Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Walkthrough

Don't trip if you've been getting busted up by the Ballas. Peep this guide to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for everything you need to get through the 'hoods of Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas.

By Matthew Rorie
Design by Collin Oguro

Carl Johnson’s back on the set after five years in Liberty City, returning to his old haunts in San Andreas to mourn for his mother, dead after an act of senseless violence. An already unpleasant homecoming gets worse, though, as crooked cops set him up for the murder of a policeman, he discovers that his neighborhood is falling apart under an influx of drugs, and that his old gang is barely capable of holding their territory. Needless to say, the solution to all of these problems involves a whole lot of violence, as befits the latest and greatest entry in the extraordinarily popular GTA series of games.

Given that Rockstar created a massive game world in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, with only a year’s worth of development time between that game and Grand Theft Auto III, it should come as no surprise that the world of GTA: San Andreas, with two years of development soaked into it, is one of the biggest worlds ever modeled in an action game. Instead of focus on a mere state, Rockstar has enlarged their focus, this time choosing to model an entire state, with three separate cities and a huge amount of countryside to explore. Everything is bigger and better in San Andreas, so get exploring!

In this guide, we’ll provide you with a rundown of the game’s weapons, a complete walk-through of the game’s many missions, locations for all of the hidden oysters, photo ops, graffiti tags, a listing of weapons, and the proverbial much, much more. Big thanks to the guys from gta-junkies.com for supplying the location maps for this guide.

Table of Contents

Getting Around
Staying Alive
Walk-through
Los Santos
Los Santos Backcountry
San Fierro
Las Venturas Countryside
Las Venturas
Back to the Hood
Extras

Getting Around

There are many, many different ways to get around the world of San Andreas. This chapter will introduce you to the most popular ones, but there are still others in the game world for you to discover, such as trains, SWAT tanks, and a certain 60-million dollar military secret project. Anything not listed here will likely pop up as a mission reward, so it’s unlikely that you’ll miss anything.

On Foot

Nothing’s quite as reliable as your feet when you need to escape from a sticky situation. Although GTA characters have always ran like big spazzes, CJ has a few improvements over his predecessors. For one, you can now increase his stamina by leaps and bounds at the gym, allowing him to run much longer than could Nameless Guy or Tommy Vercetti. Secondly, you can now scale boxes and ledges by hitting the square button to jump. If you’re near a ledge, you should attach to it automatically, and can press the square button again to pull yourself up.

Car

Cars are going to be your primary mode of transportation in San Andreas. They’re plentiful, easy to steal, and come in a wide variety of makes and models. Although you’ll begin the game in the hood, where most of the vehicles are slow-moving coupes and the like, you’ll soon graduate to more stylish and speedy autos.

Obtaining One
The triangle button, as ever, will let you jack a car for yourself. Very few cars are actually locked (probably because the game wouldn’t be very much fun if they were), so feel free to walk up to parked cars and take them as you like. If the car’s empty, you won’t have any problems, but if there’s someone in the driver’s seat, CJ will have to hit them before throwing them out, which results in a jacking motion that’s a bit slower than in previous GTA games. You can also usually cause someone to exit the vehicle by hitting it with a weapon, but they’ll sometimes decide to floor it instead.

Police vehicles are usually quite hardy and resilient, so grab one if you think you’re going to get banged around a lot.

Note that jacking vehicles will cause a bit of resentment in some of the game’s inhabitants. If you jack a gangbanger, you’re liable to get shot at as you drive away; by the same token, some drivers will attempt to jack you right back if you stick around their location too long. There are also some occasions where you’ll just get jacked out of the blue, usually while you’re in a bad part of town, so keep an eye out for people running to your driver’s side door and floor it if you spot anyone. Of course, the cops will attempt to wrestle you out of your vehicle if you have any wanted stars, so you should keep moving if there’s any heat on you.

Driving One
The basic car controls are the same as they were in previous GTA games for the PS2: the X button accelerates, the square button acts as a break, and the R1 button serves as your handbrake for tight, squealy, uncontrollable (but fun) 180-degree turns. Of course, different vehicles will handle in different ways, so try as many of them as possible and build an internal reference so that you’ll know which ones to avoid when you have to get away from the cops.

Although the cops don’t seem to use spike strips in San Andreas, as they so annoyingly did in Vice City, you can still get your tires shot out by the police, or anyone else that’s shooting at you, for that matter. Some vehicles are more impacted by this than others, but it’ll always impact your maneuverability; visit the Pay N Spray if you want to repair the tire.

The freeways are the place to go for high-speed vehicular travel. The cars have a tendency to pile up if something blocks them, though, which can lead to quite a mess.

A new addition to the cars in San Andreas is the inclusion of shootable gas tanks. If you can nail a shot directly on a car’s gas panel, it should blow instantaneously. Since this is nearly impossible to do on a moving target (let alone during a drive-by), this is really more of a party trick than anything else. Try it on cars that are stopped at stoplights if you want to have some fun. Luckily, your enemies will never hit your gas tank if they fire at you, random mission-failing explosions not being conducive to fun gaming.

  • Many missions, especially those where you have to drive other characters around, will be failed if you can’t keep the car you started the mission with in one piece. You’ll have to drive carefully in these kinds of situations, or keep an eye out for the Pay N Spray, which will completely restore your car’s health.
  • Although each car has its own particular speed and handling characteristics, in general, the faster and more expensive it looks, the faster it’ll go, but the fastest cars often have the lowest health and poor handling.
  • Similarly, the taller a car is, the more likely it is to tip over when you have to make a sharp turn. Beware of going too fast or turning too quickly with the delivery trucks in the game.
  • Don’t forget that you can take your cars to the chop shop to outfit them with custom upgrades. Nitro is the most useful of the bunch, especially when you’re cruising for unique jumps, but there are plenty of options to choose from.

Techniques

Bailing Out: If you’re going fast and need to exit your vehicle quickly, just hit the triangle button to bail; CJ will jump out the passenger side door and take a bit of damage, but your car will keep on moving. This is most useful when your car is on fire and you don’t think you’ll have time to stop before it blows.

Drive-By: After you obtain a machine pistol, such as an Uzi, you’ll be able to use a car to perform a drive-by. When you’re near a target, drive slowly past it and hit the R2 or L2 button to point your gun out the window, then use the circle button to fire. Drive-bys are the preferred method to take out individual soldiers, since any gunfire that comes in will be absorbed by the car itself and not CJ.

Rear-view: If you hold down the R2 and L2 buttons at the same time, you’ll be able to see what’s coming up behind your car. This is tremendously useful during police chases, since the cops will often try to ram into your car from the side; if you can see them coming, you should be able to cut them off or just avoid them.

Bike

The newest addition to the GTA family of transportation is the bicycle. Ok, ok, try not to laugh - you won’t often be jumping out of a car to pick up a bike, but a few missions will require you to use them, so you might as well learn how they work.

Obtaining One
You can get a bike in much the same way as you can a motorcycle, but getting a bike is even easier, due to the fact that they’re much slower than motorcycles. In most cases, people will ride slowly enough for you to pop them in the head with your pistol as they ride by, although you can, of course, just hit the triangle button to throw them off the ride and take it for yourself; either way, you’ll have a shiny new bike for yourself.

Driving One

If you want to upgrade a driving skill, all you have to do is use a vehicle often.

If you’re familiar with the motorcycle mechanics of Vice City, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the bikes. The one new inclusion is that you can tap X repeatedly to go faster, just like when you sprint; as with sprinting, though, you can’t do this forever, since you’ll eventually get tired out. As with motorcycles, it’s fairly easy to get thrown off a bike, especially if you hit something head-on, or get twisted around in mid-air and land awkwardly. You’ll also have a lower speed than most other vehicles while you’re on a bike, and will be completely open to enemy gunfire.

Techniques

Bunny Hop: Bikes are unique, in that they’re the only vehicle in which you can make jumps while riding over a flat surface. Anything can hit a ramp for monster air, but only a bike can hop over small obstacles in your path. Remember, though, if you drop too far, you’ll get thrown off the bike. To hop, hold L1 and release it when you’re near whatever you want to clear.

Motorcycle

Obtaining One
Motorcycles are a bit trickier to obtain than cars, if only because the people who ride them tend to make smaller targets and will often weave their way around you if you attempt to block their path with your body. It’s usually easier to jack them while they’re stopped at a light, or to just shoot them off of the bike, then take it for yourself. It’s quickest to jack a bike from the front, where CJ will execute a swift little kick to the driver and take off with tires squealing.

Driving One
Driving a motorbike is much unlike a car, mostly in the way that they handle. While there are a number of different types of motorcycles, including choppers and highway cruisers, the ones you’re going to be looking out for are the sport bikes and dirtbikes. While they will leave you exposed to fire while you ride, bikes give you a benefit of high maneuverability, good acceleration, and relative durability.

When you have to hit a jump in a difficult-to-reach location, you’ll probably need to fall back to a bike.

  • In order to turn on the sportbikes, you’ll need to rely on your handbrake (the R1 button). Pressing the normal brake button will prevent you from making sharp turns, which is one of the reasons that you’re riding one, isn’t it?
  • Be careful to avoid collisions while on a bike, as any shock too severe will send you flying over the handlebars. You take less damage from these impacts than you did in Vice City, though, so if you’re just running around a city, don’t be too cautious.
  • One of the advantages of motorcycles is that they can accelerate very quickly compared to most cars. You can use this to make some of the unique jumps that have a short run-up space.

Techniques

Stoppie: While on a bike, press forward to shift your weight in that direction, then hit the brake (normal, not handbrake). If you’re on a crotch rocket, you should see your rear wheel lift up into the air for a few minutes. The longer you keep it off the ground, the more money you’ll get when it touches down; this is a good way to make small amounts of cash early in the game.

Wheelie: This is essentially the same thing as a stoppie, save that you’re lifting your front wheel, and you have to keep it up while tapping on the gas. It’s much more difficult to do than a stoppie; just make sure you don’t tip too far backwards, or you’ll fall off.

Drive-By: The main difference between car drive-bys and bike drive-bys is the way that you can shoot forward with your SMG. This can be a big help if you’re using a police bike to do Vigilante missions; just follow behind your target and unload on it until it catches alight.

Boat

Obtaining One
Boats, obviously enough, are stationed in the waterways of San Andreas; most of the docks in the game will have a boat or two somewhere nearby. All you need to do to get one is climb aboard and press the triangle button. If you’re attempting to board a boat while swimming, use the square button to climb out of the water. Note that boats don’t play nearly as big a role in San Andreas as they did in Vice City; planes are where the real action’s at now.

Driving One
Not much to it here; just hit forward and try to avoid really sharp turns, which will send the boat spinning. Rather, use small adjustments to your steering to keep yourself oriented where you want to go.

Techniques

Drive-By: As with cars, you can perform drive-bys (float-bys?) in a boat with the R1 and L1 buttons.

Planes and Helicopters

Obtaining One
San Andreas is the first entry in the GTA series where you can truly take to the air. Although GTAIII had its Dodo, and Vice City had the Sparrow, these were difficult to control and had limited uses. With the sprawling size of the game world, though, the designers of San Andreas have seen fit to give players a quick way to get between cities.

You won’t be able to get a plane right away, though; in fact, you won’t be able to fly until you complete a set of flying tests before you reach the third city in the game. After you get your pilot’s license, though, the airports in each city will unlock their gates, letting you roam in and find a vehicle to your liking.

You don’t need the jetliner for many missions, but it can still be fun to crash in the middle of downtown Los Santos.

There are numerous different planes and helicopters in San Andreas. You won’t use helicopters as often as you will planes, though, and there are usually a few different kinds of the latter at any of the airports in the game. For our money, your best bet for transportation is the Shamal jet, which is extremely fast and very easy to control. There’s also a jetliner available at the Las Venturas airport, for the pilot who likes his planes big and massive; it’s in a large, enclosed hangar in the southeastern corner of the airstrip. It doesn’t always appear when you open the hangar doors, but if it’s not there when you arrive, let the doors close and try again. There are also a few more flying machines that you’ll come across as you complete the later missions in the game, but we won’t spoil the surprise by listing them here.

Driving One
Planes and helicopters have vastly dissimilar flight controls, but, luckily for you, there’s a lengthy tutorial you’ll have to pass before you can actually gain access to the beasts of the sky. For planes, all you need to know is that X speeds you up, Square slows you down, and clicking R3 will retract or extend your landing gear. Helicopters are a bit more difficult to control, and will require you to use the R2 and L2 keys to rotate them while they fly.

Try not to release your chute too high up, or you’ll fall for a minute or two before you hit the ground.

Techniques

Parachute: If you exit from a plane while in flight, you'll be able to parachute by holding the O button. You don't need to have a parachute in your inventory; one will automatically be given to you when you leave the vehicle. You do, however, need to be fairly high in the air, or you'll hit the ground before the chute opens, with predictable results. While chuting, you can steer yourself somewhat by moving the left analog stick, and you can pull your feet up in preparation for landing by pulling back on the right stick.

Staying Alive (And Healthy) In San Andreas

Whether you enjoy playing the game’s many missions, or prefer to just run around the game world causing chaos, you’ll need to ensure that CJ stays safe and relatively healthy. This chapter is intended to give you a bit of a primer on what to expect and how to prepare for the bad, bad world of San Andreas.

Shooting Basics

In order to be effective in combat, you’ll need to learn to use both of the shooting modes; you can flip between automatic and manual as you need to.

Different weapons will automatically lock-on at different ranges. The M4 has one of the longest lock-on ranges, which helps in long-range fighting.

Of the two, the automatic mode will be the one you use most often. If an enemy is within range of your chosen weapon, pressing R1 will automatically target them, while the R2 and L2 buttons will cycle between targets. While you’re locked on, you can hit either the O button or L1 to fire your weapon. In most fights against multiple enemies, your lock-on will be the easiest way to get targetted; simply hit R1 to get an enemy, fire until he dies (the targeting cursor will go black when this occur), then release the R1 button and hit it again to get another target. Note that you have to be facing your enemy to lock onto them; if they’re off to your side or behind you, you’ll just wind up manually aiming your weapon at a wall, or locking on to some civilian.

The manual method of firing takes some getting used to, and has more circumscribed applications, but can still be handy in tight quarters. When you hold R1 to enter manual firing mode, you can use the right and left analog sticks to move CJ and aim, and use the L1 button to fire away. The aiming here is a bit too sensitive to easily line up your reticule with enemies beyond close range, and you won’t automatically lock onto enemies unless you release the R1 button and hit it again. Still, when you have a weapon that puts a lot of metal in the air, like an M4 or AK47, you can sometimes mow down multiple enemies that are close to each other more easily with manual aiming than with automatic firing. Manual aiming will also let you hit enemies that are outside of lock-on range.

Some weapons can only be used in manual aiming mode, such as the sniper rifle, the minigun, and the rocket launcher.

Weapons

There are many dozens of weapons in San Andreas. You can find most of these at the various Ammu-Nation stores in each city, but they’re expensive, and you’ll have to progress through the game’s missions before each will become unlocked. You can also obtain weapons from slain enemies, or find them in hidden pick-up spots around the game world.

Melee

There are a huge number of melee weapons in the game, from golf clubs to canes to swords. The most useful will usually be the knife, with which you can get stealth kills, and the katana, which will let you get decapitations and won’t prevent you from using your normal hand-to-hand fighting techniques.

Pistols

9mm: When you absolutely have to buck down fools, there’s nothing quite like a good 9mm handgun at your side. Cops drop these when they die, so if you’re looking for a plentiful supply of ammo, find an exterior save spot, get a few stars, then kill all the cops that come to hunt you. Save before you die, and you should have a lot more ammo than when you started. You can dual-wield nine’s when you hit the Hitman level of skill.

Silenced 9mm: You can’t dual-wield a silenced pistol, but they do come in somewhat handy when you have to keep quiet. They’re also just plain cool.

Desert Eagle: Again, no dual-wielding here, and the rate of fire is drastically lower than a 9mm, but the Desert Eagle packs a lot of stopping power; even if your initial shot doesn’t kill your target, it will usually knock them down, letting you get in the killing blow before they get up. The low ROF and small clip makes the Desert Eagle a poor choice for dealing with multiple targets.

SMGs

Tec9: The Tec9 is the weapon of the streets, and will be what most gangbangers drop when you instigate a gang war. It has a slow rate of fire and poor accuracy, so as soon as you can upgrade to a MicroSMG, do so. You can dual-wield a Tec9 if you max out your weapon skill.

MicroSMG: The MicroSMG is an improvement over the Tec9, both in terms of ROF and accuracy. You can dual-wield these as well, or use one MicroSMG and one Tec9.

At short range, there’s nothing like an SMG for quick killing.

SMG: The "real" SMG is similar to the MP5 of Vice City, and isn’t capable of dual-wielding, but will usually outclass the other SMGs in firing distance, and has superb accuracy, making it a great all-around weapon in any situation. The only weakness here is the small magazine; you’ll plow through the 30 rounds pretty quick, so get used to hitting R2 and L2 to reload it without having to wait for the animation.

Shotguns

Shotgun: If you have to take someone down at extremely close range, a shotgun is a good choice for you. Considering how rarely you engage people at point-blank, though, you probably won’t find yourself using this one too often.

Sawn-Off Shotgun: Slightly larger spread than a Shotgun, if you consider that a good thing, but can only fire two shells before needing to reload. You can dual-wield this if you max your weapon skill.

Combat Shotgun: Essentially the same as a Shotgun, but with a much more rapid rate of fire.

Rifles

Rifle: If you have access to a sniper rifle or the M4, there’s really no reason to use a generic rifle, as it doesn’t possess a scope, and its range, while nice, doesn’t quite outweigh its poor rate of fire.

Sniper Rifle: This is really all you need from the rifle class. Although you won’t have much need of a sniper rifle in the game’s missions, it can still be fun to get up atop a building and snipe away at pedestrians or cops on the street below.

Assault Weapons

AK47: The world’s most popular weapon, the AK47 will be found in the hands of numerous bangers in your hood. After you unlock the gang war mechanic early in the game, you can instigate wars on enemy turf to find numerous AK’s, so stock up on ammo.

In a pinch, an M4 can even be used to take down a helicopter, but it’s best used against humans and cars.

M4: You won’t get your M4 until later in the game, but once it’s buyable at the Ammu-Nation, you won’t ever use an AK again. It improves upon the AK in rate of fire, accuracy, magazine size, etc. This and the SMG will be the mainstays of your arsenal, with the M4 being a bit better at taking out foes at long range.

The Big Guns

Heavy weapons such as these aren't available at the Ammu-Nation, not even late in the game; you'll need to find pickups for them, or wait until you complete the game's final mission, when you'll be able to find them all at a certain spot in the game world. (Check the end of the walkthrough for more info.)

Flamethrower: The flamethrower will usually be the least-used of all the heavy weapons. Although you can use it to torch out large crowds of people, you can easily set yourself alight while spraying flame, and it barely affects vehicles at all.

Rocket Launcher: Old faithful! The rocket launcher is, as usually, pure death when used against dense crowds or vehicles. It’s a bit easier to find than the minigun, but isn’t quite as useful in this iteration of the GTA games, both due to the fact that it’s easy to blow yourself to pieces with a poorly-aimed shot, and they way that the helicopters move now - they’re much more difficult to hit with rockets in San Andreas than they were in VC or GTAIII. Still, if you can’t find a minigun, a rocket launcher serves as a handy back-up weapon when your back’s against a wall.

Heat-Seeking Missile: Although the M60 from Vice City has been removed, it’s absence is made good by the inclusion of the heat-seeking, shoulder-launched missile. While these are incredibly rare - you’ll never get them as part of a core mission - and only come in packs of three, their ability to lock onto targets makes them the weapon of choice when dealing with helicopters or pesky FBI trucks. All you need to do to use these is hold R1; you’ll get a green reticule at first, which indicates that the missiles are locking on. When the reticule turns red, let the missiles fly and they’ll trace towards their target and destroy it. As mentioned, though, you only get three with each pick-up, as opposed to ten rockets with a rocket launcher.

The minigun can destroy anything besides a tank with just a second of concentrated gunfire.

Minigun: If you’re looking for pure killing power, the minigun is probably your best bet; it even seems to outclass the perennial favorite, the rocket launcher, in terms of destructive capability, mostly due to the fact that you can’t hurt yourself with it. The minigun spits out dozens of shells a second, and even the slightest contact with the stream of lead will be enough to put down any foe in your way. Cars and helicopters are likewise easy to destroy with it. The one weakness is that you can’t automatically target foes with it, but this is small potatoes when weighed against its power.

Eating and Working Out

One of the much-hyped inclusions to the GTA gameplay are the eating and exercise mechanics. There’s no need to fear that GTA is turning into The Sims; these inclusions are relatively minor, and you can feel free to ignore them if you wish. If you do decide to partake in a bit of bulking up, though (whether it’s fat or muscle that you’re packing on), you’ll find that people will react to CJ in different ways, and he’ll have different abilities in the game world.

Eating

There are diners and fast-food joints all across San Andreas, serving up a variety of meals for CJ’s consumption. While the game intimates that CJ will lose maximum health if he goes without eating for too long, the length of time required for this to occur is apparently quite long; so long as you get a square meal once a week of in-game time or so, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about losing health. If you’re trying to get CJ nice and big, though, feel free to stuff his face with fast food; it’s cheap enough to do.

Exercise

A little exercise can go a long way in San Andreas, especially if you want to muscle up CJ. If you want to exercise, hit a gym; in each one, you’ll find both stamina-building workout machines (the exercise bike and treadmill) and muscle-building items (freeweights and the benchpress).

Muscle and Fat: Building muscle is really easy; just start with a small set of weights, place your index finger and middle finger over the X and O buttons, and tap them as rapidly as possible. The muscle index will build fairly quickly; you should be able to completely max yourself out in just a few visits, after which you can go to your wardrobe and remove your torso clothing to show off your rippedness. (Don’t forget to stop by a tattoo shop to get some ink!) Building muscle will also remove fat, and improve the power of your physical attacks.

Muscle will naturally decrease over time, so you’ll need to stop by the gym if you want to retain your honed physique. Again, though, this occurs fairly slowly, so don’t worry about hitting the weights every day. On the other hand, you’ll gain fat if you go too long without exercising. Again, though, this won’t affect you too much at low levels, and can be burned off incredibly quickly while you weightlift, so you shouldn’t ever have to worry about it.

Stamina is much more important than muscle, so try to work on it whenever you stop into a gym.

Building Stamina: You can build stamina by using the treadmill and exercise bike. This has much more of an impact on the game than does building muscle - you’re going to be running and sprinting much more often than you’ll be using your fists in combat - but also takes much, much longer to improve. The technique is similar, but instead of tapping the X and O buttons in short bursts, you’ll have to repetitively jam away at the X button while you’re on one of these machines - if you have a controller with turbo fire, this is an ideal time to whip it out.

Although your stamina increases slowly, it will never decrease through lack of exercise; the running-about that you do in the course of your travels will be enough to slowly improve your stamina resources.

Hitting The Wall: You can only exercise so much in a single day; eventually CJ will wear himself out, and you’ll have to save your game or advance the clock in order to continue with your workout. You can usually hit around 35 reps on the weights, or clock in for around five kilometers on the bike or treadmill before you have to pack it in. You can combine exercises, if you wish, but there is a sum total of exercise you can do for the day, so you won’t be able to do any treadmilling if you’ve already worn yourself out on the weights.

