[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/grand_theft_auto_san_andreas.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:That's gonna be a hell of a story to tell when we passin' the blunt...]]
->''"After five years on the east coast, it was time to go home."''
-->-- '''Carl "CJ" Johnson'''

The original ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' game had three cities: Liberty City, Vice City - and San Andreas. Rockstar Games took [[WideOpenSandbox wide-open sandboxes]] to the next level in 2004 by turning San Andreas into an '''entire state'''. It has three major cities: [[UsefulNotes/LosAngeles Los Santos]], [[UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco San Fierro]] and [[UsefulNotes/LasVegas Las Venturas]]. It also has nearly a dozen small towns, and loads of land in between them.

The game puts the player in the shoes of Carl "CJ" Johnson (Young Maylay), a good guy, [[AntiHero relatively speaking]] -- [[VillainProtagonist a first for the series.]] CJ is a gangster from the Grove Street Families who left the city of Los Santos, San Andreas after his brother Brian was killed, but is returning home after a five-year stint in Liberty City to bury his murdered mother, Beverly.

Shortly after arriving, [[DirtyCop C.R.A.S.H.]] officers Frank Tenpenny (Creator/SamuelLJackson) and Eddie Pulaski (Chris Penn) pick him up and frame him for the murder of Ralph Pendlebury, an internal affairs officer that they killed to cover up their corrupt dealings. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's also the mystery of the [[{{MacGuffin}} green roadster]] which performed the drive-by on Beverly Johnson, as well as corrupt elements within the GSF that want a slice of the burgeoning crack trade. Saving Grove Street, and ultimately Los Santos, from the machinations of C.R.A.S.H. will take CJ all over the state of San Andreas, where he'll have to rub elbows with Chinese casino owners, rap moguls, Mexican gangbangers - as well quite a few [[PreviousPlayerCharacterCameo familiar faces]].

''San Andreas'''s reception was like pretty much every other 3D ''Grand Theft Auto'' game. In other words, it was received with a hell of a lot of love from gamers. For many, ''San Andreas'' has gone down in gaming history as one of the best of its era. While not without [[RatedMForMoney controversy]] (the HotCoffeeMinigame scandal was especially idiotic), it enjoyed overwhelmingly positive reviews by critics and fans alike, and has made millions in sales. ''San Andreas'' is still widely considered to be one of the best games in the series, and to this day, many will call it one of the best games of all time. One reason for this is because of its absolutely huge sandbox area -- three full cities and numerous towns and countryside areas, as opposed to other games which were positively claustrophobic by comparison.

Fans of the game may want to check out [[http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/GTASA/index.html this Let's Play told almost entirely from CJ's perspective]] that is basically an illustrated novelization of the game, [[AdaptationExpansion fleshing out the story and filling in some plot holes.]]

Rockstar returned to San Andreas in 2013 with ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'', however this reimagined version only depicts Los Santos and surrounding countryside, though GTA: San Andreas' use of small rural towns is retained. Some elements of the original Los Santos remain, such as the Vinewood analog for Hollywood, and some shoutouts to the original game. Technically speaking, the sandbox play area for the game is actually much larger than ''GTA: San Andreas'', though players have also noted that, conversely, it also feels smaller at the same time (perhaps due to there being only one distinct city in the new game). ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'', meanwhile, gave Las Venturas a cameo in one of its in-game TV commercials, suggesting it still exists and could someday be featured in another game, along with San Fierro.

A remastered version was released for the {{Xbox 360}} on 26 October 2014 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the game.

If you're looking for the 2015 disaster film of the same name, go [[Film/SanAndreas here]].

----
!!Tropes in this game:

* TwentyThree: This gem of a conversation between protagonist Carl Johnson and The Truth:
-->'''Carl Johnson''': What's with all the aluminum foil, man? \\
'''The Truth''': Protection from mind control, dude. \\
'''Carl Johnson''': Mind control? \\
'''The Truth''': Induction of images, sound or emotion using microwave radiation. D'you know how many government satellites are watching any citizen at any moment? \\
'''Carl Johnson''': No. \\
'''The Truth''': Twenty-three. Do you know how many religious relics are kept at The Pentagon? \\
'''Carl Johnson''': No, I don't. \\
'''The Truth''': Twenty three. You see a pattern emerging here, man? \\
'''Carl Johnson''': Man, I'm seeing patterns all over the place! Get that smoke out of my face!
* FiveFiveFive: Played straight at one point, when Carl is asked to plant some evidence and then give 555-[=WE-TIP=] a call.
* AcrophobicBird: Averted somewhat. Once C.J. becomes pilot-trained, he can fly any plane wherever... except when the plot says 'No' or he tries to fly over the missile-equipped Area 69.
* AdaptationDistillation: The third-generation games are prequels of the original game and each other, and San Andreas combines the best elements of all the games that came before (large sandbox, gang respect, plethora of vehicles, contrast of gritty working-class environments/glossy upper class estates, not to mention [[OlympicSwimmer a protagonist that actually knows how to swim]]) to make a thoroughly satisfying game.
* AffablyEvil:
** Mike Toreno, who's pretty nice for a drug-runner [[spoiler:and government agent shoulder-deep in eldritch information]] -- who, it turns out, is a fairly nice and friendly guy, who just happens to be one of the scariest people you'll ever meet.
-->'''Torino:''' I wanted to see what you were made of.\\
'''CJ:''' ''(Angrily)'' What it look like I'm made of? Pudding?\\
'''Torino:''' ''(Calmly)'' No. Anger, and hate. That's why I like you.
** Same can be said for CJ, who comes off as a centered, caring guy despite lacking qualms to commit crimes throughout the game. CJ himself, who will have no problem shooting or running over unarmed civilians, assassinate people who never did a bad thing to him and generally steal, maim and kill. However, most of it is because he is given no other alternative in order to keep his family--blood and otherwise--from being harmed and is genuinely nice and polite (outside of [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential whatever the player makes him do]]) to the people around him. Compare this to [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity Tommy]] who alienates and belittles his inner circle and [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII Claude]] who [[spoiler: repays the women who save his life by killing the brother of one and then (possibly) shooting and killing the other for ''talking too much'']].
** Big Smoke, whose cheerful and chummy nature denote his criminal tendencies. [[spoiler:Especially his treachery and cocaine-dealing habits.]]
** And also Woozie, the leader of the San Fierro Triad, who despite being a crime boss is depicted as very sympathetic and likable. So much so [[spoiler: one expects Woozie to FaceHeelTurn on CJ, but he never does]].
* AffectionateNickname: The Triad clan led by Wu Zi Mu refer to their leader as their "lucky mole" due to his uncanny ability to participate in gunfights, car races, and video games despite being blind. All his friends refer to him as "Woozie."
* TheAhnold: Jack Howitzer in the [[GTARadio radio stations]] games. He started out making the ''Destroyer'' films, a parody of the ''Franchise/{{Rambo}}'' series, around the time of ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity Vice City]]'', and by ''San Andreas'' he had branched out into family comedies with ''Special Needs Cop'', a parody of ''Film/KindergartenCop''. Unfortunately, [[CreatorKiller his career was derailed]] when he accidentally shot the host of a radio show while promoting ''Special Needs Cop''; the page quote comes from that incident.
* AIBreaker: When taking over gang territory, the defending gangsters will stick to the sidewalks as much as possible, walking entirely in single file at their default jogging speed. If they're on the wrong side of the sidewalk, they'll often double back ridiculous distances just to find a crosswalk. The only time they ever jaywalk is when they're close enough to shoot you. For a player with an assault rifle or sniper rifle, simply having a significant lead on the gangsters and going for headshots can turn the situation into a turkey shoot, which is good because the gangsters are ridiculously well armed.
* AlasPoorVillain: In the finale, CJ feels nothing but remorse over having to kill [[spoiler:Big Smoke]].
-->'''[[spoiler:Big Smoke]]:''' When I'm gone, everyone's gonna remember my name...[[spoiler: BIG SMOKE]]!\\
'''CJ:''' Damn. [[WhatASenselessWasteOfHumanLife What a waste...]]
* TheAllegedCar:
** Beater cars such as the Tampa were introduced to the series here, with the sole intention of being customized by the player (also a new addition to the series.) [[MagikarpPower These cars specifically were designed to allow for the maximum number of modifications and thus became the best cars in the game.]]
** There's also beater Glendales and Sadlers found in ''San Andreas'' in the woods that can't be fixed due to them actually being separate, pre-damaged models internally named GLENSHIT and SADLSHIT respectively.
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs:
** The Ballas attempt to do this in "Drive-Thru", but are stopped by the Grove Street [=OGs=] (save for Smoke). Later, the Ballas actually manage to assault Grove Street during "House Party", with Ryder leaving to gather up Smoke and some homies as backup, but Sweet, CJ and the remaining homies manage to drive the Ballas back. [[spoiler: Both missions foreshadow the fact that Smoke and Ryder are not as loyal as they seem to be.]]
** "The Green Sabre". [[spoiler: Smoke and Ryder are soon revealed to have sold the Families out to Tenpenny and the Ballas. Before long, Sweet and the homies are ambushed at the Mulholland Intersection. CJ arrives just as Sweet gets hit. Once the police arrive, the Johnson brothers are arrested, and all of the territory Grove Street has at this point is lost]].
** After returning to Grove Street following your adventures in the other two sections of San Andreas, your first task is to [[spoiler:liberate it from the Ballas, and later you have to retake a significant amount of territory to unlock the final mission]].
* AlmightyJanitor: Frank Tenpenny, the BigBad, is officially a patrolman with the LSPD. Unofficially, he's the gangland kingpin of Southern San Andreas.
* AlwaysClose: CJ's escape from [[spoiler: Big Smoke]]'s crack palace during the final mission. He barely manages to OutrunTheFireball.
* AmbitionIsEvil:
** Subverted. Kendl identifies a lack of ambition as being CJ's major character flaw and most of the game is spent curing him of it. (On the other hand, most of the endeavors CJ's newfound ambition leads him into are criminal, so...)
** Played straight with [[spoiler:Big Smoke and Ryder, whose greed and ambition is what drove them to betray Grove Street and start setting up a major drug-dealing operation in Los Santos.]]
* AnachronismStew: Not overtly, but noticeable in some of the sights and sounds around San Andreas.
** Some of the songs playing on the radio, like "It Was A Good Day" by IceCube are released after 1992, which is when the game takes place.
** Certain cars, especially high-end ones, were based on real-life cars produced long after 1992, such as the [[http://www.grandtheftwiki.com/Bullet Bullet]], which is based on the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_GT 2005 Ford GT]]. That in turn was an almost exact copy design-wise of the [[http://www.creativecrash.com/system/photos/000/128/324/128324/big/ford_gt40_classic_1.jpg?1297357986 Ford GT40]], but the one in the game was undoubtedly chosen with the new car's release in mind.
** Bit less obvious, but Sweet's attitude towards drugs and the purpose of gangs would be much more fitting in the early half of TheEighties, when the crack epidemic was just starting. Crack also brought massive income, which led to more powerful firearms on the streets. The gangs that refuse to touch crack, such as the Families, the Aztecas and the Mountain Cloud Triads, would probably not have survived TheEighties.
* AndYourRewardIsClothes: Completing some of the storyline and asset missions gets you some special outfits, which you may need to wear in order to progress through another mission. Also, achieving [[LevelUpAtIntimacy5 100% progress with most of the girlfriends gets you an outfit related to their profession]].
* AntiFrustrationFeatures: Sometimes missions will allow you to, once you grab a vehicle, skip the trip to the destination and just get there.
* AntiHero: You, the rest of Grove Street [[spoiler:(well, Sweet at least)]], Cesar and Woozie. Unlike prior GTA protagonists, Carl's main motivation is the protection of his family, avenging his murdered mother, and getting rid of the drug dealers infesting Los Santos.
* AntiVillain: Of the [[BigBadDuumvirate Big Bad Triumvirate]], Hernandez is the least malevolent (it also helps that he had to endure much of Tenpenny and Pulaski's bullying just because he's Mexican). His only major interaction with CJ is a call early in the game, warning him [[BrokenBridge not to leave Los Santos]]. [[spoiler:He eventually [[HeelFaceTurn gives in to his conscience]] and tries to turn his partners in, even [[TakingTheBullet taking a bullet]] for CJ near the end of the game.]]
* AnyoneRememberPogs: The radio host of K-DST, Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith, mentions "Whatever happened to Love Fist?" at one point of his show. Love Fist was a fictional band from [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity Vice City]] that was [[BannedInChina banned in many countries]]. In 1992 (when San Andreas takes place), however, they're all but forgotten (which may also be a reference to how hair metal became DeaderThanDisco in the early 1990s). CJ meets the band's former manager late in the game, who has gone from a powerful entertainment figure and socialite to a washed-up has-been managing a no-name Scottish rapper with a masturbation addiction.
* ArbitraryHeadcountLimit: In any given mission, assuming you have to drive there, you're limited to yourself and three other people for backup. You can actually recruit up to eight gang members for help, but only three are going to fit in the car and the NPC gangbangers don't know how to drive.
* ArchEnemy: Officer Frank Tenpenny to Carl "CJ" Johnson.
* ArcWords:
-->"Big Smoke -- Remember the name!"
* {{Area 51}}: Parodied with Area [[DoubleEntendre 69]], which [[spoiler:CJ breaks into to acquire a {{jetpack}}.]] Trying to enter the area will earn you an instant five-star wanted level, and if you fly over, you will be brought down by SAM sites and Hydra fighter jets.
* ArtificialAtmosphericActions: Ambulances will speed to the scene of a casualty. And we do mean "speed" -- they're liable to plough straight into/through any pedestrians standing near the body (with a seemingly greater-than-chance likelihood of [[EverythingTryingToKillYou hitting the PC]], but that might be an attempt at LaserGuidedKarma...)
* ArtificialStupidity:
** The game features pretty solid AI in most cases, but it breaks down in some areas. On the freeway, the AI can't seem to handle the speed at which it drives, resulting in a lot of accidents, even with no player intervention. If the player stays put long enough, massive pileups and riots inevitably occur and don't end until the player leaves the area.
** Civilian drivers are actually dumb cars-on-rails until nudged, shot, or otherwise "awakened", at which point they become truly AI controlled and subject to proper physics (almost certainly for performance). In places, the map's "rails" seem to be set up wrong, and vehicles either accelerate or turn well beyond their actual capabilities, or outright spawn facing the wrong way then tween into place. Freeway pileups are usually a result of "rail" and "true" vehicles interacting badly.
** Planes are also tied to 'rails'. This frequently makes them disregard tall buildings, trees, hills or other particuarly tall objects.
*** A similar sort of thing seems to happen in areas with particularly steep hills, especially San Fierro. [[GoodBadBugs And it. Is. Hilarious.]]
*** Also, pretty much every car that needs to make a right turn, is going to do so from the left lane, and vice versa for left turns. And that seems to be the most basic rule for the game's driving AI, but apparently it wasn't. It seems like the only realistic thing the other drivers do in the game is to high-tail it out of there when if they hear gunshots.
** If you engage in a gang war, sometimes the enemy gang members will run down to the end of the block just to do a U-turn and run on the other side of the sidewalk. Sometimes this ranges to being miles away from the actual war zone but if the game is savvy enough, you're rewarded with the next wave or getting the area. Most of the time though you're stuck waiting around for them to come back because if you try to leave, the game pressures you to stay there.
** Unless they're firing out of a car, any NPC assistance you have is often more of a liability. They're generally only competent when they're scripted to be busy while you're doing some other objective.
** Cops who in no way can get to their original car, will usually run out onto the street and jack a civilian's car and drive off in that. Or more hilariously, a fellow officer's car.
** Dubbed the suicidal photographer, this fellow stands at the edge of a cliff taking pictures of the city nearby. After he's done he just walks in a straight line into the water and dies. This happens everytime.
** Emergency vehicles make no effort to avoid civilians and will usually run a lot of peds over just to save one. Aggrevating when it runs over a mission important NPC.
** Unlike the previous games, ''San Andreas'' averts SuperDrowningSkills, and CJ can swim. However, this isn't extended to anyone else, and if you have a Wanted level, there's no end to the line of cops that will jump in to get you and immediately drown.
* ArtisticLicenseMilitary:
** When you go to the ship, the "sailors" you run into are merely the game's stock military troops, wearing green (not even a color palette swap to blue). Which would still be incorrect for the time period, the sailors would be wearing the classic dungarees.
** Minor, but there is no LHD 69 either (only USS Wasp (LHD 1) was in service at the time). But, of course, this is GTA, so what other hull designator would it be?
* ArtisticLicensePhysics: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM9HhOzK-oA&t=9m20s This moment from the mission "Breaking the bank at Caligula's".]]. And it's actually ''the only way to reach the helicopter''. Open the parachute, and you won't be able to land on the roof where that helicopter is.
* AsTheGoodBookSays: Big Smoke often quotes the Bible ("'Man cannot live on bread alone'. I should know, I tried that shit.") but [[HypocriticalHumor he's not exactly a saint.]]
* AteItAll: The Grove Street Posse go out for a Drive-Thru meal at Cluckin' Bell. Big Smoke not only orders [[IllTakeTwoBeersToo a ridiculously large portion for himself]], but when the Ballas attempt a drive-by shooting, he manages to eat not only his own food, but the food ordered by his homies, while the rest of the gang are retaliating.
* AwesomeButImpractical:
** The Hydra's hover mode. Trying to strafe ground targets is extremely difficult because the Hydra uses the camera controls for its additional functions, preventing you from righting the camera. The trio of sluggish response, split attention and proximity to ground clutter ends many joyrides with a boom.
** In Las Venturas, you can steal a passenger jet. More impressive will be landing this unwieldy beast intact. You also can't save it in any garage because the thing is so big that it needs its own dedicated hangar in Las Venturas.
** Any form of melee combat. Sure, you get some cool karate kicks and a move that can OHKO any NPC, but the actual chances you're going to use them will be almost non-existent. About the OHKO move, it takes about 6 seconds of a nicely pulled off kickboxing combo, but if you wanted to kill something, you may had as well used a weapon in the first place.
** The Katana. Like the other example used above, the katana is pretty damn cool as it is the only melee weapon that lets you behead an NPC and has nice overall strenght. However, the only time you're going to use it on a mission will be the fight against [[spoiler:the Da Nang leader, AKA Snake Head]], and he'll never put up a decent fight and you might even kill him accidentally.
** Lowriders, but ''especially'' the Savanna (a classic Chevrolet Impala with an open top). They look cool and handle fine in most circumstances, but they have a fatal flaw that is revealed when you flip one over. Unlike most cars where 9 times out of 10 it will manage to roll over safely, lowriders are far more likely to stay flipped due to having a flat top. This is especially notable in the mission "Photo Opportunity", where the challenge of the mission comes from driving Cesar's Savanna through the hilly countryside without flipping it.
** The rocket launcher. It's powerful, sure, but has a terrible box crosshair that makes it hard to aim accurately, you have to lead your shots against moving targets, and getting caught in the blast is all too easy. By comparison, the minigun has far greater DPS, an accurate crosshair, and the only risk of hurting yourself is if you blow something up right next to you. It's also far more viable against human targets.
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold As much shit as Sweet gives CJ, he still shows that he loves his brother dearly.]]
* AxCrazy: Cesar describes his cousin Catalina as "really intense". As CJ finds out, this is a ''massive'' {{Understatement}}.
* BackStab: 'Stealth kills' are introduced to the series. Of course, civilians (and cops) don't really pay attention if CJ is running around with a minigun, so him having a knife works fine. Move up behind victim, target, attack, giggle maniacally. Oddly, though, this tends to increase the wanted meter more than when you just go up and hack them up with a katana and stealth be damned, but hey.
* BackToBackBadasses: Sweet and CJ get to do this in a mission near the end of the game, which is essentially a two man army against a horde of Ballas.
* {{Badass}}:
** When the game starts, CJ is straight busta, but if you're playing right he becomes the baddest man in San Andreas by the end.
