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GTA: San Andreas - CJ goes for a swim

We've done eating, going to the gym, BMX tricks and, er, road signs. Now the latest shots of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas give us a look at your character's new-found swimming abilities. While earlier GTAs gave you the option to make use of boats, this is the first time in the series that you can actually get your feet wet.

Treading water is the 'default' setting when you hit the water and, you'll be relieved to learn, protagonist CJ automatically stays afloat in even the roughest waters. What a guy. Push forward on the left analogue stick and CJ will swim using the breaststroke (stop sniggering at the back) which is slow but doesn't affect his stamina. Hit X and he'll use freestyle which obviously is faster but can only be kept up for a limited period of time, dependent on your endurance. Press Circle and you'll dive underwater, with a breathometer indicating how much air you've got left. We're promised that "interesting stuff is hidden away below the surface".

Clearly, diving into water is a good way to lose pursuers and you can even drive your car off the end of Santa Maria Pier and live to tell that tale - if you manage to escape the vehicle in time once you're underwater.

Perhaps more useful though is the ability to nick boats from within the water. If a boat is at a standstill you simply have to climb aboard to take control. You'll need precise timing though to pull off the same trick on a moving boat. Once you're aboard, the captain is likely to just jump off the edge of the vessel in terror. The wuss.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will be released for PS2 on 22 October. We'll have loads more on the game this Friday (13 August)

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