New Melee Attacks: As you bulk CJ’s muscle up, you’ll be able to talk to the various trainers in the gyms to learn new melee attacks. All you have to do here is defeat a single opponent in hand-to-hand combat; we managed to defeat three or four of these guys while only receiving a single blow in return, so trust us when we say that all you need to do is keep mashing your attack buttons, and you should win easily.

It’s worth taking the time to learn at least one set of new combat moves - you never know when they’ll come in handy.

After you win your challenge, the gym or dojo’s trainer will give you a few new techniques to use in melee combat. This is more of a neat extra than anything that really impacts the game; you’ll rarely encounter situations where you’re forced into melee combat.

The Cops

Say what you will about the cops of San Andreas, but you have to admit that they have a pretty tough job, even without a super badass, minigun-wielding, maniacal psycho roaming the streets. The cop population in SA has been increased over that of Vice City; it’s now fairly difficult to jack a vehicle in the cities without gaining at least a single star. There have been some other changes to the way cops work - you’ll now occasionally see them chasing down other criminals, for instance - but, for the most part, they’re still much the same as ever. In other words, you’ll probably have to fight your way through a bunch of them when they get wind of your crime sprees.

On the in-game HUD, you’ll note that there are six stars beneath your weapon and health displays; this indicates how aware the cops are of your deeds. You can have anything from zero stars to six stars, with increasing numbers indicating more fierce resistance from law enforcement professionals. You can increase the number of stars you have by committing random acts of violence, such as running people down, destroying cars, shooting cops, etc.

If you want to get rid of your stars, on the other hand, you have three options. The first is to find the hidden star pick-ups around the game world; walking over or driving through one of these will reduce your wanted level by one star.

You can’t use cop cars in a Pay N Spray, but they can be useful to get back to a save point.

The second method is to hit a Pay N Spray, indicated on your map with a can of spray-paint; entering one of these will let you repaint your car and eliminate all your stars at one go. The catch here is that you effectively have a probationary period after you exit the garage, during which you can’t commit any crimes, lest you return to your full wanted level; if you accidentally run over someone, you’ll return right back to your former wantedness, in other words. You also can’t take any police, military, or medical vehicles into a Pay N Spray.

Lastly, hitting a save spot and saving your game will fully eliminate all of your wanted stars.

One Star

You can earn a star in a few ways, but you’ll usually gain one by hitting a police car or bike, or by committing a crime, such as shooting someone or running someone over, within eyesight of a policeman. Since there are more cops than before, you’ll probably find yourself with a star if you do much of anything within the city limits.

At one star, the cops are on the lookout for you, but they’re not yet looking for you, if you follow our meaning. Any cop that sees you will attempt to chase you down and arrest you, but cops won’t suddenly spawn in and hunt you down. One of the big changes from Vice City is that cops will start shooting at you when you have a single star, so try to avoid doing anything naughty if you want to avoid getting blasted.

Two Stars

The cops start getting a bit more serious when you have two stars to your credit, in that they’ll start sending patrol cars out to bring you down, and will be a bit more aggressive in their pursuit. In most cases, killing a cop will jet you straight to two stars, but you can also get there by killing mobs of civilians or instigating massive property destruction.

Note that, when you only have one or two stars, they’ll fade away naturally over time, so long as you avoid any criminal acts.

Three Stars

The three-star level is really what separates the men from the boys. The quickest way to get here is to kill a cop, then kill any of his fellow officers that come by to arrest you. When you reach this level of notoriety, the cops start displaying new kinds of behavior, designed to box you in and kill you, in addition to their markedly increased numbers and aggression.

If you really want to earn a bunch of stars, it’s best to start out by rampaging from the upper levels of a building. If you start on ground level you’ll quickly get swarmed by cops.

First off, they’ll set up roadblocks when you travel in a vehicle. You can bust through roadblocks fairly easily, but your car’ll take a beating from the collision, and from the gunfire of the cops arrayed nearby; it’s usually best to try and get up on the sidewalk and go around.

Secondly, cops will start to randomly spawn in on foot. Even if you’re atop a building, you’ll start to run into sheriffs everywhere you turn. If you’re in an enclosed space, you’ll probably be able to protect yourself from gunfire, as the cops aren’t very good at jumping fences and the like.

Thirdly, they’ll send out SWAT teams to take you down. These guys arrive in large trucks, and pack a bit more firepower and armor than regular cops.

Lastly, the police will send helicopters to deal with you. The helicopters in San Andreas are much more difficult to take down than they were in Vice City, at least with rockets, due to the way that they bob and weave in the air. When you’re on a building, they also have the annoying habit of flying at eye-level, making them even more problematic to hit. These guys are trouble, both because SWAT members will rappel in from them, and because they’ll use their machineguns to blast you from above.

Four Stars

At four stars, you haven’t quite gotten to the level where the government feels the need to step in and take you down, but the local police force will have gotten well and truly sick of you, and will be sending in everything they’ve got to kill you before you can do any more damage. We’re talking massive numbers of cops, multiple helicopters, the works! Get to a Pay N Spray or save spot, or you’ll be dead before too long.

Five Stars

Although the sleek FBI coupes of the previous games are gone, the FBI themselves will still get involved when you hit five stars; this time around, they’ll exclusively use their SUV-style vehicles to roll up on you. FBI agents pack SMGs, and arrive in groups of four, so if you let them get too close, you’ll be toast.

As a note, flying over restricted airspace will automatically bump you up to five stars. Luckily, the only restricted airspace in San Andreas is the Restricted Area in Bone County, to the west of Las Venturas. If you fly over this military installation, the surface-to-air missile sites will lock onto you and attempt to take you down, and the Air Force will have its own little surprise waiting for you... (In point of fact, entering the Restricted Area on foot will also bump you up to five stars, prompting the incongruous appearance of massive numbers of sheriffs in the middle of an Army base.)

Six Stars

If you can save your game while there are Rhinos nearby, they’ll often be left unattended when you come back into the gameworld.

Everyone likely remembers the first time they spotted a Rhino tank rolling down the street in GTA III, and while the surprise of seeing the Army arrive to take you out might’ve dulled a bit by now, the coolness factor remains. The Army will, in fact, spawn two vehicles when you hit six stars; both the Rhino and the heavy troop truck return from previous games. Both pack grunts that wield M4’s, so you’ll have to keep your distance if you want to retain your bodily health.

As with previous games, you can jack a Rhino, and it’s still the awesomest land vehicle in the game. Check the Extras section for tips on getting one of these beasts.

Walk-Through

As with previous GTA games, San Andreas will see you obtaining missions from a number of different individuals. These will come in fits and bursts; occasionally you’ll run out of missions from a character, only to get more later on. For simplicity’s sake, we’ve listed each mission under the character that gives them, even though you usually won’t be able to run through all of a character’s missions in one go.

Los Santos

As with the previous GTA games, San Andreas begins with your character at a low point in his life. Your mother’s dead, crooked cops are hassling you, and you can feel the pull of the gangsta life that you left Los Santos to escape. Luckily for you, there’s nowhere to go but up, so get out there on the streets and start gettin’ paid.

The first of a thousand jackings....

After the initial cutscene, you’ll have to make it back to your home before you can start taking missions. If you want to go by the book, grab the bike near you and pedal it back; knowing how to use it will come in handy shortly. If you’re in a hurry, though, jack a car from the road nearby and head south until you hit the CJ icon. When you reach your house, get out of your vehicle and head into the red mission icon to head out to your Mom’s gravesite.

Big Smoke

Your first real mission here is to escape from the Ballas gang members that are trying to gun you down while you bike away from the graveyard. Certainly not a proud moment in CJ’s life, and it can actually be a difficult task compared to some of the previous starter missions, so stay frosty! You’ll have to be conservative with your sprint, both because of the fact that you can’t pedal quickly for too long before you get tired, and because you have to make sure that you stay behind Sweet or Ryder as they lead you back to the hood. The Ballas are more trigger-happy than anything, so they won’t try too hard to run you down; just stay clear of the sides of their car and you should be able to avoid most of their gunfire.

We don’t know why Sweet stores his weapons atop his house, but hey - they’re free.

When you get back to CJ’s house, the mission will end. You can now enter the house to save your game and start with the game’s core missions, but you’ll want to outfit yourself before you do so! There isn’t a whole lot of equipment within easy walking distance, but you can grab a couple of submachineguns if you look around. The first is atop Sweet’s house; if you jump to the top of the wall that the basketball rim is attached to, you should be able to spot it and jump from there. The second is obtained by jumping down into the canal behind the houses and walking south a bit; the gun is located beneath one of the bridges. Between the two of them, you should be able to net 110 rounds of ammo each run, and they’ll respawn each time you exit CJ’s house, thus giving you an easy way to stay strapped in the early game. Try to get the gun atop Sweet’s house first, then pick up the one from the sewers, as the MicroSMG in the sewers is the superior of the two weapons, and you can no longer grab the ammo from a pickup without getting the gun itself.

Now that you’ve got a place to hang low, you can start taking missions, or start exploring the game world. The early missions are given by the other leaders of the Grove Street Families, namely Sweet, Big Smoke, and Ryder.

Your primary objective in Los Santos is to return your gang, the Grove Street Family, back to prominence in the city. Of course, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, and there are plenty of eggs looking to get broke, mostly members of the other street gangs that have expanded their influence while C.J. was out of town. To that end, you’ll have to follow the lead of the other gang members in setting a course for the rest of the soldiers.

Sweet

Tagging Up Turf

This serves as your introduction to the spraypainting mechanic in San Andreas. You and your brother will have to spread out a bit and tag up the neighborhood, obscuring the tags of the Ballas and the Front Yard gangs. This is simple enough to do; just find the tags of the opposing gangs and spray over them with the normal weapon buttons. The first three are in Idylwood, and won’t be a problem to find; just make sure there aren’t any cops around when you spray, as it does get you a wanted star.

100? That’s a whole lotta tags to find, and that’s just the Los Santos finding game; there are more hidden items in San Fierro and Las Venturas.

After you make your way through the Front Yard turf, you’ll have to head into Ballas territory and spray over three more tags. You’ll probably come into your first direct contact with hostile characters here, as one of the tags is guarded by a couple of Ballas; if you took our advice and got some SMG ammo, you can just blast them. Otherwise, you’ll have to spraypaint them in the face so that they bend over in pain before hitting the tag and running away. The last tag is atop a building; you’ll need to jump up to it. After you jump the second fence, turn left to find another jumpable block leading to the roof. After you tag that one, return to Sweet’s car and book it back to the hood.

Cleaning The Hood

Three tasks here:

First, check in on a pair of your friends. (They’re not interested in joining up...yet.) Secondly, find and beat up the crack dealer. This can be easily accomplished with your fists, but if you’ve obtained a gun, killing the guy works just as well. Lastly, clear out the crack den! As with the previous mission, you can either use your fists, or go straight for the Uzi and get right to the wetwork. The latter is a bit simpler, as there are multiple enemies to deal with.

Drive-Thru

You can help out with the drive-by if you have enough Uzi ammo, but you shouldn’t need to.

Get to the Cluckin’ Bell drive-thru window. When the Ballas drive by, start following them and try to get alongside their car; your passengers should eventually deal enough damage to it to set it on fire. When this happens, the Ballas will get out, so either run them down or let your passengers finish them off.

Nines and AK’s

This mission serves as your aiming and firing tutorial. If you’ve played any previous GTA games, you likely won’t need the help, as the mechanics haven’t changed too much, save for the manual aiming mode. The sole new inclusion is the ability to fire at gas tanks to instantaneously blow up cars, but this is difficult to do when someone’s actually shooting at you.

Next up, Sweet will ask you to get some new clothes. Buy anything you like; the Binco store doesn’t have a huge selection of stuff, so you might not be straight ballin’ just yet, but you should be able to upgrade yourself from the plain t-shirt look that you’ve been sporting thus far.

Although this isn’t part of the mission, the Binco is right around the corner from the gym, so you might want to head inside and work out for a bit. If you hit the exercise bike and do four kilometers at level six or seven, you should be able to burn off almost all of the fat that you’ve built up so far; you can also use the weights to buff up a bit. There is a limit to how much muscle you can build per day, though.

Drive-By

Scrunch! If you run down the Ballas, you should be able to save a bit of your car’s health.

You’ve got four groups of Ballas to get dead before you can complete this mission, so you’ll have to be watchful of your car’s health. Sometimes it’s easier to just run the Ballas down rather than stop and let your friends shoot them, but again, you can’t switch cars, so try to avoid taking too much damage.

After you finish off the Ballas underneath the bridge, you’ll get two wanted stars, so you’ll have to hit the Pay N Spray before you can clear the mission. It’s a few blocks to the south, so try to keep your car at or near max speed on the way, if only to avoid any police entanglements. Your car will likely be on its last legs at this point, and the cops will try to ram you when they spot you, but the faster you go, the less likely they’ll be to hit you.

Sweet’s Girl

Sweet’s pinned down in Seville, and needs a quick extraction from a sticky situation! Unfortunately, after you get his call, you’ll return outside to find that there isn’t a single vehicle on the street, so before you pick up this mission, you’ll want to stow one inside your garage and grab it. Sweet won’t stay alive forever, so you’ll have to get over to his location before his life meter runs out. If you’ve been faithfully getting the SMG ammo from atop Sweet’s house, you shouldn’t have to make a side-trip to Emmet’s to pick up any weapons, so just get over to Seville.

You can’t get this guy with a drive-by, so you’ll need to exit the vehicle.

When you arrive, you’ll find no fewer than five gangsters trying to take out your brother. You can cap four of them with a standard drive-by motion, but the fifth one, who’s crouching on the steps, will likely require you to exit the vehicle and take him out on foot. After they’re all dead, grab a four-door vehicle and get back to your house before the Seville Families destroy your car!

Cesar Vialpando

The button presses here have to be timed incredibly well to earn a Perfect rating. In the end, though, your rating doesn’t matter - your score does.

Sweet wants you to check out your sister’s new boyfriend, the eponymous Cesar. In order to do so, you’ll have to engage in a bit of a lowrider competition. This is set up like a rhythm game, where arrows will float across the screen; if you push your right analog stick in the direction of the arrow just as it passes through the circle, you’ll gain points. Your opponent won’t do too well, so if you want a bit of easy money, save your game before attempting this mission, then bet the full thousand dollars on the competition; you should make it all back if you’re at all decent at hitting the buttons in time. That said, the timing is a bit sensitive, so don’t bet more than you’re willing to lose. (You can always just reload your game if you lose all your cash, though.)

Doberman

After you take the Cesar mission, Sweet will likely stop giving you missions for a while. After you pick up some CRASH missions, he’ll pop back up on your cell phone and send you out to take over Glen Park, which is Ballas territory. The Ammu-Nation store has a bunch of expensive weapons, but you should be fine for this mission so long as you have a few hundred rounds of ammo for your machine pistol.

Stick to the middle of the park during the gang war, and take out incoming targets at long range.

When you’re ready to move on, head over to Glen Hill and start offing gangbangers; you should have plenty of targets to choose from. After you cap a couple, you’ll start the gang war. You’ll now need to survive against three waves of enemies, and you have to fight them all on foot, so stay crouched and fire at them from as far away as possible. If you stick to the middle of the park, you should have a clear view on all sides, and since the gangstas appear on your radar, you shouldn’t have a hard time locking onto them with your Uzi and taking them out from a distance. The game will explain a bit of the mechanics of the gang war mechanism here; when that little tutorial is through, the Grove Street traitor will pop out of a house and make a beeline for you. All you need to do to end the mission is take him out.

Although you can proceed onto another mission after this, you should probably take a little time to expand the Grove Street turf around your house. Gang wars are a great way to get money, both because of the tribute that will appear at your house, and because the bangers will often drop tons of cash. You can also find plenty of SMGs and AK-47s, so it’s a wise idea to get at least a little turf before saving your game and moving on.

Los Sepulcros

Sweet’s climactic mission revolves around ambushing a Ballas funeral which Kane, a Ballas bigwig, is attending. You’ll have to bring along a couple of gang members to the party, and use them to cover your approach while you focus on killing Kane. There are plenty of Ballas in the cemetary, though, so when the shooting starts, proceed with caution and use your SMG to drop any bangers that you see; when Kane pops up in your vision, though, switch over to your AK and use that to blast him from long range. He’s got armor, so he’ll take a few more rounds than usual, but you should be able to take him out without a problem.

Unlike a normal gang war, though, all this killing will attract the cops, so you’ll probably have a star or two before you get done. After you get into the getaway car, then, you’ll have to avoid any cops trying to bust you; if there are officers on foot, run them down and keep your car on them to prevent them from getting up while your homies get back in the car. After that, make a beeline back to the Grove before you get taken out.

Reuniting The Families

Head up the stairs to find some body armor; you’ll probably need it.

As always, the grandest plans are the most likely to go awry, and Sweet’s mission to reunite all of the families against the Ballas gets spectacularly upset by an influx of police. You’ll have to rescue Sweet from inside the motel in another corridor-crawl level before you finally reach the exterior. The one important bit here is the fact that there’s a body armor atop the stairs near where the SWAT team busts in through the skylight; if you can get that, you should be able to sweep through the rest of the building without a problem.

When you do leave the motel, though, you’ll face off against no less than a helicopter, so focus on taking down the SWAT members before killing off the helicopter itself. After that, Smoke and Ryder will pull up, resulting in another rail-shooter mission. The cops in the passenger seats of the cars are really difficult to hit, so you might want to concentrate on shooting the cars themselves until they get set on fire. You can expect to take a lot of damage, but you’ll hopefully reach the end of the rail before your car blows up. After you bust through the billboard, check out the modified tagline on it for a chuckle.

The Green Sabre

After you get through Sweet’s pep talk about destroying the Ballas, you’ll have to hook up with Cesar, who’s apparently been keeping an eye on Tenpenny & Co. Unfortunately for you, but perhaps not too unexpectedly, he’ll reveal that Smoke and Ryder have been working with the cops - and the Ballas - all along. You’ll need to rescue Sweet from the Ballas ambush, so get a car and get over to where the battle’s going down before Sweet’s life meter runs out!

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do for Sweet. He’ll live, but he won’t be able to help you kill off the Ballas in the vicinity. There shouldn’t be too many of them, though, so use whatever weapons you have at your disposal to off them. Eventually you’ll get a pop-up message alerting you to the presence of a Ballas car; use your R1 and L1 buttons in conjunction with the right analog stick to blow it.

After this little series of events unfurls, you’ll have to take a bit of a breather from Los Santos; you’ll lose all of your weapons and be forced to play around in the countryside for a while. Skip down to the Los Santos Countryside portion of the walk-through for tips on these missions.

Big Smoke

OG Loc

Before you can open up OG as a mission-giving character, you’ll have to pick him up as he walks out of jail. As soon as he hits the bricks, though, he wants to get right back into the gangsta life, and asks CJ to help him kill someone who disrespected him in prison.

OG Loc won’t be able to do much with his weapon; you’ll just have to follow this chump until he finally reaches the end of the line.

When you reach the marker that leads you to the target’s house, he’ll hop out onto a bike, forcing you to give chase. Despite Loc’s best effort, he won’t be able to kill the guy while you’re riding around, so you’ll have to follow the mark until he gets off his bike. (And it’s going to be a looong ride, so keep the guy in front of you and watch his tire tracks to get an idea of where he went if you lose sight of him.) When he finally does de-bike, he’ll wander into a group of comrades, so take them out with extreme prejudice.

OG won’t give you missions just yet, though; you’ll have to drop him off at his job before that occurs. If you got wanted stars during the chase, it’ll be difficult to get all the way to the restaurant without getting arrested, so you may want to check your map for a Pay N Spray before heading out.

Running Dog

Running Dog is one of the simplest missions in the game! Just drive Big Smoke to the "meet," then, after the cutscene’s over, chase down and kill the marijuana dealer.

Wrong Side of the Tracks

If you hit a weird jump, you might wind up on top of the train with the bangers. If so, ice them, then return to pick up Smoke.

This is another simple mission, in theory, although it can be difficult. After you escort Big Smoke to the marker, you’ll have to hop onto a Sanchez and chase a train that’s loaded up with rival gangstas. Smoke will fire away as you drive, so long as you can stay near the front of the train, he'll automatically lock onto one of the gang members and start plugging away, but you'll have to keep him in position for a while before each gang member dies, as they have a ridiculous amount of health. Also note that Smoke aims at the rearmost banger first, then switches to the guy in front of him, and so on; thus, you should keep a little bit behind the train's engine car to prevent the gang members that he's not shooting at from having an easy shot at you.

The train is about as fast as your bike - faster when you’re going uphill - so you’ll have to avoid accidents and crashes if you want to take out all four of the foes. You may notice jumps on either side of the train tracks on occasion; if you can run your bike off of one of these and land on the train itself, you can shoot away at the gang members yourself, but you may leave Smoke a ways behind if you do so.

Eventually you’ll take them all out, though, although it’s likely to take some time, so enjoy your little trip through the backcountry before escorting Smoke back home.

Just Business

The last two missions can’t quite prepare you for Just Business, a sprawling two-parter that will probably take you a couple of dry runs before you succeed. Be sure to save your game before attempting it, if you don’t want to lose all of your weapons when you get processed through the hospital!

The first segment here sees CJ and Smoke fighting their way through a horde of Russians. Why? We’re only left to wonder; the Russkies don’t really figure into the rest of the game’s plot. Anyway, you’re going to be in a ton of trouble if you don’t have a couple hundred rounds for your SMG; if you do, though, you can just cycle your locks to clear out most of the first room. Quickly scoop up any cash or ammo on the floor, and be certain to grab the body armor from the rear of the room before meeting up with Smoke. You’ll have to make your way through another gauntlet outside, but you’ll get a health refill after you do so, so stand up and take them down any way you can.

Do your best to take down the motorcycle riders, as they’re the ones that will do the most damage to your bike.

The second part is by far the harder, as it sees CJ hop on the back of a motorcycle, firing away at Russians as Smoke attempts to escape through the crowded city streets. The Russians will pursue you in cars and motorcycles, as well as in a car-transport truck. You can’t hurt the truck, which is the source of most of the scripted events during the chase, so focus on the motorcycles first. Both the drivers and the passengers of the motorcycles will fire at you, so pick them off (you’ve got unlimited ammo) before moving on to the cars. The Russians in the passenger side seat of the cars will shoot at you, as well, so you’ll need to shoot them (either through the side or through the windshield) to eliminate that threat.

It’s a long, long chase, so you’ll have to keep your finger on the trigger if you want to survive. You’ll know that you’re almost near the end when you jump over the exploding truck. Like we said, though, it’ll likely take a few runs before you actually beat this mission, so don’t feel too discouraged if you happen to die.

Ryder

Your first mission with Ryder is a simple tour of the shops around the neighborhood. You can get a haircut at the barbershop, if you wish, although you shouldn’t spend too much before you have time to go shopping for clothing; you might want to get a hat that’ll obscure whatever you get done now. Next up is learning how to buy a meal; you’ll need to do this occasionally to prevent the loss of health. The cheapest meal is only two dollars, though, so you shouldn’t have to worry about going broke.

