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The events of the game take place in the early 1990s. The player takes control of Carl Johnson (C.J.), who had moved to Liberty City in order to distance himself from his past as a member of a gang in his home city, San Andreas. But the past catches up with him in a way he had not imagined: he finds out that his mother was killed by a rival gang. He goes back to San Andreas to attend her funeral. Realizing how corrupted local police is, seeing how his relatives and friends need him, determined to avenge his mother's death, C. J. has no other choice but to revert to his old ways.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the fifth game in the GTA series. The basic premise remains the same: roam the "sandbox" environments, hijack cars, and complete missions to advance the story. The game's world is significantly larger than in its two immediate predecessors, encompassing three cities and a vast countryside between them, with smaller towns, mountains, rivers, and other places of interest. The interactivity with the environment is enhanced since the player character can now swim and dive, being able to access every corner of the game world.

The missions vary in structure and gameplay, including chases, races, longer and more intense third-person shooter sequences, as well as a wide variety of vehicles to navigate, which range from different new types of cars (such as lowriders), bicycles, motorcycles, to boats, helicopters, planes, trains, and exotic devices such as monster trucks and jetpacks. Some of the missions involve recruiting gang members and attacking turfs belonging to rival gangs.

As in the previous games, there are many activities to perform outside of the missions. Working as a taxi driver, taking part in races, delivering sick people to the hospital, etc., return from the preceding games in the series. San Andreas adds many new activities of its own, some of them with a role-playing flavor. C.J. can go to the gym and work out, increasing his stamina. From time to time he has to eat - though overeating will make him look fatter. He is also able to have romantic relationships with certain female characters, asking them out for dinner, giving them presents, etc.


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Windows Gym in San Fierro.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Windows Beton truck.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Windows In a restaurant.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Windows "Can I borrow this car, please?"

Promo Images

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Screenshot
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Screenshot
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Screenshot
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "俠盜獵車手:聖安地列斯" -- Traditional Chinese spelling
  • "侠盗车手:圣安地列斯" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "GTA: San Andreas" -- Common abbreviation
  • "GTA:SA" -- Common abbreviation
  • "Grand Theft Auto: Sin City" -- Original working title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Quintessence of free-form action Unicorn Lynx (181445) 4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
The GTA series just keeps getting better and better. Steve Hall (348) 4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars
As good as it gets Shin_Akuma (17) 4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars

Critic Reviews

Game Informer Magazine Aug, 2005 9.75 out of 10 98
Worth Playing Jun 28, 2005 9.7 out of 10 97
PC Action (Germany) Jul 11, 2005 93 out of 100 93
PC Games (Germany) Jul 27, 2005 93 out of 100 93
IGN Jun 07, 2005 9.3 out of 10 93
PC Powerplay Jul, 2005 92 out of 100 92
Gaming Target Jul 27, 2005 9.2 out of 10 92 Jun 10, 2005 18 out of 20 90
TTGamer Jun 29, 2005 9 out of 10 90
Game industry News (GiN) 2005 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90


Topic # Posts Last Post
This... damn... Learning To Fly mission!! 4 Stratege (21209)
May 17, 2007


1001 Video Games

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Australian release

Sex and nudity in computer games is unacceptable in Australia. As if to prove this, the Attorney-General of that country launched an investigation into claims that users who owned GTA: San Andreas could unlock a hidden sex scene in the game using the "Hot Coffee" mod. On July 29, 2005, this investigation saw San Andreas lose its MA15+ rating, which means that the game can no longer be sold in the country.

However, a revised version of the game was submitted on September 12, 2005. This modified version had the offending content removed.

Big Foot

Thousands of Gamers, are Looking for a "Big Foot", and attempting to take pictures of it from the in-game camera. No one has yet confirmed its existence, but many photos gamers have taken resemble an rather big feature in the woods. Trees uprooted, and weird noises can be heard in the section of the map called "Back o Beyond". Also many alien and ghost sightings have been reported.


One of the missions early in the game (in Los Santos) ends with your gang jumping out of the car just before it goes right through a billboard and explodes on a highway. Before this happens, the billboard bears a standard commercial with the inscription: "Taste of things to come". However, after the car has passed through it, you'll see that the middle part of it has been destroyed. If you examine the billboard again, it will read: "Taste of... come". Try pronouncing the sentence without thinking of the spelling, and you'll realize it is another example of the game's "nasty" sense of humor.


