Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is 13

MBS

Member
Oct 25, 2017
656


Feel old yet?

Oct. 26 (Oct. 30-Nov. 1 for various EU territories), marks the release of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, thirteen years ago in 2004.

Welcome to the jungle. Literally. Is there anything more to say about GTA San Andreas? SA was the game that catapulted the entire franchise into stratospheric levels of faith (and notoriety).

GTA SA's story takes place in Los Santos, a city within the state of San Andreas which includes a couple of other major cities, San Fierro and Las Venturas. The timeline is set in early '90s, when gangs were at their peak criminal activity and cops were running amok in the streets. Story revolves around Carl Johnson, a young hustler from Grove St. who moved to Liberty City in order to pursuit a better life. But he has to return home.. and face his own haunted past.

A huge journey is unfolded across the state, including over 100 main missions and literally hundreds of other side-missions, activities, vehicles, and some pretty good character customisation (eating, going to gym, learning martial arts etc). This is surely the most diverse GTA game ever and the first GTA to introduce some basic RPG elements (among with the above attribute manipulation).

You first start grinding and try to reclaim your gang's lost territories, when a handful of missions after you find yourself robbing entire casinos, steal military jets.. and literally taking down everyone and everything standing in your own way. The structure of the game is enormous and i could be talking hours about it, but almost everyone has played SA up to this point, so I'd like to keep it as short as possible.

started from the bottom, now we 're here..



Another notable mention is the amazing soundtrack of the game. Vice City was the game with the obligatory '80s synthpop/rock tunes that blew everyone away, but SA did it even better imho. Focused on early '90s hip-hop-r&b/alternative metal tracks, it featured an even more diverse selection of music, with House, Country and Classic Rock stations. The quality and quantity of the soundtrack is simply epic and will not replicated anytime soon on another game.

Since then, GTA SA went to become a cultural phenomenon, received universal acclaim, became PS2's best selling game and was ported to almost any platform available, including mobile.

Happy G' Birthday GTA SA!

 
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Grassclipper

Member
Oct 26, 2017
141
Spent so much time with this, loved that even after the story was done you had so much to do. Maybe it was that I was younger and had more time to waste though. Somewhere along the line my copy was stolen and now it's around 10 years since I played it.

Great write-up though!
 

MentalZer0

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,844
Best GTA ever made. The most technically impressive open-world game for that time. It's still technically impressive.
 

Birdseye

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
13,464
I loved this game. I couldn't get into GTA 4 and 5. I need that (90s) gangsta rap vibe
 

Rosejamie95

Banned
Oct 26, 2017
457
Rockstar needs to make GTA game like this again with the all gangs :) The reason why i fallen in love saints row.
 

Mecha Meister

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,099
One of the greatest games ever made!
San Andreas, Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto V are my three favorite Rockstar games!
 

Evilmaus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
353
My second favourite for sure (Vice City will always be top dog).

The character customisation was a great step forwards, along with car customisation. The characters were equally great. Big Smoke and Officer Tenpenny were very memorable.

I definitely won't ever miss the RC plane missions though. That was some serious bullshit...
 

The Albatross

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,479
One of my all-time favorite games, and one that I've beaten all of the way through about 4 times I think, 100+ hours in each play through usually.
Also, probably my most owned game, in that I've bought like 8 different iterations of the game across half a dozen consoles/systems.
  • Original PS2
  • PC retail release
  • PC Steam/Valve sale release
  • Two Pack for Xbox Originals (360) with Vice City / San Andreas
  • Xbox 360 Digital version
  • Xbox One backwards compatibility
  • Android / iOS version
And I feel like I'm missing a purchase somewhere in here.

What's funny is I didn't even like the GTA games before San Andreas. I bought GTA III and GTA Vice City but I never played them because, when I was in college, if I ever sat down to play aGTA game, someone else would come by and ask to have a turn, and inevitably it'd just turn into wreaking mayhem and never playing the story content. So, I never really got into the stories, never played the games much, I thought GTA was fine but just wasn't my cup of tea... that it was boring going around and blowing stuff up or shooting something up, dying, and repeating. Randomly, my mom got me GTA:SA for my birthday which happened to fall on the first day of my summer vacation in college. Working a bull shit summer job I decided, fuck it, I'm going to play this game and see what all of the hype is about... Force myself to do the single player. I ended up freaking loving the game, and got so immersed in the world, story, characters, side activities, and everything else. I bought the PC version the following summer and did the same thing, beating it again, and then replayed Vice City and GTA III and (mostly) loved those. I still get legitimately nostalgic thinking of flying around San Andreas listening to KRose, or driving through the desert listening to K-DST Running Down a Dream or what have you. San Andreas is one of the few, or maybe only, games to make me a fan of music artists in the game... It kicked off a minor obsession with Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, and old Rod Stewart for me.