Unfortunately, Ryder will try to rob the place after you get your meal, and you’ll have to beat a hasty retreat. If you want a shotgun, run down the pizza clerk after he follows you outside and grab his; otherwise, just get back to your house to end the mission. Next up is Sweet’s Tagging Up Turf mission.

Home Invasion

Your first Home Invasion mission is relatively simple; just take Ryder’s truck to the house marked on your map, tilt the right analog stick very gently to sneak around, and grab three or more of the crates within the house and return them to the truck. Three is all you really need; you can grab more, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect on your mission rewards. When you’ve loaded the truck, drive it to the storage facility and enter it to end the mission.

Catalyst

There are three parts to this mission. In the first, you have to hijack a train laden with crates of ammo (which obviously pass through inner-city LA all the time); unfortunately, by the time you reach your destination, the train is already under siege by a rival gang. You’ll need to kill them and the trainworkers (use your car to run them down), then fend off the Ballas who’ll come to finish the deed.

Just aim slightly above Ryder’s head for this segment of the mission.

After you get onto the train by entering the red trigger area near the end, you’ll have to throw the delicate and highly explosive crates to Ryder as he trails the train in a car. This isn’t too difficult to pull off; just aim a bit above his head and hold down the O button for a longer period of time if the car falls too far behind you.

When Ryder has his ten crates, you’ll have to make it to the Pay N Spray to avoid the police. Hit it up, then return to the hood.

Robbing Uncle Sam

Ryder’s role as unofficial armorer of the Grove Street Families encourages him to come up with some pretty crazy scheme, but knocking over the National Guard seems to betray some kind of deathwish or sociopathic tendencies. Regardless, you’re going to be along for the ride, so hop into the truck and make your way down to the Ocean Docks.

When you arrive at your destination, you’ll have to hop over the wall and get into the National Guard compound. When you’re inside, kill the guard and shoot the switch on the wall near the gate, then repeat the process for the warehouse, but watch out for more Guardsmen, as they’ll continually pop out of the buildings nearby during this mission.

You’ll need to constantly hop in and out of the forklift to protect Ryder here.

After you’ve opened the warehouse and killed the soldiers within, grab the forklift and use it to fill the truck with crates. You’ll need six crates in all, but you can’t leave Ryder unprotected, or he’ll get swiss cheesed by the soldiers. After every crate loading, then, hop out of the forklift and blast any Guardsmen in the area; this should keep Ryder above half health until you finally get into the truck and make your way back to the hood. You’ll have to make your way back to Emmet’s place to end the mission, so check your map and plot a course ahead of time. If you get followed by the National Guard hummers, you can have Ryder throw explosives at them from the back of the truck by clicking on the left analog stick.

Cesar

High Stakes, Low Rider

This is a simple checkpoint race against five other cars; if you’ve played either of the other GTAs, you should know the drill. To enter the race, you’ll need a low-rider, but don’t worry if you don’t have one, as there should be a Blade parked a couple doors down from Cesar’s house that’ll do the job fine. One of the nice new additions here are the inclusion of arrows in the waypoints, which’ll let you know which way to go. Once you see the pier, you’ll know that you’re at the homestretch, so floor it and take home your thousand dollar reward.

OG Loc

Life’s A Beach

This is tough!

Life’s A Beach is another funkdafied rhythm contest for you to get frustrated with. This one’s a lot, lot tougher than the lowrider competition, as instead of simple analog stick movements, you’ll have to hit the face buttons of the controller as they scroll by. It’s all in the name of music, though; the end goal of the dancing contest is to steal a sound truck for Loc’s rap party. When you’ve proved yourself a master dancer, get in the truck, kick out the DJ, and cruise back to the stash and drop the vehicle off.

If, for some reason, you really like dancing, you can hit up clubs that are scattered throughout the cities in San Andreas for more fun.

Madd Dogg’s Rhymes

Loc seems to be catching on to the fact that he’s not a very talented rapper, so your next task is to find and retrieve the lyrics journal of one Madd Dogg, presumably a rapper himself. You’ll have to find his home before you can break into it, which can be easier said than done, as it’s high up in the Mulholland hills. If you find yourself passing underneath the bridge leading to the house, you can get out of your car and climb up the hill on foot; it’s much easier to ascend slopes while running than it is while driving.

They’ll never see you coming...

When you reach the mansion, you’ll be pointed to the back of the house; after heading inside, you’ll get a little tutorial on stealth kills. If you happened to play Manhunt, Rockstar’s other paean to mindless brutality, you should recognize the mechanic, since it’s fairly similar (in manner, if not in pure cathartic violence) to those of that game. You’ll need to sneak up behind the guards while crouched, wait for CJ’s hand to raise, then hit the O button for a stealth kill.

There are two more guards between you and the recording studio, where the rhymes are kept. The first paces around the swimming pool, so wait until he turns his back to you, then follow him along - at a distance - until you reach the next room. Another guard will approach, so duck into one of the changing rooms and wait for him to assume his position before moving on. When you hit the bar, sneak past the first guard, then stealth kill the man playing video games. The recording studio is right around the corner, so grab the body armor, knife the sole guard, then grab the rhymes.

After you obtain your treasure, new guards will spawn in, carrying silenced pistols. If you wait for a minute, one will take up position near where the body armor was, so sneak up behind him and knife him to obtain the new weapon. You only have five rounds for it, but you should only need two to kill a guard, so make your way back to the door through which you entered and escape.

Management Issues

Now that you have Madd Dogg’s rhymes, it seems that his manager is putting the squeeze on Loc. Since CJ seems somehow compelled to help him out no matter what the cost, it’s up to you to kill off the manager while he attends an awards ceremony.

Before you can get close enough to the manager, though, you’ll have to steal one of his cars. A driver is eating at a burger shop nearby, so head there, then damage the car enough to force the driver out. You can ram it with your own car, after which the driver will step out and start firing at you.

Now comes the hard part! You have to meet up with the other drivers before ten o’clock (22:00), but you have to arrive in a pristine car, meaning that it can’t be damaged at all. You’ll have to drive down to the spray shop by the beach, then carefully maneuver yourself up to the driver rendezvous without hitting anything. No pedestrians, no cars, no streetlights - nada. You’ll need at least an hour of game time to get to the rendezvous, which means that you probably won’t have enough time for more than two shots, so if you think you’re going to miss the deadline, just reload your save and try again.

No need to whip out your gun for this kill; just drive off the end of the pier and be done with it. Make sure you bail out first, though.

When you actually get the car to the rendezvous, though, things get a bit easier. You have to stay between the other two cars until you get to the awards show, but it’s a straight shot there and the drive only lasts 30 seconds or so. When the manager gets into your car, jam on the gas and head towards the pier marked on your map. When you reach the end of it, bail out of your car and watch it sail off into the ocean.

House Party

After you finish off Management Issues, Loc wants to throw a party. He’ll relocate back to Grove Street, so head back home and hit up his house after ten o’clock, when he’ll start showcasing his NBA superstar-grade rap talents. Things quickly take a somewhat less-than-festive turn, though, as the Ballas gang initiates an ambush!

You’ll have three waves of enemies to deal with here. The first will be on ground level, and will hide behind their cars, so you may have to maneuver a bit in order to hit the last stragglers. The second group is atop the bridge that runs over your hood; these are easy to kill, since they have no cover. The last and biggest group will attack from the alleyway nearby. If you have some body armor, you should be able to just stay in the open and blast away, but it really helps a lot if you have a lot of SMG or AK-47 ammo. Watch your targeting, and make sure no one (especially Sweet) gets between you and your target. After all of the enemies go down, you can rest easy knowing that the Ballas won’t try anything that stupid again.

C.R.A.S.H.

Burning Desire

After you pick up your first mission from the cops (at a donut shop, yuk yuk), track down the Molotovs and head over to the gang den. There are plenty of bangers around the house, so make the rounds and clear them out before you start chucking firebombs through the windows. When the house does get nice and toasty, though, you’ll discover that you’ve stranded a girl inside, and it’s up to you to get her out.

After heading in through the front door, locate the fire extinguisher in the kitchen (to the right of the entrance), then proceed to the rear of the house to find the steps. You can use the extinguisher with the normal weapon keys to extinguish any fires in your way; just use the R1 key to automatically point it at the base of a fire, and spray away.

Fire can take off a lot of your health, so be sure to smother any open flames before moving on.

When you reach the girl, you can start escorting her out, but stay close to her, because her pathfinding isn’t all that great, especially on the first floor. Be sure to stay out of the fire, though, as you’ll lose around half a health bar when you get set aflame. Eventually you’ll get the girl out of the building, and will be able to drop her off at her house, where she’ll become your first girlfriend. If you want to fool around with this feature, feel free, but if you haven’t made enough money to buy a new house near the OG Loc and CRASH missions, you should probably pinch your pennies until then.

Gray Imports

Tenpenny’s got a tip for you: the Ballas and the Russians are meeting at a shipping facility near the docks. It seems that the Ballas are looking to bring in some more firepower with which to finish off the Grove families, and it’s up to you to stop them.

Begin by heading down to the warehouse and clearing out the exterior. Watch out for the forklifts which’ll come to attack you; one of them has explosive barrels loaded up, so manually aim for them to destroy the whole vehicle. To get into the warehouse, you’ll need to shoot the switch on the wall, but be careful, as there are three Ballas just beyond the doorway.

When you reach the interior, you’re going to have to clear it out row by row. Get used to manually aiming and firing with the L1 button; if you stick with the O button, you won’t be able to fire very quickly due to the fact that you’ll also need your thumb for the right analog stick. There are health and armor pickups inside the warehouse, so walk over them if you’re running low.

After you clean out the bulk of the Ballas, you’ll have to head upstairs to find the Russian arms dealer. He’ll attempt to escape, and will probably make it to his car before you can kill him due to an insane health count. Just keep on his tail, ignoring the gunfire of the guards outside unless you’re near death. When the arms dealer reaches his car, jack another one and give chase! You’ll need to destroy his car in order to complete the mission, so bang him around and do drive-bys while you coast alongside him.

Los Santos Backcountry

After Tenpenny evacuates you from Los Santos, you’ll have to do a few favors for him and a pal of his before you can move on to San Fierro. The missions here sometimes involve annoyingly long rides across the country, so if you fail and die or get busted, you can choose between loading your savegame to get all of your weapons back, or just hitting the mission again. If you reload, you’ll have to make the trip to your destination again, but if you just try again without reloading, you can take advantage of the game’s trip-skipping feature.

C.R.A.S.H.

Badlands

Your first mission for the CRASH bandits involves tracking down and killing an internal affairs snitch. He’s way up in the mountains, so you’ll probably want to track down one of the Sanchez dirtbikes before you head up. You’ve been stripped of all your weapons due to your "arrest," but you can find an Uzi behind a trailer to the southwest of the CRASH mission spot. There’s also a save spot right next to the CRASH trailer, so save up before you head out.

When you reach the hideout, get out of your vehicle and approach on foot towards the back of the cabin. The Feds are all over the place, but the guy you really have to worry about is the snitch; he’ll leave from the back door and head towards the car in the driveway. If he gets in, you’ll have to chase him down and kill him, but if you tag him as he’s leaving the cabin, you can drop him before he gets in the car and make your way back to the drop zone on your own time.

Catalina

First Date

Cesar’s cousin is...feisty, to say the least. After you escort her from the bar, she’ll have four sub-missions for you. They’re not mission-critical, but they pay well, and you’ll have to do at least one before you can move on with the story. Since it’s close by, head over to the gas station near the bar to start with Tanker Commander.

Tanker Commander

You don’t have to worry about the gunfire here; just concentrate on keeping the tanker hitched up to the semi.

Since your stickup at the gas station doesn’t go too well, Catalina decides that it’s time to hijack a nearby big rig and tanker. You’ll have to back the rig into the tanker quite slowly before it hitches on; after you’ve got your load, start heading west out of town. If you follow the road, you should find your destination without a problem. The only trouble here will come from losing the tanker; if you turn too sharply or go over a big bump, it can detach, which will fail your mission. If you do happen to fail, don’t be stupid and reload your game like we did; you don’t lose any weapons or anything, so just head back to Catalina and try it again.

First Base

Thanks, Rockstar, for putting Catalina halfway across the damn state. You’ll need to drive for five minutes or so just to get to her, but at least she’s near a save point, so hit it before entering the house. After a little sweet talk ("I’ll let you kill anyone you wanna kill, baby!"), you’ll have to hit one of the other three robbery missions. The closest one is the off-track betting shop in Montgomery, so take the Buffalo and head out.

Against All Odds

The actual robbery of the betting shop goes fairly smoothly; after you blow open the safe and retrieve the cash (stand well away from the explosion!), though, you’ll have to deal with a four-star wanted level. The nearest spray shop is all the way down in Dillimore, so plan your route with the zoomed-in map and get there right quick.

Gone Courting

Love...is a very tender thing.... This is another interlude mission, so do your business and hit the road. Your next robbery takes place in Blueberry, due west of the hideout.

Local Liquor Store

Unfortunately for you, the liquor store you and Catalina were planning to rob will be hit just before you get there by a gang of rednecks on ATV’s. You’ll manage to nab one for yourself, though, so you’ll have to do your best to keep up with the robbers while Catalina kills them. They’ll drop briefcases full of cash when they drop, so drive over them or retrieve them on foot before continuing your pursuit. Don’t forget that CJ can shoot his Uzi as well, even straight ahead (by pressing the O button), so don’t let Catalina have all the fun. When you retrieve all of the cases, return to the hideout to get your share of the cash.

Made In Heaven

Well, the honeymoon is officially off. Head out to the last robbery after Catalina cuts you loose.

Small Town Bank

Just blast this punk before he can make for his weapon.

When you arrive at the bank, Catalina will tell you to cover the employees with your shotgun. You can hit the L2 and R2 buttons to cycle through them, which will encourage them to keep their hands in the air, but it doesn’t matter, as their hands will drop faster and faster until one of them presumably reaches the alarm. Instead of going through the motions, then, aim at the security guard (on the far right) and blow his head off, since he’s the only one of them that has a weapon.

After the alarm sounds, bust open the three ATMs and grab the cash before heading out the backdoor. You’ll have another little gauntlet of sherrifs to run through before a couple come in on bikes; kill these and start riding off through the backcountry.

When you reach the next town, Catalina will get surrounded by cops, so let her go on ahead and dismount while you’re still a ways away from the police, then take them out with whatever long-range weapon you have. After you finally get back to the hideout, you’ll be able to take another mission from Cesar; just wait for him to call you on his cell phone.

Farewell, My Love

Another race, this time involving someone who appears to be the unnamed main character of Grand Theft Auto III. The race itself is an exact reversal of Wu Zi Mu race that Cesar initiated, but you’ll be in a tight little ZR-350 this time, meaning that you’ll have an even harder time controlling yourself while you’re on the dirt roads. The good news is that you should be a lot faster than the AI cars, especially in the straights, so if you can build up a good lead, you can take the twists and turns near the river at the end of the race at your own pace.

After you win, get out of the car to get a cell phone call from The Truth, who has another mission for you.

The Truth

Body Harvest

When Tenpenny says jump, you say how high (for now, anyway), and, for the moment, he wants you to help the enigmatic stoner known only as The Truth. Truth wants a combine thresher for his farm, and since the only one around is tooling around on a survivalist retreat, guess who gets to retrieve it?

There are plenty of enemies in the fields, so keep the pedal to the metal and get out of the farm area as soon as possible.

Said task is, as ever, easier said than done. The survivalists are armed with hunting rifles, and although they can only fire one shot at a time, those things sting. You’ll want to enter the farm in an enclosed vehicle, jacking one from the highway if necessary, then slam on the gas until you hit a wall. When you can’t go any further, get out of the car, jump the wall to the field, then jack the thresher and hit the road. You can’t be hurt while you’re in the combine, and it appears to be indestructible, so go crazy and mash up all the survivalists; just don’t get jacked out of it. Feel free to go off-road with the combine; the easiest route to Truth’s farm is actually straight south from the survivalist camp and over the cliff. The combine should right itself if you land funny, and Truth’s farm is only a short distance from the train tracks.

After you deliver the combine, Cesar will appear to give you missions back in Angel Pine.

Are You Going To San Fierro?

This mission will be your introduction to both the flamethrower and the rocket launcher.

The Truth finally has your weed, and you finally have his money, so hook up with him to get the heck out of town. Things don’t go as planned - when have they ever? - as the cops arrive, forcing you and TT to burn all of his weed with flamethrowers. You have a surfeit of time here, so be thorough, and don’t roast any weed patches longer than you have to, or you might run out of ammo.

After the weed’s all burned, the police helicopter remains, but luckily, TT has an answer for that, too, in the form of your very first rocket launcher. Get as misty-eyed as you wish, but don’t dawdle too long; blast the chopper and get going to San Fierro.

Cesar

King In Exile

This isn’t much of a mission; although Cesar gives you some disturbing news, all you’ll be able to do afterwards is take another mission from Catalina.

Wu Zi Mu

This Chinese businessman sponsors racing around the back country, for some reason or another; since you’re always on the lookout for money, you can take a spin for a cool 5,000 dollars. If you do this mission after you get done with Catalina’s robbery missions, the Buffalo might not spawn at the hideout; if you have to run down to the highway, be on the lookout for Ranger-class cars, as they have both the mass required to knock other cars around and the stamina to survive a long race, which this surely is.

You’re going to want to take it slow during the first part of the race, until you cross underneath the bridge and get on solid ground. The only real sticking point here is the farm; after you find yourself on a ranch, you’ll want to avoid the tempting ramp in the middle of it, and instead veer off to the left or right to stay on solid ground. From there, keep working around the track until you hit a logging camp; you’ll double back to it up the twisting road nearby, and end the race inside of it.

San Fierro

This city, based on San Francisco, has a number of huge hills on which to get Insane Stunts. It also features one of the few exterior save points, so if you want to build up your weapon skills, start blasting away with your chosen weapon on the civilians near the garage, then hit the save point when the cops start coming. A couple dozen cycles of this will let you max out a weapon skill, but you’ll have to have plenty of ammo, obviously.

The hidden items here come in the form of screenshots that you can only see when you’re using your camera. Check our Extras section for more details and locations of these.

CJ

With Flowers In Your Hair

After you’re done screwing around in San Fierro, you can start taking missions. The first isn’t given by any specific NPC, but is listed as "CJ" on your map. This is a simple little escort mission, where you have to take Truth around to find a few friends. No combat, no wanted stars, no high-speed chases; just get your garage set up and start getting your business running.

555 We Tip

Tenpenny wants you to frame a D.A. by loading up his car with dope while he makes a stop at a hotel.

’FOOOORRRRE!’

First off, head to the Vank Hoff hotel downtown and follow the valet into the garage. After he gets out of the car, kill him and take his uniform before returning to the hotel’s driveway. You’ll have to wait for the D.A. to arrive in his car, but don’t worry about memorizing its make and model; you’ll be notified when it arrives. Note that you can’t just kill the other valets here to make sure that they don’t get the car, because if you do, you’ll fail the mission.

After the D.A. comes up, grab his car and drive back to your garage. You don’t have to worry about any damage, so head two blocks west, then floor it back south until you hit your stash. You’ll then have to drive it carefully back up to the hotel; you can damage it a bit, but if it takes too much damage, you’ll fail. When you get to the hotel, watch out for valets on the ramp down to the parking garage, as killing either of them will be an insta-fail as well.

When you have the car safely stowed away, return outside and call the cops.

Deconstruction

This is another two-parter. Firstly, grab a bulldozer and destroy the six portable trailers in the construction lot above your garage. You have to get a bit of momentum behind yourself before you can actually pop the trailers, and you’ll have to be careful about getting jacked by the construction workers, but apart from that, this shouldn’t be too difficult.

Don’t worry if you accidentally drive a cement mixer into the ditch; there are two of them in the lot, so you’ll get another shot at it.

Next up, you have to kill off the construction foreman, who’s holed up inside a portable john. You’ll have to maneuver him into the ditch near his position - the dozer should suit you well for this task - then back up a cement mixer and fill in the ditch while he’s in it.

After that bit of Hoffaesque business is taken care of, wait for Jethro to call you on your cell; when he does, you’ll be able to take some driving school classes at the facility down the road to the south.

Back To School

The driving school takes the form of 12 discrete driving challenges, each of which will force you to score 70% or higher to pass. For most of them, the trick is to avoid hitting cones, as they pop up a 10% or 20% penalty. The good news is that the tests are short, and thus easy to repeat over and over until you pass them.

The exception is, of course, the last mission. This sees you trying to get from the driving school all the way to a bay halfway across the city without getting damaged, all in under two minutes. You have significantly more leeway on the damage than you do the time, though; the damage takes the form of a percentage penalty, not an automatic failure, so don’t get too concerned if you bump somebody. A good path is to take the inner-city streets until you hit the waypoint, driving on the lines or on the trolley tracks to avoid traffic, and then scoot down the eastern coast on the highway there before jetting back up towards the school. If you’re on the highway, keep an eye out for a big brown factory on your right side; when you see it, drive up to its northern side, where there’s a ramp just big enough to fit your car onto. (There’s also Body Armor here, so note the position for future item runs.) Taking your car up the ramp will get you onto the rail lines, and it’s a short trip south to the road leading back up to the school.

Photo Opportunity

Cesar’s got a line on some Ballas that have been running dope into San Andreas, so meet up with him in the back country. Don’t worry about keeping your car in nice condition on the way down there, but Cesar will refuse to get into any car but his own, so you’ll need to keep his in one piece until you hit Angel Pine.

When you do reach your old haunt, all you have to do to complete the mission is photograph four men, but you’ll have to get a close-up of their faces. Two arrive in the garage across from your position, while two more roll up on the road off to the right. After you get them all, you’ll have to make your way all the way back to the garage in San Fierro before your next mission. Ugh.

Jizzy

The delightfully named Jizzy is apparently the biggest pimp in town, and if CJ wants to get close to the Ballas connections, he’ll have to get close to Jizzy.

You’ve got four tasks to run for Jizzy before he’ll start giving you missions, though, and you’ll have to do all of them in his pimpmobile, so keep the collisions to a minimum. First off, drop off the girl at the hotel, then head up to Hashbury and take out the rival pimp. The pimp will run south when you catch up to him, so approach from that direction and drop him before he manages to get around the corner.

These vehicles are resilient, so use your MicroSMG to do most of the damage.

Next up is a timed run towards a ho in trouble, so get to her before the hometer runs out and kill the two freaks before they ice her. The last mission here is the toughest, as you’ll have to take down two cars while still in the same pimpmobile; use your Uzi to do most of the damage to avoid wrecking your ride. After both cars are destroyed, you’ll end the mission, but you will have a two-star wanted level to contend with as you make your way back to a save point. Luckily, you can ditch the ride and grab something else to ride back to the garage with.

Outrider

Watch out for the guys in the windows here.

Now, this one’s just plain fun. After the cutscene with T-Bone and Toreno ends, grab the rocket launcher and sniper rifle and get on the bike. You’ve got four roadblocks to take out before the van can get to its destination, so hit the first one as soon as possible. The other three are fairly close to the first, so if your Sanchez gets destroyed, you can probably just proceed on foot. The only thing to be careful for are the soldiers that are watching the road from the windows of buildings; you can lock onto them fairly easily with your Uzi or SMG, though, so you shouldn’t have a problem.

When you get the van to where it’s going, you’ll complete the mission, but you’ll get three wanted stars. Book it back to the garage and save your game to get in the clear.