** Also Sweet, Big Smoke and Ryder are this.
** Catalina, despite being AxCrazy, also qualifies.
** And T-Bone Mendez. He's a psycho, but definitely qualifies as well.
* BadassDriver: The characters mercilessly mock your driving. At one point, they tell you to go to driver's ed. And then you do. Harsh. Admittedly, it's an ''advanced'' driving school, and those classes teach you how to be an even more badass driver (even in-game, as every 100% earned on a test increases your driving skill by an amount that would take about half an hour of nonstop driving).
* BadassInANiceSuit: Carl Johnson can dress up pretty dapper, once the last store opens up.
* TheBadGuysAreCops: The [=CRASH=] unit, especially [[BigBad Officer Tenpenny]], are corrupt to the core and essentially extort the player character while turning a blind eye to the gang violence they're supposed to be fighting against, preferring to just let the gangbangers take each other out rather than do any work themselves.
* BadGuysPlayPool: The Pool minigame. You can place bets- and if you lose, simply [[EvilPaysBetter mug the winner]] and take your stuff back.
* BadJobWorseUniform: The Burger Shot uniform, which includes a gigantic hamburger hat, and the Clucking Bell, a full-body chicken suit (the latter employee coming off as more disgruntled.)
* BaldBlackLeaderGuy: Subverted with Frank Tenpenny: he's bald, he's black, and he's a leader...of an evil band of {{Dirty Cop}}s.
* BaldOfEvil: Officer Tenpenny has a shaved head. CJ can have his head shaved if the player chooses to do so, making it BaldOfAwesome.
* BeatThemAtTheirOwnGame: There's a scene where you can fight a Vietnamese gang boss sword vs sword (he tosses one to you to duel). Of course, if by then you've picked up a shotgun, you're still more than free to use it.
* BeefGate: Initially, CJ is restricted to Los Santos and Red County; since he is the only GTAIII-era protagonist of the series who can actually swim, there is nothing preventing the player from entering the other regions before they are unlocked, but there is a penalty of a four-star wanted level if you do. Specifically, San Fierro, Whetstone and Flint County are inaccessible prior to completing "The Green Sabre" and Tierra Robada, Bone County and Las Venturas cannot be entered before completing "Yay-ka-boom-boom".
* BerserkButton: CJ likes being called a "busta" as much as Woozie likes being made fun of for his blindness. He also seems to really hate reckless driving, ironically. But above all, do ''not'' mess with Kendl. So much as [[DisproportionateRetribution catcalling at her can trigger homicidal rage]].
* BettingMiniGame: The game features a number of ways to bet money, including horse racing, low-rider bouncing and casinos with games such as poker and roulette.
* BewareTheNiceOnes
** Wu Zi Mu, or "Woozie", is a laid-back, friendly, unassuming Chinese businessman who enjoys playing video games, racing cars, and golf despite being blind. He's also the boss of the Mountain Cloud Triads. When he found his men wiped out by the the Vietnamese Da Nang Boys, he rushes into the fray with a machine pistol and guns down everyone he can find, all the while threatening to to make their blood "flow like wine". [[spoiler:CJ remains on his good side throughout the game, averting a potential FaceHeelTurn.]]
** CJ himself is usually a pretty nice guy -- for a gangbanger, though this may have something to do with having worked a legitimate job for the Leones in Liberty City for five years. But do '''not''' talk bad about his family, especially his sister Kendl. Or their late mother. Just ask [[spoiler:Pulaski]].
* BigBad: Frank Tenpenny and [[spoiler:Big Smoke]].
* BigDamPlot: There's a mission where you must put bombs into a dam, which is an {{Expy}} of the Hoover Dam.
* BigEater: Big Smoke not only orders enough food for all four people in the car when the player takes CJ's friends to the drive through on a mission, but he actually manages to eat ''everyone's'' meals in the few minutes it takes to finish the car chase immediately after.
* BigfootSasquatchAndYeti: A longstanding legend in the game is that a Bigfoot can be found roaming the immense backwoods. A decade after the game's release, the legend persists.
* {{Bizarrchitecture}}: Some of the abandoned desert tourist traps are restaurants shaped like the animals they serve, in a representation of a real trend in [[{{Zeerust}} now-dated 50's-60's architecture]] toward giant objects.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: The protagonists of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'' and ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity'' can only be said to be heroes in the sense that they fight against people who are even worse than they are. CJ, on the other hand, has a few genuinely heroic motivations (getting the drug dealers out of his neighborhood, avenging his mother's death, keeping his family and friends safe from harm), but he's still a murdering, thieving gangbanger [[spoiler: who blows up the Hoover Dam.]]
** CJ [[spoiler: murders the entire staff of a construction site and buries the foreman alive]] because someone whistled at his sister. And in an earlier mission, he breaks into a mansion and injures a rap star and all of his bodyguards, kidnapped the star's manager and trapped him in a car and ran it into the sea, all so his friend (who he doesn't even like) can steal his music or something.
* BlackComedy: In "Ice Cold Killa", CJ needs a silenced pistol, but cannot find one. So Cesar takes out his silenced pistol [[HyperspaceArsenal out of nowhere]] and gives it to CJ. CJ asks where he got that. Cesar's answer? '''"Same place I buy my pants, holmes. This is America!"'''
* BlackComedyRape: One of the pre-mission cutscenes involves Carl being chained to a rack and raped by his hostile Tsundere partner, Catalina. Thankfully, this is off-screen. Unthankfully, there is audio.
* BlatantLies: At one point, you're told to go buy an abandoned air strip. You're also told to offer the owner a dollar, and if he doesn't accept, shoot him. There's no actual way to do that in the game -- you need $80,000 to buy it, period. The scene comes off as a remnant of an intended mission.
* BlindDriving: Woozie has a version - he's really good at racing around designed tracks (like the race where CJ first meets him), but regular driving tends eat up a lot of time (his right-hand man, after CJ asked where Woozie was, said that he insisted on driving himself. "Could be anywhere.")
* BlindfoldedTrip: The infamous moment where it's either really, really cool or controllers go flying.
* BondageIsBad: Catalina is [[SociopathicHero technically on the protagonist's side]], but she's also one of the craziest characters in the game. When she drags him into her cabin for a good time (involving a whip and a rack--[[SexyDiscretionShot we don't see what goes on inside the cabin]]), he winds up screaming for her to stop (with no success.) (This is PlayedForLaughs, and [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential he probably had it coming after all the stuff you've been having him do]].)
* BonusDungeon: After trudging through Zero's [[ThatOneLevel first two missions, which involve shooting down/fighting with toys on a very tight timer]], you are treated to...an RTS mission. However, it is probably the most fun mission in the game since it's virtually impossible to screw up, and hearing David Cross cheer you on when you do well at it creates quite the fuzzy feeling. Oh, and one of the previous scrappy levels becomes infinitely replayable after you beat it, although there is now no longer a penalty for failing it.
* BorderPatrol: Players who try to skip ahead to the other cities before the plot grants them access (indicated by literal Border Patrols -- the bridges to these cities will be closed off and some cops will be standing behind the boundary) will find themselves suddenly slapped with a '''four-star wanted level''', and usually be gunned down by police and/or helicopters shortly thereafter ([[BlatantLies I was just going for a swim, officer, honest!]]) They'll continue to chase you even if you go back into an open zone, but at least there you can access unlocked Pay 'n' Sprays and safehouses to help you lose your wanted level.
* BoringButPractical:
** Bikes. They're not the fast vehicles in the game by far (when riding up a hill, you can go faster ''on foot''), give zero protection against bullets and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking you can't listen to your radio on one]], but they're very easy to level up (which makes it harder for you to fall from it) and, with maxed out endurance or the unlimited sprint, they can still reach a decent speed. Where they truly shine is agility: it's far easier to lose a pursuer on a bike by going where he can't follow you rather than trying to outrun him.
** Motorcycles retain the agility factor, but eliminate all the disadvantages except that they still offer no protection against bullets. The only downside motorbikes have that bikes don't is that you can reach sufficient speed to hurt yourself in a collision, which is far less likely in a bike unless you're specifically being chased.
** Immunity to fire has very little practical application, but it makes certain levels of the game a lot more tolerable since you can charge through fire instead of wasting a weapon slot on an extinguisher. If you're fond of molotovs, it also completely removes the risk of hitting yourself.
* BornLucky: Woozie is blind, but he's so incredibly lucky that he can often pass as sighted anyways. He can even race a car along a narrow, winding ledge!
* BottomlessBladder: This game, more than any GTA before or since, pays great attention to personal matters -- keeping fit and requiring CJ to eat occasionally, with penalties associated with eating too much or too little (or being not fit enough). But bathroom breaks are never factored in (which is probably a good thing).
* BraggingRightsReward: The rewards for achieving HundredPercentCompletion are a Rhino tank and Hydra jet that continually spawn at your hideout, as well as infinite ammunition for all weapons. Of course, since this is a [[WideOpenSandbox sandbox game]], it's ''still'' a lot of fun wreaking havoc with these things, so they're only useless in the sense that there are no more missions to complete.
* UsefulNotes/BritishEnglish: On rare occasions the fact the GTA games are actually made by a British company becomes evident. For example, the news radio station includes news reports referencing "the drugs trade"; Americans tend to singularize the word "drug" in that phrase, while the Brits use "drugs" in all uses.
** During an early mission in which CJ has to whack a Families member who has been snitching to the Ballas, the subtitles advise you to kill the "grass".
** Also true of certain jokes, for example Helena Wankstein's name being a reference to the British insult "wank stain" and the asset "Wang Cars" being a semi-homophone of "wankers". On the other hand, "wang" is also a slang term for penis, so it works either way.
** Cluckin' Bell = Cockney rhyming slang for "fucking hell".
** On-screen instructions frequently use the word "whilst". It's not a very common word in America, and it certainly doesn't fit the game's ghetto aesthetic.
* BritishRockstar: You meet up with two characters associated with a band who are largely parodies of this trope (though their style leans more towards pre-Britpop, like TheStoneRoses, Music/{{Suede}} and HappyMondays). The lead singer's name is [[Music/TheBeatles Maccer]] (he even wears a Reni hat).
* BrokenBridge: At the beginning of the game, the bridges had been damaged by an earthquake. Double subverted in that, although you can swim, boat, or fly across, you will get a four star wanted level for even trying, and you can't do too much at those points anyway.
* BrooklynRage: CJ spent five years living in Liberty City before the events of the game and returns for one mission.
* BurgerFool: OG Loc's parole officer lined him up for a job at Burger Shot as a "Hygiene Technician" (fancy talk for janitor). His uniform, and that of everyone else who works there, includes an oversized burger hat, which, needless to say, looks ridiculous. Not to mention the chicken hat that is part of the uniform at Cluckin' Bell.
* BuriedAlive: The mission "Deconstruction," a conga line of DisproportionateRetribution, ends with pushing the foreman, who is hiding in a porta-potty, into a hole - and then filling the hole with cement.
* ButThouMust:
** The first mission requires you to use a bike. If you "acquire" something else, the game ceases to show the people you are meant to follow on your minimap and the Ballas car continues to chase and shoot you no matter where you go.
** Many missions force you to use a specific, mission-critical vehicle, often for no good reason. It gets to the point that some [=NPCs=] will [[TooDumbToLive sit in an overturned, burning car]] while yelling at you to get back in until they die a fiery death and you fail.
** There are also many, many occasions in the game where the vehicle you arrive in for a mission will disappear and be replaced by one provided for the mission. A fact worth noting before you take your expensive, tripped out car to meet Woozie or Toreno for their next mission. This can be avoided (to a point) by parking your car further away.
** There are also missions where CJ is forced to use a specific weapon, despite others in his inventory (often replacing them). For example, in "Freefall" it doesn't matter if he has a mini-gun, CJ is forced to make do with a dinky 9mm pistol in the shootout. It happens [[ExplosiveDecompression inside a plane,]] though, so keeping the caliber down is somewhat justified if the game runs on [[ArtisticLicensePhysics Vinewood Physics]]. "Reuniting the Families" is particularly bad about this, because it will give you an infinite-ammo AK-47 and then take it (and all the ammo you might have had) once it's over.
** One point of criticism leveled at the game is that a number of missions require C.J. to commit outright murder (including [[spoiler: that of at least one innocent bystander, in this case a woman who happens to be unlucky enough to be the date of a man C.J. is assigned to assassinate]]), without the ability to TakeAThirdOption, which make it hard to sympathize with the character. While "following the script" is hardly unusual in a linear game, it does to a degree go against the sandbox philosophy of GTA.
** Despite the above, the game does subvert the trope as, once the game reaches a certain point, the player is free to abandon the storyline and take part in any number of purely optional activities.
* CallForward: Players of ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII [=GTA=] 3]]'' know how Claude and Catalina's relationship will turn out.
* CameraFiend: Carl "CJ" Johnson has a camera in his Ganton home's bedroom, which he can pick up and even use in some missions.
** Any photos you take when playing appear in the Gallery. They're basically a different sort of screenshot.
* CameraScrew: The game had the "Helpful" camera change problem. While driving the camera focuses ''directly'' behind your vehicle, meaning you can't see what's in front of you on the road. There's a button you can hit to move it to a much more useful angle, but as soon as you let go of said button, the camera slides riiiiiight back into crap-town. Of course, you can drive in first person mode, but then you can't see anyone pulling up behind or to the side of you; it becomes incredibly difficult to extricate yourself from the kind of 46-point turn scenario that often comes up when trying to drive through alleyways, and over everything else; and of course not forgetting, the car ''inexplicably gets wider when you're in first person view''.
** In the PC port, it is possible to freely control the camera with the mouse, but as above if you stop moving the mouse for more than a second while driving, the camera refocuses to the back of the car.
* CaneFu: This occupies the "miscellaneous item" slot, on the same category as flowers and the dildo. It works exactly as a blunt {{katana|sAreJustBetter}}, without the OneHitKill chance of [[OffWithHisHead decapitating the enemy you attack it with]]. It's all-around deadly all the same, however, moreso if you use the martial arts style learned in San Fierro for a mixed pattern of kicks and whacks. It also happens to be the most common melee weapon in the game, provided the player knows where to look for it.
* CannedOrdersOverLoudspeaker: This is the way Mike Toreno communicates with Carl during missions. It's quite amazing how he manages to have a loudspeaker just where a plane-dropped package fell, despite it being carried away by wind quite a bit.
* {{Cap}}: The game has a 9 digit money counter. If you go one dollar past $99,999,999 (which typically involves doing Vigilante Missions past Level 200 or grinding at the casino), it rolls over and [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything adds another digit]]. The actual limit is $999,999,999. [[GameplayAndStorySegregation And CJ will still complain about desperately needing money]].
* TheCaper: The game in a clear homage to ''OceansEleven'', has CJ robbing a vegas casino with a colourful group of characters (Its GTA, they're always colourful)
* CaptainCrash: Woozie, a very bizarre ally, can drive maginificently. Walking into walls, however, is a frequent occurence. Even More amazing is the fact that he can drive while being blind.
** Even more amusing is that his gang acts like he isn't blind at all. It is rather confusing especially since you meet him during a high speed race. Through the countryside. The CrowningMomentOfFunny is when he confesses to CJ that he is blind. No shit, homie.
* CaptainObvious: In the "WCTR" show "The Tight End Zone", Derrick Thackery frequently states blatantly obvious facts about football ("If you score more points than the other team, you win."), but in a twist, they're treated like insightful wisdom by his stupid call-in guests.
* CarCushion: This happens to CJ if he jumps out of the plane in "Stowaway" [[TooDumbToLive with no parachute]].
* CarSkiing: You can pull this off and get a bonus for doing so. Also, there's a side-mission in a stunt driving school where one of the tasks is to do one of these.
* CashGate: There's a similar situation to Vice City -- you need to buy an abandoned airfield to [[ScrappyLevel train your piloting skills]] and advance the main plot. The guy who tells you to buy it says you can blackmail the owners into selling it for a dollar, but you really have to pay 80 grand for it.
* CastingGag:
** CJ, voiced by then-aspiring rapper Young Maylay, claims he's not part the rap game during one of [=OG=] Loc's missions.
** The DJ of the classic rock radio station is Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith, an arrogant, aging has-been rocker whose former bandmates have gone on to greater fame while his own career has dwindled. He's still convinced that he's the most important musician ever, and gets angry when people point out he's living in the past. He's voiced by Axl Rose.
* CelebrityParadox: The DJ for the Classic Rock station (K-DST) is voiced by Axl Rose, who often takes shots at the heavy metal/grunge station Radio X. Radio X plays the Music/GunsNRoses song "Welcome to the Jungle."
* CementShoes: One mission has CJ, using a cement truck, pushing a construction foreman into a rectangular pit while the foreman is locked inside a portable bathroom stall. CJ then proceeds to [[BuriedAlive dump cement from the truck inside the pit]].
* CentralTheme: The betrayal and revenge theme found in the first two games is expanded upon. Loyalty to your [[TrueCompanions homies]] drives most, if not all the plot. The game deconstructs the TrueCompanions sentimentalism in street gangs. The people who you think are your real friends will sell you out if you get in their way. Your real friends turn out to be the ones who are there for you when you are really down.
* ChainLinkFence: This works surprisingly well, since you can vault fences but it generally doesn't occur to the cops. They can still shoot you, though...
* ChainsawGood: There's a couple of chainsaws scattered around the map. As the guns dealer would say: "works best in a crowded area". Fittingly, one was in an out of the way hick-like town.
* CharacterDevelopment: CJ gets quite a lot of it.
** Early game CJ has basically no longterm aspirations, as such he's always doing what others tells him instead of taking the lead and coming up with his own ideas (Los Santos missions basically consisting on blindly following instructions), he never stops to think about the possible consequences from his acts (such as what may happen after [[spoiler:stealing and killing Madd Dogg's rhymes and manager respectively]]), and never dares to stand up against Tempenny's constant harassing (even though he doesn't really have a real, plausible way to coerce him to do his bidding [[spoiler:before Sweet's imprisonment]].
** Late game CJ does stand up against harassing (he points a gun against Toreno when he believes he's not going to keep his promise, and even laughs in Tenpenny's face when he learns he's in trouble -- he gets punched for the latter, but the point is that he did it); although he still follows other people's instructions, he's able to take the initiative if needed (the attack to Madd Dogg's mansion was CJ's idea, as was using Rosenberg to learn more about the Caligula for the heist); he realizes some of his earlier acts have caused unexpected damage (namely, [[spoiler:Madd Dogg is almost DrivenToSuicide, and Tenpenny getting free causes a riot]]) and is set out to repair it; and ends up owning a casino and several businesses all over San Andreas, which still doesn't prevent him from eventually coming back to the hood to take care of it.
* CheckpointStarvation: No checkpoints, ever. It's a GTA tradition. At least until the tablet and the 10th Anniversary Xbox 360 versions, which do have checkpoints.
* ChekhovsGun: When CJ asks about his mother's murder, Big Smoke mentions in passing that a Green Sabre was seen at the scene of the shooting. A green Sabre shows up in a later mission [[spoiler:when CJ finds out that Smoke and Ryder are working with C.R.A.S.H. and the Ballas.]]
* CherryTapping: How about the dildo? No, wait, it gets even worse: you can beat people to death even with a goddamn ''flower bouquet''. Yep. The best part is that all of these weapons are obscenely powerful, killing any non-boss in three hits!
* TheChick: Kendl, Carl's sister and Cesar's girlfriend [[spoiler:(and later fiancee)]]. She's smart enough to not let herself become a DistressedDamsel, but she does stay on the sidelines.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Frank Tenpenny, the BigBad, has a raging case of the syndrome. The only character he ''doesn't'' screw over (often fatally) by the end of the game is [[spoiler:Big Smoke]], and then probably only because he hadn't yet [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness outlived his usefulness]].
* ChubbyChaser:
** Forth Right MC on Playback FM. "I want somethin' I can bounce up and down on!"
** One of the player character's optional [[DatingSim love interests]] is a female chubby chaser. Like all of the other women Carl romances, this is a way of getting more mileage out of the character customization. You can only date the gearhead Latina chick if CJ's fat meter is 50% or higher.
* ChunkySalsaRule: Medics from the ambulances can often revive dead people, unless their heads have been blown off.
