Classic game appreciation section - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

GTA's last hurrah on PS2 was maybe the series' finest moment to date

Just sat here trying to remember, which bits I should pour my heart out over is making me all confused. There’s just so much going on in San Andreas that I could quite easily go on for a fair few more pages to really highlight everything, but I think these last two things sum it up nicely.

Firstly, before GTA got all serious with moral decisions and Niko Bellic, it was bat-shit mental in the pursuit of fun. Take my favourite mission, Black Project. This sees CJ tasked by The Truth to enter the mysterious Area 69 (Area 51, but sexier) facility and steal the Black Project, which turns out to be a jetpack. A jetpack that you fly out of the bases while shooting the military forces trying to get it back. Its madness, but utterly compelling and shows Rockstar at it’s best.


Above: Dual wield a couple of uzis and this is one serious death from above machine

Secondly, the urban legends passed about between the GTA communities are bloody brilliant. Even though they’re not true, the rumours of Bigfoot being spotted in Back O’ Beyond, Leatherface gunning his chainsaw near a log cabin and alien sightings around the map added to the mystique and had me trekking to locations to see it for myself.

Things that are true are the ghost car that slowly drives with nobody at the wheel, a woman who walks into the water to end it all, and an old WWII plane that crash lands at random.

This type of stuff is borne from the imaginations of fans, but Rockstar provide the ingredients to spark these crazy things in the first place. These random events coupled with the huge playground means that stuff like this can happen…

People may have complained about the sprawling nature of the map, but the fact that San Andreas serves up some of the best missions in GTA history, Harrier jump-jets, and areas with strong personalities throughout means that that this is arguably the greatest Grand Theft Auto of them all. Here’s hoping GTA V is just as epic.

What's your favourite moment from GTA: San Andreas? Let us know in the comments below.

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