The Courier

The Courier isn’t actually a discrete mission. Rather, if you accept Cesar’s phone calls on Wednesdays and Saturdays, he’ll let you know that a courier is running drug money from San Fierro to San Andreas; if you take him up on the challenge to track the courier down, you can make a fair amount of money when you get the kill, but it’s difficult to actually find the guy. As Cesar says, the guy goes off-country, so if you don’t have a Sanchez or some other kind of vehicle that can handle itself in the dirt, you can expect to have the courier ride circles around you. You can always wait until he hits pavement before making your move, but it’s still an awful amount of effort for a relatively small payday (you generally get a couple thousand dollars).

Ice Cold Killa

After you nab the silenced pistol from Cesar, take a ride down to Jizzy’s club and climb in through the skylight. You’ll have to use the scaffolding near the bridge pillar to get above the roof, then drop down. Once you’re inside the club, you can just turn around and drop to the floor to start the next cutscene; although it looks like you’re high enough to take some major falling damage, the cutscene actually begins before you hit the ground, so no need to worry.

After the cutscene, you can either blast out all the fools in the club, or head straight for the door to give chase to Jizzy. He’ll take off in a fairly speedy car, so avoid the limo next to him and go for one of the cars in the parking lot instead. Blow his car, chase him down on foot, and grab his cell to complete the mission.

Pier 69

Now that you’ve put a dent in the cocaine cartel by killing Jizzy, you’ll have to take down T-Bone and Ryder. Start off by meeting up with Cesar on a building near the docks; there’s a barely visible alleyway behind the building, with a set of stairs leading up to the roof. On it, you’ll have to use a sniper rifle to pick off the gang members that are assaulting your Triad friends.

You can take out T-Bone with a single headshot.

When the roof’s clear, move down to the streets and start proceeding towards the rear of the building. Although the cutscene made some noise about smoke grenades, you should be able to use your sniper rifle to full effect here, after you clear the first little set of car obstacles. You can use the sniper rifle to shoot out the bangers from farther away than they can see you, so take your time and get your headshots. Your initial target is T-Bone, so get up onto the wooden walkways and snipe him out from above.

After T-Bone gets grilled, Ryder’ll make a break for it in a boat, so give chase and engage in one of those always-plausible marine drivebys. If you run out of ammo, you’ll have to ram his boat onto land to make it blow up, but Ryder can’t shoot you, so you shouldn’t have any problem staying alive long enough to effect this.

Toreno’s Last Flight

After Jizzy, T-Bone, and Ryder’s deaths, the only living member of the cartel is Toreno. Cesar’ll give you a little intel at the beginning of the mission; seems Toreno is riding out of San Fierro in a helicopter, which you’ll need to shoot down if you want to ensure that Grove Street stays free of base.

Begin by riding over to the helipad. There’ll be a bunch of Ballas around the area, firing away at you, but try to avoid killing every single one of them, as you will get stars for their deaths, and having a wanted level higher than one star will make the following little test much harder. You see, after you get close to the helicopter, it’ll take off, forcing you to give chase, rocket launcher in tow. Jump on the motorcycle at the bottom of the helipad and ride down the freeway, stopping every once in a while to fire away at the heli. All it takes is two good shots to crash it, but it’s tough to hit due to the way it slides from side to side over the road. If you can’t hit it before it heads south of San Fiero, it’ll hover over the point where the freeway forks, so wait for it there and slam it.

Yay Ka-Boom-Boom

Now that you’ve offed the heads of the crack operation, you can strike the decisive blow by destroying the factory that they use to make their product. Begin by getting a wired car from the garage that Wu Zi refers you to. Don’t worry, there isn’t any requirement to keep the bouncing to a minimum, as there was in Vice City; you can bang the car up as much as you want, although you’ll want to keep it fairly healthy before you reach the factory.

When you do hit up the facility, kill the guards outside to convince them to open their gates, then bust through the guards, find the ramp leading into the building, and drive until you reach the bombing location. Ignore anyone you meet; it’s not worth risking damage to your car by running around and attempting to drive-by everyone that’s firing on you.

After activating the bomb, you’ll have 40 seconds to get out of the building before it blows. Again, don’t worry about the guards; just hold down your run button and head for the exit, and you should make it out without any problems. You’ll have to fight your way back to the gate, but before you can run out, it’ll shut! Your last resort is to take the car that the homeboys were driving and jump the ramp to leave the factory. This isn’t difficult, but the car isn’t armor-plated or anything, so you’ll need to get out fairly quickly or it’ll explode due to all the gunfire.

Jizzy

T-Bone Mendez

This is another relatively simple task; just chase down the motorcycles, get real close to their rear ends, then snatch the cocaine with your L1 button. The bikes will start chasing you as you pluck them of their sweets, but you should be able to lose them without a problem, and you’ve got plenty of time in which to maneuver. Take all the packages back to Jizzy when you’re done.

Mike Toreno

Mike, the badass brains behind the whole cocaine operation, has apparently been kidnapped by more bangers looking to score by taking a van of the coke. It’s up to you and T-Bone to track him down while he talks to you on his cellphone.

The bangers here aren’t much of a threat; just do a drive-by on them if you don’t want to get out of your car.

Luckily, whomever grabbed the van apparently enjoys joyriding immediately after they jack a truck full of blow, as you’ll have to track Toreno to the building site next to your garage, then down to the docks, then over to the airport before you catch up to them. If you get there with more than two minutes remaining on the clock, the van will be situated near the radar tower in the northeastern corner of the airport; after that point, it starts to move around. When you roll up, the gangsters will dump their rides and come gunning for you, so drive a distance away before getting out of your car and taking them down from range.

After you torch the van, you’ll have to get Mike and T-Bone back to the Pay N Spray to lose the cops. You can only do this in a car that can be painted, so avoid jacking a police car if you can avoid it. The easiest way to get to the spray shop is to take the turn onto the highway, then drive in the oncoming lane until you reach the section with the unfinished left wall. You can drop from there right onto the Pay N Spray ramp.

Wu Zi Mu

Mountain Cloud Boys

For a blind man, Wu can buck down fools with the best of them.

It looks like Wu Zi’s been having some trouble from the Vietnamese gangs, and shortly after you begin this mission, you’ll be caught up in the middle of it, as the Vietnamese ambush you and Wu Zi in an alleyway. You should be any stranger to fighting off hordes of enemies, so beat them back with your Uzi until you reach your car. At this point, you’ll have to let Wu Zi shoot away at the cars that chase you; you’ll need to stay close enough to let Wu Zi fire away, but keep enough distance to avoid getting blown away yourself when the other cars explode.

Ran Fa Li

An associate of Wu Zi’s requires a favor, and Wu, like any good puppetmaster, places the favor on you. You’ll need to retrieve a package from the underground parking lot at the airport and move it all the way back to the docks. Getting there is the easy part; you’ll have to deal with Danang assassins during the entirety of the trip back to the docks. The main trouble will come in the form of a pair of biker blasters; let them get alongside you, then try to ease them into a building or wall to shake them for a bit. Avoid the city streets during your trip; instead, just take the road along the coast. If you can make it to the docks, all you have to do is park the car in the red circle to end the mission.

Lure

Besides the long-ass ride out into the countryside, this is a pretty simple mission. It’s essentially a race, checkpoints and all, save that your opponents will be trying to shoot at you. You’ll be in a Ranger, and although you won’t be able to stave off the motorcyclists’ fire, you will have a bit of a speed advantage on declinations, so floor it and get to the gas station before you get too badly damaged.

Amphibious Assault

If you haven’t been training up your underwater breathing skills - and let’s be honest, you haven’t been - you’ll need to upgrade your lung capacity before you can take this mission. The easiest way to do this is to find a body of water, dive underneath and swim downwards for a bit, then let CJ float back to the surface. You won’t lose as much breath while CJ is motionless, allowing you to spend more time underwater per dive, thus letting you upgrade a bit more quickly. You’ll need to get three or four full lung capacity upgrades (meaning that it’ll pop up a message letting you know that you can breath underwater for a longer period of time) before you can actually go through with Wu Zi’s plan.

Said plan, obviously enough, involves a lot of swimming. Wu wants you to plant a bug on a boat in the harbor, but you’ll need to swim underneath the surface to avoid the Da Nang patrol boats. Getting past them, thankfully, isn’t too difficult; swim just underneath the surface until you run out of breath, then come back up for another lungful. The guards won’t shoot you when you surface, so long as you don’t move until you dive again. The boat has a ladder on the far side from the shore, so dive underneath it and jump onto the float there to get aboard.

The more stealth kills you can get, the fewer guards that will come running when you’re discovered.

Now, if you make a lot of noise, the guards will come running, so it’s worth your while to get stealth kills. You can use the knife near the ladder, if you wish, but it’s a better idea to just get through the garage and Jizzy missions until you get the Ice Cold Killa mission, in which you’ll be furnished with a silenced pistol. Use that to make headshots on the guards, then proceed to the boat’s cargo hold and plant your bug. All that stands between you and a completed mission at this point is a swim back to shore, so jump off the boat and get hoofing.

The Da Nang Thang

Get some body armor before you begin this mission! Trust us, it’ll come in handy.

Don’t miss the health pickup hidden in the crates.

You’ll start out here on a rail-shooter mission, but don’t fret if you’re bad at these, as you actually can’t win this one; the helicopter you’re in will get hit by an RPG, forcing CJ to sidle up the side of the freighter and start killing Da Nang boys the old-fashioned way. You can get some easy stealth kills as you move along, but eventually you’ll run across a couple of guards that’re facing your way, forcing you to get back to basic spray-n-pray mechanics. Hopefully you’ve upgraded your Machine Pistol skills to Hitman, as dual-wielding these TEC-9’s will come in really handy here.

Regardless, make your way back down the boat (don’t miss the health refill in one of the small passages), then drop down into the hold. More bastards here to kill, and keep an eye on the red mark on your radar; it pinpoints the location of the refugee’s main guard, who’ll open his assault by chucking a grenade at you. Run into his line of sight to trigger the attack, then run back out to avoid the blast before returning to drop him.

After you free the refugees, you’ll have to return up to the deck of the ship and move up to the bridge to kill the snakehead. He’ll force you to a katana duel, but he’s not too hard to take down, especially not if you’ve trained up in some martial arts. Begin by using the triangle button for a kick to stun him, then just wail on him until he dies.

C.R.A.S.H.

Snail Trail

Another joyous assassination mission from Officer Tenpenny, who wants you to shut up a journalist and a snitch. This one’s simple, but annoyingly time-consuming, as you’ll have to follow the train that the journalist’s on all the way to Los Santos. In point of fact, you shouldn’t follow it at all, but rather speed ahead of it until you reach Market Station in Los Santos, at which point you can get out of your car and jack a new one on the street above in preparation for following the journalist after he gets a taxi. Once the journo makes it to the pier, kill both of the targets to complete the mission.

Zero

A note: Zero’s missions are optional; you don’t have to complete them to finish the game. Keep this in mind when you hit the Supply Lines mission, which can be terrifically frustrating. If you do manage to complete these missions, though, you’ll unlock the RC Shop as an asset, which will generate money for you over time.

Air Raid

Air Raid may be just another point-and-shoot mission, but it’s a toughie. Your goal is to protect Zero’s transmitters from hordes of incoming RC airplanes. You have a minigun with unlimited ammo, but your targets are very small, and the minigun jumps when it fires. If you want to up your kills, don’t fire while aiming; you’ll improve your accuracy if you’re zeroed in on a target before blowing it out of the sky. Also, keep an eye on your radar to discern between the incoming targets and those that are leaving the area; after a plane drops its bomb, it crashes, so don’t waste your time shooting anything other than incoming targets. Also, keep an eye out for clumps of planes; there are a couple of instances of planes arriving in groups of four or five. If you can’t shoot them all down, you’ll probably lose a transmitter.

Supply Lines...

Supply Lines is one of those missions that separates the men from the boys. It’s almost certainly going to be the most difficult mission you’ve come up against thus far, if not in the entire game, so don’t feel too frustrated if you don’t succeed on your first few (dozen) tries.

The basic gist of it is that Zero wants you to take a remote-controlled plane, find five of Berkeley’s deliverymen, kill them with the plane’s machineguns, and return the plane to Berkeley’s shop without the plane running out of fuel or getting shot down. The first time you get into the plane, though, just ignore the deliverymen and concentrate on learning how to fly the plane itself, as it’s a beast to control. What you should try to focus on is keeping the plane level and lining up behind targets before throttling back and opening up with your machineguns.

The deliverymen travel much more slowly than most cars, which is to your benefit, but you’ll still be required to make an almost perfect run if you want to get the plane back to Zero’s place while it still has fuel left. The trickiest one to take out will be the deliveryman on the motorcycle, as he’ll fire back at you after he’s alerted to your presence, and can shoot down the plane relatively quickly, so focus on getting him lined up before you open fire. If you find yourself consistently crashing and burning due to lack of fuel, try running a different route on your next attempt. The van to the south of your start point is usually a good place to start, as he will continue moving south from there and will require more fuel to hit if you save him for later.

(If you're having a lot of trouble beating this mission, and are willing to cheat to get past it, enter the Faster Gameplay code. This will let the plane move much more quickly than normal, without burning extra fuel. If you want to revert to normal afterwards, use the Slower Gameplay code to counteract the effects of the first code.)

You deserve a heck of a lot more than 5,000 bucks for completing this mission - it’s a doozie.

If you have a truly difficult time hitting people, try landing the plane behind or in front of a target and firing from the ground. You can rotate on the ground by using the R2 and L2 buttons to line up with your target. Also, keep the X button depressed while you’re in the air; it doesn’t affect your fuel consumption at all. If you want more time to fire on a target while flying, hit the Square button to decelerate.

Beyond those rudimentary tips, this is essentially a mission based on a little bit of skill and a whole lot of luck.

New Model Army

Zero’s last mission involves a large-scale model of a battlefield. Zero’s going to be attempting to enter Berkeley’s base in his little car, while you get to do the heavy lifting in your helicopter. Don’t worry, though; if you passed the last mission, this one should be cake.

Take a couple seconds to get used to how the helicopter handles; it’s much easier to control than the model airplane. Your primary tasks here are: lifting barrels out of the way of the car; placing planks across the rivers that don’t already have bridges; and destroying Berkeley’s tanks with bombs. You can use your magnet with the O button, but you can’t hold it down; you have to tap it while you’re hovering over a metallic object in order to trigger it. The biggest risk of failure comes from the tanks, which can quickly damage Zero’s buggy if you let them. You can use bombs to kill them in one good shot, or you can drop barrels on them form a height to inflict somewhat less severe damage. Barrels are sometimes the better choice, though, especially if you’re low on time. If you find that things are going well, though, you may want to leave Zero at one of the barrel obstacles and grab bombs to take out the tanks before they get a chance to hit him.

When you complete this mission, you’ll gain the RC Shop asset, which will generate cash for you over time, as well as a cool 7,000 smackers up front.

Cesar

As with Zero, Cesar’s missions in San Fierro are optional. When completed, they’ll open up the car dealership asset. They’re much easier to do than Zero’s, though.

Zeroing In

Getting cars for the dealership isn’t just about jacking them and riding them back to the garage, as it was in Vice City. At least, not initially; instead, you’ll have to run discrete missions to get a few of the cars on the list.

To begin with, ride out with Zero and track down the car that a woman is driving. You’ll have to follow the triangulation signals until you catch up to her, then use a P.I.T. maneuver to spin her around and force her out of the car. The P.I.T., in case you skipped driving school, involves coming up alongside a car, then tapping it on the rear side to spin it around. If you perform one of these on the car you’re pursuing, the woman will exit the vehicle, allowing you to drive it back to the garage.

Test Drive

Nitro is neat for making unique jumps, but it also makes your car fairly difficult to control.

After you grab the cars out of the garage, you’ll have to follow Cesar on a little scripted adventure through the city. Nothing too troublesome here, but you might want to lay off the nitro, as it makes your car somewhat difficult to control.

Customs Fast Track

All you have to do here is go down to the docks and use the crane to get the crates off of the ship. The leftmost crate was the one that contained the car for us, but it may be randomized, so grab any that you wish and lower them to the ground for Cesar to inspect. After you get the correct car, exit the crane, kill off the attackers, and drive back to the garage to pick up your winnings.

After you complete this mission, you’ll unlock the import/export mini-game at the docks.

Puncture Wounds

Another fairly simple one. Take the car you’re supplied with, track down the car you’re targeting, get in front of her, and hit the O button to drop your spike strip behind you so that she runs over it. Luckily for you, the tires miraculously regenerate when you get into her car, so drive it back to your garage to unlock the asset money for the dealership.

Las Venturas Countryside

Toreno

Monster

Your first mission for the enigmatic voice is a simple race against time. You’ll have to maneuver the monster truck through 35 checkpoints in less than six minutes and thirty seconds, but you shouldn’t have a problem meeting this time if you take it nice and slow. The main problem here is flipping the truck; there are plenty of bumps in the path, and the truck itself is rather springy, so you’ll likely wind up upside down once or twice. Do your best to right yourself quickly, so as to not sink too much time into flailing about. The 35th checkpoint is the end of the race, so keep yourself paced with that in mind.

Highjack

You’ll need to hold this position for a few seconds before Cesar can jump over.

You and Cesar are going to have to get all Indiana Jones on a semi if you want to stay in Tereno’s good graces. To begin with, head northwest from Toreno’s place on the bike until you get onto the gray suspension bridge leading back to San Fierro; the tanker’s going to be on the road heading south, so you’ll need to come up alongside it and hover there until Cesar can jump over. This can be pretty difficult to manage, as contact with the truck will often send you careening off to the left, but you should be able to manage it eventually.

After Cesar eliminates the driver of the tanker, bring it back to the garage in San Fierro to complete the mission. You’ll need to wait for Tereno to call you before you can pick up another mission.

Interdiction

There aren’t any simple wait-behind-the-plane-and-pick-up-the-packages missions in San Andreas; instead, you’ll have to get to Toreno’s checkpoint, ride your vehicle up to the top of a nearby hill, use a rocket launcher to protect the chopper as it drops its package, retrieve the package, return it to another checkpoint, then finally return to Toreno to get your paycheck. Although you cover a lot of ground here, you’re not on a timer for any of these steps, so get cracking and get paid. Of particular note is the fact that there’s a Seasparrow heliboat near the point where the package lands, so you can use it to deliver the package and then fly back to Toreno’s location, if you wish.

Verdant Meadows

There’s nothing to this one; just return to the airport that you passed by during the last mission and purchase it. Despite Toreno’s intimations, you won’t actually be able to buy it for a dollar; you’ll have to pay a cool $80,000. If you don’t have the scratch, you’ll need to raise it in whatever manner you see fit: exporting cars, collecting cash from your assets back in San Fierro, etc. After you get the airstrip, you’ll have to learn to fly before you can take any more missions from Toreno.

Learning To Fly

If you thought the driving missions were tough, then you should be unpleasantly surprised by the airplane and helicopter training sessions; these things are hard. The tutorials are explained fairly well, so it comes down to a matter of practice and repetition before you get past them, and get past them you must; you have to complete all the tests before you can move on with the core missions of the game.

At least it’s easy to retry these sessions when you fail, because you’re going to fail them a lot.

For the plane, try to keep adjustments to a minimum while you’re in the air. In the banking missions, make soft turns after each corona and wait for your plane to level itself off; the fewer adjustments you have to do as you approach a corona, the better. The helicopter missions are generally easier than the planes, although using the weapons will take some getting used to. You can expect to spend at least half an hour trying to get through all of these, so get to it.

N.O.E.

N.O.E. (which stands for Nap Of the Earth, meaning to fly really, really low) will see you taking up an airplane and, well, flying really, really low. You’ve got way more time than you need for this mission, so don’t feel pressured on that count.

After you take off, avoid making a hard left; Fort Carlson is restricted airspace, and they will shoot you down with SAM’s if you fly too close. The main caveat for the rest of your flight is the fact that you have to fly no more than a couple hundred feet off the ground; if you stay above radar level for too long, the Air Force will scramble out someone to check the area. This isn’t an auto-fail, though, so just get back below radar level and stay there until the heat’s off.

The trees here will likely force you above radar limit, so watch out for jets and homing missiles on your radar.

The drop-off point, as you’ll discover, is surrounded by trees. You might just want to stay safely above them and accept the radar lock before diving through the corona and losing the Air Force by flying low over the water beyond. Beyond that, it’s a simple delivery and return. Don’t screw up the landing, though; you have to get your plane back in one piece to beat the mission.

Stowaway

Although this takes place at the airport, there’s no flying involved, unless you count the kind of flying that involves jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Granted, it’s not in great condition by the time you jump out...

You’re going to have to repeat the whole bike-chase sequence at the beginning a number of times before you get it right. The "trick," assuming there is such a thing, is to keep going straight on your bike, following along the plane on its right side, until you’re near the ramp and going fast enough to hit it. This’ll occur towards the end of the runway. When your screen is shaking from the speed, wait for one last load of barrels to drop out of the plane’s rear, then veer onto the ramp before the plane takes off. It’s difficult, but it can be done.

Thankfully, the interior segment of the mission is a bit simpler. If you fire a weapon on board, the plane will explode and you’ll fail the mission, but you can still ease your way through the feds with your fists or any other melee weapon. The last guy on board has a parachute, so kill him and grab it, then lay down a satchel charge and jump out the back.

The Truth

Black Project

You won’t be able to pick up Black Project until you complete Toreno’s missions at the airport, at which point The Truth will drop by and convince you to see what the heck the government has going on at Area 69. Area 69, get it?

Fourteen-year-old humor aside, this is a pretty cool mission if you like wandering into heavily secured army bases. The soldiers here, and there are plenty of them, all pack M4’s, so you’ll want to kill off the one by the gate, then turn his weapon on his friends. The M4 can either be auto-aimed or manually aimed, so click your R1 key periodically to see if there’s anyone within auto-aim range.

The game has a strange definition of ‘easy’. It’s usually better to just blast your way through and hit the duct.

You have two options so far as penetrating the underground lab goes: you can either play it stealthy by avoiding the searchlights and making it to the control tower to unlock the blast doors, or you can just go hogwild and kill everyone you see, taking all of their ammo before proceeding to the grate on the far side of the base and dropping through. There’s a set of body armor near the control tower, and a health recharge at the bottom of the vent itself, so try to clear out a path between the two before recharging yourself completely and dropping down to the interior of the base.

After you reach the base, the time limit is no longer relevant; feel free to stick around past 5:30 if you wish, since the mission won’t automatically end at the point. The close quarters here make it a bit more difficult to take out the guards, so try to get their attention and lure them back out to chokepoints before killing them at a distance; they’re deadly with their M1’s at short range. Luckily, there are no fewer than four suits of armor scattered around in the base, so you should be set on those.

Somehow, breaking into a military base and stealing a top-secret project is just easier when you’re dressed like a member of Run-DMC.

In order to reach the Black Project, you’ll have to reach the bottom of a missile silo, but before you head there, search around and find the control room to disable the SAM sites. The missile silo’s stairs are overrun with guards, making it a difficult place to penetrate; we found it helpful to crouch-and-roll down the stairs, keeping our guns pointed towards the middle of the silo, and locking on to enemies when we heard them firing at us. Before you pick up the item at the bottom of the silo, though, return to the upper levels and find a fresh set of armor.

