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110 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really, really not for kids, but Gouranga quintupled baby!
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA:SA) is, simply put, a great game. The six month wait for a PC port was worth it; although still not state-of-the-art, if you've got the rig for it graphics are noticably improved over the PS2. I'm a bit biased having been addicted since the original GTA came out - Gouranga refers to the easter egg you get for taking out a line of hare...
Published on June 8, 2005 by Indy Reviewer

versus
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars San Andreas--Fun on a Faultline
I've been aware of the *Grand Theft Auto* series from the beginning, but it took the controversial and revolutionary game play of the third outing to grab me. *GTA III* essentially stands as the beginning of an epic remake, and at last developer/publisher Rockstars bring out the conclusion. *Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas* not only brings together the previous two titles,...
Published on June 19, 2005 by Brian M. Ranzoni


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110 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really, really not for kids, but Gouranga quintupled baby!, June 8, 2005
By 
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA:SA) is, simply put, a great game. The six month wait for a PC port was worth it; although still not state-of-the-art, if you've got the rig for it graphics are noticably improved over the PS2. I'm a bit biased having been addicted since the original GTA came out - Gouranga refers to the easter egg you get for taking out a line of hare krishnas in the original - but the game is probably the best of the series as the world is richer and the missions more fun. My only reservation is that the violence and plot here have no place anywhere near kids, but for adults this is the best of the genre and deserves 5 stars.

GTA has fully evolved from a pure-action game in the original GTA to an RPG with a good deal of action in GTA:SA. The majority of the game revolves around completing missions rather than simply jacking cars and running over people as in the early versions. The good news is that the RPG works. Missions are funny but brutal.

It's important to note this isn't the tamer, slightly cartoonish Scarface-inspired Vice City. Instead, this is the very nasty world of early 90's South Central LA with a gangbanger-influence and language that many will find disturbing. With the revelation that interactive softcore porn is included, this very much deserves the new AO rating. (All the infamous 'hot coffee' mod does is unlock some hidden but pretty rough sex simulations and take off the computer-generated clothes of those involved - if you're disturbed by the gangbanging the in-genre scenes will make it even worse.) One wonders if the rumor that TakeTwo leaked information about the hidden code to the hacking community as a marketing stunt is true - if so, it's massively backfired and it's hard to argue they don't deserve at least some criticism for at the very least not being far more upfront about its inclusion. Even before hot coffee this was pushing the upper limits of an M rating and probably deserved an AO one. Then again, any parent who let their kid near this game - or incredibly, a litigous grandmother buying this for an unsupervised 14 year old when M is clearly marked for 17 year olds - really isn't doing their job either as its incredibly obvious this is not a game for kids. Caveat emptor, and it looks like the AO version is about to become a collector's item.

Regarding content, there are so many more things to do compared to even Vice City. The world is, in a word, huge. It takes at least 20 minutes to drive from one end of the world to another (although if you're creative you just jump the airport fence and fly a plane for 2 minutes instead). Sure, there are standard GTA missions, like mugging drug dealers and drive-bys. But there is a lot more. Want to play death from above? Complete a ton of missions and get the easter egg of a Hunter gunship that can blow anything in the game away. Want an insanely fast car? Don't steal one; go to the docks and import a Super GT. Want to show off your moves? Enter the lowrider contest or go dancing with a date. Where the change from action game to RPG is most noticeable is in the addition of skill-based character advancement. CJ needs to eat and be in shape, but more importantly needs experience with weapons if he wants to hit something besides his foot. It's not onerous by any means, but it's a noticeable difference. One other note for veteran GTA players: this is probably the first GTA in which you'll use your keyboard a bit. The shooting missions are easier with mouse control for targeting, although I definitely prefer my Logitech gamepad for driving.

The PC port is clean although several of the PS2 cheats I tested don't work. Several things are better than the console versions. Besides making your own radio station from MP3s (although the GTA ads still air in between songs), graphics are improved. If you have the hardware to run it, high end tweaks like shadowing and draw distance (meaning you can actually decipher signs among other things) are nice. This isn't a showpiece game like Half Life 2 for your 45" LCD monitor by any means - the PS2 development still shows in a vaguely polygonish feel - but the port is a definite improvement over the consoles and the previous GTAs. (If Rockstar insists on an exclusive PS3 contract going forward, hopefully the 1080p PS3 will force improvements in the next game.) I like the special guest voices (like a corrupt Samuel L. Jackson) and the 5.1 surround in general, and have fortunately not experienced any of the numerous reported sound or running problems. (I'm running a 6800GT and a dual Opteron 246 setup which probably helps.)