* ChurchOfHappyology: [[http://www.epsilonprogram.com/ The Epsilon Program]]. In the words of their leader, Cris Fromage, they "tithe money in exchange for salvation and merit badges," and their success may be partially attributed to their leader's charismatic, Creator/JamesEarlJones-esque voice. Oh, and their holy text, the Epsilon Tract, has never even been written. ''Kifflom!'' They make their first appearance in the [[ContinuityReboot HD Universe]] in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV''.
* CIAEvilFBIGood: Inverted with Mike Toreno who, while remaining extremely morally ambiguous, actually follows through on his offer to get Sweet out of prison.
* CleanUpTheTown: A large part of the story involves CJ and his homies [[spoiler:(Sweet, anyway)]] trying to clean up their crack-ridden 'hood.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}:
** The Truth is ''weird.'' He clearly rambles in a style suggesting he's mad, but at the same time, seems to know a great deal about things not obvious to CJ. He's also a stoner. And he apparently got high with some really ''awesome'' polar bears.
** Mike Toreno can come across like this, too, although he's much more balanced than most cuckoolanders.
* ClusterFBomb: This was the first GTA game to have prominent use of the word "fuck" in it, and ''[[SelfDemonstratingArticle fuck]]'', does it get used a lot.
** 365 times counting its variants and not counting random pedestrians/drivers curses, the in-game radio, and the couple instances of Mexican curses like "pendejo" or "chinga tu madre".
* ColorCodedArmies: Street gangs in Los Santos are marked by what color they show off the most: Grove Street Families are green, Ballas are purple, Varrios Los Aztecas are aqua, and Vagos are yellow-orange. Ballas and Vagos will shoot at CJ on sight. When fighting turf wars, the map of Los Santos is divided into sections, shaded according to who controls it (barring the Aztecas, with whom GSF have an effective alliance thanks to Cesar being Kendal's boyfriend and later forging a friendship with CJ).
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: All of the street gangs. The Grove Street Families are green, the Ballas are purple, the Aztecas are aqua, and the Vagos are yellow-orange.
* ColorWash: Used for an accentuated atmospheric sense. Since San Andreas was a really huge state, with contrasting environments, there's a Color Wash scheme that differs from place to place. [[UsefulNotes/LosAngeles Los Santos]] had a slightly orangish weather with heat hazes. [[UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco San Fierro]] had a [[UnnaturallyBlueLighting unnaturally teal lighting]] to convey a mild-to-cold atmosphere. [[UsefulNotes/LasVegas Las Venturas]] went for a less blatant color scheme, but still conveying a [[CaptainObvious hot weather]]. The contry-sides had a pastel green/brown tint to them, and the deserts took it further with bright white/yellow skies that turned purplish at night.
* CombatPragmatist: You, CJ, comes up against the head of the local Triad. In the final showdown, he tosses you a Katana and you do duke it out with him using Katana swords. Sounds fun right? But this is Grand Theft Auto. Most players will more than likely have a couple guns on them. Why bother fighting the guy when you can just pump him full of lead right?
* {{Commune}}: A dark example, with a community of violent survivalists.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: The Rhino Tanks are the definition of Badass, being incredibly rare to find unless you get a six-star wanted level, or obtain one from the military base. However, these vehicles are very heavy and definitely ''not'' nimble when ''you'' drive them. However, if you manage to outrun the police, FBI and army in your souped-up Infernus and tear through the countryside, prepare to have the horror of your life when ''a Rhino Tank bursts out of the woods and charges straight for you at speeds upwards of 120 miles per hour''.
* TheComputerIsALyingBastard: When taking Katie Zhan out driving, she will constantly urge the player to go faster, despite the fact that her happiness meter will rapidly decrease, causing her to end the date, if the player exceeds a relatively low speed.
* CompressedHair: The player can choose to get a giant afro, which remains entirely undamaged by the wearing and removal of any headgear.
* ConspiracyTheorist: The Truth again. Subverted by Toreno indicating that any well-known conspiracy theories are, in fact, true. In short, Hitler never died, ''Germany'' (not the U.S.) nuked Japan, and Bill Clinton was a Soviet plant.
* ConstructionCatcalls: The "Deconstruction" mission has C.J.'s sister Kendl complaining about the people of a local construction site hassling her and calling her a hooker. C.J. takes this badly. [[DisproportionateRetribution Very badly]].
* ContinueYourMissionDammit: Certain events -trigger- allies into harassing you into continuing the mission. Such as if you... accidentally kill your Las Venturas casino employee girlfriend. Yeah, accidentally. That's the ticket.
** Occasionally, if left alone for long enough, CJ will sing fragments from various songs of the early-90's, such as ''Walking on Sunshine''.
* ContinuingIsPainful: There's respawning guns right outside your door, if you do certain [[FetchQuest fetch quests]]. Relatedly, you ''could'' save after the accomplishment of any difficult task, but too much saving in ''San Andreas'' creates a "can't beef up my stats by exercising" glitch. Sigh. Luckily, later patches corrected this.
* ContinuityNod: The nod has some emotion behind it, as the PlayerCharacter from ''III'' makes a cameo with a woman he'll end up killing at the end of his own game.
* ContractualBossImmunity: The game averts this with Tenpenny by having him only appear in cutscenes, presumably so no clever player could kill him before he's supposed to die (also in a cutscene). During the one mission where he is in gameplay, his fire truck is invincible and follows a pre-determined path.
* ConvenientQuesting: Subverted. The plot drops you off in enemy territory and you have to bike like heck to get back home before being filled full of holes.
* CoolestClubEver: Jizzy's Pleasure Domes. Not a club per se, it's an illegal brothel sitting at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge (or its gaming equivalent, the Gant). Regardless, this is one of the posher interiors in the game, with a three-story dance floor and mezzanine. There are also a dance club to entertain dates in all three cities.
* CoOpMultiplayer: If only on the PS2 and {{Xbox}} version.
* TheCoronerDothProtestTooMuch: At the end, your brother stops you from shooting [[DirtyCop Officer Tenpenny]], since he was already fatally wounded and this way it would be an 'accident' with 'no one to blame'. This might fly better if the car crash didn't come after a 5 minute wild chase through the entire city, with Tenpenny firing at you all the way, which started at a building that contains about 2 dozen dead gangsters. Then again, considering the quality of [[TheGuardsMustBeCrazy police forces in GTA games]], perhaps it did work.
* CorridorCubbyholeRun: The corridor is up the middle of a rising plane with the cargo loader door open. The random obstacles are barrels the enemies (human?) are pushing at you.
* CounterfeitCash: One storyline mission involves TheMafia trying to flood the new Triad casino in Las Venturas with fake casino chips, though the job is amateurish enough that even a layman can spot major flaws. Of course, the dragon on the fake chips has sunglasses and a cane, and the leader of the Triads is blind, [[EvilIsPetty so it was probably intended to upset him]]. [[NiceJobFixingItVillain It]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes does]].
* CountryMatters: This word is dropped several times through the course of the game. Considering the other [[NWordPrivileges offensive words that are used]] and the overall [[BlackComedy cringe worthy]] [[CrossesTheLineTwice subject matter]] of the game, its not surprising.
* CoupDeGrace: Subverted when it comes to [[Creator/SamuelLJackson Tenpenny]], where he's already dead after delivering his last words, and when the player character takes aim to put a bullet in Tenpenny's corpse, another character tells him not to.
* CoupDeGraceCutscene: The game has several of these, including [[spoiler:Pulaski]].
* CrapsackWorld: As any GTA world, though "San Andreas" more or less plays it for lots of BlackComedy. A perfect example of this is when you see Madd Dogg is threatening to kill himself via jumping off a roof. CJ tries to talk him out of it, but the locals tell CJ to hush because they already made a bet over whether or not Madd Dogg will jump. CJ can only say "Damn, this town is cold..."
* CreatorProvincialism: A lot of place-names are thinly-disguised ones from Scottish cities. There's also an exact replica of the Forth Rail Bridge. Rockstar North is based in Edinburgh and Dundee and evidently like their in-jokes.
* CrimeOfSelfDefense: The gangs can use you for target practice and the police isn't the least interested, but then you kill just one of those Ballas vermin and the police are all over you. In that specific case there's at least the justification that the Los Santos police unit that deals the most with the gangs, CRASH, are corrupt as hell and working directly with the Ballas, but you get the same reaction for attacking every ''other'' gang in the series, too, such as the drug-trafficking Loco Syndicate in neighboring San Fierro.
* CriticalExistenceFailure: Played straight with cars, motorcycles, boats and helicopters; you can damage these vehicles as much as you want with no effect on their performance whatsoever, up until the moment they [[EveryCarIsAPinto catastrophically explode]]. The engine will release smoke as a damage meter of sorts, and fire means it's going to explode in the next ten seconds.
** Averted with fixed-wing aircraft; taking damage to the wings or rudder can cause the stabilizer fins to snap off, resulting in a nigh-uncontrollable plane. They are also a lot more fragile than other vehicles; hitting any solid object will usually make them catch fire, if not destroy them outright. If you run into a solid wall, that's all she wrote.
** And vehicles do not handle properly if their tires are damaged. It is common for tires to be shot out, or damaged by spike belts. Several missions become noticeably easier if the player thinks to have CJ shoot out an enemy vehicle's tires before a chase begins.
** Played straight [[PlayerCharacter with CJ]], [[MadeOfIron of course]]. Unless you fall from a [[JumpPhysics great height without a parachute]], that is. And even then, if the paramedic and vigilante side-missions are completed (giving CJ extra health and armor) it's possible for him to survive even these falls, but with only 1% of your HP left. Get punched by an angry pedestrian afterwards, and you're dead.
* CrowbarCombatant: Subverted: as a ShoutOut, you can find one in Area 69, on a desk, but you can't pick it up. Some {{Game Mod}}s replace the dildo with it.
* CrueltyIsTheOnlyOption: One of the missions involves burying a construction foreman alive in concrete merely because his workers [[DisproportionateRetribution made catcalls at your sister]]. Oh, and what you buried him inside with concrete poured around it? A Porta-Potty.
* CutAndPasteEnvironments: Being a WideOpenSandbox, this is common practice in the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' series, albeit not to the degree that it's very glaring to your average player. ''San Andreas'' however is the biggest offender with regards to interiors.
** Barber shops[[note]]Except the barber shop near CJ's home (since according to the storyline the person running that particular one has been cutting CJ's hair for years), and another on the southeast corner of Los Santos[[/note]], fast food joints[[note]]This one at least may be [[JustifiedTrope justifiable]][[/note]], weapons shops[[note]]most of the time; one shop is larger than the others[[/note]], dancing clubs and tattoo parlors are all identical and even use the same workers, so it gets a bit jarring to see a guy that sells guns in San Andreas can also pop up in every other county that sells guns. Strangely, there's a two-floor weapon shop in the game files that [[DummiedOut doesn't show up in the final game]] and can only be visited via glitches and/or external programs.
** During the burglary missions there are also only a handful of building interiors depending on what kind of building you are breaking into. Strangely, there are (again) some more burglary houses in the game files that could add more diversity, but they [[DummiedOut don't show up in the final game]] and can (again) only be visited via glitches and/or external programs.
** If you pay close enough attention, you'll find quite a few branch shops of a certain "Guadalajara Jewelry Plaza" announced with a Mexican flag. (Guadalajara is Mexico's second largest city and has a large, active jewelry industry).
* {{Cutscene}}: The game has a main character with a [[VirtualPaperDoll highly variable appearance]], yet the cutscenes work with whatever you put together.
* CutsceneIncompetence: CJ is constantly pushed around by Tenpenny in their cutscene encounters throughout the game. This might make sense in the beginning, when you haven't had the time to train, but it's ridiculous when you have maxed out muscle and enough weapons to fill an armory, in addition to fighting the Mafia, US Army, secret government agencies, and thousands upon thousands of gangsters of all kinds (and no doubt many police officers). There's a cutscene in Las Venturas when Tenpenny punches CJ in the stomach, flooring him, even though CJ should logically be able to take Tenpenny in a straight fight with full muscle.
** The LetsPlay has CJ pretending to be pushed around by C.R.A.S.H. in order to take them down.
* CutscenePowerToTheMax: No matter how low C.J.'s very relevant stats are, if you make the corona over the hitman's plane, he can now defy the laws of physics and leap from one plane to another and somehow get inside.
* CuttingTheKnot:
** One mission tasks you with swimming after a fleeing target, then destroying his hijacked boat. Alternatively, grab your sniper rifle and pop him in the back a few times while he's still in the water. Problem solved.
** Another mission tasks CJ with stealing four bundles of dynamite within a set time limit. Or CJ can shoot the man at the detonator, making the timer disappear.
* DamageSpongeBoss: In a vehicle example, [[spoiler:Pulaski's]] car has truly insane durability, able to shrug off ten times the amount of firepower a normal car could take. Its wheels, however, are as weak as normal, making the chase part rather easy if you thought ahead. In an NPC example, [[spoiler:Big Smoke]] is almost as tough as the above car, with body armor providing a rather weak justification for it.
* DamnYouMuscleMemory: Some ''[[VideoGame/{{Driver}} Driv3r]]'' players found it difficult switching over to ''San Andreas'', as in the former pressing the triangle button applied the brakes, but in ''San Andreas'' it made you enter/exit the car - pain ensues for everyone involved if you happen to be driving at top speed when you press it.
* DangerTakesABackSeat: T-Bone Mendez pulls a variation of this on CJ, trying to scare him into admitting he's a double agent. It doesn't work.
* ADateWithRosiePalms: Maccer's addiction to masturbation is the subject of numerous gags.
-->'''Zero (in the radio):''' No, no, I masturbate quite often, if that's what you're implying...
** One of the "I Say, You Say" segments also includes a masturbation joke.
* DatingSim: The game has this feature. It doesn't tie too much into the story aside from stealing an access card from one of your girlfriends, though you do receive rewards like special outfits and access to their cars.
* DeadAir: This happens to James Pedeaston, host of The Wild Traveler. His audience stops calling in after a few insulting and disturbing comments. When the silence begins, he starts begging people to call him, and only receives two calls, one of whom was a jumper.
* DeadFootLeadfoot: Almost always averted when you shoot a civilian dead while he or she is still in a car; this is par course for all ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII''-era games. However, shoot a cop chasing you in his squad car, and a glitch may occur, causing his lifeless/headless body to continue giving chase until you pull it out and jack the car.
* DeadpanSnarker: Ryder.
* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: The player would normally lose his weapons when he dies, but the penalty can eventually be negated by dating a nurse, after which death only means respawning at the nearest hospital minus a trifling fee. However, if you die during a mission you have to restart it from the beginning.
* DefiantToTheEnd: Eddie Pulaski, one of the antagonists is this after Carl causes him to crash and asks for any last words. Eddie's response? "Can I fuck your sister?"
* DeggansRule: The game has a black main protagonist, CJ. His family and gang are also black, but the supporting cast beyond that is fairly diverse. The only time the subject of race is brought up is when his brother Sweet and sister Kendl argue over her dating a Latino, Caesar, but the relationship endures and Caesar becomes one of CJ's most loyal allies.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: Played for laughs on the news radio station WCTR...
-->'''Leanne''': Staying in Venturas: it used to be a patch of desert, then it was a mob town. Now, it is the corporate headquarters of America. Richard explains from the streets.
-->'''Richard''': That's right, Leanne. It used to be a patch of desert, then it was a mob town. Now, it is the corporate headquarters of America. Back to you in the studio.
* DesignItYourselfEquipment: The game featured the ability to customize some vehicles to enhance their performance and appearance: Usually your car would only really benefit from the nitro speed boosters, but feel free to blow money on the golden dollar-symbol hubcaps and pimp hydraulics.
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything:
** Tunnels are ''just'' big enough to get a helicopter/VTOL jet through
** There's a sign atop a bridge saying, 'There are no {{easter egg}}s up here. Go away.'
** ''San Andreas'' also changes how CJ speaks based on his physical appearance. The developers knew some players would try to get CJ as fat as possible, so they have CJ speak alternate lines to any NPC he interacts with based on his weight (he'll say "Lunch money!" when he takes someone's money for example), or based on his clothes (dress in a suit and he'll say "Just cause I dress nice I can't bang, huh?" as he's stomping a pedestrian). He still speaks the same lines in cutscenes however.
** Certain missions can't be started if CJ is too fat and you'll get a special cutscene telling you this. For instance, the mission [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCGkLSeFKA4 Green Goo]], which requires CJ to put on a jetpack, won't begin because the jetpack won't fit around him (although if you unlock the jetpack for free roam by finishing the said mission or cheating, [[GameplayAndStorySegregation CJ can still wear them no matter how fat he is]] - the limitation is actually due to a pit in Area 69 where you can drop to, but not climb off unless you're fit enough).
** "Stowaway" has you destroying a plane by planting C4 before jumping out with a parachute, and the plane can be destroyed by shooting it from the inside. Not only do you get a [[NonStandardGameOver funny mission failed cutscene]] for jumping out the plane without a parachute, but if you happen to have a parachute before you start the mission, you can just shoot the plane and jump out before the explosion kills you, skipping most of the mission.
** Many areas have proper pathfinding for cars even if traffic never spawns there. Lose a wanted level in a place such as the San Fierro docks and you will see the police cars making their way back onto the main roads.
** If you go one dollar past $99,999,999, the money counter rolls over and adds another digit. The actual limit is $999,999,999.
** Radio host comments will change based upon the weather. Some DJs will also remark on current game events, such as [[spoiler: the riots that dominate Los Santos during the final stage of the game]] beyond the evolving news report segments.
* DiabolicalMastermind: The game has an over-arching plot involving the murder of the hero's mother, Beverly Johnson, as part of a coup d'état within the Grove Street families. Corrupt junk squad officer Frank Tenpenny is behind it, promoting Grove Street capo [[spoiler:Big Smoke]] to drug baron in exchange for his cut. [[spoiler:Smoke]] takes over as lead villain once Tenpenny is tried for murder (though he is later [[MiscarriageOfJustice acquitted]]), with numerous gangs answering to him, including the Ballas, the Los Santos Vagos, and the Russian mob.
* DiabolusExMachina: In a meta-example, this can happen as a result of certain gameplay mechanics. For example, since planes may occasionally glitch into crash-landings, it is possible, but unlikely, to get ''hit by a plane'' during a mission.
* DialogDuringGameplay: The game has this during some boss scenes. Thus, sometimes delaying the death blow so the player can hear what else the opponent has to say.
* DieChairDie: Shooting things well was gun practice, allowing the player to eventually dual wield, fire while walking and other such shooting improvements. Find a hubcap and just go nuts. [[EveryCarIsAPinto Just don't shoot the gas tank cover.]]
* DifficultySpike: San Fierro. There have been quite a few challenging missions up to this point, but now challenging missions become more frequent and even trickier, such as the [[ThatOneLevel infamous]] "Supply Lines". And it just gets tougher from there, with the Bone County/Las Venturas portion being a Difficulty Spike from San Fierro, especially with all the flying missions.
* DigYourOwnGrave: Officer Tenpenny has C.J. do this when C.J. finally outlives his usefulness. Though it isn't C.J. who ends up in the grave.
* DirtyBusiness: Carl Johnson has to do a lot of this at various points in the game.
* DirtyCop: Officers Tenpenny and Pulaski.
* DirtyOldMonk: The mission "Jizzy" has you drop off a prostitute to a priest at a hotel. Later [[EasyEvangelism he manages to convert the prostitute]] and you must kill them, all while the priest urges the girl to keep undressing during the getaway [[BlatantLies so he can see the extent of her corruption]].
-->'''The Priest''': Don't worry girl, the Lord's army will come to our aid, just keep undressing!
* DisabilitySuperpower: Played with and averted with Woozie. His underlings say that he has incredible luck, but it's mostly just them allowing him to win. Later, at his casino, someone comes in and drops two chips on the table, saying that they have a problem; Woozie immediately says that one of them is fake, and CJ ''thinks'' it's this, allowing him to identify fakes by the sound -- but Woozie dismissively explains that he just took a guess because why else would someone would only drop two chips on the table and sound so worried.
* DiscOneNuke: If you look underneath the two bridges right behind Grove Street (to the immediate east of it on the map), you can find a submachine gun and some body armor, long before unlocking Ammu-Nation. This makes the earlier missions a lot easier.
* DisneyDeath: Mike Toreno appears to die around the time Carl turns on Jizzy, but [[spoiler:later reappears to give you missions]].