After you grab the jetpack, bust out of the silo and head for the nearest wall of the army base. If you disengaged the SAM’s in the control room, you shouldn’t have any trouble making it to the rendezvous with The Truth.

Now that you have a jetpack, you can use it to pick up a minigun, if you wish. There's a minigun floating above a gray bracing on the railroad bridge on the northeastern side of San Fierro. Getting it repeatedly will involve a lot of long trips to a save point, but you should be able to get a bunch of ammo for it if you're willing to put a little time into it.

Green Goo

The last mission before you can acquire the airstrip as an asset sees CJ hijacking a train while using the jetpack. The train itself is uncovered, so you’ll be able to fire on the soldiers aboard from midair, but they, of course, will be firing back, and there’s a lot of them, so bring along a suit of armor if possible. After you eliminate the soldiers, shoot the crates until you find the jar of green goo, then return it to The Truth to get your cash.

Las Venturas

The third and final city in the game is modeled on Las Vegas, with casinos aplenty. Wu Zi has situated himself at the head of a Triad-run casino, with a convenient save point outside, so you can use it to increase your bank to an obscene amount, if you’re willing to put a little time into it.

Two games here are worth mentioning. The first is video poker; you can find numerous banks of these machines just inside the entrance to the Four Dragons casino. Save your game before playing, but when you do play, head straight for the highest-paying machine you can afford. There are $5000 machines and $10000 machines, and you can enter five coins per hand, letting you wager up to $50000 a hand. We’re not going to lie and say that this is an easy way to make money - you’ll lose more often than not - but if you’re willing to sink in some time and wait for a big payday, you should be able to increase your bankroll quite a bit with minimal effort.

Getting’ paid!

In essence, all you can really do in video poker is hold any pairs on your opening hand and hope for trips. A three of a kind will get you back three times your bet. If you don’t have a pair in your opening hand, hold any face cards and hope for a pair - a pair of jacks or higher will win you your stake bet, effectively making the hand a wash. If you have no pairs, faces, or four to a straight or flush, ditch the whole hand and hope the second hand is better. This might not be correct video poker technique - people actually write books about how to beat these machines - but since you can reload your game at any time and get all your cash back, just go for the easy money. You can find more tips and percentages in the Extras chapter below.

After you get a big bank, you’ll be able to play roulette for insane amounts of money. You can’t just walk up to a roulette table and bet a million bucks your first trip to the casino, though; you have to increase your gambling skill first. Video poker will increase it, so if you want to play that for a while, then save your game and bet your entire stash of money on black or red. You can eventually unlock the million-dollar table, which will let you make a million bucks in just a few seconds, and you can do it as many times as you want. If you lose a round, just reload your game and try again.

Two other things to take note of: first off, you can grab body armor from the parking lot across the street from the save point outside Wu Zi’s casino. Secondly, you can find a pair of rocket launcher pickups in the parking garage behind the Emerald Isle casino, on the northern end of the strip. There’s one on level eight of the garage itself, and another on the roof, which you can reach by taking the stairs from level ten.

Wu Zi

Fender Ketchup

Even a hardened mobster like this can’t take too much fright.

The easiest way to get the snitch to talk is to take him back out to the Strip and drive on the wrong side of the road, weaving in and out of traffic, but without making contact with oncoming vehicles. When you’re ready to turn around, make a hard handbrake turn onto the opposite side of the road and repeat the process. The rate that the Scare-o-Meter increases will decrease as it nears the end of the bar, but just keep up the scares and the stoolie will spill the beans soon enough.

Explosive Situation

Gotta hand it to CJ; he’s becoming quite the psycho. Even before you have any definite plans to strike back against the mob families that are roughing over Wu Zi’s casino, he’s gonna go out and find some explosives to do the dirty work with.

To begin with, head down to the quarry. You’ll have to bust the cases of explosives open with the big old truck there, and don’t worry about the workers; you can run them over simultaneous. After each crate of explosives is busted open, though, you’ll have to jump out of your truck and grab the dynamite, then repeat the process for the next load, and you’ve only got a couple of minutes to work with, so keep a move on.

After the dynamite’s been collected, a twist is thrown in in the form of quarry security, who’ll block off the main exit from the mine. You’ll need to follow the very specific path laid out by the red path markers until you hit a hill that’ll get you out of the quarry.

Architectural Espionage

You can find this mission across the way from Wu Zi’s office; it’s shown on your map with a cash icon, which is listed as a Robbery icon in the map legend. Before you can knock over Caligula’s Casino, you’ll have to photograph the plans for it.

After you exit the Five Dragons, you’ll need to grab a camera. Head up the strip a bit until you find the tourists (their icon may be obscured by the North marker on your mini-map), then kill the cameraman and grab his Leica.

The City Planning building isn’t difficult to infiltrate; just respond positively to the secretary, and she’ll let you through. The plans are impossible to photograph due to the guard nearby (though they have been thoughtfully tagged to the wall), so you’ll have to return down to the third floor and destroy the air regulators. This will cause a fire, which will get you enough of a distraction to photograph the plans, but will also tip the guards to your presence, meaning that you’ll have to fight your way back to the ground floor, out of the building, and back to the casino, all under a three or four-star wanted level. This is going to be difficult, needless to say, so ignore the cops and get into a vehicle ASAP when you’re out of the building.

You’ve Had Your Chips

This is a toughie, so get body armor and a whole lot of ammo from the Ammu-Nation near the casino if you’re running short. If you still have the M4 ammo you picked up from Fort Carlson, that should suffice, but you’ll definitely need 300-400 rounds if you want to successfully complete this mission.

Sneak around behind the car if you want to get into the factory without raising a ruckus. Well, not a large ruckus, anyway.

When you’re ready, head on over to the plastics factory and head through the entrance. You’ll get a pop-up warning you of the goons in the car, so take a left, then work your way around to the back of the factory and sneak in from the car’s backside; you’ll know you’re in the right place when you spot the chainsaw. If you manage to sneak in, you’ll still have to deal with a factory full of baddies, but they’ll come in waves rather than all at once. It’s best to hang an immediate left when you reach the factory and clear out everyone in the open corner of the building, then just wait there for the rest to come to you. The machines can confuse your targeting, though, so keep CJ facing towards the center of the building.

As mentioned, you’ll have a few waves of bad guys to deal with, but you can eventually clear the place out. After that, you have to get down to the business of destroying the plastics machines. These things have a lot of health, and explode if you try to destroy them with melee weapons, so the only way to detonate them safely is to use your weapons at a distance. Do so, then make your way back to the casino to get your reward. Watch out for enemies on the crates outside the factory as you exfiltrate, though!

Key To Her Heart

In order to get the keycard from the croupier, you’re going to need to follow her around town until she hits up a sex shop. After you grab the gimp suit inside, keep following her and wait outside until the gimp approaches; he’ll arrive on foot, and won’t be wearing a shirt, so kill him, grab his...weapon, and head inside to pick up a new girlfriend.

In order to get her keycard, you’ll have to take her out on dates. You can take her out immediately after you finish this mission - the Steakhouse is your best bet for big love, and is represented by a fork-and-knife on your map - but she’ll likely require multiple dates before giving with the goods. You can get more missions from Wu Zi in the meantime, so check back every once in a while and treat her nice. After a few dates, she’ll call you on your cell phone and let you know that she’s left the card in her bedroom, so head into her house and grab it.

Dam And Blast

Because all casino heists involve knocking out the power to an entire city - it’s the law - CJ has to destroy the dam that supplies electricity to Las Venturas. You can’t just drive over to the dam and say, "Excuse me, would you mind if I blow this up?" though; you’ll need to grab a plane from the airport and do a little James Bondish parachuting to reach your destination.

You can’t just jump out of the plane when you’re directly over the dam; that’d be too easy. Instead, you’ll have to make it all the way up to a corona in the sky before you’re able to bail out. The corona is way, way up there, too; you’ll have to keep rising all the way from the airport to the marker to hit it. If you can’t quite get there, fly past it and make a hard bank to return. When you hit the corona, bail out and orient CJ towards the new marker on the ground below. If you’re really good with the parachutes, you might be able to land directly in the circle, but if worst comes to worst, you can just bail into the water and swim from there to the quay.

Good thing this guard has a patrol route that has him facing a wall, or you’d never be able to stab him.

After making your way past the security guards (you’ll need to get silent kills on these guys), you’ll be inside the dam. There are four more people inside here, including two guards that will pace along the left wall. You can take the workers out fairly easily with your knife, but for the guards, you’ll have to hide in one of the dark cubicles along the wall and wait for them to pass you by before slitting their throats. If anyone sees you, you’ll have a more difficult time placing your charges on the generators, but you should be able to complete the mission either way, especially if you have body armor. Regardless, plant your charges and hit the exit to complete the mission.

Cop Wheels

This is another mission that’s difficult to beat on your first try, so don’t get too discouraged. The gist of it is that you have 12 minutes to track down four police bikes from all over Las Venturas and drive them to a truck. The catch is that you can’t, of course, drive more than one bike at a time, and that the truck will be roaming around the city on the freeway, forcing you to catch up to it when you do have a bike in your possession.

If you can get ahead of the Packer, it’s a lot easier to coordinate your arrival towards its position.

The trick here is to know where the truck is, even when you can’t see it on the map. It begins its journey on the eastern side of town, so start by grabbing the southeasternmost bike. Since the Packer drives clockwise, you can then proceed to the west, north, and northeastern bikes and get them onto the truck as it passes by their position. Needless to say, if you grab the northern bike while the Packer is on the southern freeway, you’re going to be adding a couple of minutes to your commute time. If you go in the correct clockwise order, though, you should be able to complete the mission with over four minutes to spare.

The other big sticker here are the cops themselves. They’re not going to view your theft of their property too kindly, and if you get to two or more stars, you’re going to have lots of problems getting the bikes back to the truck without getting run over. Thus, it’s important not to kill the cops while you’re stealing their bikes. This may be unavoidable, in the cases of the bikes that take off as you approach them, so if you do get a couple of stars, keep an eye out for the star pickups around town that will reduce your wanted level.

Up, Up, And Away

Now that you have your cop bikes for the decoy truck, you need the decoy truck itself. Unfortunately, a street-level jacking is a bit too risky, so you’ll have to infiltrate a heavily-guarded military base, steal a helicopter with a loading hook, find a truck on the ground, hook it up, and take it to a safe location to be painted. Which, of course, is far preferable to sticking a gun in some armored car driver’s face.... This mission has a high incidence of combat, so be sure that you have body armor and plenty of ammo before you head in.

If you can get atop these crates, you should be able to avoid the bulk of the baddies in the hangar.

When you leave the casino, jack a car and head towards the base. As you arrive, a Hummer will be coming out, so take the opportunity and drive through the gates as they open. Immediately take a left and drive past the open hangar doors; note the huge number of M4-wielding badasses inside. You can stop the car and proceed through there, if you wish - there are health and armor pickups inside, so it’s doable - but a more workable solution is to keep heading around the building until you find some shipping crates. If you get on top of these, you’ll be spotted by some guards, but they’ll likely bunch up near the wall, allowing you to use a rocket or grenade to blow them all to hell. When they’re gone, jump across to the wall and fall down; you’ll now be on the rear side of the hangar, and you can run past the rear doorway and deal with any pursuers as they come out. Or, if you’re running low on health and ammo, you can clear out the hangar with your M4 and get the pickups.

Proceed up the steps, killing any guards you find, until you get a message about incoming gunships. There’s a minigun emplacement nearby, highlighted with a red circle, so hop into it and blast the gunships, then grab your own helicopter and jet out.

Hauling the truck can make for some odd flight physics. Retracting the winch all the way should help smooth out the ride.

After you get the helicopter, make your way to the parked security truck and lift it up with the winch. In order to avoid damaging your heli, extend your winch as far down as it’ll go, then hover over the truck; you’ll automatically grab it with the magnet when it’s close enough. When you do have a good grip on the truck, reel the winch in as far as it’ll go and head out to the airstrip that you own. You’ll have to drop the truck into a fairly small circle when you arrive, so go slow, and use the L3 click to level yourself out. If you’re having trouble, you can drag the truck into the circle after dropping it somwhere else.

When you have the truck safely stowed, land in the indicated area and save your game afterwards. You don’t want to have to do all that again if you do something stupid, now do you?

Fish In A Barrel

There’s no gameplay involved in this "mission"; it’s just a cutscene. Enjoy.

Breaking The Bank At Caligula’s

The glorious heist mission will begin after Carl makes his way into Caligula’s. You only have four minutes to get the team into the casino, but that should be more than you need if you check your waypoints and stick to the main corridors of the building.

To begin with, hit the swipecard door in the casino’s main lobby to access the secured portion of the building, then find the ventilation shaft in the generator room and chuck a canister of gas into it. After that goes down, Zero will blow the charges you placed at the dam, which for some reason were never removed by the hordes of cops that chased you away. It’ll become pitch black at this point, so equip your nightvision goggles, get through the second security door, then find the door through which the van will enter. You’ll need to hang a right and grab a forklift to open it.

Next up is the cash grab itself. You’ll have to take the team back through the hallways, killing off all of the security guards that get in your way. There are a lot of them, but they’re shooting blind, so you shouldn’t take too much damage if you keep your distance. After you get to the vault, you’ll have to head upstairs and blow the backup generators; use the satchel charges near the vault door if you don’t have any other explosives. After that occurs, the mafia will again try to block your passage back to the truck, so it’ll be another corridor crawl. Just stay in front of your team and flip between your SMG and M4 to clear out everyone without having to reload.

It’s actually a bad idea to shoot down the helicopter here, as it’ll just intensify the police pressure on you.

When the team is clear of the building, you’ll have to work your way back through the corridors one last time to reach the roof access elevator. The enemies won’t appear on your radar anymore, and the lights will be restored, so stay frosty during your trip. When you reach the roof, start jumping onto the ledges above you to reach the parachute, then jump off of the building and attempt to glide over to the helicopter across the way. This is a difficult maneuver to perform, though, so don’t feel too bad if you can’t make it. It might be easier to just grab a car on the ground, hit the Pay N Spray, and drive back to the safe house on the roads. When you arrive, it’s mission accomplished.

A Home In The Hills

If CJ wants to rule the whole damn state, he’s going to have to get resituated back in Los Santos. The perfect place from which to reign is Madd Dogg’s crib, but unfortunately, it’s been taken over by drug dealers. Who better to clean it out than the state’s most notorious mass-murderer?

For some reason or another, you’re going to have to parachute in to the mansion’s roof. In order to make the drop properly, you’ll have to blow your chute almost as soon as you leave the plane; from there, you can glide down to the rooftops without any problem. If you wait too long, you’ll fall short, and will have to run around to the far end of the building and make your way up the ramp.

When you’re on the roof, stay back and let the Triad goons be the targets while you pop the dealers with your M4 or SMG. Eventually, more Triads will arrive, and you can storm the house.

Let the Triads move ahead and clear out these rooms before grabbing the body armor in one of them and moving on.

If you’ve managed to get this far into the game, one would presume that you have some proficiency with the FPS-like controls, which is good, because you’re going to need to use them. For the most part, you can stick behind your Triad friends and let them clear out the many rooms in the first corridor, one of which contains a suit of body armor. Eventually, though, they’ll stay behind, and you’ll have to drop down the steps (grabbing the health restore in the kitchen) and give chase to Big Poppa, who’ll attempt to leave the mansion. After this point, enemies will appear one at a time, for the most part, so just proceed slowly but surely until you exit the building.

Although your goal is listed as running Big Poppa off the road, what you’re actually trying to do is destroy his car, so don’t hesitate to use as much SMG ammo as it takes in drive-bys to get the job done. His car isn’t any more healthy than it should be, so you shouldn’t have to wail on it too much, but on the flipside, it can explode rather quickly if you manage to trap him, so be sure to get away as soon as it starts smoking and finish the job with ordinary vehicular roughhousing.

The Truth

Don Peyote

Although The Truth gives you this mission, it ties into the troubles with Wu Zi’s casino, as the end result will let you scope out Caligula’s Palace without causing too many eyebrows to raise.

Luckily, it isn’t a very difficult mission, although it does involve one of those annoying cross-country jaunts. After TT gives you the location of the band members, head out that way and locate them. You’ll need to ferry them around, which requires a four-door vehicle; if you don’t have one, drop down to the nearby highway and get a taxi or somesuch, then return to the Brits and grab them.

Your first stop, for some reason or another, is the snake farm near your airstrip, so run by there, kill all the yokels, then get the band into Las Venturas to finish off the mission. After you complete it, Kent Paul will call you up and start offering you missions on behalf of Ken Rosenthal.

Ken Rosenthal

Intensive Care

It appears as though the snitch you roughed up with the car earlier is now a likely target for a mob hit, so you’ll have to go and pick him up from the hospital and move him to a safe location. Unfortunately for you, it appears that some mob goons have already picked him up, so after you arrive, you’ll need to track them down and get them to exit the ambulance that they’re driving. (It’s a fitting Rockstar bit of humor that a mission given to you by a lawyer will see you chasing ambulances.)

To complicate matters further, though, you’ll have three ambulances to chase, only one of which, obviously, is the correct one. The other two are real ambulances, and you’ll need to ram them to check their reaction; if the driver jumps out and yells at you, then you’ve hit a real ambulance; if he drives off faster, then you’ve found your target. You’ll almost always hit a real ambulance first, though, and after the driver calls in his warning, the mob ambulance will start making its way to the freeway to escape out of town.

When you get this message, start blasting away at the ambulance and it’ll eventually stop.

At this point, you’ll have two ambulances to chase after, only one of which is the real one. If you’re in a fast car, and you probably should be for this mission, just go for whichever one’s closer and tap it. If it’s another real one, then book it for the last ambulance. When you do find the mob ambulance, you’ll have to rough it up a bit by ramming it around on the road, so try to jack something hardy, like a Sentinal or an Admiral, before you start the destruction derby.

After a bit of roughhousing, though, the goons will jump out of the ambulance and start blasting you. They pack SMGs, so be cautious as you make your way to the ambulance. Even after you do gain control of it, though, your trip to your destination will be beset by more mobsters in sedans that’ll try to run you off the road. You can’t shake them, so drive like a madman until you get back to the factory.

The Meat Business

Not much to say here; this is a straight-up killing mission. Get loaded out with all the ammo and armor you can carry at the Ammu-Nation, then drive Ken over to the abattoir. After CJ delivers one of the best lines in the game, you’ll have to shoot your way through a couple dozen mobsters to escape. Don’t worry, the guys don’t have particularly great aim, so take them out from as far away as possible, then exit the building and drive Ken back to Caligula’s.

Freefall

Of all the crazy-ass stuff that you’ve been asked to do so far, making a free jump from one plane to another a mile above the ocean has got to be the craziest. Nonetheless, if you want to please your new mob master, you’ll have to fly out to meet the incoming plane (and it’s waaay out there, well beyond where the map ends), get behind it, and fly through the trailing corona. This’ll drop you onto the rival mob’s plane, where you can kill off the assassins before they land. (Use the L1 button to fire while you keep your right thumb on the analog stick, and bring along a full set of armor, as this can be a tough little shooting gallery.)

Saint Mark’s Bistro

Farelli’s a bad man, so stay back and take him down from across the room.

Although you might be thinking Ultimate Easter Egg, your trip to Liberty City only consists of a one-building interior view. Bring along body armor and clear the place out! After you eliminate everyone on the upper level, you can chuck grenades down below to kill off everyone but Farelli. Said boss has dual-wield Uzis, and packs a lot of health, so you might want to take him out with a rocket launcher or minigun if you have either of those. Regardless, when he’s dead, make your way down to the bottom of the restaurant to get out of dodge. You’ll get your money and respect when you make a successful landing in Las Venturas. This will also enable you to get your heist on, assuming you did the rest of Wu Zi’s missions and got the keycard from your girl up north.

Madd Dogg

Madd Dogg

This is really more of a mini-game than a mission; when prompted, grab the Walton around the corner and use it to catch Madd Dogg when he jumps. You don’t need to adjust your position relative to the building; just hit forward or reverse and try to keep yourself so that the bed of the truck is beneath Dogg’s position. When he lands, drive him to the hospital and drop him off. You have an unlimited amount of time for this, so take it slow and don’t hit anything. You’ll need to do this mission to unlock the endgame series of missions in Los Santos, so get cracking.

C.R.A.S.H.

Misappropriation

After you finish up a couple of missions for Rosenthal, the C.R.A.S.H. boys will appear at a home outside of town, with another prototypical assassination mission. This one’s simple enough; make it to the deserted town (which, as usual, is halfway across the map), then kill the agent and retrieve the dossier. Before you open fire, though, you’ll want to make sure you have a clean shot at the agent. Thus, you’ll want to work your way around to the north side of town and kill him first before taking out all of the cops and grabbing the dossier. You don’t have to return it to Tenpenny to finish the mission; you end it right away.

High Noon

Doesn’t sound like Tenpenny has anything up his sleeve when he calls you for this mission, does he now? No, this is certainly all above board. Regardless, make sure you have a bunch of Uzi or SMG ammo, and be absolutely sure that you make the rendezvous with a couple hours of daylight remaining; this is a tough mission to complete at night. You’ll also want to make your savegame at a point near the mission pickup, such as at the airstrip.

At its heart, though, this is another assassination mission, albeit one where you have to kill Officer Pulaski. He’ll take off in what appears to be a Buffalo at the beginning, whereas all you have to work with is a dune buggy. (You can try to shoot him before he gets into the vehicle, but he’s immune to gunfire, and even a rocket won’t destroy the car.)

If you can beat Pulaski to this turn on the switchback, you’ll hopefully be able to jack a more resilient car before he catches up.

Your first priority is to exchange the buggy for a more solid vehicle. The buggy is nice for the desert, sure, but you’ll be on pavement for most of this little run, and the buggy can’t take much damage. Luckily for you, the first road that Pulaski hits will be a big switchback; check your map and drive over the cliff to a point where you’ll land ahead of Pulaski. This should give you a minute to grab another car (preferably something big, like a Ranger), or, if no one’s around, to line up a rocket or satchel charge on Pulaski’s path.

If you do manage to get a new car, though, you’ll have to chase down Pulaski and ram him or drive-by his car until he jumps out. It’s easier to say that than to do it, though, as he’s a wily driver; try to hit him when he’s on a long stretch of road. If he ducks into a town, tap him and try to get him caught up on a building; if you succeed, you can come alongside him and unload a bunch of shells into the side of the car. When you do enough damage to his vehicle, Pulaski’ll jump out and you can run him down for the win.

Back To The Hood

You’re back in your old haunt, but Los Santos isn’t quite the same as it was before...luckily for you, you’ll soon be reunited with your brother, who’ll help you through the endgame missions.

Sweet

Beat Down On B Dup

After you get the hood under control, it’s time to go after the source of the crack influx. The first mission Sweet has lined up for you isn’t too hard; all you have to do is initiate a gang war in Glen Park (which is indicated on your map with a green airplane, for some reason), take over the territory, then kill off all of B Dup’s guards before interrogating him.

Grove 4 Life

Now that you’ve got a bit of a foothold, you’ll have to expand your territory once again. This time you’ll be required to take over two territories in Idlewood. Don’t forget to bring along some bangers from Grove Street, and check around the area after your first takeover to locate armor and health pick-ups.

