Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Preview - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
PlayStation 2
Release date:
October 26, 2004
Publisher:
Rockstar Games
Developer:
Rockstar North
Players:
1 - 2
Genre:
Action
ESRB:
M

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Bigger and better.

Preview by Chris Bahn (Email)
August 25th 2004
 

Alternative weapons in San Andreas

Hand held weapons have always been a firm fan favorite in the Grand Theft Auto games. Vice City took this side of combat to a whole new level with the introduction of the traditional Katana, classic tools like the Chainsaw and the infamous Golf Club, each with their own wielding animation.

A new range of destructive implements are at CJs disposal. Some classics will make an appearance as well as some fresh new additions to hand-to-hand arsenal.

It is now possible for CJ to lock on to opponent while wielding a weapon. This enables the player to circle their enemy, choosing the right time to make their attack. Pressing square will also make CJ block. This blocking move will vary dependant on the weapon currently held.

Each of the weapons features a number of different attacks that are available to CJ and a massive amount of effort has gone into making sure every strike with every weapon has its own set of animations complete with some greatly satisfying finishing moves! This makes each tool feel and play very differently.

Countryside Weapon – The Shovel

One of the many new weapons featured in San Andreas is one that no aspiring mobster travels without - the classic garden shovel. This universally utilized tool, often found in people’s back yards, is famous for providing the ability to perform important soil related tasks such as digging shallow graves, threatening people in a farmer like fashion and making a very satisfying ‘klunk’ when the head of the spade meets someone’s head.

The Crop Duster

Since San Andreas is so large, planes play a much larger role in the game. Once you’ve started spending time out in the countryside and traveling between cities, using a plane to get around starts to make a lot of sense! Because of this, Rockstar North have designed a whole range of new airborne vehicles for CJ to fly. The new dodo has full wings now and so it obviously handles much better. It’s not meant to be fast, but is solid and has responsive handling. As you can see in the screenshots attached, you can really fly high above ground. There’s actually an altimeter in the bottom left hand corner that appears when you’re in aircraft to show you how high you are off the ground.

Plane physics have been reworked to allow for faster and more maneuverable planes like the Crop Duster which is a biplane with two wing surfaces to carve through the air, giving it much better handling. Since you’ll be doing things like barrel rolls, hammerheads and loops often, Rockstar North have added an attitude meter that appears over the in-game map in the lower-left hand corner. It shows your plane’s relation to the horizon so you have a sense of where the ground is after your third barrel roll!

Mountain Biking Downhill

If you manage to hike all the way up to the top of Mount Chiliad (of if you were smart, and have enough biking skill, ride up on a bike) then you’ll find a race starting at the top for you to participate in. Hopefully you will have honed CJ’s cycling skill by the time you attempt this race, because you’ll need every bit of skill you can muster. Covering a torturous, winding track down the side of Mount Chiliad at extremely high speeds, this downhill race is the ultimate in cycling tests.

Since the mountain bike has a number of gears (chosen automatically), it has a much higher top speed than the BMX CJ grew up riding in East Los Santos. Bunnyhopping is still possible on the mountain bike, but you’d be much better off just riding around obstacles, as going airborne at this altitude can be suicide! Just a word of warning: the other racers in this championship aren’t very courteous, sportsman-like opponents and they will take full advantage of any errors you make, having no qualms about barreling into you or knocking you off the side of the mountain. But, finish first at the bottom and you’ll be on your way to the mountain biking championship. You aren’t king of the mountain til you’ve conquered these races!

Working Bull Dozer

A vehicle designed to literally plow right though anything, the Dozer has massive amounts of torque to drive it forward. The plow works just like you’d expect it to in real life; it can be raised up and down (with the right analog) to flip cars, terrorize sidewalks, and cause general chaos and destruction.

There are all sorts of objects in San Andreas that you can now destroy; discarded milk crates, white picket fences, small to medium sized plants, outdoor furniture, anything that looks like you should be able to run it down with a big vehicle can probably be smashed. This is very gratifying and adds a new layer of interactivity to the Grand Theft Auto world. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who can and will be smashing up the map as you drive around. Anyone else foolish enough to run into things at high speeds will be wreaking havoc as well. Watch out, because San Andreas is an unpredictable place!

The Dozer also features new steering physics - rear-wheel steering. The bulldozer has all of it’s steering in the back and the front wheels are locked in place, just like the real machine. It’s a bit unusual at first to those who aren’t use to driving a Bulldozer!

Fires in San Andreas

Fires are a serious and perennial problem in the real California. In San Andreas also, since the state can be so dry, fires can quickly spread out of control. Any bit of flame can easily flare up and cover a large area in almost no time. CJ can, and will, intentionally or incidentally, start fires from time to time, throwing Molotov cocktails or detonating a car. As your damaged car explodes, the fire can quickly spread to other nearby cars and objects. Buildings can go up just as rapidly as dry kindling out in the forests. When the fire is raging right in your line of escape you’ll be thankful that the San Andreas Fire Department are usually on the scene pretty quickly, but there are times when they fail to show up. Luckily CJ himself can now use fire extinguishers to fight fires, and clear his path, or maybe he just wants to save that innocent old woman trapped on her porch by a wall of flame? When disaster strikes, CJ can be ready with a fire extinguisher.

He can pick these up fire extinguishers all over the place, but a great place to find one is any Burger Shot or Cluckin Bell restaurant, where grease fires are an almost daily hazard. Pick one up, aim for the bottom of the flame (just like real life) and pull the trigger to smother the flames. It never hurts to be prepared, if you know things are going to get hot, it’s a good idea to have one just in case.


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