* DisposableWoman: Beverly Johnson.
* DisproportionateRetribution: In the "Deconstruction" mission, CJ finds out that some construction workers have been calling his sister Kendl a hooker. CJ's response is to head over to the construction plant to "teach them some respect." How does he do this? He smashes up their portables with a bulldozer, and then traps the foreman in his own porta-potty, pushes it into a hole in the ground ''with the poor bastard still inside'', and then commandeers a cement mixer and uses it to ''[[BuriedAlive bury him alive]]''. And all the while he's doing that last bit, the poor guy is screaming "OH GOD, WHY?!" This mission appears to disturb a lot of players as it seems out of character for the violent, yet sympathetic CJ, as he buries a guy alive because his crew insulted his sister.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: After Tenpenny plays the gangs against each other, his acquittal set off a city-wide riot. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Los_Angeles_riots The game takes place in 1992.]] Considering that the cities in the GTA universe so obviously replace real ones, and combined with all the real-life based events, this might actually run into AlternateHistory.
* TheDogBitesBack: When [[spoiler:Big Bear]] finally makes it clear that he's had it with [[spoiler:B-Dup]]'s abuse and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome punches his face in.]]
** Also, [[spoiler:Hernandez turning on Tenpenny and Pulaski, who had repeatedly treated him very poorly]].
* DoggedNiceGuy: CJ doesn't get sex after like the tenth date, he also never asks for it.
** Unless you collect all the oysters during the game in which case the girls always invite him in for a "coffee".
** Also, if you wear the Gimp suit when meeting Millie, you automatically enter her house.
--> '''CJ''': Here we go again with the kinky shit...
* DoNotRunWithAGun: The games have the convention of letting you run around while firing small or inaccurate weapons, while forcing you to stand still while firing more powerful guns. ''San Andreas'', however, ups the ante by letting you move slowly while firing the more powerful weapons, though that's once you reach a certain skill level (and even then, your movement speed when ''not'' firing them is still slower if you're holding them out).
* DonutMessWithACop: Three guesses as to where you receive missions from Pulaski and Tenpenny.
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale: Judging from the voiceovers, Catalina ties CJ to a rack, whips him and then has her way with him. This is played for laughs and then never mentioned again.
* DownerBeginning: The game starts with CJ (who left Los Santos for five years after Brian's murder) returning home to bury his murdered mother, which is grim enough. As soon as he arrives, he's picked up by Tenpenny and Pulaski, who steal all his money, frame him for a cop killing ''they'' committed, and dump him in the middle of Ballas turf. And when CJ does make it to the cemetery at Vinewood, he finds that his other brother, Sweet, is pissed at him for leaving and that his old gang is in shambles.
* DownLADrain: The Los Santos storm drain system appears in a particularly memorable mission. Before and after that, it's a good way to slink around half the city, as it has slopes that lead to street level everywhere, and there's absolutely no traffic.
* DressCodedForYourConvenience: The game combines this with ColorCodedForYourConvenience with street gang members (Grove Street Families green, Ballas purple, Vagos yellow, and Aztecas cyan) so that you knew who would shoot at you on sight (Ballas and Vagos).
* DrivesLikeCrazy: A RunningGag is people taking issue with CJ's questionably poor driving... then telling him to drive anyway. Being a ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' game, this is probably a lampshade hanging.
** Every other AI-controlled vehicle in the game. Oh, you're trying to get patients to the hospital? Let me just run this red light and sideswipe you. Not to mention the fact that a fender-bender can turn into demolition derby when the guy you hit decides to ''kill you for it''.
* DrivingIntoATruck: In at least one mission you have to do this.
* DrugsAreBad: The NeighborhoodFriendlyGangsters ain't down with that shit, at least the hard ones such as crack cocaine -- weed is OK, apparently. CJ comes around to this realization when he sees that even a {{badass}} like Big Bear can be made into a bitch for rock. You can encounter drug dealers through out the game, and they will ask you if you want some rock. Even if you say yes, CJ, in no uncertain terms, tells the guy to take his business elsewhere. Also, each dealer carries $2000 without exception, more money than the vast majority of Los Santos missions provide. In the early chapters, waging your own personal war on drugs is to your extreme advantage.
* DualWielding: If CJ gets his weapon skill up to Hitman with the Pistol, Sawn-Off Shotgun, or Micro-SMG, he can pack one in each hand for double the devastation. You will lose accuracy when doing this, but when RuleOfCool is in full effect like this ''you simply won't care''. This also makes the [=AmmuNation=] shooting range challenge slightly easier.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: OK, you've completed all the [[GottaCatchThemAll collectibles]], [[AnEntrepreneurIsYou bought all property]], [[SideQuest completed all side missions]], [[BadassDriver you're a proven master of vehicles both on the land, water and in the air]], the Grove Street Families' territory is bigger than it has ever been and yet when your brother is freed from jail due to your connections with the government he still treats you like a noob, chewing you out on leaving Los Santos behind again. Sweet's behavior is justified, since he has been in jail all the time without any contact to outside, and he has no way of knowing about your various exploits, or your reasons for leaving. Given this situation, it makes sense for him to react this way. Nevertheless, the sudden shift in mood can be a bit perplexing for the player.
** Averted earlier in the game; after getting Grove Street back on its feet, Sweet finally acknowledges Carl after taking every prior opportunity to chastise him for running away years ago:
-->'''Sweet''': Man, Ryder, leave CJ alone! He practically turned the Families 'round all by himself.
* DudeWheresMyReward: A lot of missions only reward you with "Respect," rather than money. Tenpenny's missions don't even give you that.
* DumbMuscle: Jizzy specifically refers to CJ as this repeatedly (apparently the game is assuming you've been spending some time at the gym). He's ''wrong'', but CJ was trying to get on his good side so he could snap at him behind his back.
* DummiedOut:
** An infamous example is the "Hot Coffee" ([[DontExplainTheJoke by which we mean sex]]) minigame from ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto: [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas San Andreas]]''. The sex minigame had to be removed in order to avoid an AO rating, but deleting the code for it would've required delaying the game by a few months to fix the girlfriend system. Apparently, some of the resources used in the {{Hot Coffee minigame}} actually were used in other parts of the game, which is why the data is on the final version of the game disc. So Rockstar, to meet their release date, simply buried it under layers of code. The result, after a modder re-enabled the minigame, was the Hot Coffee scandal. The "Second Edition" version, however, did get rid of the code. Also, lots of other stuff was coded, but never implemented. A GameMod by Deezire restores a crap ton of content, including cutscene dialogue that fills in so many plot holes you'll wonder why the hell Rockstar never bothered to activate it. It's also (most likely) thanks to Hot Coffee that the ESRB now asks game developers to see any dummied data when rating games.
** ''San Andreas'' is also missing the interior for the San Fierro Police Department (which is why you respawn on a nondescript street corner near the building and you can't enter it, unlike the other ones,) presumably because entering it crashed the game or they didn't have time to clean up the programming for release, and hospital interiors as well. There is also text data for a skateboard hidden in the game's main files as well (which is why Los Santos has a skatepark.) The skateboard was scrapped for the presumably much easier to program and animate bicycles.
** Don't forget the normally-inaccessible Andromada plane, tons of building interiors, and a substantial chunk of Liberty City.
* DungeonBypass: The factory filled with Russian weapon smugglers. Half of it can be bypassed by driving a tall vehicle to the back wall, clamber onto the car roof and jump the fence.
* EarthIsYoung: [[ChurchOfHappyology The Epsilon Program]] believes that the world is only ''157'' years old.
* EarWorm: In-game examples! One of CJ's idle animations is to start singing a song from the player's current favorite radio station. This can lead to anything from him quoting Snoop Dogg, to him starting to belt out Rod Stewart and catching himself. [[invoked]]
* EasterEgg: So, so many. There's a sign saying "[[{{Irony}} There are no Easter Eggs up here. Go away.]]" on top of one of the towers of the Gant Bridge in San Fierro. Furthermore, if you go to the Bridge's tourist gift shop, you will see [[http://www.grandtheftwiki.com/File:GantBridge-GTASA-cable.jpg a piece of the bridge's cable]], and a plaque describing [[http://www.grandtheftwiki.com/File:GantBridge-GTASA-factsboard.jpg how much disc space the bridge takes up]] (A "[[TechnologyMarchesOn staggering]]" 1.27 megabytes of space!). Also many audio Easter eggs on the various radio stations.
* EasyLevelTrick:
** The series often forces the player to hunt down antagonists before battling them. Occasionally, it's possible to kill the antagonists before or during the hunt--for instance, [[spoiler:Ryder]] can be killed with a sniper rifle before he reaches the speedboat he's supposed to flee in.
** A lot of the escort missions force you to make sure your vehicle doesn't blow up while roaming gang cars are shooting from you at all angles. You could either have mad skills in driving... or just drive off road and avoid rival cars altogether.
** In one of the first missions in ''San Andreas'', you have to follow a train in a motorbike with Big Smoke in the back seat shooting bad guys standing on top of the train. The short cut is to get the bike, run ahead of the train, climb a concrete rail and a bridge, stop at the roof of a building and jump on top of the train as it passes. Now shoot at will. But there's a time limit for this technique, as there's a certain bridge passing over the train that knocks you from the top of the train. Alternatively, tap the accelerate button instead of holding it to make the bike go faster, which is also an Easy Level Trick on any bike races.
** Ambulance missions in ''San Andreas'' got even worse than they were in previous installments, since every new level reset the timer, making it impossible to build up a reserve like in previous titles. Unless you did them in Angel Pine (the village you're dropped into after ''The Green Sabre'' mission), in which case all targets spawn within the village, seconds from one another.
** In Zero's final mission, you have to face off against Berkley in RC helicopters. Your job is to remove obstructions so Zero can drive his RC to Berkley's base, while Berkley will you his helicopter to drop barrels on the path. However, you can grab a bomb, fly above Berkley's helicopter, and drop it, removing him from the game and significantly reducing the number of obstructions you'll have to deal with.
** Taking over gang territory requires you to pop a few of the relevant gang members on foot to start a war for that territory, then kill several waves of really well-armed gangsters. This is mercifully optional during the first part of the game (and incidentally meaningless), but not during the final part. Fortunately, the game only requires you to make the first few kills on foot. If you have, say, [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill a tank]], there's nothing stopping you from using that.
* EasySexChange: With tongue firmly in cheek, one of the fake radio ads advertises this sort of thing.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: Carl must infiltrate one of these under a base called Area 69. Yes, it's inspired by Area 51.
* ElephantInTheLivingRoom: Played for laughs in the radio news broadcasts, where a government official being interviewed about certain mysterious black helicopters responds with just "Helicopters? What helicopters?", with the spinning helicopter rotors clearly audible in the background.
* EliteMooks:
** The authorities get stronger and wield heavier weapons as you gain a higher wanted level. At level 3, SWAT team members will rappel down from helicopters in full body armor packing Uzis. At level 4, more show up in armored SWAT trucks. At level 5, the FBI shows up in their lightning-fast [=SUVs=] and carry deadly [=MP5=]s. Finally, at level 6, the military shows up with [=M4s=] driving tanks and troop transports, the former able to detonate any car almost instantly on impact (mercifully, they cannot use the main gun).
** Gang wars have three waves of escalating numbers and difficulty. The first wave has thugs equipped with same pistols and Uzis they always have. The second has a mix of [=MP5s=] and [=AK-47s=]. The third wave is equipped almost exclusively with [=AK-47s=].
* ElSpanisho: In one mission, Big Smoke is trying to negotiate with some Mexican gangsters before he loses his patience and demands...
-->'''Smoke''': Hey, excuso me, yo soy El Grando Smokio, and I want that grass. Comprende? \\
'''Cholo''': Hey, fuck you, cabrón. \\
'''Smoke''': Now, that ain't nice. Coughio up el weedo, before I blow your brains out all over the patio \\
'''Cholo''': ˇAy, chinga tu madre, pendejo! ''(Hey, fuck your mama, asshole)''
* ElvisImpersonator: Several hundred wandering the streets of Las Venturas. And they are played by different ethnicities! The hispanic ones just do ''really'' awful Elvis impersonations, but the black ones would more accurately be called "Little Richard impersonators" and act accordingly. Amusingly, the game keeps track of the number of Elvis impersonators you've killed on the stats screen. Uh huh.
* EndlessCorridor: Unlike the other GTA games, which stopped players from leaving the designated zone with an InvisibleWall, leaving the island (via boat plane or even swimming) would lead you through an endless zone of sea and sky. You can fly in one direction for an hour straight trying to get to Liberty City; it will also took you an hour to get back to land.
** Subtly lampshaded in that one particular airplane mission happens a significant distance away from the map.
** And after going out a certain distance, you can't get back to land except by crashing or restoring the game.
* EntendreFailure:
** Carl: "Does the Pope shit in the woods?" Ceaser: "I keep telling you, I don't know, homes. Where His Holiness does his business is his business."
** The Truth: "I never made love to my mother. She wouldn't."
* AnEntrepreneurIsYou: Carl goes from being poor in Ganton with only his late mother's house and the clothes on his back, to building a criminal empire across San Andreas.
* EruditeStoner:
** The Truth (voiced by Peter Fonda) from is one. Also grows his own stuff, for consumption and distribution.
** Ryder too, to an extent. He wants to be one, at one point he claims he was thrown out of school because he was 'too intelligent for this shit', and not because he beat up a teacher for wearing Balla colours.
** As his name implies, Big Smoke, however, has his moment (which is instantly ruined by CJ):
-->'''Big Smoke''': [[AsTheGoodBookSays Like it says in the book]]... We are both blessed and cursed.\\
'''Carl Johnson''': What fuckin' book?
* EtTuBrute: Did anyone ''not'' see [[spoiler:Big Smoke and Ryder]] selling out to Tenpenny and Pulaski from a mile away?
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: The Johnson siblings dearly love their mother Beverly, so much so her murder prompted Carl to return home in the first place. [[spoiler:Officer Pulaski]] finds out how much CJ loves his mama -- the hard way.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: The Grove Street Families, the Varrio Los Aztecas and the Mountain Cloud Boys do bad things, but all of them strongly oppose the sale of hard drugs. Drug dealing is presented as the ultimate evil.
* EverybodyKnewAlready: Woozie's blindness. He's convinced that he acts normally enough to be indistinguishable from someone sighted, but he feels his way around everywhere and fires an [=MP5=] like... well, someone who can't see (although, ironically, he still shoots better than many others, such as Smoke in "Wrong Side of the Tracks"). Everyone humours him.
-->'''Woozie:''' I have a confession to make. I... I'm blind.\\
'''CJ:''' [[SarcasmMode No shit.]]
* EveryoneIsArmed: A cheat code causes all pedestrians to be armed, carrying everything from handguns to Rocket-Propelled Grenades.
* EvilVersusEvil: All the time in this game. Several major characters, like CJ, Toreno, Ryder, etc., usually commits acts rather extreme, but their enemies are far worse. Another good example would be the scene of the Grove Street Families vs. the C.R.A.S.H. from ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas''. While the Grove Street Families and Ballas are rival gangs, C.R.A.S.H. is supposedly a group of cops who claim that their approach to work is about "percentages" and they really want to manipulate bands and eliminates. But in reality the group C.R.A.S.H. is corrupt at the core and terrorize gang leaders in much the same way as they would a street gang. Even the very leaders of this group (Tenpenny and Pulaski) are guilty of various crimes.
* ExperiencePoints: The game uses respect that can actually increase or decrease depending on actions.
* ExploitedImmunity: Being the first game in the series where the player can swim, CJ can evade pursuit by jumping into water. The pursuers will jump in after him, but they have SuperDrowningSkills.
* ExpositoryThemeTune: The game brings us [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoYGKrkNWLg a rap]] song summing up the basic story behind CJ, and some explanation about the game's defining elements.
* EyepatchOfPower: You can have CJ wear an eyepatch as soon as you get access to the Binco in Ganton. Having one of his eyes covered up doesn't negatively affect him a bit.
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Big Smoke and Ryder]]. Subverted in that [[spoiler:[[TheMole they were never faces in the first place]]. Arguably, Ryder was, very early in the game. At least he was shooting with you and Sweet. Alternatively, at least he was ''pretending'' to shoot with you and Sweet]]. Perhaps it is a matter of Heel Heelier Turn.
** Averted with several characters (specifically [[spoiler:Toreno, Cesar and Woozie]]) who are depicted as having the potential to betray CJ but who never actually do.
* FailedASpotCheck: Played with in this game, which has many RPG elements. Characters will notice if you are out of shape or if you are not wearing the appropriate gang colors. You can pick and choose clothes and whatever you are wearing shows up in the cut scenes. However, characters will not notice if you attend, for example, a serious business meeting in a gimp suit. Said meeting includes the character's sister. Ew.
* FatBastard:
** Big Smoke.
** Also CJ if you have him spend most of his free time at the Cluckin' Bell.
* FakeBand: The Gurning Chimps, although, unlike their predecessor Love Fist, they don't have any songs on in-game radio.
* FakeDifficulty:
** Driving school isn't hard per se, though certainly some of the tricks you need to pull off take practice. What makes getting all gold truly difficult is the fact that they not only expect you to do these tricks, but to do them so perfectly that you stop in exactly the right position facing exactly the right way without so much as dinging your car. Bike school is easier, having less classes and the bike being easier to maneuver. Flight school is similar, except the timer is even more unforgiving and you're trying to fly vehicles which have, at best, awkward controls. Boating school is downright simple by comparison. Thankfully, you only need bronzes for the HundredPercentCompletion reward. Driving school doesn't even have a decent reward, just a fairly CoolCar. At least you get an attack helicopter for beating flight school.
** Once you get far enough that you can start taking over gang territories for Grove Street, it becomes almost trivially easy to collect thousands of rounds of SMG and automatic rifle ammunition. [[spoiler:So naturally, once you've finished the missions for that area, you lose all your guns and all the territory you took over becomes enemy property.]]
** Certain missions will automatically equip you with a specific type of weapon at key moments. You have no control over this, so even if you had been carrying a stronger weapon than what the game gives you, you're forced to use the weaker weapon.
* FamousLastWords:
** "He's broken my heart! Get him, boys!" [[spoiler:Freddy]]
** "Chinga tu madre, pendejo!" ("Fuck your mother, asshole!") [[spoiler:Jose]]
** "Holy fuck!" [[spoiler:Alan "Scipio" Crawford]]
** "Fuck you, Americansky! I'm gone! Doing business in America is dangerous!" [[spoiler:Andre]]
** "Tenpenny set me up!" [[spoiler:Little Weasel]]
** "You wreckin' my ride!" [[spoiler:Jizzy B.]]
** "I'm a motherfuckin' genius!" [[spoiler: Lance "Ryder" Wilson]]
** "We're hit! We're going down! Brace for impact!" [[spoiler:Little Lion]]
** "Enough! We settle this here!" [[spoiler:The Snakehead]]
** "Yeah...can I fuck your sister?" [[spoiler: Officer Eddie Pulaski]]
** "It's fucking him! It's him! Oh, my God! Oh, God...it's him! My heart! My heart..." [[spoiler:Johnny Sindacco]]
** "I'm a' fuck with you!" [[spoiler:Big Poppa]]
** "When I'm gone, everyone gonna remember my name...[[spoiler:Big Smoke!]]" [[spoiler:Melvin "Big Smoke" Harris]]
** "You never understood what I did! Fifty of me, and this town would be okay! I took the trash out! I DID! And I'd do it all again..." [[spoiler: Officer Frank Tenpenny]]
* FamousNamedForeigner: While not foreign, Eddie Pulaski is supposed to be a Polish-American - obviously named after Casimir Pulaski, featured in many American place names.
* FanDisservice: Maccer is revealed to have had a liason with a hillbilly woman, giving her an ugly case of "the red bumpies." That, and most of Maccer's masturbation fantasies are nauseating in general.
--->"I LOVE YOU [[MargaretThatcher MAGGIE!]]"
* FatalMethodActing: In universe example. Early on, the player can listen to [[GTARadio WCTR]] and hear an example. Jack Howitzer appears on "Entertaining America" to promote his new film and brings a gun with him. He tries to calm host Billy Dexter by saying that it's not loaded, then fatally shoots him. On the bright side, Dexter is replaced by Lazlow.
