. some of your people do not even deserve video games!

Excuse me? I played with a guy who finished EVERYTHING in VC twice in a month and he works, 9-5pm days and weekends, you try that accomplishment. Don't tell me 6 hours aint enough, lmao it was more than enough! I watched him play and do stuff and I played as well. I was like ho hum watching and playing. VC I was laughing hard as hell sometimes and missions were more fun and challenging, my bud was simply walking through the missions in SA so easily that that's what made it a bore. I don't even recall having a slight laugh of any kind in SA and the sound track is new wave rock crap.. About the only good song is from GnR stuff.. lol. King Arthur if u like it that's great.. but don't question 6 hours of play until you witness the person playing it. The same guy who went back to play VC again for the 4th time...I only got one bud that's gonna get this game, we'll all probably rip a copy for when we're bored..

lmer(07:45 PM CEST - Jun,21 2005 )
This is simply an amazing game, i just keep getting blown away by every point of interest i discover. Although i couldn't really relate to the thug lifestyle, i guess we all saw that comming :). The graphics are great, but it would have been nicer if the cars had some nicer shaders for ocasions when you stop by at Transfenders :). But no matter how good or bad the game looks for today's standards, we really can't hold anything against it. This GTA title is a proof that "Cinematic Experiences", "All the ways it was meant to be played", etc, mean shit if you don't have ideas/creative freedom (*cough*..Electronic Farts..*cough*). And as freedom is concerned, this game tops out any videogame out there. And the ammount of programming that went into this game must have been enormous..
In any case, i can safely say that this is the best action game EVER created, and really mean it. Get the game, roll a splif, have a blast.

P.S. I really missed that killing frenzys, and that Catalina bitch just fuxed up my nerves :).

Rockstar, RESPEKT!

The Outlaw(12:12 AM CEST - Jun,22 2005 )
I agree with those ppl saying that graphics aint good but I also agree with those saying gameplay is good. The BEST PART about any GTA game ever made is freedom, which u wud NEVER find in any other game. I think the features and the actual gameplay matter more than the graphics. If the graphics are also cool its the best combination u can have.

But the only reson I think that the graphics might not be so good can be the humongous programming that went into the features (The min install for the game I think is 3.68 GB) So they emphasized more on gameplay than graphics. But still the graphics cud have been much better compared to todays standards.

But overall I would say any GTA game deserves a 90% rating. Except GTA 2 which I never liked.

adc2000974(03:40 AM CEST - Jun,22 2005 )
I dont know where to begin with giving you people credit.

In my opinion this is the BEST review site out there. Solely* for providing the links to the stuff - saving so much time browsing.

one BIG THANK YOU from me

Adam C

Anonymous(02:03 AM CEST - Jul,05 2005 )
Best game ever - no matter what anyone may say ... 8)

No great gfx - but one hell of gameplay ...

KingArthur(03:29 AM CEST - Jul,05 2005 )
Does this game support a joystick?

The Outlaw(12:48 AM CEST - Jul,06 2005 )
Whatever anyone wud say about GTA all I have to say is that its the Pioneer in this league.

They were the ones who started this genre in gaming in the 1st place(Remember GTA 1 it was the 1st of its kind)

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