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San Andreas is shocking, not necessarily because of its typically contentious subject matter (though there's plenty in it to rub those of a conservative disposition the wrong way) but because of the sheer scale of the experience... Is it really the best game ever made? Quite possibly, yes.
— John Davison,

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a Rockstar North-developed video game released on 26th October 2004 by Rockstar Games, and is the seventh title in the Grand Theft Auto series and the third game in the 3D Universe of the series. It is the sequel to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and the prequel to Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto III. It was released on the same date as Grand Theft Auto Advance. GTA San Andreas is set in the fictional state of San Andreas.

By far the largest and most complex playing field of any 3D Universe game, San Andreas consists of three fully-realized cities: Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas, and includes vast expanses of countryside, forests, a desert, and even a mountain and many hills. The game is centered around the return of Carl Johnson (also known as CJ) to his gang (the Grove Street Families), and their subsequent return to power.

On November 11, 2021, the game was re-released on 8th and 9th generation consoles for in honor of Grand Theft Auto III's 20-year anniversary under the title Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - The Definitive Edition, included in the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition bundle.


Five years ago Carl Johnson escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos, San Andreas... a city tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Where film stars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gang-bangers. Now, it's the early 90s. Carl's got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster. On his return to the neighborhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take back control of the streets.
— The Rockstar Games Website

Voice Cast

Gameplay and Information

The protagonist of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Carl "CJ" Johnson.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is similarly structured to the previous two games in the series. The core gameplay consists of elements of third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large, open environment in which to move around. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, running, swimming (the first Grand Theft Auto game in which diving and swimming without drowning is possible), limited climbing, and jumping, as well as using weapons and various forms of hand to hand combat. Players can operate a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, airplanes, helicopters, trains, tanks, motorcycles, and bicycles. Players may also import vehicles rather than steal them.

Carl Johnson is Grand Theft Auto's most customizable protagonist due to the possibility in-game to change his clothes, tattoos, hairstyle, and even his body mass in which he can be fat, skinny, or muscular. Later 3D-era games eliminated many of the customization, swimming, and climbing abilities enjoyed by CJ. The ability to change body mass (due to eating and exercise - or lack thereof - which requires ongoing maintenance until a certain collectables challenge is completed) is as of 2017 unique to San Andreas as it has not been attempted again with any further 3D or HD-universe games.

One aspect of Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (and the later Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories) that is eliminated in San Andreas is the "Welcome to" loading screens, which often disrupted game flow in those games; in San Andreas, transition between areas occurs with no such interruption.

Game Information

Grand Theft Auto series
chronology of events

2D Universe

1961London 1961
1969London 1969

3D Universe

1984Vice City Stories
1986Vice City
1992San Andreas

2D Universe

1997Grand Theft Auto

3D Universe

1998Liberty City Stories

2D Universe

1999Grand Theft Auto 2 (Possible)

3D Universe

2001Grand Theft Auto III

HD Universe

2008Grand Theft Auto IV
         – The Lost and Damned
         – The Ballad of Gay Tony
2009Chinatown Wars

2D Universe

2013Grand Theft Auto 2 (Possible)

HD Universe

2013–presentGrand Theft Auto Online
2013Grand Theft Auto V

  • Assets — Places where the player can periodically go to collect a predetermined amount of money.
  • Businesses — There are many different types of businesses featured.
  • Carl "CJ" Johnson — The protagonist of the game.
  • Cheats — Cheat codes are available for the PS2/3, Xbox,Xbox 360 and PC versions.
  • Collectibles — Information about types of items that can be collected.
  • Criminal ratings — A list of the different criminal ratings in San Andreas and how many points that is needed to reach them.
  • Gameplay Features — Gameplay mechanics and features in San Andreas.
  • Gang Warfare — Gang Warfare is a tactical section of gameplay which involves taking over enemy gang territories.
  • Girlfriends — Information on all six girlfriends in San Andreas.
  • Main Story Missions — Walkthroughs for all of the main story missions.
  • People — The people who make the gameworld immersive.
  • Plot — The whole plot that makes the gameworld story understandable.
  • Radio Stations — The radio stations heard in-game.
  • Restaurants — See the food-chains in San Andreas.
  • Restricted Areas — Restricted areas such as Area 69 and The Easter Basin Naval Base.
  • Safehouses — All of the accessible safehouses and how to obtain them.
  • Places — Many different locations are within San Andreas, which one might want to visit them all.
  • Schools — Information about the types of schooling offered, such as the Pilot School.
  • Statistics — Different statistics used to track the progress of the game.
  • Vehicle Missions — Missions available to specific vehicles.
  • Vehicles — A list of the numerous vehicles found in the game
  • Weapons — A list of the various weapons found in the game.
  • Achievements and Trophies -- A list of achievements and trophies found in the PS3, Xbox 360, PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game.