* FatBastard: Big Smoke is quite heavy and usually lets the player and the other homies do all the work. In one mission, a rival gang attacks your gang in a car and during the firefight, Big Smoke eats everyone's food that they ordered instead of shooting back. [[spoiler: This becomes more clear when CJ later on finds out Big Smoke is actually on the side of the rival gang and is selling drugs, something that CJ's gang was fighting to get rid of.]]
* FauxAffablyEvil: Tenpenny.
* {{Filth}}: The {{Gayborhood}} has a porn theater showing the rather unimaginative ''Wizard of Ass''.
* FiringOneHanded: Carl "CJ" Johnson can ''[[RuleOfCool dual-wield Sawed Off Shotguns]]''.
* FirstPersonSnapshooter: The game had you [[CollectionSidequest taking pictures of photograph icons]] spread throughout the environments. The pictures actually end up as screenshots in the game's folder.
* {{Flanderization}}: Catalina is a total adrenaline junkie, unlike in ''GTA III''. Of course, since this is a prequel, one could argue that by the time ''GTA III'' rolls around she's undergone CharacterDevelopment.
* FlunkyBoss: [[spoiler:Big Smoke]] calls constantly Vagos until you kill him.
* FlyingSeafoodSpecial: Sharks, dolphins and whatever else is underwater can become this due to a rocket glitch.
* ForbiddenZone: Area 69, a military and research compound. Getting past the fence at ground level instantly gives you a 5 star warrant level, and you'll be shot down by missiles or the military's fighter jets if you approach the area by air. There's one mission where you do get the chance to sneak into the facility and see why the area is so heavily guarded; using alien technology, the military created a jet pack that allows the wearer to fly. You get to keep it as well once you complete the mission.
* ForcedLevelGrinding: At one point, sooner or later, you're going to have to spend an hour or so doing some diving practice so you can qualify for one of Woozie's missions. Thank goodness the Chinese Triads and the 'bad guys' will wait however long it takes for you to practice swimming. What makes this ridiculous is that the mission itself serves as a tutorial, even though you need to grind to unlock it, and the point of being able to dive (to avoid the patrol boats) is easily bypassed by sinking the boats or killing their crews. You'll also have to grind for muscle or fat build up when it comes to certain girlfriends so that they'll start dating you, but this can be bypassed by finding all the oysters in the game.
* ForcedTutorial: The game makes you complete flight school to progress, despite you being able to fly perfectly fine previously, and despite you never needing to use the maneuvers that the school teaches you. But you do get a prize for doing it well enough, so it's not a total time waster. It's [[ThatOneLevel horribly frustrating]] though (TruthInTelevision if you've ever tried to get a pilot's license).
* ForkliftFu: There's forklifts, and at least one mission that requires the player to use one. However, they are so slow and unwieldy (due to the rear wheel drive) that pretty much any other vehicle in the game would make a more effective killing tool.
* FowlMouthedParrot: [[Film/{{Scarface 1983}} Tony the Parrot]].
-->'''Tony:''' Brawk, I never fucked over anyone in my life who didn't have it coming!
* FreeRotatingCamera: The "Rotation And Tilt" variation.
* FreudianExcuse
** CJ will sometimes mockingly say that he had a bad childhood when killing random people. That and he will also "[[SocietyIsToBlame blame society]]".
** Catalina blurts one out when complaining about CJ's (subjective) lack of backbone in their crime sprees.
* AFriendInNeed: Cesar leading CJ to the [[WhamEpisode Wham Mission]] is what solidifies their friendship.
* FriendshipMoment
** Cesar fully earns Carl's trust when he shows him [[spoiler:Smoke and Ryder's betrayal]].
** CJ learning about Woozie's blindness also qualifies, as the two become noticeably more buddy-buddy afterward.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: CJ goes from being a random gangbanger (not even leader of his own street gang!) to semi-respected businessman and head of a criminal empire that extends over the entire state.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent
** In "Cleaning the Hood", while Ryder sarcastically greets Ballas pushers to take them out, take a close look at the background. You can actually see a Balla getting some head from a hooker.
** Because ''San Andreas'' is a living environment, it's not uncommon for CJ to encounter [=NPCs=] engaging in non-sequitur-silled conversations, police chases, fights, shootings, vehicular accidents, plane crashes, and general insanity going on completely separate from what the player is doing...
* FunWithAcronyms:
** An example: '''B'''an '''I'''mmigration '''G'''reencards '''O'''utright '''T'''oday!
** ''San Andreas'' also has '''C'''ommunity '''R'''esources '''A'''gainst '''S'''treet '''H'''oodlums, which was an actual unit of the LAPD. [[note]]Funnily enough, the San Andreas version is actually ''less'' corrupt than [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rampart_scandal the real organization had ended up]].[[/note]]
* GameBreakingBug: The infamous Madd Dogg glitch. A glitch in a mission where you had to save him from his own suicide attempt by positioning a truck full of hay under him before he could jump off a building would become Unwinnable because he would jump off the building before the cutscene ended. This glitch also made the ''game'' {{Unwinnable}}, and this is compounded by the fact that no one is certain what triggers this glitch; it seems to be completely random. Many suggestions have been made, the most commonly accepted "cause" being that it's caused by cheating extremely often, or using common cheats. This is discredited, since many people who never cheated once the entire game still had the glitch occur, while some that cheated extensively never saw it. One cause is the "pedestrians riot" cheat (which cannot be turned off), causing everyone to become hostile to each other. This mission is affected because Madd Dogg's character attempts to run to the nearest NPC to fight them, and in doing so, runs off the roof and dies. This is made even worse by it being one of the last missions in the game, meaning that if you get this glitch, you're screwed and have to start all over and pray you don't get the glitch again. Though, mercifully, it seems as though it never happens in two new games in a row.
** Also, if you attempt to play basketball in Madd Dogg's mansion, all basketballs on the world map will be deleted from the game, meaning you can't play it again in that particular save. This one is minor, since basketball is not needed for HundredPercentCompletion, but another glitch involving the mansion that you should worry about involves saving there, which corrupts your file.
** There's one in the Woozie mission "Mountain Cloud Boys" (reported to occur in at least the PC and PS2 versions). After you take Woozie around the block to the [[spoiler:ambush]] Triad meeting, once you get out of the car and the cutscene plays, you won't be able to control CJ, the camera, or do ''anything'' except go to the pause menu. Fortunately, you can defuse this one by stopping at the target before Woozie stops talking about the Vietnamese gang, thus preventing the cutscene from running.
** One of Zero's missions involving using a radio-controlled toy airplane to kill a team of couriers is rendered next to impossible by a glitch that depletes the plane's fuel at a steady rate instead of only being used when CJ hits the gas, which means there's no way to conserve fuel; on the PS2 version, it's basically impossible to finish Zero's missions without cheating.
** One of the missions early on in Los Santos requires you to impress a DJ with your dancing skills via button rhythm mini-game. Playing on an HDTV makes the game almost impossible to complete due to input lag or the controls simply not responding to any button pressing. Since the game was released in a time where HDTV was still a new format, the game wasn't exactly optimized for it.
** Though not a game ender, there is a glitch where if you take one of the hookers into a Transfender body shop, instead of the standard "nothing happens except the car shaking", you will see the hooker bend over to give CJ oral sex.
** An update to the Steam version of the game caused all save files to become corrupt, effectively wiping out all progress globally. On top of this, several resolution sizes (1920 x 1080 most notably) were mysteriously removed and mouse controls became bugged.
* GameMod:
** The infamous Hot Coffee mod. In the game, CJ can have sex with various women, but the depiction is limited to seeing them entering the woman's house. Hot Coffee re-enables a DummiedOut sequence where the player not only gets to watch but controls the action to a degree. It was later patched. The discovery led to a brief revival of the [[NewMediaAreEvil Games Are Evil]] panic. Incidentally, PC players tend to avoid said patch not because they want to enable it but rather because it interferes with ''actual'' mods.
** Speaking of which, the PC release of ''San Andreas'' has considerable popularity in Japan because of or leading to the mass number of ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' mods made for it.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation
** CJ is not a nice man, but in the cutscenes at least he's more of an AntiHero who cares about family and neighborhood and [[EvenEvilHasStandards will not cross some moral lines]]. None of this prevents you from... say, beating old women to death with a baseball bat or going on a rampage just for kicks. Nor will anyone treat CJ differently for doing such things.
** In early cutscenes, Ryder will constantly criticize CJ over his driving skills. While reckless driving is a GTA tradition, he'll still give you shit even if you've never so much as scratched a car.
** Early on, Tenpenny and Pulaski force CJ into doing their dirty work on threat of framing him for a cop-killing ''they'' committed. You can do worse than that over the course of the game, going so far as to kill hundreds of cops, agents and soldiers, but the worst you'll ever get is a brief stay in jail and confiscation of weapons (and even that can be circumvented if you have a relationship with [[DatingCatwoman Barbara]], herself a cop). It also helps that the officer Tenpenny ordered killed was on the verge of exposing internal corruption within the LSPD, and is thus of a greater concern for him.
** You can take over gang territories by killing a few of the local members then taking out a few waves. Not only do the missions not recognize this fact, they will actively change territories back and force you to take them over again, facing much heavier resistance than is common for those regions.
** At several times in the story, CJ will mention that he has very little money, and sometimes that he is in desperate need of cash. This despite the fact that, without cheating, a player may have earned [[{{Cap}} one dollar short of a billion]] via various side-missions and gambling at the off-track betting center.
** Also, after finishing the race with Claude, Catalina hands him the papers for an old garage, instead of the pinkslip for Claude's car. C.J is pissed and whines about how he feels cheated out of a cool car (acquireable through other means) and has to own a "crappy" safe house in a ridiculously convenient location with a spacious garage. His sister at least chews him out over this.
** In the last mission, Carl will mock [[spoiler: Big Smoke]] for wearing body armor, even though any self-respecting player probably came into the place wearing some, not to mention the fact that there's an armor pickup ''in the room''.
* GameplayRoulette: Done right, since that's part of the fun.
* GameWithinAGame: The game had clones of ''VideoGame/{{Tempest}}'', ''VideoGame/{{Asteroids}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Defender}}'' (''Go Go Space Monkey'', ''Let's Get Ready to Bumble'', ''Duality'', and ''They Crawled from Uranus''). You could also play billiards at one of the local bars.
* GangBangers: The Groves, the Ballas and the Varrios Los Aztecas.
* GangstaStyle: Naturally, this affects the gangstas here. You even see CJ using it with GunsAkimbo. (He even fires a pair of [[SawedOffShotgun sawn-off shotguns]] this way if you level your skill with that weapon up all the way.) Note that all other weapons are held conventionally (well, as conventionally as possible, for the minigun). This is also the standard stance for Mafia, highway patrol, and SWAT teams – as an exception, standard police patrols hold their pistols with both hands[[note]]a rather simple GameMod allows all characters to do the same[[/note]].
* {{Gayborhood}}: The Queens district in San Fierro, based on, of course, the most famous {{Gayborhood}} in the world -- [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Castro,_San_Francisco The Castro, San Francisco]].
* {{Gayngster}}: OG Loc. You first encounter him fresh off the prison, and he wants to kill his prison boyfriend for spreading rumors about their tryst, though of course he's in complete denial. Instead, you end up killing the boyfriend. OG Loc later does a radio interview where he stresses his macho-ness. Of course, it ''was'' a "prison thing".
** Judging from the dialogue, the relationship seems to be [[PrisonRape not entirely consensual]].
* GayOption: The game lets CJ kiss men, but this only applies in multiplayer mode and if the 2nd player chooses a male character.
* GenericGraffiti: The game lets you tag over rival gangs. Tag all 100, and a nice arsenal of weapons will spawn at your home in Grove Street.
* GeoEffects: Vehicles lose grip in the rain, especially on the grass. Aircraft experience wind and turbulence during a storm.
* GhibliHills: The game featured expansive rural and unpopulated areas in stark contrast to the series' dense urban mainstay (though it has that too).
* TheGhost: Zero's SitcomArchnemesis, Berkley, is never seen or heard, though you do have to deal with his various contraptions. CJ lampshades this trope at the beginning of "Air Raid."
-->'''Zero:''' Berkley is back!\\
'''Carl Johnson:''' [''Sympathetically''] Ohhh, Berkley. \\
'''Zero:''' Yes.\\
''{{Beat}}''\\
'''Carl Johnson:''' Who the fuck is Berkley?!
* GhostTown: There are quite a few in the desert areas (Las Brujas and Aldea Malvada are two examples).
* GoKartingWithBowser: Done quite literally. The 'hero', C.J. literally kills his way through Mad Dogg's orginization so a friend, OG Loc, can jumpstart a music career. Then, in order to restart Mad Dogg's career (a movie which greatly benefits C.J.) he and Mad Dogg chase OG Loc through the streets of Los Santos...on go karts. In order to get a valued rhyme book back. Apparently Madd Dog cannot make up new rhymes on his own. M.D. has 'so far' not discovered that C.J. was the one to kill his co-workers and leave his mansion filled with bodies.
* GolfClubbing: Golf clubs can be used as a melee weapon. If CJ knocks someone down, he will then uses a golf swing.
* GoodGunsBadGuns: The protagonists allies in the Grove Street Families use the Tec-9 as their submachine gun of choice, while all other gangs in Los Santos use the Micro UZI.
** Unless you [[GottaCatchThemAll spray all rival gang tags in the city]], when the GSF start using [=MP5s=], playing the trope straight (mostly, as [=OGs=] like Sweet will, with very rare exceptions, still use the Tec-9 during missions).
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Catalina, by far one of the [[AxCrazy craziest]] [[{{Yandere}} characters]] of the game, turns out to be into S&M during the cut scene for the "Gone Courting" mission. We don't see anything of the act itself, but she proceeds to chain C.J. to a rack and then takes a whip to him before getting down to business.
* GoofyPrintUnderwear: Available for purchase at Binco.
* GottaCatchEmAll: Gang tags in Los Santos, pictures in San Fierro, horseshoes in Las Venturas, oysters everywhere on the map. Getting the tags make weapons appear in the Johnson house and give Grove Street members stronger weapons, pictures give you free weapons at the Doherty garage, oysters give you sex appeal and infinite swim if you find them all, and horseshoes rig the casino games in your favor and give you free weapons at the Four Dragons Casino. There's a reason why all that stuff is listed in GuideDangIt below...
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: Mike Toreno's "government agency". Plus at least one (probably two) rival agencies.
* GraffitiOfTheResistance: A variant is used. Finding graffiti done by rival gangs and spraypainting the Grove Street logo over it is a good way to build the Grove's respect early in the game.
* GrandTheftPrototype: In one mission, CJ is tasked to infiltrate an army secret base to hijack a newly developed ''JetPack''. Sounds similiar to ''Gundam'' series, eh?
* GratuitousSpanish:
** The name of the town El Quebrados is gramatically incorrect -- it should be either "El Quebrado" or "Los Quebrados".
** "Los Flores", the correct form being "Las Flores".
* GraveHumor: On a more minor note, the game features "R.I.P. Opposition" tombstones at a San Fierro memorial, referring to the rivalry between Rockstar North and developers of "[[FollowTheLeader GTA clones]]".
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy:
** The police: one can evade arrest by getting a haircut, or by changing shoes. Or putting on a pair of 'joke glasses', the type with fake nose and eyebrows attached. Or going into a ''gun shop'' and waiting. How does that look on their report?
** The military guards. It is really easy to break into Area 69 and other supposedly well guarded places because of how stupid the guards behave. They don't mind when their colleagues get shot right next to them and if you run fast enough they even forget about you after you've stood right in front of you. Not to mention that they are completely deaf. You can fire your M4 all you want and they won't even raise an eyebrow.
* GuideDangIt:
** One of the most common questions seems to be: "Where do I find this 'Euros' car for the export list?" And rightfully so, since it only spawns in one specific location and only when it is wanted for the export list (and you need to know what it looks like, to boot). Fortunately the exporting of cars is optional for completing the ''storyline'' of the game, but for those playing for the coveted "100% completion" awards, you gotta grin and bear it. Or find a walkthrough.
** There are a ''ton'' of collectibles in this game. CJ has to find 70 photo locations, spray 100 gang tags, track down 50 oysters, and find 50 horseshoes. The San Andreas map is so huge and complex, and many of these items/jump sites are in hidden locations, that the only practical way to find them all is with a walkthrough or guidebook (although subverted by the Brady Games official strategy guide that gives incorrect locations or unhelpful directions for many of these). The photo locations, at least, do have one helpful way of tracking them (if you know about it); they glow in the dark. The others offer no such help. The only plus is that, oysters aside, all of these collectibles are limited to one section of the map.
** Oh and there are also 70 hidden unique stunt jumps, too, though these aren't required for 100% completion. Many of these jumps are obvious (why else would a jump ramp be placed in the middle of trailer park?) but some - especially those that require the player to jump off a cliff or some such (one jump actually requires CJ to launch a car from Red County, hope it flies high and fast enough to cross a bay, and land on the San Fierro Airport tarmac), are not intuitive and need a manual to locate/become aware of.
** And without a guidebook, many players likely complete the storyline portion of the game unaware of things like the hidden courier challenges, the bicycle and motorbike challenges, the mountain biking races, and the two triathlons that are only accessible on certain days of the week! Although also not needed for 100% completion, several of the women available for dating are not located in obvious places, either (one is hidden in a park in San Fierro that CJ is not required to visit for any mission or item pick-up).
** As noted above, the Brady Games manual is rife with errors and inaccuracies. One of the most glaring is that the book features pick-up locations for adrenaline power boosts - even though none actually exist within the game itself!
* GunsAkimbo: You can dual-wield the standard pistol (although not the Desert Eagle or the silenced version), the sawed-off shotgun, and the two machine-pistols after you max out your skill with each respective weapon.
* {{Hammerspace}}: When CJ and Ryder go out to steal ammunition from various sources, CJ notes that the truck they're driving appeared from nowhere and the fact that it wasn't on Ryder's 'curb when it showed up. Ryder tells him to chill. He says his homies brought it over during the previous scene and that CJ didn't notice because Ryder's homies are like ninjas.
* HandicappedBadass: Wu Zi Mu (aka "Woozie") is a Triad boss who doesn't hesitate to go in guns blazing against gangs that try to muscle in on his turf and also loves to race cars. He's also blind.
** [[spoiler: Revealed to be a subversion: his Triad subordinates like to rig the casino games he plays with them, and he thinks CJ must be very lucky to be able to beat him at things like blackjack. But he does have instances where his "incredible luck", as the Triads call it, allows him to beat CJ at video games and drive a sports car in an illegal rural-road street race without wrecking. He's also the best shot in the game, next to CJ himself.]]
* HandshakeRefusal: CJ does this with Woozie in their first meeting, though it's less out of disrespect and more because he's weirded out that Woozie is pointing slightly away from him (the first hint to his blindness).
* HardCodedHostility: The game gives us a case of GameplayAndStorySegregation: Los Aztecas will always mob and eventually attack both you and other Grove Street members outside of missions if given a chance, no matter how close CJ's bond with their leader, Cesar Vialpando, is, or that you eventually help them regain their lost territory from the Vagos.
* HasTwoMommies: One of the ads on a radio station was for a TV sitcom featuring an orphaned girl living with her 5 adoptive "uncles". ''GTA'' being ''GTA'', it was pretty blatant that only one guy at most was an actual uncle.
-->'''Girl:''' I'm an emotionally abused orphan! Can't I get in on any of these groups hugs?\\
'''[='Uncle'=]:''' No, you stupid bitch!
* HeelFaceDoorSlam: Officer Hernandez, the third, [[TheVoiceless silent]] member of C.R.A.S.H (Well, not completely silent. The one time he speaks is on the phone with C.J. warning him that C.R.A.S.H is going to make sure he stays in Los Santos and works with them.) who acts as a Foil to the loudmouthed [[BigBad Tenpenny]] and [[JerkAss Pulaski.]] Eventually however, he got fed up with [[DirtyCop Tenpenny and Pulaski's ways]] sometime offscreen as his final cutscene is of Tenpenny beating him with a shovel for being a snitch, and having C.J. dig his grave at gunpoint. Hernandez isn't dead though, and he gets back up to try and tackle Pulaski, only to get shot, finally dying.