CJ

Vertical Bird

"You just have to steal a military jet off an amphibious vehicle, and use it to destroy a flotilla of spy ships." Nothing to it!

Although the game intimates that a stealth approach to infiltrating the aircraft carrier is best, ignore it and go in hog-wild. There are only five or six guards inside, and the interior spaces are quite large, so whip out your M4 or SMG and kill everyone before finding the SAM sites and disabling the ship’s defenses. When that’s done, grab a Hydra from the second floor of the ship and take to the skies.

The Hydra is unique in that it can flip between plane physics (by pressing forward on the right analog stick) and quasi-helicopter physics (by pulling back on the stick). Since you’re going to have to take down a few other fighter jets, you’ll want to be in plane mode at the outset.

There are three hostile planes to take down, but they should be relatively easy to deal with, so long as you fly around in circles and vary your altitude a lot. Keep your R1 key depressed while you’re flying, and as soon as you see a red targeting circle, start tapping away at L1 to fire off your rockets. Each plane will take a few blows before it goes down, but you probably won’t be taking any fire at all, so as long as you can avoid crashing, you should be golden.

You can destroy these ships easily when you learn how to hover.

The ships in the bay above the dam can be tricky to hit, but take the game’s advice and go into hover mode by clicking R3 before you attempt to kill them off. Do this when you’re well above the ground, though, as it can be difficult to gain altitude while you’re in hover mode. After all the ships are destroyed, get the plane back to the airstrip to finish the mission.

Home Coming

Now that Sweet’s out of prison, you’ll have to convince him that you still have respect for Grove Street by taking the territory back from the Ballas. After you arrive back at your house, you’ll need to initiate a gang war and survive three waves of incoming troops. This shouldn’t be too difficult - you can grab a Body Armor in Madd Dogg’s mansion before you begin the mission, if you don’t already have one, and you should have plenty of high-tech weapons and ammo. The most annoying aspect of it is the way that Sweet seems to enjoy walking in front of you when you’re trying to get a bead on the incoming Ballas.

After the Ballas are dead, track down and kill the crack dealers to end the mission. Before you do, though, move any cars that are in Smoke’s driveway, as you can sometimes spawn inside of them during the ending cutscene, which will force you to reload your game. Also note that you can save your game at CJ’s house by jumping through the mission circle in front of the door.

Cut Throat Business

This mission is seemingly unfailable. You’ll have to chase OG Loc on hovercraft, and then switch over to go-karts when he makes landfall. You can’t overtake him, or even come up alongside him for a drive-by, so just stay on his tail until you reach your destination.

The Endgame

Riot

All you have to do here is drive Sweet from the mansion to Grove Street. The eponymous riot is ongoing, though, so be careful for exploding cars.

Los Desperados

There are a whole lot of enemies here, so be sure you have some body armor before you head out.

Cesar needs you to help him clear out the Vegas out of the barrio. They’ve fortified their position pretty good, but this is still just another corridor crawling mission; go in with plenty of ammo, full health, and a set of body armor, and you should come through just fine. The only scary spot is the enemy with a rocket launcher at the end, but so long as you don’t move after you spot him, he shouldn’t be able to hit you.

After this mission, Sweet’ll tell you to roll out and take over some more territories. Hope you like the gang war mechanism, because you’re going to have to get Scarface on those punks for an hour or so of playing time before Sweet finally hits you up on your cell phone and lets you know that he’s located Smoke. Note that the already omnipresent police force is now even more densely stuffed onto the streets; even a single star will thus mean that you’ll have nonstop harrassment from the cops when you’re on the street. Note also that the cars and vehicles on the streets are weakened, and will explode very easily; in most cases, the best vehicle for you will be a police car, should one roll up and the driver gets out. Other than that, a bike makes a surprisingly useful ride here.

End Of The Line

Time for Big Smoke to die. Grab the SWAT tank (approach from the south, or the Ballas’ll blast you), then ram through the wall into Big Smoke’s Crack Fortress. Apparently he’s built quite the empire while you were out of town, and now resides on the top floor of a full-fledged crack factory. You’re gonna have to bust in there and shut the place down, much like Robocop.

Big Smoke’s Crack Palace becomes quite the abattoir when CJ rolls through.

On the first floor, you don’t have much to worry about, save one huge room full of crack fiends. This occurs just after you see the first body armor pickup, so if you’re near full on the armor, save that pickup until after you clear out the next room. There’s also a health pickup and an automatic shotgun in a small room near the doorway leading to the next floor. The next couple of floors are similar affairs; just blast through the baddies, keeping your back to a wall, and check all of the rooms for extra health and armor.

The top floor, as mentioned, is Big Smoke. He’s got body armor on, so he can take a bunch of damage, and the lights will go out while your fighting, making it difficult to see. He’ll also call in some backup during the fight, so keep an eye open. Although the game tells you to aim for other parts of his body, you can still kill him with bodyshots, and this is probably the preferable way to do it; just get into a corner, lock on to him with your M4 or AK, and hold down the button until he drops. If you enter the fight with most of your health and armor intact, you should be able to take him down without a problem.

Tenpenny arrives afterwards; apparently you will be able to kill two birds with one stone. As he leaves, he sets the building on fire, so you’ll need to grab a fire extinguisher and use it to douse any flames that are in your path. You have extra time to work with here - even a leisurely pace should get you ou with a minute or so to spare - so buck down all the fools in your way and get out of the building. If you’re running low on health or armor, feel free to check the side rooms along your path.

Be sure to get underneath Sweet to catch him before he falls off the firetruck.

Tenpenny takes off in a firetruck when you reach the street, with Sweet in tow. All you can do for a long time is follow along; eventually a cop will start pounding on Sweet’s fingers, and you’ll have to drive underneath him to pick him up. Thus begins the final portion of the game, another rail-shooting mission. You won’t be able to damage the firetruck, so concentrate on the cop cars and motorcycles that follow along. When Tenpenny finally crashes, he’ll check out and you can watch the credits roll. Of course, if you skip past the credits, you’ll be able to continue on with CJ and attempt to do any side missions that you avoided on your first play-through. One of the notable changes to the game world is that Toreno’s house to the west of San Fierro now houses pickups for all four of the game’s heavy weapons, so if you’re looking for heat-seeking missiles or a minigun, head out that away.

Extras

Mini-Games

Stadium Challenges

Blood Bowl (San Fierro)

The Blood Bowl is located on the southern end of San Fierro. It's similar to a challenge from Vice City, but with a few new twists thrown in.

As you enter the ring, you'll find yourself in a car at the top of a large bowl-shaped depression, along with a dozen or so other cars. Your goal is to get into the large red pillars of light scattered around the bowl, each of which add 15 seconds to your total time; you'll need to reach a minute of time in order to win the challenge. Unfortunately, the other cars in the arena have the same goal, and will thus be heading towards the same pillars as yourself; they'll also be trying to destroy your car, so keep an eye out for wrench pick-ups that will repair your vehicle.

Although the game does keep track of how many vehicles you destroy, it's important to remember that the objective isn't to cause chaos; it's to survive. Since the pillars appear at random, though, part of this is avoiding other cars, while part is just plain luck. If you spot another car heading for a pillar while you're still a distance away, you can pretty much kiss it goodbye. Sometimes, though, the pillars appear fairly high up on the side of the bowl, and the AI cars have a difficult time reaching these.

8-Track (Los Santos)

Although this seems simple - it's a straight-up race against 11 other destruction derby cars - it can actually be somewhat difficult to get through it without burning your car out. You can't take pit stops here, and you don't get any kind of super damage-resistant car, so you'll have to be careful to avoid damage as much as possible, especially in the early race. There's a particular turn that's difficult to make without slamming into the wall, especially when you have a bunch of other cars hassling you, so be careful.

Get to the lead, and avoid mistakes, and you should find yourself winning this match without a problem.

One thing to note is that your car is a bit floaty. If possible, avoid braking; instead, just let up off the gas before turning. Braking, even of the regular variety, will often cause you to spin out. Another item of note is that when your car blows up, you're considered to be wasted, with a full trip to the hospital and the loss of all your weapons that that entails. If you start smoking or flaming, bail out of your car; you'll only be disqualified for this, and will be able to try the race again immediately.

Dirt Track (Las Venturas, Mondays and Wednesdays)

When your computer opponents hit this hill, they'll invariably crash. Take advantage of this to charge to the front of the pack.

This is another simple race against a bunch of Sanchez-riding maniacs. In terms of pure difficulty, this would be a hard race if it wasn't for the fact that there's a single jump that will usually send all of your AI challengers off their bikes. You'll quickly learn which jump it is, so keep to the inside of the track, avoid the wreckage, take the lead, and keep it. The other racers will crash here each lap, so as long as you avoid any tumbles yourself, you shouldn't have any problems building up an insurmountable lead.

Kickstart (Las Venturas, all days save Mondays and Wednesdays)

This little set of obstacles here is relatively easy to maneuver, but will get you plenty of points towards your goal.

Kickstart isn't a race; rather, it's a replica of the motorbike obstacle-course thing we all knew and loved in Vice City. Your objective here is to get 26 or more points while riding around in a Sanchez; green coronas are worth one point, yellow coronas two, and red coronas three. The red and yellow coronas are, obviously enough, going to be more difficult to obtain, but there's one small structure in the center of the ring that's fairly easy to ascend, and will give you around 15 points if you manage to get all of the coronas on it, leaving you plenty of time in which to obtain the remainder of the points that you need. Check the screenshot to see what we're talking about!

Training Challenges

Boat School

MedalsUnlocked Vehicle (appears near school)
All Bronze or betterMarquis
All Silver or betterSquallo
All GoldJetmax

Boat School is the easiest of all the schools to complete, since it possesses only five tests, none of which are very difficult. Note that damaging your boat or hovercraft or hitting a bouy will deduct points from your final totals for each test, though.

Driving School (San Fierro)

MedalsUnlocked Vehicle (appears near school)
All Bronze or betterSuper GT
All Silver or betterBullet
All GoldHotknife

You'll have to complete all of the driving school missions in order to access the Race Tournaments around Los Santos. Most of the challenges here are fairly simple, and so long as you avoid the cones, you shouldn't have a problem completing them, or at least getting bronze medals. The toughest one is the final challenge, where you have to race across the city and back without taking too much damage. See our tips for the “Back To School” mission in the main walkthrough for details.

Motorcycle School (Las Venturas)

MedalsUnlocked Vehicle (appears near school)
All Bronze or betterFreeway
All Silver or betterFCR-900
All GoldNRG-500

Again, not too difficult, for the most part. The exception, though, is again the last mission, which will require a buttload of repeat attempts before you get it right. Said mission requires you to hit a jump, land in a stoppie, then keep the stoppie going until you reach the target zone. The two difficulties here include actually landing in a stoppie (if your rear wheel touches down, you lose) and getting into the end zone without spinning the bike around (because if you're off-axis, you lose a massive amount of points).

Landing in a stoppie is the easier of the two; just make sure you land with your front wheel forward and the brake depressed. After you land, though, you'll probably want to tap the gas a bit to get yourself into the end zone. The trouble here is that your bike will almost always spin around on the front tire, draining almost all of your points towards a medal. There's no easy answer to this; you might want to experiment with different weight-shifts as you land, or try lowering the stoppie before you hit the finish zone, and hope you don't get disqualified. In its favor, the test is only eight seconds long, and you can try it as long as you like. We had to try it probably a hundred times or more to even bronze this one, so don't get discouraged; you'll hit it eventually.

Flying School

MedalsUnlocked Vehicle (appears near school)
All Bronze or betterRustler
All Silver or betterStuntplane
All GoldHunter (attack helicopter)

You'll have to complete flying school as part of the core missions of the game, so hopefully you're good at flying! Unlike the other schools, this one actually consists of lessons revolving around two different vehicles: airplanes and helicopters. Since your flight school training will likely be the first time you encounter real flight mechanics in San Andreas, you can be pardoned for crashing a few times, or feeling immensely frustrated with the tests laid out before you, but you should find that failed missions get a little bit easier each time you re-try them, as you get more used to the flight mechanics.

If you're ever prompted to land anywhere on the runway, but are given a target location, try to hit the target location for extra points.

For the airplane missions, you have to adjust to the light touch that planes require. The controls are very sensitive, and it's easy to oversteer and go out of control, or lose just enough control to miss a corona. Luckily, most of the planes in these tests have some amount of auto-levelling which you can use to get yourself back on track after you turn; if you get used to making small turns after coming out of coronas, you should level off automatically. This will let you coast along to the next corona, where you can repeat the process until you reach the end of the course. Also try to utilize your square and X buttons to full effect; you can slam on the X button to get to the next corona quickly, then use the square button to slow down, allowing you to more easily make a turn through a corona.

Arguably the most difficult mission here is the Destroy Targets mission with the Hunter. If you used the Hunter a lot in Vice City, then hopefully you've retained some of those skills for this challenge, as it can be difficult for the unitiated. Even destroying the stationary targets on the runway can be difficult, since they can each take a couple of rocket blasts before they're destroyed. Try to stay a hundred feet or so off the ground and fire both your guns and rockets, floating slowly over them to increase your chances of landing missiles. It's important not to veer off to the left or right after take-off; just press the analog stick forward, since you're already perfectly aligned with the trucks themselves. Unfortunately, the trucks will usually get blown into the air when they're destroyed, which can lead to some extremely frustrating early ends to your challenge if the debris hits you. Hence the need to stay a hundred feet or so off the ground....

After the semis are destroyed, though, you'll have to veer around and take out two moving targets on the highway. These guys don't move too quickly, though, so if you can get behind them and line up rockets and guns, you should be able to take them down without too much of a hassle, and after that, all that's required is a nice landing. If you want a gold medal, though, you'll need to have both a low overall time for the challenge and a perfect landing inside the target area.

After the Destroy Targets mission, though, the remaining challenges are a walk in the park.

Ammu-Nation

You have to complete three rounds of target practice with four different weapons in the Ammu-Nation challenge in order to win. If you are already a pro with the weapons (which consist of 9mm Pistol, MicroSMG, Shotgun, and an AK-47), then you shouldn't have any trouble with the challenges, but they're perfectly doable even if you haven't maxed your weapon stats.

In rounds one and two, you have to completely destroy three target boards before your opponents manage to destroy their own targets. You have a bit of an advantage in accuracy, assuming you've gotten good with the manual-aiming controls, so take advantage of that fact and spray bullets as quickly as possible towards the seven red circles on the target. The third trial involves shooting the same target that the other two contestants are hitting; the first person to hit 20 segments wins the challenge.

You can try this challenge fairly early in the game, but, as mentioned, it'll be a little easier when you've increased your weapon skill with the chosen weapons. The toughest of these challenges is actually the shotgun, since your rate of fire will be reduced significantly when compared to the other weapons; you'll need to aim carefully if you want to come out the victor there, especially on the third segment. The Pistol and Uzi segments are obviously easier if you've become capable of dual-wielding those weapons, but it isn't necessary to win.

Vehicle Challenges

Valet Parking

You can attempt the Valet Parking missions at the Vank Hoff hotel in San Fierro, but you'll need the Valet uniform to do so. You'll obtain the uniform as a part of your core missions, so you can't miss it.

When you start the Valet missions, you'll be given two minutes to take a set number of cars from the car port to the parking garage beneath the hotel. You start off with a three car requirement, and will eventually be asked to park up to seven cars in the same two minutes, but this shouldn't be difficult to accomplish, since you gain time on the clock when you successfully park a car. If you manage to get the car to its space without damaging it, you'll automatically gain back 45 seconds; you can earn another 15 seconds if you align the car properly within the lines. The former bonus is much more important, obviously, so take care not to hit anything on your way down into the garage.

One thing to note is that there are other valets competing for your cars. You can kill them if you wish, but you'll incur a twenty second penalty if you do so. In general, they're not worth bothering with, as they'll only grab cars when you're in the garage; when you're at the carport, you're pretty much guaranteed to get the cars as they roll up.

You can use another car in the garage to get back to the carport quickly, if you don't have a lot of stamina.

When you do grab a car, drive it through the small gap in the planters on the edge of the hotel, then make a sharp right and head down into the garage. After a few tries, you should be able to do this without incurring any damage. Getting back up to the carport is a lot easier if you have a lot of stamina for sprinting; if you don't, grab another car from the garage and use it to speed up the ramp.

Taxi Missions

Completion Level: 50
Reward: Nitro on all Taxis

The taxi missions in GTA: San Andreas are a great way to make some early money while you're tooling around in Los Santos, and are also required for 100% completion of the game. They're not horrendously difficult to pull off, but getting up to level 50 will take quite a bit of time, as you have to deliver 50 fares in a row, without getting out of a taxi.

If you've played Taxi missions in either of the previous GTA games, you should know the basics of this. First off, find a Taxi or a Cabbie, jack it, then hit the R3 button to start the game. If you're in a city, you should spot a fare immediately; they'll appear on your radar with blue icons, and in the game world with blue arrows over their head. If you drive up next to one and stop, they'll get in and give you their destination. The first few fares will be short drives, but as you get farther up the ladder, you're going to have some lengthy drives ahead of you.

Of course, you'll have to complete each fare within a certain time frame in order to not fail the mission. You have a master clock for the taxi missions in general which is added to each time you pick up a fare; the farther away the destination is, the more time you'll be given to reach it. Each individual fare will have his or her own small tip meter, as well; the longer you take to get them to the destination, or the more damage your cab takes en route, the less money you'll get from the fare. In the end, though, the money from fares won't be significant next to the amount of money you'll get from the mission itself; you gain a bonus of $100 dollars for delivering two passengers in a row without ending the mission, and this bonus will snowball into a huge bonus if you can string together a few dozen fares in a row.

Unlike many vehicle missions, you don't need to be incredible anal about keeping your cab in tip-top shape for these missions.

The trickiest things about the cab missions are getting to your destination quickly and keeping your cab in good condition. Getting places in a short amount of time is a direct function of your familiarity with the game world, but then, doing taxi missions will increase this familiarity, so there's something of a positive feedback loop there; the more missions you do, the better you'll be at them. Keeping your car undamaged is a bit more difficult, as you'll obviously hit a few cars and obstacles here and there. You can take the taxi to a Pay N Spray, if you must, and you probably should after every few fares, especially if you spot on while you're driving a fare along. You'll probably sacrifice all of your tip money if you get sprayed during a fare, but that's inconsequential when you compare it to the fact that you'll be able to keep driving longer.

One thing to note is that San Fierro, with its many hills, is a difficult place to do taxi missions in. If you're planning to go to Level 50 for your 100% complete game, you should start in either Los Santos or Las Venturas, preferably the latter.

Ambulance Missions

Completion Level: 12
Reward: Health gets boosted to 150.

If you want to get to 100% completion in San Andreas, one of the most difficult tasks standing in your way will be the ambulance missions. These are somewhat similar to the taxi missions, in that you have to pick up fares and return them to the hospital, but although you have to complete fewer levels to complete the task, this is balanced against the fact that each level will require you to pick up an ever-greater number of passengers. At level one, you'll have one fare, at level two, two fares, and so on. The catch here is that your ambulance only has three seats, so starting at level four, you'll have to start making multiple drop-offs per level in order to get everyone back in one piece.

The complications here include the vehicle itself. Unlike a taxi, you can't bring an ambulance into a Pay N Spray, so you'll have to be incredibly careful with it while you drive around, since it'll need to last for the half-hour or more that you'll need to get all twelve levels out of the way. It's prone to tipping, as well, so you can't just blaze around turns, especially not when you're on an incline. In addition, you have to protect your passengers while you drive; if you subject them to too many collisions or big bumps, they'll die on you. Needless to say, slow and steady wins the race here.

Again, San Fierro is a bad place to try and finish off the Ambulance missions. Las Venturas is a better choice.

Pimping Missions

Completion Level: 12
Reward: Cash money.

In order to pimp, you have to enter a pimpmobile, of which there's only one variety: the Broadway. You can find one of these near the carwash a few blocks from Smoke's house, or near Madd Dogg's mansion in Los Santos, or in a variety of other locations. When you activate the pimping missions, you'll have to ferry your girls around to their stops and protect them from aggressive johns in exchange for a cut of the cash that they make.

Luckily, you only have two girls to deal with, so all you need to do is get them to their appointment before the clock runs out. After you drop off your first girl, you'll have an unlimited amount of time to reach the second girl, so hit the Pay N Spray if you need to restore your car's health.

After a few levels, the johns will start to get rough with your ladies, or attempt to leave without paying, so you'll need to whack them. You can get out of your ride for a few moments to use a weapon, or just perform a drive-by, if you wish.

Vigilante Missions

Completion Level: 12
Reward: Maximum armor level becomes 150.

Vigilante missions are a bit easier than most vehicle missions, although not by a whole lot. If you want to get all the way to level 12, load up with a few thousand SMG rounds at Ammu-Nation (there's nothing worse than getting to level 11 or 12 before running out of ammo!), then find any police or military vehicle and click the R3 button to get busy.

The purpose of a Vigilante mission is to track down and kill bad guys; they're represented on your radar with a red blip. When you reach the location of a blip, you'll find a vehicle with a red arrow atop it; as the baddie catches sight of you, though, he or she will start to speed away, so you'll need to engage in some hot pursuit if you want to catch them. At level one, you'll have a car with a single driver, at level two, you'll have a car with a driver and passenger, at level five, you'll have one car with four occupants, as well as a second car with a single driver, and so on. In order to complete a level, you'll need to kill all of the targets, which usually involves getting alongside them and engaging in a drive-by until their vehicle is damaged enough to force them out, then picking them off while they're unprotected. The armament of your enemies will also increase in quality you proceed through the levels, so be ready for some firefights when they finally do duck out of their cars.

There are numerous vehicles in which you can attempt a Vigilante mission; pretty much anything that comes along in the course of your own experiences with police can be used, from a lowly HPV1000 to the mighty Rhino tank. Everything has its own specific utility; although the police bike will leave you open to damage, for instance, you can fire forward on it with your SMG by using the L1 button, which makes it fairly easy to blow up the criminal cars from a distance, without having to come up alongside them (which lets all of the criminal occupants of said cars fire back at you). You can also use the vehicle-specific weaponry of some vehicles to further your cause; the Rhino's turret will make exceedingly short work of your enemy's cars, for instance, while the Hunter attack chopper's missiles can do the same.

You can feel free to get out of your vehicle to hunt down suspects, but you may have to deal with significant police pressure if you do so.

In all, the mechanics of hunting down criminals and killing them aren't difficult; you should be able to build up quite a stash of time after your first few missions, eliminating that particular source of tension. What's more difficult to deal with are the other cops; they don't take too kindly to you boning in on their suspect apprehension turf. In other words, your destruction of the vehicles and criminals will get you stars as normal, meaning that you'll have to deal with pressure from the police as you go about and make your rounds. There are a couple of ways to deal with this.

The first is to eliminate your wanted stars as they start to make your life difficult. This is perhaps most easily done through police bribes, but this is somewhat inefficient, since they only eliminate a single star and won't always be conveniently available to you. A better method is to sacrifice a bit of time and make a stop into a Pay N Spray to eliminate your stars. Obviously enough, you can't take a military or police vehicle into a Pay N Spray, but since you can exit your vehicle for up to sixty seconds, it's usually feasible to get out of your police vehicle, hop into or jack a normal car, drive it into the Pay N Spray, and then return your cop car before the 60 seconds are up. (This is especially easy in San Fierro, where you can bust through the upper floor of the car dealership and grab a car to drive into the Pay N Spray. Assuming, of course, you completed the car dealership acquisition missions.)

