First Look: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

[UPDATE] Rockstar releases the first shots of and information about its West Coast crime epic.

Late today, Rockstar gave many PlayStation 2 owners what they've been waiting for--their first glimpse of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

A trio of images on the official San Andreas Web site seemed to confirm what many who have been following the game suspected. It will be set in modern times (not in the 1970s, as some had said) and will have a heavy West Coast gangsta flava.

The first image could be taken from any one of the many late 1980s/early 1990s gangsta films, such as Menace II Society or Colors. It depicts a quartet of cornrowed, Uzi-toting OGs performing a drive-by shooting from a car from the same period.

Shot number two shows a young hood, also with an Uzi, squatting in front of a tricked-out old-school convertible, often called a "hooptie" or a "hoo-ride." He is wearing what looks like a Carhartt jacket and Timberland boots--the de facto gangsta uniform circa 1994.

The last shot shows the same character riding a bicycle down a neighborhood street straight out of Compton, with single-level homes set against a smog-colored sky. No information was released on whether bicycles can be ridden in the game.

The Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas site also has a new splash page, which changes each time the site is loaded. One shows a blond woman bending over to show the tattoos on her décolletage. Another features a baseball-cap-wearing gangsta sporting what could be called "mad bling." A third shows a scantily clad Latina in a bandana halter top, and a fourth shows a snarling thug with tattoo sleeves and a shaven head.

[UPDATE] Early this morning, Rockstar released the first plot summary of GTA: SA, which confirmed its early 1990s millieu. Here it is verbatim:

"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 filmstars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gangbangers.

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 control of the streets."

All the information released by Rockstar indicates that the controversial Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has not lost the rough-and-ready nature of its predecessors. GameSpot will have more details on this highly anticipated title--which is due in Q4 2004--as they become available.

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