The three cities in San Andreas and other areas in the game represent real locations in western America. Los Santos represents Los Angeles, with its high crime rate and street gangs, as well the "Vineland" sign hanging over the north of the city representing the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. San Fierro represents San Francisco, and includes many striking similarities with San Francisco like the Golden Gate Bridge, the fort under the bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard Street, and the steep streets of San Francisco. Las Venturas represents Las Vegas, with its casinos and the "Las Venturas Strip".

Also, many other areas in the game represent areas in western America. The woodlands in San Andrea represent the great redwood forests found in California. In the desert area, the restricted area section is obviously Area 51, the dam is the Hoover Dam, the big satellite represents the SETI program, the Indian reservation pokes fun at Indian casinos, and the abandoned airfield is reminiscent of aircraft graveyards found throughout the southwest. All of these things can be found in the southwest of the America.

As well, the initials of San Andreas's cities are the same of those of the cities in real life. While Los Santos does not work for it, San Fierro has the same initials and first word as San Francisco, and Las Venturas has the same initials and first word as Las Vegas.

As well, when turned to the side, the map looks strikingly like the state of California next to the state of Nevada, with the river between being the state border.

The Watts Towers in East Los Santos should have been placed in Ganton because East Los Santos is based on East Los Angeles and Ganton more resembles the Watts district found in South Central Los Angeles, where the famous towers are located.


The gangs of San Andreas are based on real gangs in California and elsewhere. They are changed around by colors and names.
  • Orange Grove Street Families: Color is Green, located in Ganton. Based on Crips. Their color is Blue and located in Compton.
  • Temple Drive Ballas: Color is Purple and located in Greater Los Santos. Based on Bloods. Their color is Red and located in Compton.
  • Varrios Los Aztecas: Color is Turquoise and located in East Los Santos. Based on Los Surrenos XIII. Their color is Blue and lcoated in Southern California.
  • San Fierro Rifa: Color is Green and located in San Fierro. Based on Los Nortenos XIV. Color is Red and located in Northern California.

Golden Gate bridge

If you search in the surroundings of the "Golden Gate" bridge (going from the north and taking a path to the left), you will find a sign with interesting information about the bridge that connects Las Venturas and San Fierro. This sign shows us the "bridge facts" which are:
  • length - 150.7 m
  • height - 60.3m above sea level
  • 16000 polygons inc. LODs
  • 600m draw distance
  • 11 textures
  • Takes up a staggering 1.27mb of disc space.

Guinness World Records

As of 2008, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is listed by Guinness World Records as the game with the largest in-game soundtrack and the largest voice cast in a video game.

Hot coffee mod

During development, "girlfriend missions" were planned. You could not only stop for coffee at their house, but also have a "mini-game" with them. All you needed to do was tap the keys to build up the excitement. Rockstar disabled this before shipping, but the Dutch gamer Patrick Wildenborg hacked into the PC version and re-enabled it. The mod can be downloaded here.

Said mod, dubbed "Hot Coffee" mod, became the downfall of the PC version. It sparked a huge controversy where politicians from all corners, including Hilary Clinton, starting bashing onto the ESRB.

Rockstar at first blamed the hackers for inserting the minigame into the code, but GameSpot later confirmed that the code for the minigame was already in the PS2 version and could be unlocked using hacking tools like Action Replay Max.

Following an investigation, the ESRB re-rated the game from M to AO, Rockstar stopped manufacturing the game immediately and worked on a new version that allegedly removed all traces of the mini-game.

Following the new AO rating, after the Hot Coffee scandal, several retailers such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Circuit City and even GameStop took the game off their shelves, as part of a policy not to sell Adult-Only software.


The Hunter is AH-64A Apache. The only flaw is the cockpit isn't as big and it holds only one person, instead of two.


  • In the mission titled Wrong Side of the Tracks there are some of the Hispanic gang standing by a billboard before they jump onto the train. The billboard has an advert which says True Grime - Street Cleaners the font is identical to the title of True Crime: Streets of L.A.
  • In the mission Madd Doggs Rhyms you have to sneak around Madd Doggs mansion. When you sneak past one of the gangsters who is playing a computer game he says "Tanner you suck". This is a poke to the main character in the Driver games.
  • In Zero's RC Shop there are action figures for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Manhunt on the shelves as well as other titles by Rockstar.
  • If you choose to steal oil from a gas station as the first mission for Catalina, you'll see, for a brief moment, the words "Max Pane - Bulletproof Windows" on the window, which is a reference to Max Payne series.
  • In Los Santos, head to the cemetery in Vinewood. Go into the crypt. Inside there is a couple of tombs, a TV set and some pizza boxes. This could be a reference to Spike's hideout in the TV series Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.

