Getting AroundThere 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 its unlikely that youll miss anything.
On FootNothings 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 youre near a ledge, you should attach to it automatically, and can press the square button again to pull yourself up.
CarCars are going to be your primary mode of transportation in San Andreas. Theyre plentiful, easy to steal, and come in a wide variety of makes and models. Although youll begin the game in the hood, where most of the vehicles are slow-moving coupes and the like, youll soon graduate to more stylish and speedy autos.
The triangle button, as ever, will let you jack a car for yourself. Very few cars are actually locked (probably because the game wouldnt be very much fun if they were), so feel free to walk up to parked cars and take them as you like. If the cars empty, you wont have any problems, but if theres someone in the drivers seat, CJ will have to hit them before throwing them out, which results in a jacking motion thats 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 theyll sometimes decide to floor it instead.
Note that jacking vehicles will cause a bit of resentment in some of the games inhabitants. If you jack a gangbanger, youre 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 youll just get jacked out of the blue, usually while youre in a bad part of town, so keep an eye out for people running to your drivers 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 theres any heat on you.
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 youll know which ones to avoid when you have to get away from the cops.
Although the cops dont 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 thats shooting at you, for that matter. Some vehicles are more impacted by this than others, but itll always impact your maneuverability; visit the Pay N Spray if you want to repair the tire.
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 cars 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 cant keep the car you started the mission with in one piece. Youll have to drive carefully in these kinds of situations, or keep an eye out for the Pay N Spray, which will completely restore your cars health.
- Although each car has its own particular speed and handling characteristics, in general, the faster and more expensive it looks, the faster itll 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.
- Dont 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 youre cruising for unique jumps, but there are plenty of options to choose from.
Bailing Out: If youre 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 dont think youll have time to stop before it blows.
Drive-By: After you obtain a machine pistol, such as an Uzi, youll be able to use a car to perform a drive-by. When youre 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, youll be able to see whats 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.