It's probably not the best PC game of the year based on the legacy limitations of developing this for the PS2, but it is a genre defining game and is a must play for anyone who likes being bad. Five stars.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great game, July 21, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I hope amazon does not submit to the pressure to stop selling this game. With the recent change to the rating on this game it's making it very hard for ADULTS to find this great game. I'm tired of the retail industry thinking all games are suppose to be for kids. There are grown adults who enjoy playing games. These are the same adults that grew up with video games and now want games that reflect their age. The rating system is to educate people on the content of the game, not to punish the publisher by refusing to sell it. I don't want the retail industry telling me what I can and can't buy.
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Just Have To Say Something., November 17, 2005
A Kid's Review
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
If you're angry about the violent and sexual content in this game, there is one easy way to make it all go away......DON'T BUY THE FREAKING GAME!

It says right on the front of the box, RATED M FOR MATURE, AGES 17 AND UP.

If you buy this for your 9 year old and you catch him blowing up hookers, it's your own fault for buying it for him.

And by the way, about the Hot Coffee mod...

If your kid can go on the internet, search around enough, find the mod, download it, and install it, then he's probably been looking at porn already.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Game: Hypocritical Game Rating, July 22, 2005
GTA: San Andreas is probably the finest title in this series of no holds-barred, ultraviolent criminal action/RPG games. The storyline is interesting, the gameplay is what we've come to expect from the series and the settings ... are simply stunning.

The ESRB recently changed its rating on this game from M to AO because a computer hacker in Europe figured out a way to access a hidden code in the game that shows sex scenes. This move was largely hypocritical: even without this modification, the game is a feast of random violence, and the content of the game features random killing, drive by shootings, theft, gang violence, prostitution, drug trafficking and the like: it's a game about being a criminal, and the violence is very graphic and common. The game features strip clubs and gay bars and similar content. And yet with all of that the ESRB gave it a Mature rating and not an Adults Only rating, switching it to the latter only when it became apparent that the sex scenes could be unlocked by hacking the game code. This is highly hypocritical, because the game is, without the sex scene, just as "adult", to be honest: the sex scene hardly makes it less acceptable for 17 year olds (which is the only age group impacted by the difference between M and AO).

The real reason the rating was switched was to get the game off the shelves at the typical retail outlet, because the GTA series has *always* had a virtual army of opponents to the game, critics who have tried at every turn to squelch and silence every Rockstar title in this series. It looks like they've succeeded in their efforts, because most retailers are removing the game. Let's hope that Amazon and similar online retailers don't cave into to this craven, idologically-driven hypocrisy and simply keep the game available for those who which to buy and play it, sex scene or no.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars San Andreas--Fun on a Faultline, June 19, 2005
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I've been aware of the *Grand Theft Auto* series from the beginning, but it took the controversial and revolutionary game play of the third outing to grab me. *GTA III* essentially stands as the beginning of an epic remake, and at last developer/publisher Rockstars bring out the conclusion. *Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas* not only brings together the previous two titles, but realizes the world of the original. It's the best of the series--and a big bite to chew.

San Andreas, like Vice City and Liberty City before, was one of three cities in the first *GTA*. Now it's a state of the union, and the child hood home of Carl "CJ" Johnson: once a proud member of the Grove Street Families gang alliance, now a buster living in the relative safety of Liberty. Then a phone call brings CJ back to the streets of Los Santos, San Andreas. His mother has joined his brother in the afterlife, the alliance has collapsed, and rival gangs threaten to flood the streets with base. Carl must not only prove to his surviving family and friends he's down for life, but must ultimately save life.

This requires CJ to kill and destroy an awful lot. Not much has changed in the series on that end. But while the silent protagonist of *GTA III* was a cold-blooded mercenary to the end, and Tommy Vercetti was a sociopath who became kingpin of Vice City, CJ operates from a pirate's code of honor. His pride in family and gang contributes to the most ambitious and coherent story in the series. Major characters take a more compelling, frequent, and usually logical role than in previous installments. While *GTA III* and *IV* amounted to a succession of mercenary missions loosely bound by a drive for revenge, *San Andreas* weaves a number of plot threads through the length of the game, with story and missions mutually bound to each other.

*San Andreas* suffers from a few snares though. My new DVD-RW drive successfully installed the game, but couldn't detect the disc whenever I tried to run it. Technical support insisted my firmware needed to be updated, but updates didn't help. My newer DVD-ROM drive likewise failed at first. Then tech support had me disable all Startup options in msconfig; only then could my ROM drive detect the disk, and not 100% of the time. Finally, I discovered that disabling Drive Letter Access on my RW drive would allow my ROM drive to reliably read the disc. This hasn't prevented the occassional Blue Screen of Death, but otherwise I have not suffered the audio and video bugs reported by others. Such problems nevertheless spoil an otherwise clean record between my PC and Rockstar.