Gangs in San Andreas

Rockstar North conducted massive amounts of research before developing the gangs of San Andreas; this primarily involved talking to DJ Pooh, Mister Cartoon, Estevan Oriol, and hundreds of other well-known faces.

Gangs play a much larger role in San Andreas than they did in Vice City.

  • The number of gangs has increased. As well as having the large, dominating gangs, there are smaller, more local gangs.
  • Generally, gangs cause a bit more trouble than they did in previous titles — toppling cars, crowding streets, and using various new methods of attack. In some areas of the map, the player is welcome, and in others, the player is not.
  • GTA San Andreas gives the ability to "take over" areas of the map, and recruit new members into gangs to help and defend as "bodyguards".

Gang members are recognized by their clothing, tattoos, and hand signs. These are useful for two reasons: it allows police to identify a gang set or victim, and it allows gang members to interact with one another. Each gang has its own territory, indicated by street warnings, wall graffiti, or simply violence. In Los Santos, two of the four gangs are split up into different "sets". While not all sets get along, at least there's always plenty of backup available.

Gang Wars & Territory

Winning territory involves gang wars, so this has to be done carefully. Enter the area that is eagered to control, and kill every opposing member in sight. Killing three members on foot will provoke a gang war, and the area under attack will flash red on the radar. The opposing gang will attack in three waves to defend their turf. Keep a close eye on the radar and watch where the attackers come from. They may attack unexpectedly or in large numbers, so make sure to get plenty of health and armor before starting the war. If possible, shoot from a long distance or from the rooftops.

Survive the three waves and the area is taken over. The area is now highlighted green on the map, indicating the gang has gained possession over it. Similarly, other gangs may try and take back the territory; it's up to you to defend it.

Gang wars and territory are introduced during the mission "Doberman". After the mission "The Green Sabre", CJ no longer has the ability to win new territory, or defend his own. This feature returns during the mission "Home Coming", in the Final Missions strand.

By default, gang territories to take over are only available for player in Los Santos. By performing the Territory Glitch, player can unlock additional territories to take over.

Recruit Others

CJ can recruit other members of his gang. The number of gang members he can recruit is based on CJ's respect level, with the game-wide maximum number being seven. There's also a limited number of seats in a vehicle. A typical car can carry two to four people, whereas a coach or bus can hold all seven members.

While homies are recruited, the player can get them to follow or stay put. CJ's homies will return fire to those who attack him, and shoot at rival gang members and cops. They will also participate in drive-by shootings, just like Sweet, Smoke, and Ryder demonstrate in the mission "Drive-By". Homies aren't very reliable, but they can draw fire away from CJ. CJ can also take a picture of himself with his homies. Aiming a camera at them will make them flash their gang signs.


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas―just like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City―is heavily based on many crime-drama movies in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The game's soundtrack, which features, amongst others, gangsta rap, alternative/grunge/metal and new jack swing, was also taken from that same era.

The biggest counterpart of GTA San Andreas is the 1993 hood film Menace II Society. Many aspects were taken from this movie such as Los Santos being based on Los Angeles during the movie, plus Grove Street itself is a reference to the film. Also some of the lines in the game were taken from the movie. Furthermore the green Sabre drive by shooting, the trigger of the game's storyline, is inspired by the final scene of the movie. One of your gang members with the green flannel shirt and the braids resembles O-Dog played by Larenz Tate, one of the main characters from the film. Also, the Balla wearing the beanie and shades resembles Harold's killer/carjacker who was later killed by O-Dog and Caine in a revenge killing in the film. MC Eiht who is one of the main characters in that movie provides the voice for Ryder and a couple of his songs are in the game. Clifton Powell who was also in the film provides his voice for Big Smoke.