** The Introduction DVD expands on this. Hernandez speaks in it, telling a story about how he had to make a difficult decision between letting a man beat his crack addicted wife, or jailing the man and leaving the obviously unsuitable for children wife with their kids, establishing himself as a cop with morals. The other two cops scoff at that being a difficult decision, telling him that they're gonna be making difficult decisions on a regular basis. Later on, they force him to personally shoot a cop who had evidence proving that Tenpenny and Pulaski were crooked, so he can "be a fucking man." It makes Hernandez's death all the more tragic, as he was pretty much one of the handful of good cops in the whole series.
* HelicopterBlender: The mission "Reuniting the Families" ends with both versions of this trope: a police helicopter tilts forward, threatening to slice up the protagonists' vehicle, and a police officer on the hood of said vehicle ends up minced in the process. Additionally, if you yourself gain control of a helicopter, you can practice this trope on any random passersby you run across, just as you can in any other GTA game with helicopters.
* HellishCopter: There's one mission where CJ attempts to take out some rival criminals from a helicopter, only for it to be almost immediately blown up by a rocket launcher and crash in the ocean. CJ gets out okay, but the pilot isn't as lucky.
* HeroicFireRescue: CJ has to enter a burning house to rescue a girl. From a fire he caused in the first place.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: The protaganist, C.J. sees his insane girlfriend run off with a quiet racing competitor. Said quiet man is the main character, Claude, in the (chronologically later, though earlier release) ''Grand Theft Auto 3''.
* HeroStoleMyBike: Done twice early on in the game. Done either to escape being shot at or escape being run over and riddled with bullets. Returning either risks same.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Creator/SamuelLJackson's character Officer Frank Tenpenny.
* HidingTheHandicap: Woozie is blind, but won't reveal this to CJ until CJ has done several missions on his behalf and earned his respect. CJ however had already been informed of Woozie's disability by one of his subordinates.
* HighAltitudeBattle: The plane missions.
* HighSpeedHijack: The game tried experimenting with the new engine to create some unusual hijacks. The first Mike Toreno mission involved speeding alongside a fuel truck so your sidekick, Caesar, can leap into the cab and yank out the driver. Ouch. A later mission involves ''flying'' beside a private jet and then bailing out of the plane, whereupon CJ grabs hold of the entry hatch and hijacks the jet in mid-air.
* HippieVan: [[CrazyAwesome The Truth]] drives a VW with a psychedelic paint job called the Mothership.
* HistoricalInJoke: The game is set in [[TheNineties 1992]]. The primary antagonists of the game are police officers, Frank Tenpenny and Eddie Pulaski. Late in the game, their many, many crimes catch up with them and Tenpenny[[note]]Pulaski dies in an earlier mission[[/note]] is arrested, put to trial... and acquitted. The city of Los Santos riots in response. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Los_Angeles_riots Sound familiar?]]
* HitSoHardTheCalendarFeltIt: Invoked when a guy called The Truth gets something CJ stole from a government base, he says "They shall call this YearZero".
* HollywoodCalifornia: The game is heavily built upon imagery from all of these regions. Los Santos is a dead ringer for LA, with East Los Santos standing for East LA, and Ganton standing for Compton and Vinewood is a very obvious Hollywood reference. The city of San Fierro is analagous to San Francisco, while Las Venturas stands for [[UsefulNotes/LasVegas Las Vegas]] (which is actually in UsefulNotes/{{Nevada}}).
* HollywoodNerd: Zero. For instance, he quotes ''Franchise/StarWars'' during his rooftop defense mission.
* HollywoodSilencer: A silenced 9mm pistol is available and used during some stealth-based missions. It makes the classic ''fwip!'' sound and does not alert moderately distant guards.
* HoneyTrap: As part of [[TheCaper the plan to rob a casino]], C. J. seduces a dealer who has an important keycard (as well as some... [[UsefulNotes/{{BDSM}} unusual tastes]]).
* HopeSpot: Between "[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Reuniting The Families]]" and "[[WhamEpisode The Green Sabre]]". How long it lasts depends on the player.
* HotCoffeeMinigame: The TropeNamer. The original release of the game had a DummiedOut sex mini-game that played out when dates ended in "coffee". Given the graphics engine, CJ is dating blocky UncannyValley girls -- the game is about as saucy as banging Legomen together. When moders re-activated the game a scandal errupted and denials were issued, as [[http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/7/20/ mocked]] by ''Webcomic/PennyArcade''.
* HouseMusic: One of the radio stations is "San Fierro Underground", which plays house.
* HufflepuffHouse: Varrios Los Aztecas. Their leader, Caesar, could be considered a SupportingLeader.
* HughMann: One of many UFO gags sprinkled. During the mission "Stowaway," Mike Toreno instructs Carl Johnson to destroy a jet carrying explosives for use in the Middle East. The {{MIB}} onboard the plane will spout strange phrases while attacking Carl, including: "you evolved from shrews", "this endangers everything", "carbon based buffoon", "idiotic mammal", and "the great day will come".
* HundredPercentCompletion: The game gives neato whiz-bang prizes for completing 100% of all the optional tasks, tests, and races. All the required tasks for plot completion total around 20%. The player's childhood home in Ganton is upgraded with spawns for a Rhino tank and a Hydra jump jet.
* HundredPercentHeroismRating: There are various character ratings (fat, muscle, sex appeal, and respect), which affect how [=NPCs=] react in your presence. You can even say something back, determined by hitting Y or N. However, no amount of sex appeal or respect will completely stop people from telling CJ he smells bad.
* HyperactiveMetabolism: CJ can heal by eating meals at fast-food restaurants or by purchasing snacks. Ingesting lots of food will fatten him up much faster than should be possible (eating too much at one time will make him puke though, keeping the health, but losing the fat that would have been gained), or conversely that exercising will make him lose body fat and gain muscle ridiculously quickly, could also be taken as evidence of a most unusual metabolism. Dining on salad will get around the fat problem.
* HyperspaceArsenal: CJ finds room for a very large arsenal in his pants. In fact, since C.J. is capable of changing his clothes, he could conceivably be carrying around a rocket launcher, a shotgun, and an assortment of other weapons in his ''boxers.''
* ICanSeeMyHouseFromHere: If you're getting chased by a ghetto bird (police chopper), one of the gunners may shout this. The other gunner tells him to shut up, acutely embarrassed.
* IdleAnimation: CJ will randomly start singing a song from the last radio station you listened to if he's standing still for a while. Amusingly, CJ's not so hot at recalling the lyrics.
* IfItBleedsItLeads: Field reporter [[KentBrockmanNews Richard Burns]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_YiBbmU52c complains about the lack of casualties]] during a news segment.
-->"Officials say there are still no reported casualties, which is truly unfortunate, as it makes for incredibly boring news."
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: [[GTARadio One of the radio segments]], [[TheAhnold Jack Howitzer]] threatens to kill host Billy Dexter unless he touches Jack's genitals (ItMakesSenseInContext... sorta) and then says he was just fooling around and that his gun was unloaded, only for it to go off and kill Dexter.
* IllTakeTwoBeersToo: There is a mission where you and your homies get drive-thru. One of your homies, Big Smoke, orders an absurdly long list of foods while the others order casually. And then, when everyone else is busy trying to keep a rival gang from invading your neighborhood, Smoke eats all the food, even the stuff he didn't order. Of course, [[spoiler: after you know he's betraying you, that scene can look much different]].
* ImageSong: Young Maylay, the voice of Carl 'C.J.' Johnson and accomplished rap musician, used the game's theme song as a backing track for the first song on his LP, ''San Andreas: The Original Mixtape'', where he raps about the game in character.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: Throughout the game, you'll get in shootouts with all kinds of gangbangers, cops, "redneck survivalists", pedestrians, military, drug dealers, the Italian mob, the Russian mob, federal agents, federal agents who might be aliens, and not a single goddamn one of them can score a hit more than once per every ten bullets expended at the very most. Of course, due to the GTA games infamously wonky targeting system, neither can CJ sometimes.
* ImprobableParkingSkills: One of the Driving School missions requires you to parallel park by speeding at the spot then sliding into it sideways without touching either car and doing it so you're perfectly aligned to get gold.
* ImprobableWeaponUser: The game has the usual fare of melee weapons, including stick-like implements. But then you have fire extinguishers, spray cans, bunches of flowers, and even ''sex toys''. The kicker? They can still incapacitate or kill, and can even be used to bash cars ''until they catch on fire''.
** Their primary purpose is to be given to girlfriends as gifts, but still. If CJ's strength is maxed out, he can beat any ped to a pulp with flowers in a matter of seconds.
* InappropriateHunger: Big Smoke eats the whole gang's takeout while being shot at by the Ballas. Of course, this is meant to foreshadow the fact that [[spoiler:Smoke has been with the Ballas all along]]. When called out on it, Smoke replies:
-->'''Big Smoke:''' If you can eat your food while everyone else is losing theirs and blaming you, you straight, homie.
** Gameplay-wise, to get fat or even get a lot of energy for working out, you often need to eat several of the largest combo available.
* InfinityPlusOneSword: The minigun is the ultimate weapon in the game. It kills people by the truckloads in seconds, destroys vehicles just as fast, and the game's manual aiming system makes it incredibly effective at taking down helicopters as well.
** Meanwhile, the Hydra is the InfinityPlusOneSword for vehicles. It flies faster than any other aircraft, it can easily take off and land from most any surface thanks to its vertical take-off system, it can hover around like a helicopter to destroy ground targets, and it can drop countermeasures to ward off missiles fired from AA weapons or other Hydras as well.
* InformedEquipment: Excellently avoided, you can change the main character's clothes and hairstyle, give him tattoos, and even alter his basic body shape (though this last is a long process, involving overeating to get fat or exercise to get muscular). Any changes to the character's appearance are worked seamlessly into all of the game's cutscenes. Body armour, on the other hand, is invisible, even if you are naked from the waist up.
* InkSuitActor:
** Officer Tenpenny was clearly designed with the knowledge that Samuel L. Jackson was going to be his voice actor, because he looks exactly like Samuel L. Jackson.
** Likewise, Zero looks exactly like his voice actor, David Cross. And Jizzy B. looks just like ''his'' voice actor, Charlie Murphy. And James Woods, the voice of Mike Toreno, could easily play the role in a live action adaptation.
** Cesar Vialpando is clearly modeled on Clifton Collins, Jr.
* InstantExpert: The protagonist can learn how to use any weapon or vehicle from the moment they see it. The most ridiculous example, CJ can load and fire any weapon from an M1911 to an SA-7 Grail rocket missile launcher simply by picking it up, and goes through a few (videotaped) lessons to learn to fly any aircraft. The height of ridiculousness is "Vertical Bird", where he sneaks aboard an amphibious assault ship, eliminates about a dozen trained soldiers with either stealth or firepower, and hijacks a Harrier jumpjet to shoot down two other fighters and destroy several boats. Quite impressive for a two-bit gang member from the ghetto. [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons God bless the idiot proof Air Force.]]
* InterchangeableAsianCultures: The {{Yakuza}} cheat code fills the streets with [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triads]] using katanas and bikes.
* InterfaceScrew: The games uses a slight version of this to simulate substance abuse, like marijuana. Watch the screen move...
* InterruptedSuicide: In one mission, you have to save Mad Dogg from suicide.
* IronicEcho: Carl, after coming back home after years of being away, meets Officer Tenpenny looking to "chat". Tenpenny proceeds to start screwing around with Carl and coerces Carl into his service via blackmail and a frame job. Tenpenny ends their "chat" by saying : [[spoiler:''See you around, Carl"]] before walking (then driving away). Guess what Carl says later in the game when [[spoiler:[[ItMakesSenseInContext Tenpenny ends up dying on the street due to driving a firetruck off a bridge while being chased by Carl and Sweet.]]]]
* {{Irony}}: [[GTARadio K-DST]] D.J. Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith occasionally makes cracks at other station Radio X. Radio X's playlist includes "Welcome To The Jungle" by Music/GunsNRoses. Tommy is voiced by Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose.
* IsTheAnswerToThisQuestionYes: CJ has a tendancy to reply to Cesar Vialpando with, "Does the Pope shit in the woods?" whenever Cesar asks him if he was interested in making money by car racing. Confusion ensues.
-->'''Cesar:''' Why you keep asking me that, holmes? I told you, I dunno. Where his Holiness does his business, ''is'' his business.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Tenpenny, [[spoiler:in his dying breath, claims that only he can set San Andreas in the right direction]].
* ItsPersonal: CJ's reasoning behind [[spoiler:taking on Big Smoke alone]] at the end.
-->'''CJ''': [[spoiler:Smoke]] played me. Tenpenny played me.
* ItsUpToYou:
** The player's territory can be invaded by other gangs. However, it's solely the player's responsibility to defend it. No one else in the gang of presumably hundreds ever takes the initiative to help out or, better yet, handle the attack themselves.
** The player must always be the driver, and apparently no one else who ever rides with the protagonist knows how to drive. Even when someone arrives to pick you up during a {{cutscene}}, they invariably scoot over to the passenger seat once the gameplay begins. This is lampshaded in one of the missions, where Ryder instructs; "You drive - seein' as you "Mister Driver" and all."
** Averted, probably intentionally, in one of the later missions. At the end of the mission, the main character offers to drive his cohorts to the hospital, but they assure him that he's done enough.
* IWillPunishYourFriendForYourFailure: Officers Tenpenny and Pulaski pull this, threatening to make sure [[spoiler: Sweet]] dies if CJ doesn't do what they want him to do. Later [[spoiler: Toreno]] pulls this as well but is less malicious about it, [[spoiler:and ultimately frees Sweet once CJ has done enough for him]].
* {{Jerkass}}:
** Ryder is just an asshole.
** So is Pulaski, repeatedly making racist remarks, insulting CJ, and making vulgar statements about his family.
** Oh, and not far behind is Tenpenny. He's a jerkass especially in his first meeting with CJ in Los Santos.
** And adding one more to the list, Catalina. Dear God, she's an extreme jerkass.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Sweet in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' constantly criticizes his brother, CJ, and blames him for the death of his brother and mother when he ran away to Liberty City. Sweet refuses to give Carl his due respect and is willing to keep the family in poverty to get back at Tenpenny, but on a better day he's quite a caring brother. It also helps that at his worst he's going to stop at nothing (including Carl's success) to get back at the man who tore both his family and as his circle of comrades apart with murder, abuse, and the allure of power and riches (as what he had successfully done with [[spoiler:Ryder and Big Smoke]]). Sweet does eventually ease up and gives his brother his support in a big brother love kind of way.
* JerkWithAHeartOfJerk: Ryder is one of the more troublesome members of the Grove Street Families, often high, always sarcastic, and excessively rude to everyone, especially CJ. However, he puts in work for the gang and does his part (though he always seems like that guy people keep around to kick around). [[spoiler:And then it turns out he had betrayed the Grove Street Families along with Big Smoke, had a hand in the death of Sweet and CJ's mother, and has been arming the gang's enemies the entire time.]]
* JetPack: The game has one, and it is arguably one of the most fun vehicles in the entire game. It's pretty much mandatory for horseshoe collection, as they're scattered in places high and low you can't really park a helicopter on.
* JigglePhysics: The one single instance, and easy to miss, in the ''whole series''; there's a particular female civilian clad in red bikini seen near the beaches and pool areas who's notable for a constantly jiggling rack if she's laying around sunbathing, but not when walking.
* JoinTheArmyTheySaid: The game had '''Join The Military''' radio ads which by its very nature, a spoof of recruitment ads. see them [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSFQHtKGaE4 here]].
* JokeItem:
** There is a dildo you can obtain relatively easily and use as a melee weapon. It's possible to kill people with it, but it's almost as weak as punching someone with the beginning game stats. The vibrator is hard to find and does the same amount of damage as the dildo so it's more of a novelty. The last one is flowers, which can be found all over the place and only real use is to give to girlfriends like all the above items.
** The flowers are a surprisingly effective melee weapon. Not [[LethalJokeItem lethal]], but about as good as a baseball bat and ten times as funny to [[EveryCarIsAPinto blow up a car with]].
* JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope: C.J., despite being the hero, gets a few of these moments. These include murdering Mad Dogg's manager for OG Loc and attacking a nearby gang at a funeral for someone he killed. The mission "Deconstruction" have him killing the construction workers who were rude to his sister. He also was forced to kill certain people for Tenpenny and Pulaski or either he or his family will be killed.
* JustEatGilligan: CJ could have solved a lot of problems for himself and Grove Street if he just capped Tenpenny and the rest of C.R.A.S.H. at the first chance he got ([[GameplayAndStorySegregation like what he can do to all the other cops in normal gameplay]]) rather than let them blackmail him with a cop killing he didn't do.
* JustifiedCriminal:
** The game includes references to this, including one instance where Sweet outright says that he and Carl robbed people at gunpoint for the money for both their mother's lifesaving operation and to put their sister through college.
** In fact, the whole plot employs this trope, as CJ involves himself in many dangerous, morally questionable activities (stealing cars to fund a dealership, infiltrating [[{{Area51}} Area 69]], robbing a mob-owned casino) in order to rescue his brother from prison and his family/neighborhood from internal and external destruction.
* JustifiedTutorial:
** The game has the tutorial sections slowly spread out throughout the game. Melee weapons are taught when you and an ally decide to go bust up a crack house, shooting when you visit a back-alley gun dealer, turf wars when Sweet enlists you to reconquer some lost territory, etc.
** You have to do the pilot school before you can access the piloting missions (or legally enter the airports at all). Doesn't quite work out when the piloting school is only defeated through trial-and-error, as the starter prop plane will stall if the player goes too high. It does lead one to question what kind of demented pilot test is your PC being forced through. What average pilot would need to know how to do a loop-the-loop or barrel roll? Or ''how to blow up moving trucks from an aircraft?''
* KarmaHoudini: One of the Ballas (probably from the [=OGs=]) that appears in missions like "Madd Dogg Rhymes", "Ice Cold Killa" and the video "The Introduction" count as this, as it is very involved in the murder of the mother of CJ but was never mentioned, seen or killed by Carl.
** CJ himself, as well. He always wins, killing even people who do not deserve it, but this only makes for money or sent by their bosses.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler:At the end of the final mission, "End of the Line", Tenpenny crashes his fire truck right in the Grove cul-de-sac, with the people he harrassed and abused for years standing over him as he dies, broken, humiliated, and accidentally slipping [[ItsAllAboutMe his self-centered mentality]], more or less bringing the story full circle.]]
-->'''CJ:''' [[spoiler:[[CallBack See you around... officer.]]]]
* KatanasAreJustBetter: There's a moment in one of the missions where your enemy throws you a katana, inviting you to a duel. [[CombatPragmatist Not that you can't immediately gun him down with an Uzi instead.]]
* KentBrockmanNews: WCTR.
* KickThemWhileTheyAreDown: The game lets you attack other people in various ways, some of which inevitably knocks the victim down to the ground. What you can do later to the grounded pedestrian ranges from a simple barrage of punches and kicks, [[VideogameCrueltyPotential to gunning them relentlessly, to even saw them off in half with a chainsaw, right in the ground, most of which will be incapable to escape their fate while they get smacked around.]]
** Extra points if [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill the victim is already dead]].
** In fact, you're taught this by the fighting gym instructors. Apparently boxing has fewer rules there.
* KnightOfCerebus: The game is largely a BlackComedy with most less than moral actions the protagonist CJ or the other criminals commit being treated humorously and most the characters being extremely quirky. The exceptions to this involve the game's BigBad Frank Tenpenny. The scenes with him are almost entirely humorless, any humor involving him is mostly played to show how much of {{Jerkass}} he is, along with the rest of his personality, and unlike the other characters, he shows that he has no absolutely no sense of loyalty to others and flat scoffs on the idea.
* KnightTemplar: Tenpenny and Pulaski claims to be this; every action they take says [[DirtyCop otherwise]]. To a lesser extent, Toreno, too.
* KnightTemplarBigBrother: CJ during the mission, "Deconstruction".
* KnowNothingKnowItAll: Ryder is convinced he's a genius, but he's probably the stupidest person in the whole game.