If you have a police vehicle in need of repairs, on the other hand, you have limited options. If you have a surfeit of time, and a low wanted level, then you can park such a vehicle in one of your safe house garages, let the door close, then open it again; the vehicle should be completely repaired and ready to use. In most cases, though, you can just grab another cop vehicle when you have a small wanted level, as there'll be plenty of them around after a few criminal kills. If you have a Rhino, though, you'll probably find a quick garage stop between every fourth level or so will ensure that you can keep your tank throughout the length of the mission, assuming you don't run headlong into every car you see.

The ultimate Vigilante vehicle, though, shouldn't require any repairs at all. If you can obtain the Hunter assault chopper (by getting all gold medals at flight school), you can use it to easily complete the level 12 requirement for your Vigilante missions, assuming you're decent at controlling it. Since you can fly above any obstacles (or cops), you shouldn't take any damage at all, save for that incurred by bumping into things.

Burglary Missions

Completion Level: Get $10,000 by stealing items.
Reward: CJ becomes fireproof.

In order to run a Burglary mission, you'll first need to complete the Home Invasion mission that Ryder gives you early in the game. After that occurs, you can get in the Boxville trucks in each major city (for example, south of the gym in Los Santos) to begin burglary missions.

After you declare your enter to buglarize, you have to find a house with something worth stealing. These are indicated by yellow arrows in front of their doors, but these arrows can be difficult to spot from the street, so you may have to get up on the sidewalk to see them. When you locate a likely target, leave the truck and head inside.

While you have your burglar mask on, you can creep around and not make too much noise; don't forget to crouch for even greater stealth capabilities. Inside a house, you should find numerous items of value; pick them up with your triangle key and bring them back to the truck. After you fill up the truck or empty out the house, return to the lockup indicated on your map to drop off the goods. You'll earn twenty bucks for each item you stole, along with a bonus for the total number of items that you returned.

Of course, this wouldn't be much fun if there wasn't any risk to it. If you make too much noise, or are seen by one of the house's occupants, you'll have ten seconds to get out of the house, or you'll earn a wanted level.

Regardless of whether or not you're in the process of burglarizing someone, the mission will end at 6:00; any items in your truck that you haven't delivered to the lockup won't generate any cash. Since you need $10,000 from the burglary missions to achieve 100% game completion, your best bet is to go for big bonuses by stealing items from multiple houses up until 4:30 or so, and then delivering them all at once.

Firefighting Missions

Completion Level: 12
Reward: CJ becomes fireproof.

Firefighter missions are almost as difficult as Ambulance missions, although for different reasons. With Ambulance missions, you have to be very careful not to damage your vehicle, while with firefighting missions, the firetruck will be fairly durable (although you still can't leave it or take it into the Pay N Spray, so be careful), but you'll find yourself on the razor's edge timewise.

When you enter a firetruck and click R3 to begin the missions, you'll be pointed to a burning car; head towards it and use your L1 button and the right analog stick to douse the car with water, putting it out. Sounds easy enough, but for each subsequent mission, you'll have to douse both a car and its passengers, and said passengers will be running for their lives. It's the running part of it that makes these missions difficult; people on foot can run into places that your firetruck simply isn't maneuverable enough to reach. You'll need to peg them with water before they get too far, then, or you'll waste most of your time tracking them down.

Eventually, you'll have to deal with multiple cars, each with multiple occupants, for ultra-crazy hardness! When you have multiple cars, try to spray them one at a time, dealing with all of the occupants of a car before moving on to the next car in the line.

Trucking Missions

Completion Level: 8
Reward: Obtain RS Haul as an asset.

There are eight trucking missions in all; these are discrete, designed missions, not random affairs like the emergency vehicle missions. For these, you'll either have to deliver a load to an area within a specific amount of time (being late reduces your reward); deliver a fragile load (taking damage reduces your reward); or deliver stolen goods (which will bring along with it a constant three-star wanted level).

Of these, the most difficult is the last sort. You don't take a lot of damage in your semi, but you will take damage, and if you ever have to stop for any reason, you can expect to get blown away by the cops' bullets. If you can find a route to your destination that doesn't involve tunnels (which will often be too small for your semi and load), you should be fine.

Other Challenges

Chiliad Challenge

The Chiliad Challenge is only available after you get your Cycling skill up a bit, so if you're not eligible to participate, try doing the Courier challenge in Los Santos beforehand. The Challenge opens up between 7:00 and 18:00; to start it, fly or drive up to the very top of Mount Chiliad and hop atop the Mountain Bike there.

Try to avoid doing these missions in the rain, if possible, as it'll make it harder to complete.

Chiliad consists of three different races, all downhill races on the mountain bike. You'll obviously want to have as much Cycling skill as possible here, as the mountain paths will have plenty of opportunities for falling. The annoying thing here, though, is the fact that you don't get reset to the top of the mountain if you lose or get disqualified, meaning that you'll have to rescale the mountain after each unsuccessful attempt to try again. You'll also automatically get changed over to biking shorts when you try one of these; you'll have to return to a wardrobe to change back into whatever you were wearing before.

Beyond that, though, these are straightforward races. Get to the finish line first!

BMX Challenge

The BMX challenge is located in Glen Park in Los Santos; you probably noticed a bike park, complete with half-pipes, when you passed through during the bike-back-to-the-Grove mission early in the game. When you head back that way, then get on the BMX bike near one of the half-pipes, you'll start the BMX challenge. You'll need to have upgraded your Cycling stat before you can attempt this challenge, though. (If you aren't eligible, you can probably get the skills you need by running the Courier mission from Roboi's Food Mart in the Commerce district.)

The higher you can bunny hop, the easier this challenge will be.

In this challenge, you'll have to get through a number of coronas scattered around the park; some are scattered about on the ground, but many of them will require you to catch air before you can get them, meaning that you'll need to bunny hop. Although you don't have to max out your cycling stat to start the mission, you may need to get fairly close in order to actually complete it, as the highest rings require some large bunny hops. You're also on a timer for this challenge; you start with only ten seconds, but each ring you get adds ten seconds to your time. Go for the easy rings first, then use the buffer time you build up to focus on the more challenging ones.

If you fail to get all of the rings before the timer runs out completely, you can start it again by riding away from the park with your bike, then riding back in. This will cause the bike to respawn, allowing you to jump back on for another try.

Lowrider Challenge

In order to unlock this mission, you'll have to bypass the Cesar Vialpando mission given to you by Sweet early in the game. After that's done, you'll notice a man standing outside Unity Station in Los Santos; if you speak to him, he'll offer to let you into the lowrider competition. In order to compete, you'll need a vehicle with hydraulics, so if you don't have one already, hit the chop shop and order up a set.

After you begin, you should recall what to do from the story mission; watch the arrows as they float across the screen, and press the right analog stick in the corresponding direction when it overlaps with the circle. You only need to win this once (not including for the Cesar mission) to get your credit towards 100% game completion.

NRG-500 Challenge

The NRG-500 Challenge is identical to the BMX challenge, save for the fact that it takes place on a superbike, and is located at the San Fierro docks. You're faced off with another assortment of red coronas, which are situated around what's essentially an empty, smooth-sloped pool, some of which are easy to hit, but some of which are quite difficult to get.

First off, grab the easy ones, on the bottom of the pool and around the upper edge, to build up your time reserves for the more difficult jumps. Getting the highest coronas will require you to build up a lot of speed, which can be difficult to do, given the relatively small size of the pool; those aligned on either side of the long axis of the pool will be maddeningly difficult to hit properly, since you'll have to jet down the opposite side to get enough speed to make the jump. Luckily, the highest coronas leave small shadows on the upper edges of the pool, so aim for these. You may need to shift your weight backwards on the bike before you can successfully hit the high coronas; otherwise, you may sail forward when you jump.

This will probably be a bit more difficult to complete than the BMX challenge for most people; the best thing about it is that you can just ignore the competition and race away in the NRG if you're just looking for a fast bike to tool around in.

Quarry Missions

The Quarry Missions become unlocked after performing the Explosive Situation mission, given to you by Wu Zi in Las Venturas. After CJ's brazen theft of explosives from the quarry, apparently all is forgiven, and the quarry officials seem to want him to come around and help them out. You'll have seven missions in all to complete, if you want to get to 100% game completion.

Don't worry too much about the dozer's health in these missions; it can take a beating, and is tough to overturn.

Mission 1: This one's actually pretty tough! You only have 3:30 to get around the mine in a dozer and push rocks off of the ledges, so that they don't block the path of an incoming load. Luckily for you, the dozer can turn on a dime, so you won't have to spend much time reorienting yourself for each rockfall. It can also drop from one ledge to another without turning over, so drop down if you need to reach a rock beneath you. After you hit the first rock, head counterclockwise (e.g. take a right), then hit each rock as you see it, dropping off of ledges as needed.

Mission 2: This one's similar to the first one, save that you only have four rocks. Now, though, they're explosive barrels, and you'll need to push them into designated circles in order to dispose of them. The trickiest one is arguably the first; if you get that one, you can fairly easily drop off of the ledges and make it to the next bombs with plenty of time remaining.

Mission 3: You'll have to chase down an escaping Dumper and destroy it in this mission. Once you catch up to it, though, it should be easy enough to destroy; all it takes is a few seconds of drive-by fire to set it alight.

Mission 4: Now that you've killed the bombers, you'll have to take their bodies and dump them before the cops arrive. You have four minutes to do so, so grab the Sanchez and get over to the other entrance to the mine. Don't try to cross the mine itself; wrap around the wall from the outside.

When you reach the Dumper with the bodies, take it back around to the front side and start descending into the quarry itself, sticking to the white road. The bodies are fairly immobile, but all it takes is one good shake to jar them loose, so if you hit a wall or, god forbid, take a tumble off a ledge, you can expect to have to start the mission over. If you can avoid any wall contact, though, you should be set. When you reach the fire at the bottom of the quarry, back the truck in and use the right analog stick to dump the bodies into it.

Mission 5: You have to deliver explosive barrels to the Verdant Meadows airstrip within three minutes. Although the game tells you that the load is fragile, you can actually bounce around a bit; as with the bodies, though, if you hit an obstacle (such as a car or rock), you'll drop the barrels, and probably die.

The easiest way to get to Verdant Meadows safely is to shift over to the train tracks, ride them north for a ways, then go offroad and connect up with the western road leading to the airport before you come up alongside an overhanging rock. You will, of course, avoid all traffic while riding on the railroad tracks (watch out for any trains, though), but you will have to avoid rocks and traffic on your short jaunt to the airstrip. When you reach the landing strip, though, you should be homefree. If you follow this route, you should be able to get to the destination point with as much as a minute remaining; drop your load there to complete the mission.

Mission 6: In this mission, you have to use the painfully slow dozer to clear out a bunch of explosives from the train tracks to the north, before a train approaches. You won't be able to clear all of the barrels individually before the train arrives, so just try to sweep them up as you ride north; as you stack up more barrels in the front...thing/part of the dozer, they'll eventually start to sweep out on either side, and as lond as you're keeping your speed up, they should clear the track easily. (If they're still a threat, they'll stay on your radar; if they're clear, they'll disappear. Track down any behind you that are still a threat before moving on.) After all of the barrels are clear, you'll get a message indicating that the train is incoming, so get the dozer off the tracks lest you want to get hit by the fastest vehicle you'll probably ever see in San Andreas.

Mission 7: The final mission for the quarry is a complicated, multi-part affair. Begin by hopping onto the Sanchez near the office and getting yourself down into the bottom of the quarry; if you've increased your Bike skill, you should be able to just launch yourself off one of the ledges and land without a problem. When you reach the initial mark, you'll be prompted to enter a dozer and push the bike and the cop's body into the red zone. The bike is easy, but the body will give you trouble, as it has a tendency to slip underneath the dozer, precipitating numerous starts and stops. Rather than have it slide under, try pushing it in spurts; push it a ways, stop and let it roll, then repeat, etc.

Be careful to actually get the body and bike into the Dumper; if you miss, you'll have to grab them and try again.

When you have both items in the red zone, you'll have to jet up to the crane and load both items into the Dumper nearby. The crane is a bit different than some of the others, in that pushing the left analog stick will both move the magnet forwards and backwards as well as up and down, but it shouldn't be too hard to get used to. Just make sure that you have the items place properly over the dumper's bed before you let them go.

When both items are in place, gingerly drive out of the lot. You know the deal - if you hit a big bump, items go bye-bye. You'll be directed towards a nearby river, so back up to it, raise the flatbed, and dump your load without having the Dumper go into the river itself.

If all goes well, you should unlock the Quarry asset after completing the mission. It gives you a whopping 2,000 bucks! Not quite worth the effort, but required if you want to make it to 100% completion.

Import/Exports

After you beat the Customs Fast Track mission in San Fierro, you'll be able to export and import vehicles by heading down to the freight ship at the docks there. If you've played either of the previous games in the GTA series, you should be familiar with this feature; you can earn a whole lot of cash by doing it, and will gain another notch in your 100% completion belt if you manage to successfully export all of the cars on the board near the boat.

The process of exporting a car is simple; when you get into one of the wanted cars, a message will pop up letting you know that the car is wanted down at the docks. If you drive it down there, you can either drive up the ramp to the deck of the ship, or use the crane to pick up the car and drop it into the red circle. When you do so, you'll gain a cash reward that varies based on the rarity/value of the car and the condition it's in; if you damage it a lot en route, you can lose thousands of dollars from your prize, so it may be worthwhile to hit up the Pay N Spray before stopping by.

There are three different boards, with ten cars each. You have to get all of the cars from the first board to unlock the second board, and then you'll be required to locate and deliver all of the second board's cars before you can move on to the third and final board.

Board 1Board 2Board 3
PatriotSlamvanBlade
SanchezBlista CompactFreeway
StretchStaffordMesa
FeltzerSabreZR-350
RemingtonFCR-900Euros
BuffaloCheetahBanshee
SentinelRancherSuper GT
InfernusStallionJourney
CamperTankerHuntley
AdmiralCometBF Injection

Some of these are fairly common, many are fairly rare. They won't all be found within the city limits of San Fierro, of course; some will only be located in the backcountry, some will only be in Las Venturas or Los Santos. You're going to have a heck of a time getting all of the cars for exporting, but if you do, you should manage to make around a million dollars for your efforts.

In addition to exporting cars, you can also import (buy) cars from the ship by walking up to the board and pressing the triangle button when prompted. You can find some obscure cars here, including those that you've already exported, but the cars are expensive, especially when you consider that you can jack any vehicle in the game world for free.

Freight Train

If you want to get to 100% game completion, you'll have to make ten successful deliveries in the Freight Train. Luckily, it's exceedingly simple to do so.

Before you can begin, you'll obviously have to be in a Freight Train, so head to a train station and wait for one to roll up. When it's stopped, jack it, then hit R3 to begin the mission. In it, you have to deliver five loads to five different stations within a certain window of time. X button accelerates, square button stops (or reverses, if need be). The trickiest part of the whole affair is managing the insanely long acceleration and stopping distances of the train itself; it can take you the better part of a minute to get up to top speed. Don't go too fast, though; at around 48 mph, you'll notice that your screen will start to shake, and if you keep accelerating beyond this point, you'll derail the train. You won't die from this, but you will have to start the delivery missions over.

You don't want to be going more than 15 mph or so during the last 100 units of distance to the stopping zone; any more and you're likely to overshoot.

Assuming you can learn how to stop the train within the delivery zones, though, you should be able to complete the missions without much of a trouble. If you're travelling around 40-45 mph, you'll need to slam on the brakes around 400 units of distance before the delivery zone to get yourself in position to stop. Once you get down to around 10 mph, ease up off the brakes and coast into the stopping position; the front car of the train has to stop within it before you can move on to the next delivery. The first level of deliveries has five stops, as does the second level; completing both will get you your mark towards 100% completion.

Courier Missions

There are three courier missions in all, one in each major city. These don't show up on your map, and indeed aren't visible from the street; in order to discover them, you'll have to hop onto a bike or motorcycle outside a business, at which point the mission will automatically begin.

Los Santos: You can find this mission at Roboi's Food Mart in the Commerce district. There's a BMX bike outside, jump on to get going. San Fierro: Located on a Freeway motorcycle outside a Hippy Shopper in Queens. There may be more than one of these shops in Queens, so look around for the bike. Las Venturas: Get on the Faggio outside of Burger Shot in Redsands East.

You'll need to be fairly close to your target to get your package through, so slow down and get right next to it before throwing.

In the courier missions, you'll have to ride around and deliver a number of packages within a set time limit. You deliver the packages by locating coronas set alongside certain streets; when you're next to one, do a drive-by (L2 or R2 buttons, O button to throw) to chuck one of your packages through the corona before moving on to the next. You can't be moving too fast when you do this, though, or you'll miss the corona; if you do, you can return and pick up the package and try again, or just throw out another package. If you miss a package and throw another one before picking up the first, the first will disappear, but you should have a few extras on each run. Extra packages are converted into cash between each level, though, so if you're strapped for cash, you might want to throw as few packages as possible and save the rest.

Beyond that, the game is fairly simple; throw packages through a certain number of coronas in a certain amount of time, then return to the shop before your time limit runs out. Timewise, you should be fine so long as you choose a correct route. All of the coronas will appear on your map at the beginning of a round, so open it up and try to get an idea of a good path to take. Each round will have more coronas, but will also extend your time limit, so as long as you're familiar with a city, you shouldn't have too many problems. You will have to use the same vehicle for all four rounds of a specific mission, though, so you may have to duck into a Pay N Spray if it starts to smoke. After four rounds are up, you'll get cash for the last round, and will gain the store as a business asset.

Race Tournaments

The Race Tournaments are unlocked after you complete Driving School, and can be found in each of the major cities. There's nothing exceptionally unique about these races; when you find the location where they're given, step into the circle to get a menu of available races, then select one and get going. In order to get a 100% game completion percentage, you'll need to get first place in all of the races in all four of the race tournaments. Obviously enough, this is easier to do when you have a very high Driving/Bike/Flying skill, so you may want to save these races until later in the game.

The races can be fairly difficult, if only because your competitors will often run near-perfect races. You do have a bit of a speed advantage, though, so if you can knock them around or get them off the track, you'll usually be able to build up a lead. The most basic advice we can give is precisely that: build up a lead, preferably early in the race, and then don't make mistakes. Some of your ability to do this will rely on your skill with whatever type of vehicle you're using in the race, but part of it will rely on your patience for retrying a race over and over, as no amount of pure description can prepare you for the twists and turns of each individual race, of which there are over 20 in all. Practice, then, and repeat each race until you come in first.

When you've got a fast car, just get out in the lead and floor it, but watch out for traffic.

In most of the races, your worst nightmare will be oncoming and outgoing traffic; inadvertant collisions will be the source of many a spill or flip and a restarted race. Try to go off-road whenever it's feasible to do so without actually increasing your risk; even staying on the shoulder or sidewalk is sometimes preferably to being on the street. If you're confident of your ability to thread the needle, you can also ride down the stripes in the middle of the street, but tapping into one of the oncoming cars will usually sap all of your speed, so this is a risky proposition.

In general, though, you can afford to slow down when you need to, especially if it's in the service of avoiding a collision or something that would ruin your entire run. Occasionally, though, you will take a superspill that will push you to the back of the pack and effectively make it impossible to come in first. If this occurs, you can quickly get back to the race-selection menu by getting out of your car and blowing it up. (In most races, blowing up your opponents will also disqualify you, although this is a bit harder to do.)

Los Santos

You can find the Los Santos races in Little Mexico. The most difficult race here is Freeway, when you'll have to complete a circuit on the eponymous roadway with a Super GT. The Super GT is a powerful car, and fast, but a fragile one, and will explode with the barest provocation. There's nothing quite as deflating as getting all the way through a race and then blowing up just before the finish line, so try not to knock yourself around too much.

San Fierro

The San Fierro races are located near the Wang Cars dealership, near your garage save point. Many of these races will actually take place in the backwoods areas south of San Fierro, rather than in the city itself, including the devestatingly difficult Country Endurance race. Although you have a fast car for this latter race - a Bullet - you have to go almost seven miles in it, and the Bullet is one of the physically weakest cars in the entire game, meaning that you'll have to be ponderously careful not to hit any obstacles or cars.

Las Venturas

There are two race tournaments in Las Venturas. The first is the Freight Depot race tournament, which possesses only four ground races, two of which are motorcycle challenges. None of these are as difficult as the most challenging races in the other cities, so hit them a few times until you get first place.

The second tournament will give you some headaches, however, as they're all flying races. You can find these races just to the right of the main pilot's entrance to the airport. These actually aren't races at all, but rather timed missions that require you to pass through a series of coronas (much like in the flight school missions). Unfortunately, you aren't given a timer or a target time for these, so you'll just have to do the best you can, given the sometimes over-sensitive flight controls in the game. Don't forget to use your L2 and R2 buttons to turn as often as possible; if you rely exclusively on the analog stick, you'll often find yourself oversteering.

Girlfriends

There are six girlfriends in the game:

  • Denise Robinson: Found automatically in the course of the game's missions.
  • Millie Perkins: Found automatically in the course of the game's missions.
  • Michelle Cannes: Inside the Driving School in San Fierro.
  • Barbara Schternvart: El Quebrados, Tierra Robada (northwest of the Sherman Dam).
  • Helena Wankstein: Blueberry, Red County (northwest of Los Santos).
  • Katie Zhan: On the edge of the Avispa Country Club in San Fierro (south of the gym).

All you have to do to get a date is walk up to a woman; she'll automatically ask you out if she likes you. Obviously, one of San Andreas's most realistic features.

Each of these women (outside of those that you meet due to missions) will have blue arrows when you first see them; all you need to do to get them to go out with you is walk up to them, then respond positively when they ask you on a date. Note that each woman will have a body type that she prefers; Katie likes a guy with lots of muscles, for example, while Michelle prefers someone a little tubbier. If you don't fit a woman's needs when you first approach them, they'll tell you so. All women require lots of Sex Appeal, though, so get some expensive clothes and a nice haircut before you try to get a girl to step out with you.

When you do have a girlfriend available, her home will show up on your map with a heart icon. If they're home, you can take them out to dinner by showing up and walking into the red circle outside. A woman will be impressed if you show up in a car with a lot of Sex Appeal, itself; there are obviously hundreds of different vehicles from which to choose, but, in general, the more expensive a car looks, the more impressed your woman will be. When in doubt, go for the fastest car you can find; vehicles like the Bullet, Banshee, Infernus, etc., will be sure to get your girl all excited. A damaged vehicle won't impress them overmuch, though, so be sure to get to her house in one piece.

After you arrive for your date, your girlfriend will let you know what kind of entertainment she's looking for. In most cases, she'll request some form of dinner or drinks, so take her out to a restaurant and show her a good time. She might also request to go out dancing, in which case you'll have to take her out to a club, or to have fun, which will vary based on the girl. Denise, for example, will want you to take her to rival gang territory and engage in drive-bys.