So imagine my mood when I also discovered a significant control change from previous PC ports. The ability to mouse-look and strafe with the keyboard arrow keys seemed absent. Having only tinkered with the PS2 version, I didn't realize *GTA:SA* incorporated a weapon skill system. One must gain proficiency in a given weapon before CJ can strafe, while mouse-looking with a target reticule requires one to hold a lock-on key, though it's still easier for me than using a console gamepad.

This being part of a simple reality check for the series. Unlike his predecessors, CJ can't just drive a Banshee or pick up an M4 like a professional. Practice make perfect: or rather improved control over vehicles and weapons through experience. CJ can also improve a wide range of attributes, including muscles, fat, respect, and sex appeal. Improvements unlock many abilities, like climbing walls, recruiting gang members, and picking up girlfriends-which in turn unlocks still more features. Skills and most abilities don't degrade, but CJ must continually exercise and eat to maintain feats like sprinting and swimming underwater. *GTA III* and *IV* tracked some use-based skills and abilities too, but with number V, the stat screens finally show exactly where CJ stands. The game gently and clearly reminds players of CJ's current condition. When a significant change happens, popups explain why it matters.

And things matter here. Within an already epic series, *San Andreas* takes players on a 100 mission journey across three cities, five regions, and the communities and countryside in between. Layers of activity cover the landscape: CJ earns respect to recruit gang members to seize enemy turf to earn tribute to buy fancy clothes to impress girlfriends who grant CJ gifts to better complete his story missions... and so on. CJ has reoccurring, freeform missions and one-shot missions so linear they put the Brown Streak railroad to shame. Ya want stealth missions? Check. Shoot `em ups? Here. Car chases may apply. Dancing, swimming, trucking, racing, bicycle riding, sky diving, dating--even automotive mods and low rider hydraulic competitions. And if CJ needs to take a break, he can always find a basket ball, pool table--or even a video game.

The only things missing are jet skis and skateboards. Come to think of it, the more the game adds, the more it seems to need. *GTA:SA* approaches being a comprehensive if simplistic world simulator. I want to see a fatigue meter as well as a breath meter. CJ should be able to buy ammunition instead of having to buy a whole new gun to replenish his ammo pool. Let's bring back convienence store robberies from Vice City. Perhaps players should have to start worrying about broken bones and rent... so long as it all remains fun.

In the end, Rockstar has a hell of a PC title on their hands, in both a positive and a negative sense. It's an almost boredom-proof game, though the sheer size of the maps may become tedious and overwhelming to some. Yet the graphics and level design ensure the scope massively immerses me. So long as we can play around the bugs and software conflicts. Let's get some patches out so this doesn't have to be last word on this latest game.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome story, July 28, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This is my first time playing any of the GTA series. While I expected all the violence and crime, I didn't expect the great storytelling with some occasional positive messages (CJ is trying to get drugs OFF the streets of his neighborhood. His methodology is more of baseball bat sneak attacks rather than a neighborhood watch, but the strong anti-drug sentiment can be felt.)

Midway through the game, the missions start getting harder... and somewhat more similar. The story advances, but the gameplay stays the same. If you are a casual gamer and haven't been improving your skills throughout the game, you will get stuck with only two options: quit or cheat. Cheat codes are plentiful, but as soon as you type one... man, it just kills the game.

I am glad I got to play this epic experience first hand rather than just listen to people say how fun it was (or how disgusting and vile it was). A milestone in gaming.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good..., July 26, 2005
As a father I fully expected this to be a game tailored for the average 14 year old. I was very mistaken, on advice from a friend I picked it up to see what the hype was about. What it turned out to be was an extremly FUN game. This is what the entire game is about...fun. Not only is it fun, but the story is extremly well done. Not to mention the voice acting talent they got onboard for this game; Peter Fonda, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn, Ice T and the list goes on and on.

It very much feels like you are engrossed into a major motion picture centered around a protagonist from South Central L.A. who recently arrives from the East Coast upon hearing his mother's death. Immediately upon arriving your character (Carl Johnson) is thrown into a very deep plot. The main character was also a refreshing surprise as most games out there don't depict a black guy as the protagonist, and not only is it a good character but breaks out of certain stereotypes. Does he speak slang ebonics? Sure...but he's also very intelligent and witty. Thumbs up on that.

As mentioned by other folks, there is a LOT to do. There is a main plotline and most of the "quests" have to do with the main story and there are a BUNCH. The greatest appeal of the game is the fact you aren't limited in what you can do. You can do SO much...Fly planes, Sky Dive, Drive, etc. Practicaly every vehicle in the game is interactive and you can hop onboard or in the driver's seat and cruise along whether it be in the skies, highway or offroading.