-->'''Ryder:''' Hey, CJ, tell me why I didn't finish high school.\\
'''Carl:''' 'Cause you been dealin' drugs, man. Since the age of ten. (Laughs)\\
'''Ryder:''' (Laughs) Nope. That ain't it.\\
'''CJ:''' 'Cause you put your hands on that teacher for wearin' Ballas colours. (Laughs)\\
'''Ryder:''' (Laughs) But, nope. That ain't it either. It's cause I'm too intelligent for this shit. I am the real deal fool, oh, yeah. A genius.
* LampshadeHanging:
** A Ryder mission has you break into a National Guard depot. A van waits outside for Ryder and CJ, who immediately says...
--->'''CJ:''' That van wasn't outside when I came in!
** Also, there's this conversation...
--->'''Toreno's mook:''' This is all about speed and commitment. You got a GPS in the cab. Get to each set of map coordinates as quick as you can. Make it to all the coordinates then get the truck back here. Lose the truck and you fail.\\
'''CJ:''' First, what's a GPS? Second, fail what? Third, who the fuck are you?
* TheLancer: Technically, [[InvertedTrope you are this to Sweet early on]]. Later, Cesar is this to you.
* TheLastStraw: CJ [[BigEater can eat up to eleven super-size fast food meals]] perfectly comfortably. [[VomitDiscretionShot Try finishing it off with a salad though]]...
* LaughablyEvil: You have Mike Toreno, the paranoid government agent. Disrespecting dead women to a monologue on how all modern conspiracy theories are nowhere near the truth.
* LeaveThePlotThreadsHanging: We never do find out just what the green goo The Truth gets is.
* LegionOfDoom: In the final mission, while fighting your way through Big Smoke's fortress you'll encounter mooks from almost every gang you have faced throughout the game, such as the Ballas, Vagos, Rifa, and Russian Mob. Later in the mission, while chasing Tempenny the LSPD join the chase.
* {{Leitmotif}}: A specific hip-hop tune is played whenever Officer Tenpenny and Pulaski show up.
* LeParkour: The first game in the series (and probably WideOpenSandbox games in general) that allowed your character to grab and jump over objects taller than himself. A godsend when avoiding police or getting across the city. It also provides a boost to immersion: it removes the jarring InsurmountableWaistHeightFence. However, you still can't climb ladders...
* LetsYouAndHimFight: Tenpenny claims to be setting the gangs against each other to weaken them.
* LetTheBossWin: Woozie's men constantly do this whenever they play games with him. Ironically, Woozie seems like an nice enough guy - especially to his men, with whom he is very loyal - such that it's likely he wouldn't go BadBoss on them if he did lose once in a while.
** This is further shown when he humiliatingly loses to CJ in blackjack. He has no hard feelings, though he does lightly complain that he has much better luck with his underlings.
* LetTheBullyWin: Played with: His underlings blatantly let Wu Zu Mu, a powerful but blind Chinese gangster, win whenever they play anything, including moving the cup when he plays OfficeGolf or lying about their cards in Blackjack, which leads to funny moments when Carl, not caring, beats him regularly. [[AntiVillain Judging]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards by his]] [[AffablyEvil personality,]] "Woozie" a nice enough guy, [[BenevolentBoss especially to his men]], that he probably wouldn't care if his minions beat him or not, but to his experienced mooks it's better being safe than sorry.
* LevelGrinding: The game lets you level up several skills, such as sprinting, biking, and individual weapons, by repeatedly using them. Maxing them out offers various benefits, such as [[GunsAkimbo dual-wielding pistols and SMGs]].
* LevelInReverse: Madd Dogg's Mansion is visited twice in the game, with the start and end points being reversed for the second visit.
* LevelUpAtIntimacy5: While it doesn't directly affect CJ's stats, dating the girlfriends bestow various abilities and bonuses.
** Unlike other girlfriends, dating Millie, SexySecretary at Caligula's by day and {{Dominatrix}} by night, is crucial to the story, as she holds the keycard to Caligula's restricted areas; you can either [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential kill her]] or [[VideoGameCaringPotential date her to 35%]] to get it.
** Starting a relationship with Helena and Michelle grants access to an armory (of chainsaws, flamethrowers, Molotovs and pistols) and a free car repair shop, respectively.
** Starting a relationship with Katie and Barbara allows you to keep your weapons even when [[DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist hospitalized]] or [[CardboardPrison arrested]], respectively (and in the former, you also don't lose some money).
** At 50% you get [[{{Thememobile}} cars fitting your girlfriends' personalities]]: a Hustler from Denise, a pink Club from Millie, a Bandito from Helena, a Romero from Katie, a Monster Truck from Michelle, and a Ranger from Barbara.
** At 100% you get [[AndYourRewardIsClothes clothes]]: [[SharpDressedMan Pimp Suit]] from Denise, Rural Clothes from Helena, [[TheMedic Medic Suit]] from Katie, [[BadassDriver Racing Suit]] from Michelle, and a [[DressingAsTheEnemy Police Uniform]] from Barbara.
* LighterAndSofter: This game is in tone probably the lightest in the series. CJ[[note]]at least in cutscenes[[/note]] and most of his allies are far closer to the antiheroic side of the scale than Claude and Tommy, and he also clearly has fun and smiles now and again, the world is much lighter than ''IV'' (still crapsack, but more for black comedy) and the story is lighthearted and fairly optimistic.
* ALighterShadeOfBlack: CJ and every criminal organization he associates with (Grove Street Families, the Varrios Los Aztecas, and the Triads) are NeighborhoodFriendlyGangsters who oppose the drug trade and work to stop the sale of cocaine all across the state. The BigBad, [[DirtyCop Officer Frank Tenpenny]], has not only been largely been giving the coke-dealers more power for his own benefit, but he's deeply corrupt and is set to kill everyone who could possibly expose his crimes. Including his own partners.
* LimitedSoundEffects: The game has many such limited sound effects, for example, the sound for water spraying from a fire hose, water spraying from a fire hydrant, a boat skipping on water, and even the sound of a car scraping against a wall are one and the same.
* TheLoad: Any character who is supposed to shoot at the bad guys while you drive. They all have worse aiming than seems humanly possible. To the point where the "let's go do a drive-by" mission is easier (and quicker) if you just run over the targets. At least Woozie is ''literally'' blind. What's everyone else's excuse? Not to mention he arguably has the best aim out of everyone else.
* LoadBearingBoss: A variation: after the final battle (which is against a former ally who betrayed you, rather than against the BigBad), the BigBad shows up and then runs away again, stopping only to set some explosives that will destroy the building, giving you just enough time to escape. The mechanics of the mission fit this trope (you fight the Boss, then have to escape before the building is destroyed), but the explanation is different (in that there actually ''is'' an explanation).
* LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading: ''San Andreas'' for the PS2 was lightly touched on above but deserves an official spot. The biggest game environment for its time? Perhaps, but it took quite a while to bring it up. The title screen alone took several minutes to load, so much so that it almost seems that it freezes. And if you go inside or outside a building during the game? At least thirty seconds.
** While the ability to buy and change CJ's clothes is awesome, it takes ''forever''. You choose the piece of clothing from a menu, CJ goes into the dressing room, takes about five to ten seconds to load his changed character model, and then comes out and does a "checking out my duds" animation that takes another few seconds. Then, you choose whether to buy or wear it or not, and CJ either just goes back into the dressing room or does a "hot damn!" pose that takes another few seconds. Repeat for every single item you select. And if you've got a lot of money, and want to buy every item a store has... well, you'll probably be able to read the manual from front to back in the time it takes to do this.
** Still, at the time ''San Andreas'' was a big step forward, since it not only had a massive map, but loaded it seamlessly, as opposed to its [[Videogame/GrandTheftAutoIII predece]][[Videogame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity ssors]], where there would be annoying loading screens ''everytime you went from a half of the (already small) city, to another''. So while the game takes a while to load once you booted it up, you won't have to suffer much loading again for the rest of the session once the game gets going. One way or another, these problems were mitigated in the PC port, which loaded the in-game map, clothes changing animations etc. pretty fast; on a modern gaming computer, the loading screen for traveling to a new part of the city or changing clothes is less than a second.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfSidequests: The series in general, with its trademark WideOpenSandbox gameplay, falls into this. ''San Andreas'' is the biggest offender in this regard, as the story missions only count for a very limited percentage for the HundredPercentCompletion.
* LockedInAFreezer: This is what can happen in one mission. [[EscortMission Your lawyer friend]] will get scared by the gun fight and runs to a meat locker to hide in. If you follow him in and there's mooks around, a mook can actually lock you and your friend inside the freezer, making the mission a failure.
* LocomotiveLevel: Three -- one where you rob a train by riding it and tossing boxes to Ryder, one where you're on a motorcycle keeping up alongside the train, and one where you're on a jetpack flying around the train. There are side-missions where you can drive a train, but nothing interesting happens. At all. Unless you go so recklessly fast that you derail the train.
* LogoJoke: The game has the Rockstar Games and Rockstar North logos appearing on screen with the sound of spray cans, kinda like graffiti (fitting for the game's 90s-era hip-hop mood).
* LongSongShortScene: The game cuts off "[[LivingColour Cult Of Personality]]" during the instrumental, skipping the final verse.
* LookBehindYou: Tennpenny has CJ at gunpoint. CJ looks over Tennpenny's shoulder and shouts his brother's name, getting Tennpenny to look away and giving CJ a chance to escape.
* LoopholeAbuse: Gang wars can only be started by killing gang members on foot. However, there's nothing stopping you from parking a tank there, killing a few, then using the tank to finish the job.
* LostForever: There are several vehicles that can only be obtained in the main missions, such as a Volkswagen bus with a retro hippy paintjob, an armored car, and several modified cars, or cars with vanity license plates. This creates the odd situation where the game ''plans'' for you to lose these vehicles forever -- the only way to hold onto them id often to park them in a garage, then fail the mission and restart it.
* LuckBasedMission: Getting all gold in the Drivers School courses. Expect to be playing Burn and Lap for a good hour or more to get gold. Flight school is similar, but there the difficultly lies in the controls, rather than the precision.
* LudicrousGibs: An interesting case, as it's not one of the main reasons behind the [[HotCoffeeMinigame controversy]] [[DisposableSexWorker attached to]] [[MurderSimulators the game]]. It also occurs quite rarely, namely, in these instances:
** In "Reuniting The Families", you are being chased by a SWAT helicopter and a squad of motorcycle policemen. One of the biker cops jumps onto the hood of your car. Meanwhile, the chopper pilot, at a loss as to how to kill you after losing his door gunners, decides to tilt the chopper rotors-first towards your car. [[HelicopterBlender Guess what happens to the cop on the hood.]]
** You can also do this by driving over pedestrians with a Combine Harvester. Doing so causes the chute on the Harvester's rear normally used for ejecting bundles of hay to spew out body parts.
* LuredIntoATrap: In the Green Sabre mission, Sweet and the Grove Street crew are preparing to take the fight to their enemies, the Ballas. But when C.J. is called away by Cesar, he learns that [[spoiler:Smoke and Ryder have sold them out and have joined Tenpenny and the Ballas]], and that Sweet and the others are being led into a trap. It ends badly, for C.J., Sweet and Grove Street in general.
* LysistrataGambit: In one of the commercials. "I want a new fence! That's IT! We're never having sex AGAIN!"
* MadeOfIron: Used as a gameplay mechanic in the races to curtail the obvious shortcut of murdering your competition. Both the cars and the drivers are extremely difficult to kill, able to soak up entire clips from an assault rifle. The only exception is the demolition derby. It also appears in a few missions.
* TheMafiya: CJ and Big Smoke butt heads with Russian arms dealers in an early mission. Whether they were true bratvas or just gopniki is rather unclear. Most likely bratva, because gunrunning is usually too big and dangerous a business for gopnik gangs to organize.
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident
** If you're wanted in San Fierro, sometimes the cops would say...
--->'''SFPD Cop:''' You know, I can make this look like a suicide.
** At the end of the game, [[spoiler:after a lengthy chase through half of Los Santos, Tenpenny lost control of his fire truck and crashes off the bridge overlooking Grove Street. CJ is about to finally shoot him dead when Sweet stops him, saying that there's no need to put a bullet in the dying Tenpenny. He's just a cop who killed himself in a traffic accident, with no one to blame.]]
* MakeOutPoint: Referenced, there's a region south of Las Venturas called Hankypanky Point.
* MalcolmXerox: There's a ped in the San Fierro section that fits this trope. He's even wearing a kente cloth dashiki and hat.
* MalignedMixedMarriage: The game features a relationship between African-American Kendl and Hispanic Cesar. Her brother Sweet has trouble with the relationship. The fact that Cesar is from another gang does not help.
* ManHug: Many -- CJ and his brother Sweet, CJ and his best friend Cesar.
* ManipulativeBastard: Officer Tenpenny, who's constantly getting people who are "beneath him" (like CJ) to do his dirty work for him, and he appears to take sadistic pleasure in manipulating those he has under his thumb.
* MargaretThatcherInFiction: She's referenced during a cutscene. While CJ is talking to Mike Toreno, [[FunnyBackgroundEvent in the background]] we see that Kent Paul has locked Maccer in a recording studio, refusing to let him out until he gets over his addiction to [[ADateWithRosiePalms masturbation]]. As a suggestion, Kent tells him to think of Thatcher. Doesn't work.
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: During the {{cutscene}} for the 'Wu Zi Mu' mission, a man in a black jacket and green jeans is sitting casually on a car in the background. That man is Claude, the player character of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'', who is Catalina's new boyfriend in the next mission and who gives CJ his car garage in San Fierro.
* MeaningfulName: The Grove Street Families gang frontrunners all have special meanings to their nicknames.
** Ryder is a burglar and uses trucks to unload stolen goods from private property.
** Sweet spends most of the game conning CJ into doing most of his bidding (in other words, "sweet-talking,")
** CJ has no real nickname, just his initials, signifying his status as a player avatar with no strong personality traits.
** Smoke [[spoiler: [[FaceHeelTurn is Tenpenny's Dragon,]] [[ThePlan and helped orchestrate all of the game's events from killing CJ's mother on so that he could operate a crack-dealing empire.]]]] Not to mention his initials are "BS" which he is full of this in more ways than one.
** The ''GTA III'' main character is finally given a name: Claude.
* TheMenInBlack: [[spoiler:Toreno]] has the vibe. Definitely the "people" on the mysterious plane that shows up at your airfield. Their lines seem to imply that ''they're'' the aliens: "Carbon-based buffon!" and "You evolved from ''shrews''!".
* MercyMode: Minor example, which gives you the option of skipping the ''commute at the start'' of the mission after you fail it a few times. This is pretty much just an AntiFrustrationFeature to make up for the fact that so many missions are set halfway across the map from where you have to go to begin them (and if you fail the mission, you'll have to drive all the way back again to restart...)
** In addition, the rather overlong FinalBoss (involving, in order, StormingTheCastle, killing one boss, [[OutrunTheFireball Outrunning The Fireball]], chasing the next boss, [[StalkingMission tailing him]] to avoid [[EscortMission injuring your brother]], and finally running Creator/SamuelLJackson off the road) will eventually load from the beginning of the car chase section, if you repeatedly complete the first part but fail the mission.
* TheMillstone: Jeffrey Cross, better known by his gang name of OG Loc. He thinks he's a rapper, but is not shown to have any quality as a rapper. (or any other profession, for that matter) Exactly why he deserves your help is unclear. The missions you get from him:
** Help take revenge on Freddy who supposedly [[BlatantLies stole his rhymes]].
** He tells you to steal the rhyme book from Madd Dogg, an actual rapper.
** Steal a van with a sound system at a beach party. Between OG Loc being a complete joke and the people at the party just having a good time and doing no harm, you might actually feel bad when you ruin the party.
** [[CripplingTheCompetition Kill Madd Dogg's manager.]] After all this trouble, he just decides to violate his parole so he would go [[AllForNothing back to jail]].
** None of these missions earn you any money, only your respect stat will go up.
* MinigameZone: Minigames are all over the place in San Andreas, but Las Venturas has the highest concentration.
* MinusWorld:
** There was a mission where you had to fly on a jet to Liberty City, which was really just a small area situated on the northwest corner of the map, so high up physically that there's normally no way to get there without the mission triggering it. However, there are several methods that one can use (either with glitching or by using a Game Shark) to get there. You can even walk around in parts of the area which you never use in the mission, but are there anyway for the cutscene - just be careful, because it was never intended for use beyond the one mission, and most of the street outside isn't actually there. Unless you have a jetpack with you, coupled with the unlimited height Game Shark code, you'll fall through and end up out in the middle of the ocean back in San Andreas.
** ''San Andreas'' also had a whole weird, trippy section of the game world reachable by using the jetpack in a particular store, or during a sneaking-related glitch in some indoor missions. Flying around this part of the world with the jetpack, one could find things such as corridors and doors floating in the void with people walking across them, various indoor spaces and some buildings. The game uses parts of this world for the indoor missions, but not everything is used, and what isn't is apparently [[DummiedOut left there with no purpose]].
* MisaimedRealism: Your character can faint if he doesn't eat enough. However, he can stay for weeks if not months without eating or drinking anything before he even feels hungry. Also, the lack of food doesn't prevent him from running, jumping and fighting like an athlete, and workouts will make him look buff even if he's starving.
* MissileLockOn: The game has this feature on the handheld Stinger missile, The Apache helicopter and the Jump Jet.
* MobWar:
** Grove Street Families and the Varrios Los Aztecas vs Ballas and the Santos Vagos.
** The Leones vs The Forellis vs The Sindaccos as well, in Las Venturas.
* MolotovCocktail: The game features a mission where you have to torch a house with Molotovs (and then battle your own flames, to save a girl you trapped inside without knowing she was in there). Later on in the game, pedestrians riot and throw molotovs around, including at you.
** However, outside of said mission and the riot mode at the last legs of the game, Molotovs are only in [[PowerEqualsRarity three or four spots across the entire state map]].
* MoneyForNothing: There is a mission that requires you to spend about $80,000 on an abandoned airstrip to proceed; however, it is about two thirds of the way into the game, so it's possible to complete.
*** In an earlier mission thread, C.J. moans and whines about needing ten grand...[[GameplayAndStorySegregation even when his bankroll is ten times as much.]]
* MoodWhiplash: The early missions in Los Santos are very grim and gritty and, for the most part, realistic. Once CJ is exiled to the countryside, however, the mood quickly takes a turn for the silly. Mundane characters like CJ's "homies" are replaced by aging hippies and blind Triad bosses, while drive-bys and housebreaking are replaced by casino heists and covert missions for the CIA.
** The tone becomes downright unstable after [[spoiler: the rioting starts]], making for even more frequent [[MoodWhiplash mood whiplashes]].
* {{Mooks}}: One of the biggest and most egregious abusers. Most of these time these mooks just magically appear after a cutscene with no real explanation why they're there other than an out-of-hand implication that they're working for an antagonist that was in said cutscene. There are even entire missions where the whole point of the mission is to kill a specific collection of mooks.
* MoreDakka: The Minigun is a classic example of this, but the more common ways to get more dakka are micro submachineguns & sawn-off shotgun, which can be dual-wielded with maximum skill, the latter unloads four shells quick enough to reduce any car into a burning wreckage in seconds. Also you can bring 3 homies with [=SMGs=] in a four-door car, basically turning it into a ground gunship, first demonstrated in Drive By mission.
* MoreFriendsMoreBenefits: CJ's girlfriends each have their own bonuses for dating them. There is a cop who lets CJ keep his money and weapons after getting arrested, a nurse who does the same if he becomes incapacitated (even if the incident doesn't happen in the ladies' jurisdictions), a mechanic who fixes and paint his cars for free (but only if you go to her garage in San Fierro), and a few others with minor bonuses. At some point you can even drive your girlfriends' cars, despite the fact that they're never returned in one piece (if at all.) Dating one of the girls is necessary to complete the game; the rest are optional.
* MotorcycleOnTheCoastRoad: The game lets you do this in several places, notably near Angel Pine and Blueberry. It's very cathartic.