References to the game

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was parodied in an episode of "Die Redaktion" (The Editorial Team), a monthly comedy video produced by the German gaming magazine GameStar. It was published on the DVD of issue 10/2005.


Ryder is influenced by the late rapper and former N.W.A member Eazy-E, who also founded Ruthless Records. The character design looks just like the rapper's signature look: Jheri Curls, black sunglasses, and the famous "Compton" cap replaced with San Andreas. But he is voiced by MC Ehit of Compton's Most Wanted, who provided the track "Hood took me under" for Radio Los Santos.

Eazy-E died March 26, 1995 at 6:35 PM from AIDS. He made peace between Ice Cube and Dr. Dre right before his death. His prodigy, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, made a song in honor of their mentor. By order of the Mayor of Compton, Eazy-E day is celebrated every year in Compton.


San Andreas eclipsed the sales of every other game in the United Kingdom on its launch weekend and even beat the UK's biggest ever film box office opening weekend, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It also received extensive mainstream media coverage, unlike any other game.

Tie-ins to the predecessors

  • The original Grand Theft Auto included three cities: Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas. Since the first two cities were remade for the PS2 (Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City), it made sense that the third city, San Andreas, would be the third game in the PS2 series. This, of course, held a huge role in the ongoing debate on whether the game would be titled "San Andreas" or "Sin City".
  • This game features numerous characters from the previous games built on the Grand Theft Auto III engine, including (but not limited to): Fido (main character from the first game), Salvatore Leone, Maria, Ken Rosenburg, Kent Paul, Maccer (from Lovefist), Catalina (who shoots Fido at the beginning of GTA3), and more.
  • In the mission "Farewell, My Love", Carl Johnson meets a man before entering a race. He does not say a word. This man is the "Silent Guy" or "Fido", the main character from GTA3.
  • The mission "Saint Mark's Bistro" has CJ travel to Liberty City to deal with the Forellis at the restaurant of the same name. The restaurant exterior is faithfully remodeled from Grand Theft Auto III.
  • A large neon sign of Avery Carrington can be found in downtown Las Venturas, a tribute to the real estate capitalist from GTA: Vice City. Being a real estate mogul, Carrington would have obviously wanted to get a piece of property in booming Las Venturas.

Wil Wheaton

Wil Wheaton got his role as Richard Burns after being interviewed by Lazlow Jones, the primary script writer for the Grand Theft Auto video game series. Wheaton admitted his abundant admiration for Jones' work on the games, and Jones eventually worked out the Richard Burns character specifically for Wheaton. He recorded the voice work in a Rockstar Games studio in about two hours.


  • 4Players
    • 2004 – Console Game of the Year
    • 2004 – Best Console Action Game of the Year
    • 2004 – Best Console Direction of the Year
    • 2004 – Best Console Voice-Acting of the Year
    • 2004 – Best Console Successor of the Year
    • 2005 – Best Licensed Soundtrack of the Year
  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2006 - #8 PC Game of the Year 2005
  • GameSpy
    • 2004 – #3 Game of the Year
    • 2004 – PS2 Game of the Year
    • 2004 – PS2 Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2005 – #3 Xbox Game of the Year
    • 2005 – #4 PC Game of the Year
    • 2005 – PC Action-Adventure of the Year
    • 2005 – Dumbest Controversy of the Year (PC) (for „Hot Coffee“)
    • 2005 – The Maxwell House Award for Hottest Coffee (Xbox)
  • GamePro (Germany)
      February 2004 - Best Console Game in 2004
    • February 2004 - Best Console Action Game in 2004
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 04/2006 - #1 Action Game in 2005 (Readers' Vote)
    • Issue 02/2006 - #2 Best Game in 2005
    • Issue 02/2006 - #2 Action Game in 2005
Information also contributed by B14ck W01f, EboMike, Emepol, festershinetop, Matt Neuteboom, MegaMegaMan, Robb Sciere, tbuteler Tiago Jacques and Unicorn Lynx

Related Web Sites

Sciere (779511) added Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Windows) on Jun 07, 2005
Other platforms contributed by Chris Jeremic (160), Flapco (45714), Kennyannydenny (126799), Sciere (779511), Kabushi (257593), Parf (7782) and Baza (1905)
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