TODO alt text

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas review

Explore a state and enrage your parents

Thankfully, you'll at least have someone to watch your back while you wrestle with the controls. Once he earns enough "respect" by pulling jobs and winning turf, CJ can recruit a small army of gang members off the street. They're rock-stupid, but they can help you pull off drive-by shootings, and they absorb bullets real good when you're fighting multiple opponents.

While that's the bulk of the game, there's much more to do, and that'sSan Andreas' real triumph. If driving gets old, for example, you can hijack a harrier jet. And when you get tired of flying it around, you can bail out at 40,000 feet, parachute onto a mountaintop, ride a bicycle down to a river, swim to the nearest boat and steal it. You can play pool, gamble, cultivate a romantic relationship or just get fat eating pizza. There are even a handful of two-player challenges, a first for the series. San Andreas is your oyster, and its dozens of minigames, all integrated smoothly into the landscape and storyline, give you plenty of ways to crack it open.

In terms of presentation and production values, San Andreas is a mixed bag. Sure, its graphics are ugly and chunky (although there's plenty of detail if you look closely), but each of the game's locales nicely captures the look of its real-world counterpart. San Andreas' cast (which includes Charlie Murphy, David Cross, James Woods and Samuel L. Jackson) turns in top-notch performances, the script is brilliant and off-kilter and the 11 in-game radio stations blare licensed rock, rap and country songs.

While that's the bulk of the game, there's much more to do, and that'sSan Andreas' real triumph. If driving gets old, for example, you can hijack a harrier jet. And when you get tired of flying it around, you can bail out at 40,000 feet, parachute onto a mountaintop, ride a bicycle down to a river, swim to the nearest boat andsteal it. You can play pool, gamble, cultivate a romantic relationship or justget fat eating pizza. There are even a handful of two-player challenges, a first for the series. San Andreas is your oyster, and its dozens of minigames, all integrated smoothly into the landscape and storyline, give you plenty of ways to crack it open.

In terms of presentation and production values, San Andreasis a mixed bag.Sure, its graphicsare ugly andchunky (althoughthere's plenty of detail if you look closely), buteach of the game's localesnicely captures the look of its real-world counterpart. San Andreas' cast(which includes Charlie Murphy, David Cross, James Woods and Samuel L. Jackson)turns intop-notch performances, the script is brilliant and off-kilterand the11 in-game radio stations blare licensed rock, rap and country songs.

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionA hell of a lot of fun, even when the cops are chasing you around town.
Franchise nameGrand Theft Auto
UK franchise nameGrand Theft Auto
PlatformPS3, PS2, Xbox, PC, GBA
US censor ratingMature
UK censor rating18+
Alternative namesGTA: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto: SA, Grand Theft Auto: SA
Release date8 October 2005 (US), 29 October 2004 (UK)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
We recommend