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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
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Last Update: 9/7/04

Weapons in San Andreas

The gunplay mechanic has been completely reworked in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. True to the series’ heritage, R1 will remain the button that engages the targeting system and you can still fire your weapon randomly by pressing Circle at any point, however a brand new targeting control scheme has been implemented.

Once you’ve held down R1, a number of options open up for targeting enemies. CJ will first attempt to target the closest hostile enemy, circumventing any non-hostiles. Failing that, he’ll target the closest target in front of him within a range just over 90 degrees. If there isn’t a target within this field, he’ll go into free aim mode with the weapon. The camera settles down behind him and a reticle appears in the center of the screen. The analog sticks now behave very differently than in normal on-foot action. The left analog moves CJ forward and backward, and strafes him left and right. The right analog moves the camera angle up, down, left and right.

The effect is that the game feels more like a classic third person shooter and, using both sticks, the player can quickly get a bead on any target they like without using the auto-lock targeting system. A perceptive reader by now may have noticed a problem. If you’re using the right analog to target enemies, how are you going to shoot using Circle? L1 is now your trigger button, but only in target mode!

It’s still possible, and in some cases preferable, to use R2 and L2 to rapidly cycle through locked-on targets, and if you’re in free target mode and want to snap to a target, just tap R2 or L2 (whichever is in the direction of the target) and CJ will lock right on. The system has been designed to give players the option to target however they like.

Like many other aspects of the game, weapons will have a skill level associated with them, and CJ’s proficiency with a particular gun can be developed over time. As you use a weapon more and more frequently, you’ll upgrade:

Reload Time – A huge factor, as CJ gets better with a weapon he will need to spend fewer critical seconds reloading.

Fire Rate – The firing rate of guns in San Andreas is affected by CJ’s skill with it. More bullets in less time means your targets go down more quickly!

Accuracy – As CJ gets better with a weapon, his accuracy with it will improve. You’ll notice as you’re firing weapons that the circle outside the reticle will now expand and contract to visualize your current accuracy. As in previous Grand Theft Autos, crouching will bump up your accuracy too!

Weapon Stance & Movement – Weapons have different associated abilities that they unlock. For example with certain weapons you unlock the ability to move while firing, others you get an improved weapon stance as CJ learns how to handle the gun, or faster strafe speed, even the ability to move backwards while firing!

Dual Weapons – The ultimate of upgrades. As CJ gets better with weapons, some allow him to hold two weapons at a time, doubling his firing rate and length of time that he can go without a reload.

Countryside Firearm – The Desert Eagle

Affectionately known as the DEAGLE the world over, this massive handgun packs more stopping power per round than any weapon except for the sniper rifles. When CJ first starts using it, he can barely hold onto it when squeezing the trigger. As he gets more used to the weapon, he’ll become more and more proficient with it. Without a doubt, one of the most lethal new guns in CJ’s arsenal.

Riding Lawnmower

Keep an eye out for this last ditch ride! If there isn’t anything else around and CJ is scrambling through backyards and fences to get away from some heat, this may just provide the escape you’re looking for. While not as fast as a proper car, it’s better than hoofing it!

Haulin’ Gas

RU Haul is a friendly little shipping company in the rolling hills west of Los Santos. The owner there is always happy to get an extra driver … and pay them cash for towing some cargo. Any time CJ wants to swing by, there will be work for him here.

To pull the goods, CJ will be driving a classic 18-wheeler. The largest road vehicle in the game, the semi features full articulated physics. This means that the trailer behaves and acts like a trailer actually should; it’ll whip around a corner and lose grip if you take a turn too fast, jackknifing just like you’d expect from a real-world 18-wheeler. Like all the vehicles in Grand Theft Auto, the semi-truck feels exactly like it should. If the trailer does disconnect, you have the option to connect to it again, getting back on the road and underway to your destination.

Deliveries pay cash, but you have to be on time or watch your fee get cut in half. There’s serious money to be made hauling goods too, thousands for lower-level projects and up into the tens of thousands for “hot” goods that the police might be interested in. If you’re short, try a little work for RU Haul!

Also, keep in mind that gas-filled tankers make stellar rolling bombs. Any time you want to take out a group of guys in an area, speed the tanker towards the group, and dive out of the cab. Pop up with a rocket launcher and light it up!

Countryside Races

There a number of races that take place out in the country. Whether its rock climbing in 4x4 or big air motorcross races on the Sanchez, there’s plenty to satisfy your off-road cravings.

New Foliage with Different Kinds of Plants

The countryside in San Andreas is a huge place, connecting the three cities with an incredibly varied landscape. Rockstar North have developed a sophisticated technology that draws in foliage around you, a technique known as procedural rendering. The level designers tag areas as different kinds of terrain. These terrain types then have designated kinds of plants etc attached to them – for example different kinds of underbrush and grass and even rocks and fallen logs -and the game automatically draws them in. This technique allows for a vast, fleshed out world full of unique areas to explore.

There are dozens of different kinds of plants in San Andreas. A couple are below (these will be described when they are chosen)

Moon Phases

The moon now goes through phases in San Andreas. The game keeps track of the days you’ve spent in the world, it even knows what day of the week it is! As time goes by, the moon will slowly cycle through a 30 day change. For those of you who don’t venture out of the city into the countryside much, take a look up as night falls in the San Andreas countryside, the sky is clearer out there and the moon is brighter.

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