GTA San Andreas: We've played it!

It's in East Los Santos too that we found our first in-game bar, a not-particularly salubrious establishment called 10 Green Bottles. In among the low-class clientele and a couple of playable coin-ops (anyone for a game of Go Go Space Monkey?), you'll notice a pair of pool tables. And, yes, you can play on them. With a mate. Two-player San Andreas: who'd have thunk it?

In addition to a handful of two-player mini-games, it's also been confirmed that full two-player co-op play (on a single, non-split screen) is incorporated for certain missions, including both on-foot and vehicle-based tasks.

During our travels, we also went for a quick swim on East Beach - and it's the one slightly disappointing aspect that we've seen of the game so far. The water effects are far from convincing and swimming underwater feels rather clumsy and (dare we say it) something of a Tomb Raider-like experience. You also can't hold your breath for very long to begin with, although this will obviously improve as your stats increase as you play the game for longer.

But all was not lost: in order to make up for our slight watery frustration, we beat up a bloke who was sunning himself on the beach (well, killed him, to be honest), carjacked a taxi and sped off cackling into the Los Santos sunset while listening to Ozzy Osbourne...

Finally, in case you haven't already caught wind of it elsewhere, here's a list of the main cast members. And, as well as Shaun Ryder's inevitable appearance, the game features the vocular talent of Samuel L Jackson, Ice T and Peter Fonda.

  • Carl Johnson - Young Maylay
  • Sweet Johnson - Faizon Love
  • Ryder - MC Eiht
  • Cesar - Clifton Collins Jr
  • Kendl Johnson - Yo Yo
  • Zero - David Cross
  • OG Loc - Jonathan Anderson
  • Frank Tenpenny - Samuel L Jackson
  • Maddog - Ice T
  • The Truth - Peter Fonda
  • Wu Zi Mu - James Yaegashi
  • Ran Fa Li (Farlie) - Hunter Platin
  • Mike Torreno - James Wood
  • Maccer - Shaun Ryder
  • Eddie Pulaski - Chris Penn
  • Officer Hernandez - Armando Riesco
  • Jizzy B - Charlie Murphy
  • T-Bone Mendez - Kid Frost
  • Ken Rosenberg - William Fichtner
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is released for PS2 on 29 October, with a PC version to follow in mid-2005