Another film that greatly influenced Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was the 1988 film Colors. The C.R.A.S.H. unit of the LAPD deals with Bloods, Crips, and Hispanic gangs at war, which much of the Los Santos storyline is based upon. Many of the missions in the game are influenced by scenes from the film. Officer Eddie Pulaski, played by the late Chris Penn, is based on Officer Danny "Pac Man" McGavin, which is played by his brother Sean Penn in the movie.

New Jack City is another film that influenced Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, particularly the San Fierro chapter. CJ befriends and works for Jizzy B to infiltrate and bring down the Loco Syndicate, just like Scotty Appleton (Ice-T) did to Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) and the Cash Money Brothers in the film. Jizzy B. is loosely based on Nino Brown, and CJ can be made look similar to Nino Brown (if CJ buys the clothes from Victim), and Big Smoke's Crack Palace closely resembles the Carter Apartment Buildings in the film.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is also inspired by real-life events that occurred in the game's real-world counterpart Los Angeles in the 1990s such as the Los Angeles riots, Rampart scandal, and Crack epidemic.

Other influences on San Andreas are:

  • Boyz n the Hood ― Most of the gameplay are elements from this film. Some characters in the game are visually and/or mentally based on characters from the film, as well as some events that take place.
  • Casino ― The Las Venturas portion of the game is based on this movie.
  • Con Air - There are at least two scenes in the game that are quite the same to what can be seen in this movie (when two cops with motorbikes drop their donuts on the street and, at the end of the game, when we are chasing the firefighting vehicle). And finally, the Aircraft Graveyard is similar to the one in the film as well.
  • Easy Rider ― The Truth (who was also voiced by Peter Fonda) is a parody of his character in this film.
  • Pulp Fiction ― As the character Vincent Vega call his friend Lance, Lance realizes that Vincent is on his cellphone about how he has a girl in his car who is flat-lining fast, and Lance hangs up knowing how the cops might be listening on them repeating the line: "I don't know you, wrong number, prank caller, prank caller!" This line was said in the game when The Truth calls Carl about the drugs Tenpenny needs Carl to get before saying the line.
  • To Live and Die in L.A. ― One of the car chases in the game is similar to the car chase in this movie.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day ― A couple of the early car chases bear similarities to the ones in the film.
  • Training Day ― Officer Tenpenny is a parody of Denzel Washington's character.


Although it is not explicitly stated when in 1992 the game takes place, it can be inferred to be around early to mid-spring, most likely April. Sunlight lasts around 13 hours, which in real-life California corresponds to around mid-April or late August. However, when Carl travels to Liberty City during Saint Mark's Bistro, the city is covered by snow, which in real-life New York is not possible in August but can occur occasionally during April. A timeframe of April is consistent with pedestrians' clothing in San Andreas - they generally do not wear heavy winter clothing but some can be seen with long-sleeves and trousers, implying that it is neither cold nor hot. It is also not uncommon to see pedestrians at beaches.


Prior to its release for the PlayStation 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was one of the most highly anticipated video games of 2004, along with Halo 2, Doom 3 and Half Life 2. San Andreas met most of these expectations, as it was praised as one of the PlayStation 2's best games, with an average review score on 95%, according to Metacritic, tying for the fifth highest ranked game in PlayStation 2 history. IGN rated the game a 9.9/10 (the highest score it has ever awarded to a PlayStation 2 game), calling it "the defining piece of software" for the PlayStation 2. GameSpot rated the game 9.6/10, giving it an Editor's Choice award. San Andreas also received an A rating from the network and a 10/10 score from Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. As of March 26, 2008, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has sold 27.5 million units according to Take-Two Interactive. The Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer's Edition list it as the most successful game on the PlayStation 2, with 17.33 million copies sold for that console alone, from a total of 21.5 million in all formats. The New York Times' Charles Herold gave the only non-positive review for San Andreas, giving it a 'mediocre' rating of 4.0 out of 10, criticizing the "annoying" mission structure, and the casualness of the intense violence featured in the game.