GTA is now my most anticipated series, usually, with every new release just filling me with hype more than any other game series. I don't think they've made a game as complete and as good as GTA San Andreas, though, which is something that's disappointed me for years. Hell, GTA San Andreas still has a better car ownership and property ownership model than GTA V. I was so disappointed with how GTA IV took a step back from the "build up your property ownership" model of both Vice City and San Andreas, completely abandoning it, and replacing any sense of vehicle ownership with just random cars that always appeared in front of your shabby apartments. GTA V kind of brought that back, but about 1/10th as well as GTA SA did. The fact that making money in GTA SA actually sort of meant something, where you could buy property, which gave you more save points, and more garage space around the map was a major benefit to making more money. You kind of forget that, in San Andreas, if you beat a mission your game didn't save until you ran home and checked into a save spot, and your vehicle was gone if it exploded, so you were super careful to stash great cars all around the map. GTA V sort of has some vehicle ownership, but barely, as any stolen cars you commandeered would usually get replaced by your character's default car.

I still think it has the best GTA story and some of the strongest characters, a game from 2004 with strong minority and female leads, something that the industry still struggles to do 13 years later. And beyond all of it, San Andreas still has, in my opinion, the best antagonist of any videogame ever:


Officer Tenpenny (Samuel L Jackson)

Not only is he voice acted amazingly well, but Rockstar did such a great job at making him a constant shit heel to you so that you actually hated him, yet, you couldn't get to him to take him out because of clever narrative. Other GTA games have completely lost this since, where the antagonists either don't exist and aren't realistic or meaningful threats to you (GTA IV) or in GTA V where the antagonists exist but there's no logical reason why your character doesn't just kill them. In GTA V, antagonists simply lie to you in every mission and you -- the player -- know they are lying to you, but you -- the character -- are too stupid to do anything about it, and it ruins the narrative because there's no bad guy. Tenpenny, on the other hand, is a constant nuisance in CJ's life, from the very first cut scene to the very last cut scene when you finally let him die, and yet, there are always logical reasons why CJ doesn't just blow him away. Tenpenny always has something over CJ, either a bogus cop-killer murder conviction (the first section of the game), actual power through crooked police (the exile), holding CJ's brother hostage (the backwoods/San Fierro section of the game), threats against CJ's business empires (Las Venturas), and CJ doesn't get rid of Tenpenny until he settles all of his other debts in the game and takes over as the kingpin of Los Angeles. And then CJ gets to exact his revenge, but Tenpenny is a constant, ever present threat to the character, and it makes a far more rewarding narrative than the lousy, cliched bad guys that Rockstar has put out there for GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption, and GTA V.
 
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seiki

Permanently banned for usage of an alt-account.
Banned
Oct 27, 2017
1,009
One of the best games ever, funny I found this thread because I've actually been playing GTA SA recently ever since its release 13 years ago. Amazing story and mindless fun, you should check out the remaster for PS3/360/mobile because it actually has autosave+checkpoints which makes the game so much more fun to experience.
 

eot

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,672
I've beaten it at least twice, but I'm pretty sure that if I went back and played it now I wouldn't enjoy it.

Also, they took some tracks out of the Steam version :/
 

[redacted]

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,007
The way the thread looks on mobile it makes it say that San Andreas is 13 MBS but that’s just your username not the size of the game.
 

offshore

Member
Oct 27, 2017
461
UK
The best GTA and it's not even close.

Vigilante missions + the Hunter + Eminence Front on K-DST = gaming perfection.
 

Derrick01

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
7,289
Still the best non RPG open world game of all time. Rockstar should take a look back at this game and see how well they used to design missions, how you could be near the end of the game and still have new features being introduced (like the jetpack). Realism shouldn't come at the cost of gameplay.
 

h0tp0ck3t

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,303
I can't believe it's been so long. I bought this game to celebrate my first job after graduating college lol. Still the best GTA
 
OP
OP
MBS

MBS

Member
Oct 25, 2017
656


Officer Tenpenny (Samuel L Jackson)

