GTA San Andreas

I normally get very bored by computer games. The only ones I like really are ‘sandbox’ type games where you can wander around a world choosing what you want to do. I used to love Elite for this reason. Clever programming gave the illusion of a huge and detailed world full of other people going about their business independently of you. You could genuinely choose how you wanted to play the game: as a trader, pirate, bounty hunter, or just explorer.

The only other game I’ve any time for is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Even though this is quite an old game and the graphics are not all that, it still impresses due to its vast and lovingly detailed world, with three very different cities spread across a landscape of deserts, forests and mountains, and its rich and varied gameplay.

Because you can go anywhere you like and do almost anything, it’s hard to get bored. Although there are some semi-linear storyline missions you need to complete to unlock the whole world, there are plenty of side missions you can do or just explore. You can steal and drive any cars, motorbikes or boats you find, and there are also helicopters, stunt planes, airliners and military jump jets to fly. You can be a pimp or a vigilante or a taxi driver, or export stolen cars for cash, or gamble in the casino, or take part in race tournaments or lowrider contests.

Mostly, though, I find it comforting because it’s a complete fantasy world that you control and that you can go to any time you like and do anything you want with no real consequences. If you die, you just wake up again outside hospital, minus your medical expenses. If you get arrested, you just get released again straight away.

If things in the real world are not going very well, I can always go to San Andreas and blow some people up with heat-seeking missiles and machine guns, and then steal their car and crash it into the police. I find this immensely cheering.

4 comments on GTA San Andreas

  1. AndyN (not verified)
    Mon, 02/22/2010 - 11:05

    I must have spent days in this game as well. It’s probably Rockstar’s best entry in the series so far. I would love to see it remade in the new engine.

    Is it just me or does the new one feel smaller by comparison?

    The missions were better than “Go here, shoot this guy”. Remember the mission where you had to burn the field full of weed before the police helicopter arrived? And then you escaped in a campervan off your gourd while “Free Bird” was playing on the radio and then you roll into San Fierro. Best mission ever.

  2. admin
    Fri, 02/26/2010 - 13:16

    Yay! I’m glad someone else likes it too. Have you finished it? I’ve got close to the end now (only two or three missions to go) and I don’t really want to finish, so I’ve started again, but this time I’m using the Apache helicopter to do all the missions!

    The weed burning mission is excellent. But what about the one where you have to wear a leather gimp suit and seduce the Las Venturas croupier? Or stealing the jump jet?

  3. AndyN (not verified)
    Mon, 03/01/2010 - 13:18

    It tends to be that I get stuck on a mission and just leave it for a while. I think this happened a few years back and I never went back to it and a computer format occurred meantime.

    Your post inspired me to re-install it and start again. There’s a certain smug feeling to had when playing older games and being able to turn all the settings up to maximum. (Vice City is *really* showing its age though).

    I probably managed to get as far as Las Venturas last time I think. Haven’t had a lot of time recently - gotten as far as the third mission before realising I need to level up a bit.

  4. admin
    Mon, 03/01/2010 - 14:50

    I am rubbish at all computer games, so would have been permanently stuck on several missions without using the cheats. The mission walkthroughs at StrategyWiki are dead helpful as well. I like to at least try doing the mission without any cheats, but if I really can’t do it, I’ll happily cheat my way through it. I like to enjoy the story as it’s like a kind of violent interactive novel.

    The cheats I mostly use are:

    • BAGUVIX - invulnerable except to explosions and helicopter gunfire
    • PROFESSIONALSKIT - juicy set of weapons
    • SLOWITDOWN - slow motion for those tricky driving missions where you can’t damage the car

    My MacBook struggles a bit with the graphics as it has only a basic wooden chipset powered by a hampster. It does not matter though as I’m usually driving too fast to see any detail.

    The most difficult missions for me are the girlfriend ones. This is ironic as I have trouble holding on to a girlfriend in real life as well. In the casino heist missions in Las Venturas there is one where you have to romance a girl to convince her to give you a keycard. This is difficult as every time I take her out I drive too fast, smash up the car, and end up blasting a policeman in the face with a combat shotgun (another problem mirrored in real life).

    The conversation between CJ and his girlfriends really makes me laugh though.

    GIRL: I’m going to open up a beauty shop one day!
    CJ: This is so interesting, I’m just gonna listen.

    I also love Shaun Ryder’s voice cameo: Don Peyote

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