For those whom have a moral skepticism about this game, I would say give it a chance. It's worth your money, but just don't play it with your kids around. There is a lot of adult language in this game to say the least.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grove 4 Life, baby!, November 5, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Welcome to the state of insanity.

Carl Johnson -- or "CJ" to his friends -- has spent the last five years in Liberty City. He left his hometown of Los Santos after somehow causing the death of his brother Brian. He's had no contact with anyone back home--not his other brother Sweet, the leader of the Orange Grove Families; not his sister Kendl; not his old running buddies, Big Smoke or Ryder; not even his mother Beverley. He just wanted to forget it all.

But he can't do that anymore. Sweet's called him to tell him the bad news...that their mother's dead. Killed in a drive-by shooting from their enemies, the Ballas. Now CJ has to come home to help bury her.

And the moment he steps off the plane, it all goes wrong. He's immediately grabbed up by Frank Tenpenney and Eddie Pulaski, two deeply corrupt police officers in C.R.A.S.H., the anti-gang force. He's framed for the murder of another officer. He discovers his remaining family and friends are on the losing side of a battle for control of the streets. He learns his old gang is drowning in a sea of narcotics. He finds himself back up to his neck in the old life. So, he throws back in with them, does whatever he can to try to make it better.

Instead, it only gets worse.

This is not only a good game, it's a Big game. No, let me rephrase that; it's HUGE. You could fit all the missions in GTA: Vice City into just the story missions alone, with room left over. And it is a good story, epic in nature. It takes CJ all over the state of San Andreas, from the hopeless ghettos of Los Santos to the rural sprawl of the Badlands, from the hilly streets of San Fierro to the stark beauty of the Deserts, and from the corrupted glamour of Las Venturas back to Los Santos itself. Each one of these areas is AT LEAST as big as Vice City was, so in the end, you get a game that's as much as five to six times bigger than Vice City.

And story missions aside, the sheer amount of things to do in San Andreas is mind-boggling. Right off the top of my head, I can think of the following:

* Taxi

* Firefighter

* Vigilante

* weapons training

* dating women

* Burglary

* Racing tournaments

* Schools

* Courier

* physical fitness

That's all I can think of without consulting my strategy guide, but take my word for it; if you're on a budget, and you have the time, you just can't do better than this. That list doesn't even scratch the surface. I spent two months straight playing this game, and a lot of that was after I finished the story missions. It's almost impossible to get bored with it, because there's always something different to do! I can't even imagine how hard Rockstar North worked to bring all this incredible stuff to this game, much less how they're going to top themselves with the next one!

Graphically, it's about what you expect from GTA. The voice acting is perfect; Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn, James Woods, Peter Fonda, and Young Maylay do an incredible job with their characters. You'll also see more than a few familiar characters turn up, if you've played the last two GTA games. The soundtrack is phenomenal; it perfectly captures what you would've heard on the radio back in '92, running the gamut from grunge, rap, hip-hop, classic rock, classic country, and techno. And once again, you have the option of dropping in your own MP3s and making a radio station of your own.

Now, just to head off all this idiotic controversy about the 'Hot Coffee' modification, let me be absolutely crystal clear: when you buy this game, and you install it, and you play it...you won't be able to get 'Hot Coffee' up and running right out of the box. IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY; THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED A 'MODIFICATION!!'

You literally have to go to a game file website to download the mod itself. Then you have to go into the game's directory, alter some of the files, then drop in the mod to get it to work. Yes, this 'graphic dating' thing is in the game, but it's in PIECES. It wasn't MEANT to be found. I personally would've never DREAMED that something like that existed in the game at all, let alone have found a way to dig up the bits and pieces and get them working again. And that's what you have to do to get it to happen. If you have kids who're interested in this game, then YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY, and I'll tell you why.

First off, you'd have to modify the game, like I mentioned above (notice how I didn't go into details about how the process is done, just in case). Second, Rockstar Games is offering a patch on its website you can apply to the game that will COMPLETELY DISABLE Hot Coffee, making the mod unusable.

So, if that little molehill of a mountain is the only thing stopping you from buying an incredible, endlessly entertaining game, I hope I cleared it up for you. And with that said, I hope you enjoy San Andreas.

I wouldn't want to live there, but it's a great place to visit.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't need to write a 30-page review for this game., January 14, 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I can sum it up in one word: Wow.

This game is definitely your savior from boredom. You can do SO much in this game, and it will take up your time for hours... weeks... and months, in my case.

Gta3 was great. Gta: Vice city was awesome. Gta: San Andreas is just plain amazing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, November 12, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
love this game cant get enough of it it feeds my violent side and makes me happy i look forward to playing it a lot
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