Not only is he voice acted amazingly well, but Rockstar did such a great job at making him a constant shit heel to you so that you actually hated him, yet, you couldn't get to him to take him out because of clever narrative. Other GTA games have completely lost this since, where the antagonists either don't exist and aren't realistic or meaningful threats to you (GTA IV) or in GTA V where the antagonists exist but there's no logical reason why your character doesn't just kill them. In GTA V, antagonists simply lie to you in every mission and you -- the player -- know they are lying to you, but you -- the character -- are too stupid to do anything about it, and it ruins the narrative because there's no bad guy. Tenpenny, on the other hand, is a constant nuisance in CJ's life, from the very first cut scene to the very last cut scene when you finally let him die, and yet, there are always logical reasons why CJ doesn't just blow him away. Tenpenny always has something over CJ, either a bogus cop-killer murder conviction (the first section of the game), actual power through crooked police (the exile), holding CJ's brother hostage (the backwoods/San Fierro section of the game), threats against CJ's business empires (Las Venturas), and CJ doesn't get rid of Tenpenny until he settles all of his other debts in the game and takes over as the kingpin of Los Angeles. And then CJ gets to exact his revenge, but Tenpenny is a constant, ever present threat to the character, and it makes a far more rewarding narrative than the lousy, cliched bad guys that Rockstar has put out there for GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption, and GTA V.
One of the best written antagonists of all time. Like, he's untouchable for you and you feel so weak in front of him because he literally owns you the whole time.
 

Bwooduhs

Member
Oct 25, 2017
761
I would love to know how many hours I've put in to this game... it was my go to for years.
 

X1 Two

Banned
Oct 26, 2017
3,023
I hated it with a passion, still do. Building up character stats and constant defend missions with the gang war stuff were so annoying. Eat some food, now do some sport or you're fat. But it was still better than GTA IV. V is best by far, followed by Vice City.
 

gcwy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,509
Michigan
I'm pretty sure I've spent more hours on this than any other game, ever. I've finished this about 20+ times on all systems combined and 100%'ed it multiple times as well. It's one of the best open world games and absolutely stands the test of time.
 

Igama

Member
Oct 27, 2017
186
13 years already huh? What a game. One of those I will always love. Best GTA too.
 

Tygerjaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
415
Those were the days.
Didn't own a PS2 back then, so I played it on the PC in 2005. Good times.
 

newmoneytrash

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,921
Melbourne, Australia
It feels like so much longer than 13 years

Still an incredible game. My friends and I lost so many hours betting on horse racing alone

I haven’t played this game in maybe 6 years or so but I still think about the K-Rose DJ regularly
 

Aokiji

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,132
Los Angeles
crazy i was thinking about this game when i woke up today. i sitll cant believe they were able to perform all those gameplay systems on the PS2. things we still havent really seen since. i would love a remaster of this game.it still hold ups today
 

Kasey

Member
Nov 1, 2017
5,451
Boise
I loved driving in a huge circle around the map while listening to the dust, felt like a road trip.
 

Mobias

Member
Oct 27, 2017
112
Edinburgh
It was a more interesting and varied game world than GTAV. I loved the fact if you got bored in one city you could just go to another. It was basically 3 GTA's built into on. I remember the build up to tis release being insane. Each week just seemed to bring more and more gobsmacking news. It all just seemed impossible on the PS2. Truth be told it did push the console beyond what it was capable of. If you were in the hydra jet the pop up was ridiculous. Often whole areas of the map would visually load in front of you. Elsewhere the draw distance was cleverly hidden behind eternal fog or smog. Only occasionally would get any sense from a visual point of view that the map was big.

It didn't matter though. It was just so much fun. The whole game was far more cartoony and over the top, but not in a naff Saints Row kind of way. These days GTA is a victim of its own realism.
 

seiki

Permanently banned for usage of an alt-account.
Banned
Oct 27, 2017
1,009
I hated it with a passion, still do. Building up character stats and constant defend missions with the gang war stuff were so annoying Eat some food, now do some sport or you're fat. But it was still better than GTA IV. V is best by far, followed by Vice City.
That is what makes it better than V and Vice City. There's load more stuff to do and its RPG-like stat system adds more flavour to the game. You will have to actually control CJ's build yourself, what he does affects his ability, the more he uses a weapon/ vehicle = the better he gets. Vice City is nowhere close to the amount of content, it's just "heres Tommy Vercetti that failed to bring the money" such a loose plothole IMO. The major appeal it has is it's 80s setting whilst V tried to recapture SA's world, it failed to recapture its mechanics that make it a more immersive game. Also those "constant" defend missions are completely optional and aren't even constant though.
 

Theiea

Member
Oct 27, 2017
224
Time flies, I still remember pouring over 100hrs into it back in the day.

Hows the steam version of it?
 
Oct 28, 2017
9,043
Still the best GTA all in all. Was my favourite game for a VERY long time. Wasn't until Rocket League came out that a game took that throne from San Andreas.

Well, now seems as good a time as any to port beg. Please release this game on Switch Rockstar. I finally want San Andreas on a portable game system. The ios/android release but no Vita still stings.
 

PSOreo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
653
This was my all time favourite GTA. It will always have a special place in my heart as it was my 14 year old self’s first 18 rated game and first GTA that I owned The story, characters, the world and the silliness kept me coming back several times and for several versions. My friends still quote this game today.