After you take your date out and drop her off at her home, you can give her something with the L1 button. You'll notice small bouquets of flowers around San Andreas; that's what they're there for. You don't have to give your girlfriend flowers, though; you can try handing something else off to her, but there's no guarantee she'll like it. You can also kiss her with the L1 button. Each gift or kiss will improve your progress with that girlfriend a bit, as will the date itself.

(As a note, if you progress along with obtain Barbara and Kate as girlfriends, you'll be able to keep your weapons if you get wasted or arrested, so be sure to pick them up as soon as possible!)

Gyms And Nutrition

If you want to keep CJ fit as a fiddle, you'll need to balance two things: his exercise, and the amount of food that he eats. These two tasks are measured with three stats: his Fat, his Muscle, and his Nutrition. The last stat is hidden, and won't be visible to you.

Fat and Muscle are somewhat antipodal properties, but aren't complete opposites, as you might expect; you can have a maxed Muscle bar, but still have a little fat on your bones, for instance, and this is probably the ideal situation for CJ. Muscle is, of course, built up in gyms, by using the weight machines; you can usually max out the Muscle bar in just three or four visits to a gym, so if you're looking to get shredded, you can do so easily. Building up Muscle will also burn off any Fat that you've accumulated, which can be a good or bad thing. Usually it's bad, but you can easily get a bit of Fat back on your bones by eating after working out, so it's not something you need to worry about.

The key fact to remember here is that CJ does indeed have that invisible Nutrition stat lurking in the background; if it manages to run out, CJ's body will start to metabolize its constituent components in order to create energy. (Which is likely the most ridiculous sentence ever used to describe a Grand Theft Auto game, but hey, it is what it is.) If you go too long without a meal, then, CJ will start to burn away Fat and Muscle, or even eventually start to reduce his maximum Health. Not a good thing!

If you don't have Fat on you, even the least stressful activities will eventually eat away at your muscle.

Another reason to bring around a bit of Fat is that you will actually burn Muscle when performing normal game activities, such as running or swimming, if you don't have a bit of Fat on your bones. You'll naturally burn Muscle while idling (which is a good reason to pause the game if you have to step away from your console), but if you're running out of Fat and haven't eaten in a while, the rate of decay appears to quicken. The doctor's prescription: eat a couple of square meals after each of your Gym sessions, or, if you're serious about not burning muscle, eat as much as you can without having it affect CJ's in-game appearance. Don't eat too much, though, as CJ will get sick and throw up if you stuff him too much.

Gambling

Although you aren't initially able to do much more than bet chump change at most gambling establishments, there are a variety of games available at the casinos in Las Venturas. In order to unlock higher-limit gambling, you'll have to build up your gambling skill, which you can check with in the Stats - Player screen in the pause menu. In order to do so, you'll have to partake in any kind of gambling that's available to you.

When you first arrive in Las Venturas, you're unlikely to have much of a bankroll, so gambling can be a great way to get mucho dinero in short order. There are plenty of games in the casinos and some, such as pool, available elsewhere, but we'd recommend two of them as being especially fun and efficient.

Video Poker is a great way to get a little cash while building up your Gambling skill.

First up is Video Poker. You can find banks of these machines in Wu Zi's casino in Las Venturas, just inside the entrance, so if you're interested in increasing your bankroll, save your game inside, then head in and start pumping quarters. There are machines for every betting range from one smacker to 10,000 bucks a hand, and since you can enter as many as five coins at a time, you can get up to a 50,000 dollar wager for each hand on a 10,000 dollar machine. If you don't have a huge amount of money to work with, though, try to place a bet that's around one-fifth of your total bankroll, if only so you don't have to reload after each hand.

Your three most basic plays here are:

1: Hold any pairs you get. If you have a pair and flush the rest of your hand, you'll have a 13% chance of drawing three of a kind, which will triple your bet. If you have three of a kind in your opening hand and hold onto all of them, you have around a 4.5% chance of getting four of a kind, which is the highest payout you're likely to ever see. (If you're betting 50k a hand, you'll get 1.25 million back on four of a kind.)

2: Hold any four cards of matched suit and hope for a flush. If you hold four cards of a suit, you have an almost 20% chance of getting a flush. Thus, you should go for this pretty much always, even if you're holding a pair. (If you're holding a pair of jacks or better, you'll have to weigh the 20% chance of sextupling your bet vs. 13% chance of tripling your bet vs. the 100% chance of making your money back.)

3: If you have an open-ended straight draw, meaning that you possess four cards in numerical order (e.g. a 6, 7, 8, and 9), then you have a 17% chance of drawing into a straight with your last card. Although the chances of this occurring are lower than drawing into a flush, straights are much more common than flushes (because the cards involved can be from any suit), so the payout isn't as great, giving you back only four times your initial bet. Still, if you have to flush a pair, then you'll probably want to do so, with the same risks as a flush applying.

These are the most common situations, but you'll also come across opening hands with no-brainer situations. E.g., if you get three of a kind in the opening hand, you hold them, or if you draw into a first-hand full house, you obviously hold that. You can play with greater risk if you have plenty of money to spend, but while you're building up your Gambling skill, play it safe and make your money. Depending on the stakes you're laying down, you'll probably want to save your game after increasing your bankroll by 20% or so; you don't need to save it every time you increase your cash. (Although you can feel free to do so, of course.)

We usually take Wesley Snipes' advice, and always bet on black, but you can vary your bets up as much as you like.

After you get to a point where they'll let you in at the Roulette tables, hit the save spot, then bet all of your money on either red or black. If you lose, reload; if you win, save again and try to double up again. The max bet at these tables is a million dollars; when you're allowed into those, you can gain tens of millions of dollars within a half hour or so of betting and reloading.

Note that your gambling abilities are affected by your Luck stat, available in the same menu as the Gambling skill, albeit further down. This is a numerical stat, without any kind of objective reference to compare it to, but apparently higher is better! If you want to get a high Luck stat, you can collect Horseshoes from around Las Venturas; getting all of them will give you a big boost to Luck.

Triathlons

There are two triathlons in the game, which will require CJ to be in top physical shape, as they consist of biking, sprinting, and swimming portions. These aren't required to get a 100% complete game, but they're fun to try! These are only available on Saturday and Sunday, though, so they're easy to miss. If you want to check them out, head to the beach near the lighthouse in Los Santos. There's another triathlon north of Los Santos, on the beach to the southwest of the town of Palomino Creek.

100% Completion Requirements

If you want to gain a 100% completion in the game (you can check this in the stats menu), you'll obviously need to complete all of the missions given to you in the game. This includes the core storyline missions, as well as asset missions, such as those Zero and Cesar give you in San Fierro. If you have any of these left on your map, hunt them down and check them off.

Beyond overt missions, though there are numerous other requirements for 100%. We've covered most of these in this chapter, but if you want a concise checklist, here you go.

Vehicle Missions

  • Burglar Missions: Gain $10,000 in stolen goods.
  • Firefighting Missions: Get to Level 12.
  • Paramedic Missions: Get to Level 12.
  • Pimping Missions: Get to Level 10.
  • Taxi Missions: Deliver 50 straight fares.
  • Vigilante Missions: Get to Level 12.

Trucking Missions

  • Complete missions one through eight.

Quarry Missions

  • Complete missions one through seven.

Race Tournaments

  • Get 1st Place in all races in Los Santos race tournament (nine races).
  • Get 1st Place in all races in San Fierro race tournament (six races).
  • Get 1st Place in all races in Las Venturas Airport race tournament (flying races, six total).
  • Get 1st Place in all races in Las Venturas Airport Freight Depot race tournament (ground races, four total).

Training Schools

  • Complete Driving School in San Fierro.
  • Complete Flight School at the airstrip in Verdant Meadows.
  • Complete Bike School in Las Venturas.
  • Complete Boat School in Tierra Robada.
  • Complete the Ammu-Nation shooting challenge. (Not available in all Ammu-Nations, check the ones in the big cities.

Stadium Events

  • 8-Track
  • Blood Bowl
  • Dirt Track
  • Kickstart

Courier Missions

  • Complete all Courier missions for Roboi's Food Mart in Los Santos.
  • Complete all Courier missions for Hippy Shopper in San Fierro.
  • Complete all Courier missions for Burger Shot in Las Venturas.

Freight Train

  • Complete Level 2.

Import/Export

  • Complete Exports for all boards (30 cars total on three boards).

Gyms

  • Bulk yourself up and learn new fighting moves at the gyms in Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas.

Challenges

  • Complete the BMX Challenge in Glen Park (Los Santos).
  • Complete the NRG-500 Challenge at the Docks in San Fierro.
  • Complete the Lowrider Challenge in El Corona (Los Santos).
  • Complete the Chiliad Challenge on Mt. Chiliad (southwest corner of the map, three races in all).

Assets

  • Buy all safehouses in the game.
  • Obtain the Zero RC Shop in San Fierro.
  • Obtain Wang Auto in San Fierro.
  • Obtain the Verdant Meadows Airstrip in Verdant Meadows.

Tips and Miscellaneous Info

Early Money

San Andreas is fairly unique in that you aren't going to be rolling in cash in the early game; it can take a long time before you have enough money to do much of anything. Here are some ideas on how to get some money early in the game.

Stoppies: If you can find a sportsbike, you can use it to do stoppies over and over again for small amounts of cash. The easiest place to do this is in the canals behind Sweet's house, as there isn't any traffic to worry about. Just hit the accelerator, shift your weight forward, hit the brake, and try to balance the rear wheel up in the air for as long as possible. With a little practice, you can get over 20 bucks a shot, which is perfect when you only need a little money but don't want to spend a lot of time.

Taxi Missions: Taxi missions are accessible immediately after you begin the game (all you need to do is jack a taxi), and can offer quite a bit of reward money. You should be able to clear a couple thousand dollars just for delivering six fares in a row, making it a low-risk, high-reward profession.

Killing Gang Members: You'll notice clusters of gang members in the various hoods of Los Santos. If they're wearing purple or yellow, ram into them with a car, then get out and grab the cash. You won't always make a lot of money from this - the amount dropped is somewhat random - but it can make for good padding when you're just starting out. You will also get 9mm Pistols and the occasional Tec-9, though.

Unique Jumps: Although getting Tags won't get you cash, as collecting packages used to, Unique Jumps still reward your efforts, with 500 dollars going into your bank for each one you manage. There are plenty of Unique Jumps around Los Santos - over 20 in all - with four or five of them situated along the railroad tracks that run from Unity Station to the northeastern corner of the city. Hit any likely-looking or conspicuous ramps with a fast car, and you should be able to make some easy money.

Obtaining Rhinos

One of the ultimate weapons in the last few GTA games has been the Rhino Tank. Known primarily for their near-indestructibility, their ability to destroy cars merely by running into them, and their formidable turret, the Rhino is one of the most fun vehicles to drive in GTA.

Of course, actually getting a Rhino is fairly difficult, if you're not willing to use a cheat code to do it. (See the cheats section below.) If you're a perfectionist, then you'll eventually wind up gaining a Rhino when you get a 100% completion percentage; at this point, a Rhino and a Hydra will spawn outside of your home in Los Santos.

If you want a Rhino earlier in the game, though, you'll have to jack one from the Army. Unlike in Vice City, you won't see any Rhinos as part of your missions, so you'll need to get yourself up to six wanted stars before the Army starts rolling into town. This is most easily accomplished after you get to Las Venturas, where the two rocket launcher pickups in the Emerald Isle parking garage (on the eighth level and above the tenth, near the helipad) will let you create a whole heapin' helping of mayhem, as well as destroy the helicopters that will come to harrass you. The helicopters themselves are one of the keys to getting more stars, as after a while, killing cops becomes a seemingly inefficient method of gaining a higher wanted level.

Eventually, though, you'll gain a six-star wanted level. After the Rhinos start appearing (you might have to move around a bit to encourage this), you have a few options with which to grab one. The most obvious would be to wait until the driver pops out, then run alongside and jack the thing, but there are obvious difficulties here, the most obvious of which is the fact that the Army grunts pack M4s, and thus will be able to drop you fairly quickly. If you can take him out, then proceed with caution, as there are likely more cops, FBI men, and Army grunts in the area.

There's nothing quite like a Rhino when you want to create a little carnage.

A second method, and one that proved fruitful in Vice City, is to try and get into a Pay N Spray while there are Rhinos in the area. If you can get in and out of the Pay N Spray, then the occupants of the Rhinos will likely wait there passively, or drive slowly away. This will let you get alongside them and jack them much more easily. Of course, as with most occupied military or police vehicles, the doors will be locked, but as soon as the grunt gets out, you should be able to start your entry animation, thus taking minimal damage (if any) from his weapon. This will probably jet you right back to six stars, though, depending on how long you waited after leaving the Pay N Spray, but hey, if it gets you a Rhino, go for it.

Lastly, and perhaps best of all, is to use an exterior save point, such as those at the garage in San Fierro or outside Wu Zi's casino in Las Venturas. When you hit an exterior save point while there are tanks or other vehicles around, all of your wanted stars will disappear, as they would with a Pay N Spray, but all of the vehicle should still be cluttered around. Best of all, you won't have a probationary period as you would with the Pay N Spray, meaning that if you do go ahead and jack a tank, you shouldn't wind up with more than one wanted star, making it a cinch to get back to a garage and stow the tank away.

After you get into a tank, you'll have to maneuver it back to a garage of yours in one piece. Unfortunately, the Rhino of San Andreas is a bit more limited than those of previous games. To begin with, you can't rotate the turret all the way around the tank with the right analog stick, making it more difficult to propel yourself along with repeated blasts. You can still rotate it around by holding down the L2 and R2 buttons, but it will automatically reorient itself towards your front side when you let go. Also, it appears to be slightly less resilient than previous tanks; you can still take plenty of damage with it, certainly far more than any other vehicle in the game, but you can't go headlong through huge numbers of cars without fearing for your safety. We haven't counted or anything, but it appears to be around 50 close-range explosions before your tank catches on fire; when it does, you have to get out immediately, because you can't bail out like you can from most other vehicles.

Note also that the Rhino may be too big to fit in some garages; the large freight-size storage spaces in some of your San Fierro safe houses are usually your best bet to stow it safely.

Gang Warfare

You'll be introduced to the Gang Warfare mechanic early on in the game, but for most of your time in San Andreas, it (and Los Santos) will be off-limits to you. Regardless of the time, though, there are a few basics that you can apply to help you rule the hood.

First off, as you get more and more respect, you can bring along more gang members with you on your expansion missions, but whether you want to or not depends on the player. We personally found them somewhat distracting and less than helpful, and never had a problem winning territories without them, but your mileage may vary.

Equipment

Beyond that, though, it's vital that you bring along the correct equipment for the job. You'll always want to head out with full health and armor, and as many rounds for your SMG and AK47/M4 as possible, as these missions do chew up the ammo. (You seem to get a small replenishment supply whenever you win a hood, though.) If you have access to one, a rocket launcher or minigun will also be helpful when dealing with the large crowds of enemies that you'll be facing.

Getting Started

When you're ready to rumble, head out into enemy territory and look for a gang of enemy thugs. If you're in Los Santos, look for groups wearing purple or yellow. If they're wearing green, they're Grove Street Family crew, which you should obviously leave alone. Sometimes these gangs may bleed into other territories, especially where they border, so be sure you're hitting the right target. Note that gang groups can be somewhat hard to find; if you don't see anyone on a given block, jack a car and start circling it. A group will eventually spawn in if you're in enemy territory, but it can take a few revolutions.

All you need to do to start a gang war is kill three opposing gang members; after that occurs, you should get a popup display letting you that it's on, baby, it's on! When you do, take a note of what portion of the map is flashing, then head for the middle of it. Eventually, you'll spot enemies spawning in, usually in two small groups.

A Minigun can make short work of ballers, since they're usually packed so tightly.

The most important part of actually killing enemies actually comes before they even appear, though; you need to be sure that you have plenty of space around you on all sides. Intersections are great for this purpose, as you should be able to spot enemies coming at you from a ways off; hills, rooftops, or other high places are good, as well. If you stand near a wall or a corner, then the enemies will often flood around it in quick order, presenting more targets than you can deal with. If you can spot them coming a ways away, though, then you can use your AK47 or M4 to good effect; just click L1, fire at a target until it goes down, then repeat. When they start getting close, switch over to your Uzis or SMG and repeat the process. If you're good, you won't get hit at all, but the fact that you usually have to deal with two groups can complicate things a bit; when you note them spawning in, you may have to reposition yourself if you think you'll get hit by both groups at once. Ideally, you should be in a spot where one group will reach you first, allowing you to kill them, then deal with the second mass of foes.

In addition to the enemies on foot, you'll usually have an enemy car slowly moving around the area. You aren't required to destroy this, and should concentrate on the foot soldiers, but be aware that the passenger inside the car will try to drive-by you if you get too close. If you feel like it's a threat, you can use your M4 to shoot it in manual mode and destroy it, but be sure you do so in-between waves of enemies.

In between waves, you may notice pickups appearing around the contested territory; armor and health appear in equal measure, allowing you to replenish your life without tracking down pickups around the map. These will also let you move from territory to territory without saving, if you want to.

One thing to note is that the AI for the enemy bangers is sometimes broken, and will run away from you, instead of towards you. If this occurs, catch up to them as quickly as possible, as they will sometimes run far enough away to cancel your territory takeover. You can leave the contested territory if you must, but if you move too far, it will automatically revert to your enemy's control.

Defending Territory

In addition to capturing new territory, you'll also sometimes be called upon to defend one of your territories that's under attack by an enemy gang. These appear on your screen as little airplane-thing icons that flash; when you spot one, head towards the icon. When you reach the zone, you'll have to kill off a dozen or so enemies; they usually spawn in between a couple of cars in the middle of the street, which will give them a bit of cover from your fire. If you have a minigun or rocket launcher, then, try to blast the cars first, as this will usually send the bangers flying.

After you kill all of the invading gang members, you'll retain the territory. If you choose not to defend it, or are unable to get there within a certain amount of time, you'll lose the territory and CJ will lose a bit of respect. Fortunately, you have around five minutes of real-world time before this occurs, which should let you reach a hood under attack from pretty much anywhere in the game world.

Costumes

In addition to the clothing that you can buy from the various clothing stores in San Andreas, CJ can also find a few different costumes to wear during the course of the game. Here are some of the known costumes; there are likely more hidden away in the game.

CostumeUnlocked by...
Valet OutfitUnlocked in a core game mission in San Fierro.
Gimp SuitUnlocked in a core game mission in Las Venturas.
Croupier UniformProceed along Millie's relationship path until you get the keycard for Caligula's Casino.
Cop UniformGet to 100% Relationship with Barbara.
Medic UniformGet to 100% Relationship with Katie.
Racing UniformGet to 100% Relationship with Michelle.
Pimp OutfitGet to 100% Relationship with Denise.

Cheats

Cheat CodeEffect
R1, R2, L1 , X, Left , Down, Right, Up, Left, Down, Right, UpGain 250,000 dollars, go to full health and armor.
R2, Circle, R1, L2, Left R1, L1, R2, L2All traffic moves aggressively, cops more likely to chase other cars.
Right, L2, Down, R1, Left, Left, R1, L1, L2, L1CJ instantly dies.
R2, L2, R1, L1, L2, R2, Square, Triangle, Circle, Triangle, L2, L1Destroys all vehicles in immediate vicinity.
Right, R1, Up, L2, L2, Left, R1, L1, R1, R1Cars have higher top speeds.
Circle, Circle, L1, Square, L1, Square, Square, Square, L1, Triangle, O, TriangleIn-game clock moves much more quickly, which speeds up the day/night cycle. (This also affects CJ's Muscle decay and hunger.)
Triangle, Up, Right, Down, L2, L1, SquareThe game world (and CJ) moves faster.
Triangle, Up, Right, Down, Square, R2, R1The game world slows down. (You can use this code to counteract the one above, and vice versa.)
Circle, Circle, L1, Circle, Circle, Circle, L1, L2, R1, Triangle, Circle, TriangleSpawn Rhino.
R2, Up, L2, Left, Left, R1, L1, Circle, RightSpawn Stretch.
Down, R1, Circle, L2, L2, X, R1, L1, Left, LeftSpawn Bloodring Racer.
Circle, L1, Up, R1, L2, X, R1, L1, Circle, XSpawn Caddy.
R2, L1, Circle, Right, Up, Circle, R2Spawn Hotring Racer.
Up, Right, Right, L1, Right, Up, Square, L2Spawn Rancher.
Down, R2, Down, R1, L2, Left, R1, L1, Left, RightSpawn Romero (hearse).
Circle, R1, Circle, R1, Left, Left, R1, L1, Circle, RightUnlock Trashmaster.
R1, R2, L1, R2, Left, Down, Right, Up, Left, Down, Right, UpGives CJ a selection of weapons, including 200 Rocket Launcher rounds.
R1, R2, L1, R2, Left, Down, Right, Up, Left, Down, Down, LeftGives CJ another selection of weapons, including Flamethrower ammo. Note that these are different weapons from the code above, meaning that you'll lose the weapons from that code when you enter this one.
R1, R2, L1, R2, Left, Down, Right, Up, Left , Down, Down, DownGives CJ yet another round of weapons, including 200 rounds of heat-seeking missiles. Woot!
R1, R1, Circle, R2, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right, LeftRaise your wanted level
Down, Up, Up, Up, X, R2, R1, L2, L2Pedestrians will attack each other.
Down, Left, Up, Left, X, R2, R1, L2, L1Pedestrians booze up and riot! Watch out for the Elvis Impersonators with rocket launchers....

Maps

Thanks to the guys from gta-junkies.com for supplying these maps. These will help you track down the 250 hidden items around the game world. The tagging spots, horseshoes, snapshots, and oysters are all required for 100% game completion; unique jumps are not, but are rather fun to track down nonetheless.

Tagging Spots

There are 100 tagging spots in San Fierro, hidden all over the place. When you get all hundred of them, a TEC-9, AK-47, Molotov Cocktails, and a Sawn-Off Shotgun will appear at your house in Ganton.

Hidden Horseshoes

Horseshoes are found exclusively in Las Venturas. When you find all of them, you'll obtain an M4, MP5, Combat Shotgun, and Satchel Charges at the Four Dragons Casino, and CJ's Luck stat will get a signficant boost.

Photo Ops

Snapshots can only be found in San Fierro, but the tricky thing here is that you can't even see them! You'll need to have a camera in your inventory to find these guys; when you're at a snapshot location, whip out your camera and scan around through its lens until you locate a small, rotating camera icon. Take a picture of it to gain the bonuses.

When you get all 50 snapshots, a Sniper Rifle, MicroSMG, Shotgun, and Grenades will all appear for pickup at the garage there.

Oysters

Oysters are found throughout the game world, but are always located underwater. When you find all 50, CJ's lung capacity and Sex Appeal stat will be boosted. In other words, don't bother tracking these down unless you're gunning for 100% completion.

Unique Jumps

Unique Jumps aren't required to get 100% completion. In order to get a Unique Jump credit, head to the marks on the map and look for a ramp; when you hit the correct ramp, all you need to do is hit it at an appreciable amount of speed. If it's the Unique Jump ramp, you'll go into a slo-mo cinematic view, but you won't get credit unless you go a certain distance. If you don't get the Unique Jump notification, try the ramp again with a faster car or motorcycle.

Armor/Bribes/Weapons

Use this map when you need to find a suit of armor, a weapon pickup, or a police bribe!

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