  • PS2 - 17.4 million
  • PC - 2.3 million
  • Xbox - 5.9 million


Date Award Category Recipient(s) and Nominee(s) Result
14 December 2004 Spike Video Game Awards Game of the Year Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Won
14 December 2004 Spike Video Game Awards Best Action Game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Won
14 December 2004 Spike Video Game Awards Best Soundtrack Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Won
14 December 2004 Spike Video Game Awards Best Performance by a Human Male Samuel L. Jackson Won
14 December 2004 Spike Video Game Awards Designer of the Year Sam Houser and Rockstar North Nominated
1 February 2005 Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Outstanding Achievement in Soundtrack Rockstar North Won
1 February 2005 Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Action/Adventure Game of the Year Rockstar North Won
1 February 2005 Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Game of the Year Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Nominated
1 February 2005 Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Nominated
1 February 2005 Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Outstanding Achievement in Game Design Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Nominated
12 February 2005 BAFTA Awards Best PS2 Game Award Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Nominated
12 February 2005 BAFTA Awards Best Animation Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Nominated
12 February 2005 BAFTA Awards Best Action and Adventure Game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Nominated
12 February 2005 BAFTA Awards Best Game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Nominated
12 February 2005 BAFTA Awards Sunday Times Reader Award for Games Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Nominated
9 March 2005 Game Developers Choice Awards Best Game Leslie Benzies
Adam Fowler
Aaron Garbut
Sam Houser
Alexander Roger
Obbe Vermeij
9 March 2005 Game Developers Choice Awards Best Writing Dan Houser
James Worrall
14 August 2005 Teen Choice Awards Choice Video Game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Won
17 December 2005 10th Satellite Awards Outstanding Action/Adventure Game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Nominated


The Definitive Edition

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - The Definitive Edition.

The Definitive Edition was announced by Rockstar on October 8th, 2021, as part of the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition pack. The edition was released on November 11, 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC; and will be released in 2022 for Apple iOS and Android.

The edition features across-the-board upgrades including graphical improvements and modern gameplay enhancements, while still maintaining the classic look and feel of its original version.


The game has received widespread acclaim for its technical achievements and free gameplay. However, it also received widespread criticism―initially due to its "gangster" elements, which include drugs, prostitution, and murder; but later due to the discovery of disabled interactive sex scenes, nicknamed Hot Coffee, which could be re-enabled using third-party mods. This led to the re-rating by the ESRB of the game from Mature to Adults-Only until a second version, with the sex scenes fully removed (and removed the ability to mod the PC version), was released.



The Definitive Edition
Original Versions


See more, Artworks in GTA San Andreas


Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition Trailer


  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas partly takes place in the winter, as seen in Saint Mark's Bistro.
  • BradyGames published the Official Strategy Guide for the game; however, the book contains many errors and appears to be based upon a pre-release version of the game. For example, locations of many pickups and "hidden package"-style items shown on the maps differ to where they really are in the game. Also there are additional pickups for Adrenaline shown, even though the item is not available in the final game. Some mission walkthroughs also refer to gameplay elements not evidently available in the final game (such as evading the police during the Madd Dogg's Rhymes mission), and in a few cases, some activities are stated as being unlocked by certain missions despite being available earlier in the game (such as the dancing minigame).
  • In the 2006 film The Break-Up, some of the film scenes show the main character of the film, Gary Grobowski, playing GTA San Andreas on PS2.
  • Rockstar Games denied claims made by 50 Cent about him being asked to voice Carl, but turned it down because if he was ever to voice a character in a video game it would be as himself.
  • A special edition of the game was released for Xbox 360 (as a download) on October 26, 2014, to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The version is largely similar to that of the mobile version, sharing the same HUD designs. The same version was not released for any other systems until December 1, 2015, where it has been released for PS3 without any announcement.
  • Because of the Hot Coffee controversy, this became the only game in the series to have an AO (Adults Only) rating.
  • GTA San Andreas can be found in GTA IV, in certain characters' homes as an Easter Egg, usually close to a television set in box form.[citation/verification needed]
  • The "splat" sound effect when Wasted from a high fall was re-used from the first Grand Theft Auto (and its expansions) and Grand Theft Auto 2.

Further Reading

Official Site

External Links