Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas featured image

GTA goes to the sunny streets and gang wars of Los Santos, San Andreas. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a 2004 action-adventure game with driving and urban crime features. It was developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games.

The story in GTA San Andreas follows ex-gangster Carl "CJ" Johnson after his mother is killed. CJ returns home and is lured back into his ex-gangster and life of crime as he clashes with corrupt authorities and powerful criminals.

Plot and location

The game revolves around the protagonist Carl Johnson (aka CJ) returning to his old gang, the Grove Street Families. The story follows CJ’s subsequent rise to power in the area of San Andreas.

The game contains references to many real world elements such as real-life events in early 1990s Los Angeles, including conflicts between real-life street gangs, the crack epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s, the LAPD scandal, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots.


The state of the fictional San Andreas is divided into three cities and five counties: Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas, and five counties: Red, Flint, Whitstone, Tierra Lobada, and Vaughn. San Andreas is by far the largest and most complex arena of all 3D universe games, made up of three fully realized cities. This includes vast landscapes, forests, deserts, hills and even mountains.


The basic story progression and gameplay controls is very similar to the previous two games in the series but with technological improvements.

The core gameplay consists of third-person shooter and driving game elements. GTA San Andreas features open environment in which players can roam, but unlike previous games in the GTA series, the entire map of San Andreas is immediately accessible. On the ground, the player's character can walk, run, sprint, swim, climb, jump, and use weapons and various forms of melee combat.

Players can control a variety of vehicles including cars, boats, planes, helicopters, trains, tanks, motorcycles, and bicycles. Players can also import vehicles instead of the usual theft and carjacking.

When not doing tasks for storyline missions, players are free to roam the cities and rural areas of San Andreas and do stuff. These activities can include eating at restaurants, shopping for customizations, or doing both criminal and heroic actions.

Causing disruption and committing crimes can attract unwanted and potentially deadly attention from authorities. The more confusion is caused, the stronger the reaction, leading to the Wanted status. The level of Wanted status increases the response from authorities. At low to moderate Wanted statuses, police will be deployed. Higher levels of the Wanted status will lead to FBI and even military forces to be called in to arrest the player.

Visuals and other features

To this date, Carl Johnson is Grand Theft Auto's most customizable protagonist and has the most roleplaying elements.

There is a wide variety of clothes, tattoos, hairstyles, and even weight options for the character model. GTA San Andreas is currently the only game that can have the character gain or lose weight, depending on their diet and exercise activities.

These customizations can also have an effect in the game. Depending on CJ’s appearance, he can gain more respect among the NPCs and his own gang. Furthermore, skills can improve through their use in the game. There are three fighting styles CJ can learn for melee: standard boxing, kickboxing, and kung fu.

Later games after the 3D Universe era have eliminated much of the customization, swimming, and climbing abilities that were featured in San Andreas.

Release Date

Oct 26, 2004

Metacritic Score



Achievements Count


Play Time

30.5 hours

Games in Series



Adults Only 18+: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs

System Requirements


  • CPU: 1Ghz Pentium III or AMD Athlon Processor
  • GPU: 64 MB DirectX 8.1 compatible video card (NVIDIA GeForce 3 or better)
  • RAM: 256 MB
  • HDD: 3.6 GB


  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon XP Processor
  • GPU: 128 MB DirectX 9.0c compliant video card (NVIDIA GeForce 6 series)
  • RAM: 384 MB (the more the better!)
  • HDD: 4.7 GB


Interesting Facts

  • San Andreas is 6 by 6 kilometers, or 36 million square meters, in size.
  • For the first time in the series, players can swim and climb walls.
  • GTA San Andreas contains numerous references to the popular 90’s Hood movie Boyz n’ The Hood, including characters and their appearances, dialogue, and certain events.
  • A street sign reading Grove Street / Glen Park can be seen in the top right frame of the game cover of GTA San Andreas. But in the actual game, the two streets are in different parts of the city.
  • Despite the sunny atmosphere, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas partly takes place in the winter. This is a nod to San Andreas being based on California and its year-round climate conditions.
  • The “Hot Coffee” controversy (where CJ can have sex in the game) made this the only game in the GTA series to have an AO (Adults Only) rating.
  • The sound effect when Wasted after falling from a high place was reused from the first Grand Theft Auto plus its expansions and Grand Theft Auto 2.
  • Jimmy Hopkins, the protagonist of another open world Rockstar Games title, Bully, was born around the time GTA San Andreas takes place.
  • While Rockstar Games published the base retail version, 1C-SoftClub handled the Russian market while Capcom held the publishing rights for the Japanese market for their respective localizations of the game.

Mod Support


Cheats support


LGBTQ Inclusive


Third/First Person

Third person

Game Engine


Protagonist sex


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