** Until you hit a randomly-generated traffic accident, and get hurled off your bike and into the sea.
*** Just like in RealLife... well, ideally not. Still possible.
* MuggingTheMonster: Ryder attempts to rob a pizza joint [[StupidCrooks he is a regular at]] ("Ryder? Not this again!") with a pistol. Ryder turns to CJ long enough for the clerk to pull out his ''shotgun''.
* MurderIsTheBestSolution: The notorious C.R.A.S.H. unit is exaggerated for effect -- but not by much. Frank Tenpenny's jobs revolve entirely around rubbing out witnesses who can implicate him. He also killed his original partner, Pendelberry, before the game began, and plots to ice his two remaining partners as well.
* MushroomSamba: Something similar happens, where you end up driving a van under the influence of weed after helping the van's owner torch an entire field of weed with a flamethrower.
* MyHeroZero: Zero is an irritating HollywoodNerd who gives you some of the worst {{Scrappy Level}}s of the game. One gets the impression ''he'' is thinking of the "special and badass" sense of the name, while everyone else is thinking "loser". He does make weaponised RC planes though...
* MyLittlePanzer: Subsequently, after you buy Zero's shop, all of the three missions you must do for Zero involve My Little Panzers. The first involves defending from a swarm of RC planes dropping bombs with a ''minigun'', and the second has you using a prototype RC biplane armed ''with an infinite-ammo cannon'' to kill employees of Berkley RC, Zero's arch-rival in the business of RC toys. [[IncrediblyLamePun Serious business]] indeed.
-->'''Zero''': They're not 'toys'! They're just smaller!
** Oh, and the third? Seems like the actual use for these things: a car tries to drive a road into a base. Berkley's helicopter drops obstacles that your helicopter has to remove. Bentley also has actual tanks shooting at his car, albeit with low-powered ammo for their size. You have access to antitank bombs.
* MySisterIsOffLimits: Both Sweet and CJ have some problems with Kendl's boyfriend, Cesar. Luckily, CJ quickly backs off and warms up to him after their first meeting.
* MysteriousEmployer: The game had C.J. being led around by a mysterious voice on a loudspeaker who reveals himself to be the thought-dead Mike Toreno.
* NeighborhoodFriendlyGangsters: The [[MeaningfulName Grove Street Families]], especially Sweet and CJ, are very keen on traditional family values. Their allies, the Varrios Los Aztecas and the Mountain Cloud Boys Triads, fit as well.
* NerfArm: The game featured a purple double-ended dildo (which can be found the Los Santos Police Station Showers among other places) as a surprisingly strong melee weapon. And it can be given as a gift to your girlfriends. Same with a secret silver vibrator that can be found in the northern most town of Bone County.
* NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight: No matter how many guns the player has when invading Madd Dogg's mansion for the first time, he ends up with just a knife. The player is not even allowed to pick up dropped weapons until half way through. A much later mission ends with a helicopter crash leaving the water-treading protaganist outside of the ship he has to infiltrate. All his weapons (sob) are at the bottom of the drink except his knife. However, here, a quick swim to shore and knowledge of respawning weapon locations makes the ship much easier to overcome.
* NewAgeRetroHippie: The Truth, a tie-dye wearing, weed-growing, long-haired ConspiracyTheorist and hippie. At first he seems like a crackpot, but when Carl starts being shadowed by government spooks, those wild theories suddenly don't seem so far-fetched.
-->'''The Truth''': Carl, do you know how many satellites the government has in space?\\
'''Carl''': No. How many?\\
'''The Truth''': ''Twenty-three''. Do you know how many biblical artifacts the government is keeping at the Pentagon?\\
'''Carl Johnson''': No.\\
'''The Truth''': ''Twenty-three''. Don't you see a pattern here?\\
'''Carl''': Man I'm seeing patterns all over the place! Get that smoke out my face.
* NewWorldTease: It's possible to [[SequenceBreaking travel to San Fierro and Las Venturas before they've been officially unlocked]] (you just [[BrokenBridge can't get there by road]]). However, until you progress far enough in the storyline, there's nothing to do there except look at the scenery and run from the hordes of murderous cops -- did we not mention the [[BorderPatrol four-star wanted level you get the moment you skip town?]]
* TheNineties: Specifically, 1992. Thug life, livin' in the 'hood, lowriders, Music/{{NWA}}, Music/PublicEnemy and Music/IceCube on the radio.
* NintendoHard: GTA forums contain numerous accounts by players who have abandoned the game due to inability to complete a number of levels, with "Wrong Side of the Tracks" (a mission requiring the player to drive a bike alongside a train while Smoke, a terrible shot, attempts to shoot enemy gang member off the top) and the "Flight School" (aka "Learning to Fly") missions being declared impossible by some. The latter is affected particularly on PS2 and PC versions by poor controls, and forums include accounts of people making ''hundreds'' of attempts to complete just the third test (circling the airfield).
* NitroBoost: One of the two performance upgrades you can acquire for your car at the [[PimpedOutCar mod garages]]. Comes in the "Stored Nitro Charges" type. Also, the reward for finishing the Taxi Driver side missions includes unlimited nitrous on all taxis.
* NobleDemon: CJ may be willing to steal, murder, and do violent criminal acts, but he has a good side as well.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Madd Dogg is an amalgam of Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg., and voiced by Ice T.
** One of the barbers looks and sounds exactly like Creator/MorganFreeman, and another is pretty clearly Music/VanillaIce (and has [[PrettyFlyForAWhiteGuy hilariously bad street slang skills]], just like him).
** OG Loc's appearance is based heavily on Music/TupacShakur, but his personality is anachronistically Ja Rule (apparently a leftover from when CJ was going to be voiced by Ja's then-rival Music/FiftyCent)
** Ryder is very obviously Easy-E with the exaggeration turned UpToEleven.
** Creator/KurtCobain is commonly seen on the streets.
** A blonde woman dressed like Creator/SharonStone from ''Film/BasicInstinct'' is seen everywhere.
** In the countryside one of the men seeing walking the streets looks like the villain from the original TheHillsHaveEyes. (This man also makes a cameo appearance in the game as [[spoiler:Millie's gimp]].)
** The scant details that the fictional band The Gurning Chimps are from "Madchester", Maccer's appearance and accent and the early '90s setting suggest that they are expys of TheStoneRoses. Or {{Oasis}}. Or The Happy Mondays, whose frontman provides the voice.
* NoCommunitiesWereHarmed: Not only are the names of the cities parallels for real-world locations (Los Santos = Los Angeles, San Fierro = San Francisco, Las Venturas = UsefulNotes/LasVegas), but the names of the districts also imitate those of their real-world counterparts (Compton = Ganton, Hollywood = Vinewood etc.). This leads into a bit of a CelebrityParadox when the music on the radio references places that the locations in the game are based on by their real names.
* NoFairCheating: If you activate the cheat that causes every NPC in the game to become an active combatant, the mission to prevent Madd Dogg's suicide becomes impossible and the game {{Unwinnable}}. Quite harsh considering it happens in the final third of the game.
** There's no way to disable the cheat once it's activated, so if you activate it and then save...
* NoGearLevel: Twice. CJ loses all his guns several times. After you've finished the story missions for the first city, you're dumped out of town with no weapons. Later on, after the helicopter he's gunning down from gets... gunned down and crashes in water. You must then make your way aboard the gangster-ridden container ship you were attacking and acquire guns by killing gang members. (Or [[spoiler:you can simply swim ashore, buy new weapons, and go back]].) Another mission, Stowaway, has CJ inside a plane loaded with explosives (possibly landmines). Shooting in there is not forbidden, no - but one shot that misses a government agent mook in there means hitting the explosives and the whole thing goes kaboom. Players are likely to resort to melee weapons or unarmed combat in there, risking no such thing - especially since getting into the plane in the first place is [[ThatOneLevel That One Level Part]] players are unlikely to want to repeat. [[note]]Driving up to and then up a narrow ramp of said plane, while it's taking off, on a motorbike, and with barrels rolling out of the ramp every once in a while. And the plane has quite a lot of head start...[[/note]]
* NonSequitur:
** CJ's girlfriends repeat the same non-sequiturs ad nauseum during car trips. CJ feigns interest.
** Throughout the game, [=NPCs=] can have conversations with each other. However, these conversations consist entirely of random voice clips, so they are literally nothing but a series of strung-together non-sequiturs.
* NonstandardGameOver:
** During "Home Invasion" waking up the occupant of the house before getting the minimum amount of crates results in Ryder ditching you, leaving you to fend off a wanted level.
** During the mission "Stowaway", you can jump out the plane without a parachute, which leads into a cutscene showing CJ crashing into a parked car at a drive-in.
* NoOneCouldSurviveThat:
** Yes, this happens to the hero, during the Whirlybird mission. Carl plays door gunner for a Triad mission, but his chopper is shot down. One bad guy asks about survivors, and a nearer gunman says that no, No One Could Survive That. Properly played, CJ would then sneak up on the gunman and slit his throat.
** After shooting down [[spoiler:Mike Toreno]]'s helicopter during one mission, you're told that "there's no way he could have survived that fireball" (bordering on SuspiciouslySpecificDenial, as this is the only time you see such sort of a message after mission). Guess who you talk to later.
* NoOSHACompliance: The meat locker in Las Venturas has no unlocking mechanism from inside.
* NoSidepathsNoExplorationNoFreedom: Ironically, this is enforced in a certain mission. Carl has fly to Liberty City to kill Forelli gangsters at the St. Mark's Bistro. Once Carl wipes out the Forellis, he immediately files back to Las Venturas.
* NostalgiaLevel: One mission late in the game is set in Liberty City, the setting of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII''.
* NoStatAtrophy: Averted. Physical exertion will consume the character's energy, first in the form of his reserves of body fat. If that is used up, his muscles will start to decay, making him weaker.
** This is also an example of why it's rarely used. Many gamers complained about having their wanton violence, setting things on fire and parachuting off of high buildings interrupted by mandatory visits to the nearest restaurant. It was removed in ''GrandTheftAutoIV'' despite it being the most realistic of the series otherwise, possibly due to complaints.
* NothingButHits: The soundtrack is heavily stacked with hits from the [[TheNineties early '90s]].
** Averted with several songs, which may sound and feel like the 80's/90's, but are not necessarily widely remembered hits, many being acts that are majorly unknown for people who didn't live in that time period. As well as songs that weren't actually hits outside of the genre charts.
** Also subverted, while the game does contain plenty of late 80's and early 90's hip-hop and rock, it also contains representations of genres that were experiencing PopularityPolynomial during the early 90's, such as 70's rock, rare groove and funk.
* NotMyDriver: The main character has to imitate the chauffeur of a recording artist's manager, in order to kill him by driving into the sea.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: While OG Loc at first appears to be an idiot who is ridiculed for their friends, even too harmless to consider him a "villain", this is inmediately inverted when he send CJ to commit several atrocities: stealing Madd Dogg's rhyme book, then killing Madd Dogg's manager and his girlfriend. It gets worse when he becomes famous and all this drove Madd Dogg to almost commit suicide!
* NotTheFallThatKillsYou: This is the first ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' game to adopt a comparatively realistic set of JumpPhysics and the appropriate fall damage to accompany drops of varying distances. However, there are still some absurd methods of negating this damage, such as:
** SoftWater
** So long as you are in a vehicle, you will receive no damage from impacts, including falls from great heights. This becomes especially absurd when you fall while on a bicycle or motorbike. Even if the impact ejects you from the bike, you will only receive minor damage, if any.
* NoYou: The normally fairly quick tongued Carl Johnson comes off looking brilliant when he first meets Cesar and some of his friends.
-->'''Azteca:''' I think he thinks he's gangsta, and he should fuck off.\\
'''Carl:''' No, you fuck off.
* OfficeGolf: Woozie does this at the Triad's Las Venturas casino. His henchman makes sure his average remains low, despite Woozie being blind.
* OlderThanTheyLook: Radio advertisements in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity'' mentions a show called ''Just the Five of Us'', featuring a character called Jimmy who looks 12 but claims to be a 42-year old investement banker. This turns out to be real, in show and out here, about 9 years later when we hear the actor who played Jimmy again, still looking and sounding like a kid, even though he's in his fifties.
* OlympicSwimmer: And quite a drastic switch from the SuperDrowningSkills of all the preceding entries in the series at that.
* OmniscientMoralityLicense: Mike Toreno operates under one of these. And, as always, so do ''you''.
* OneLinerNameOneLiner: A line which many players heard [[MostAnnoyingSound over and over again]] because it's uttered every time you fail Zero's "[[ThatOneLevel Supply Lines]]": "Curse you, Berkeley! CURSE YOOOOOUUUUU!"
* OneManArmy: In order to gain complete control of Los Santos, the protagonist must kill in total thousands of rival gang members armed with AK-47s and other heavy weaponry, usually 30-40 per "territory", and that's not even counting police forces, mob gangsters, hitmen, FBI agents and the US military. Furthermore, because gang members are instantly replaced (or [[NonLethalKO healed by paramedics]]), it's possible for the player character to wipe out the same gang several times over in the course of minutes. Occasionally lampshaded:
-->'''Ken Rosenberg:''' Oh yeah, he's a real one man army! Real fuckin' dependable.
* TheOneWhoMadeItOut: CJ has this status amongst his gang. His exile after his brother's death essentially made him a criminal in Liberty City and in the game proper, he forms alliances with Hispanic, Chinese, Italian gangs and the US government, taking a gang-banging crew to circles far beyond their reach.
* OnlyKnownByInitials: C.J. (Carl Johnson).
* OnlySaneMan: CJ wants to be one of these, but he has a crippling weakness: he can be made to go along with any crazy scheme by [[BerserkButton calling him a "buster" for pointing out why said scheme is likely to get him killed]].
* OptionalSexualEncounter:
** The game used it as a way to increase your [[RelationshipValues Relationship Meter]] with a girlfriend. But only once it got to a certain point already (except for Millie, who was..less choosy in certain regards).
** ''San Andreas'' also had the Pimping SideQuest, which when completed caused prostitutes to give you money while in your, ahem, employ. And then, of course, there was "[[HotCoffeeMinigame Hot Coffee]]"...
* OptionalStealth: There are numerous stealth sequences in this game, but it's a lot easier in most cases to simply murder your way to the objective, and the game provides alternatives for this scenario. This is particularly true of Area 69, in which the stealth option is arguably more dangerous than the direct approach. The only time where stealth is strongly advised is when you must infiltrate an aircraft carrier: getting seen will make soldiers run to the stationed jetfighters and flee with them, before you can steal one of them, thus failing the mission.
* OptionalTrafficLaws: Lampshaded; the early missions have characters note that Carl (the player character) DrivesLikeCrazy. Despite this, everyone [[ItsUpToYou insists he drive]] whenever they get in a car.
* OrangeBlueContrast: The MoodLighting of Los Santos has this, with the sky being a strong shade of blue, and the ground heavily orange tinted, coupled with heat haze to make the place look truly hot and smoggy.
* OutlawCouple: Carl and Catalina are briefly this in the "Countryside" missions; the radio station even mentions your antics at one point. Catalina, being an AxCrazy psychopath, pretty much ruins their business (and physical) relationship in short order, though.
* OutOfCharacterMoment: The mission "Deconstruction", Several fans consider genuinely disturbing and creepy radical personality change suffered by the protagonist Carl, being a JerkWithAHeartOfGold to a lunatic homicidal maniac that would make Catalina proud.
* OutrunTheFireball: A couple of times, but especially in one of the final missions in the game after you [[spoiler:kill Big Smoke]].
* OutsideRide: Doable.
* OxygenMeter: This was a departure from the rest of the series, as previous games gave the player SuperDrowningSkills.
* PacManFever: Justified, the game takes place in the early nineties.
* PaperThinDisguise: Cops will lose track of you if you go into your house in front of their very eyes, put on a pair of joke glasses (y'know, [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything thick frames, bushy eyebrows and a huge nose]]) and walk out the front door, waving to them.
* ParallelPornTitles: In the [[{{Gayborhood}} gay section of San Fierro]] (a parody of UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco) there's a movie theater with the title ''[[Film/TheWizardOfOz The Wizard of Ass]]'' on the marquee. It's one of the easiest [[CollectionSidequest photo ops]] to find.
* ParentalIncest: The Truth takes umbrage at being called "motherfucker" by a gangbanger.
-->"Firstly, you are a real buzz killer, amigo. And secondly, I never made love to my mother -- [[ITakeOffenseToThatLastOne She wouldn't]]. And thirdly..."
* ParkingGarage:
** "Ran Fa Li" has the player tasked in retrieving a car in San Fierro International's massive underground carpark for the Triads, which leads to the player being ambushed by gang members from the rival Da Nang Boys.
** Players in ''San Andreas'' may also stumble across a scene reminiscent of the Rodney King beating in the parking garage of the Los Santos headquarters.
* ParodyCommercial: An advertisement from Cluckin' Bell, a fictional KFC and Taco Bell look-alike, which stresses how processed and disgusting their food is, as well as the inhumane manner in which the chickens are treated.
-->The chicken is a bird with a tiny brain,\\
So we assume he doesn't feel any pain,\\
We shrink their heads and we breed 'em fast,\\
Six wings, forty breasts, then they're gassed,
-->-- '''A fragment from the first commercial'''
* PassThroughTheRings: This is the first game in the series where such missions aren't optional to get to the end. Some of the flying school missions require this to master the mechanics.
* PatchworkMap: The game averts this by putting the desert and forest in different land masses. Though in an inversion of California's geology, the desert is in the north.
* PausedInterrupt: There is a segment where an {{NPC}}, Catalina, calls the protagonist up on his cell phone to chew him out. As with most phone conversations in the game, this happens in real time. She flies into her usual rage, and hangs up on the player -- but the game doesn't know how to handle a dramatic mid-call hangup. She just stops talking, there is no click or dial tone, and the protagonist calmly folds up his phone and puts it away without a second glance, precisely the same way he is animated to end every (complete) phone conversation.
** Also can be averted by the player, who can cancel a phone call at any time without any paused interrupts.
* PimpDuds: {{Lampshaded}} when CJ spies on a meeting...
-->'''CJ:''' I know a pimp when I see one.
* PimpedOutCar: One of the many things to do in this game.
** RiceBurner: While all the mod garages give you the option to only customize your car's appearance and skip out on performance upgrades, Wheel Arch Angels in San Fierro technically specializes in these, given that they only accept import tuners of Asian makes and aforementioned "performance upgrades" are only limited to hydraulic suspensions ([[MundaneUtility which are actually useful for negotiating uneven terrain when deployed]]) and [[NitroBoost nitrous oxide]].
* PinataEnemy: Drug dealers. Each drops around $2000 (and pistol ammo) when killed, generally spawn alone, and after an early mission are extremely common, making them a valuable source of income early in the game.
* PissTakeRap: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YsdS00GI58 OG Loc]], who actually manages to have a rap career despite being a horrible rapper.
* PixelHunt: One of the turf areas for Los Santos's gang wars is, no joke, a piece of sidewalk in the north area. When checked out on the map, it's a barely visible line unless you zoom in real close.
* PlayerHeadquarters: The safehouses. You can save, heal and clear your Wanted level in them, and you change clothes in safehouses too. You get one free at the start of the game, and to get more, you have to buy them. Though you get a few other free ones along the way (you can count on getting one every time you reach a new part of the state).
* PlayerMooks: Being awesome enough means one can recruit fellow gang members to assist on missions. They will follow, fire, pursue and then try to get in the car with you to go back home.
* PlotDrivenBreakdown: In the second half of one of the last Los Santos missions, you're given an old, poorly-maintained AK-47 to defend the car you're escaping in. About halfway through that sequence (right as the police manage to set up an effective road block) it irreparably jams.
* PlotlineDeath: A character who has the oomph to resist multiple bullets moments ago (on the roof of Madd Dogg's mansion) gets taken down by a single bullet in the foyer.
* PlotTriggeringDeath: CJ comes back from Liberty City to attend his mother's funeral.
* PopTheTires: Richard Burns [[GTARadio on the news]] is riding with cops trying to stop illegal street racing, and Richard then tries to shoot out a car's tires.
* PostProcessingVideoEffects: There's a number of tone mapping filters applied between buildings. You can notice the entire world change colour outside as you step inside certain buildings. Film grain pops up during rainfall.
* PowerupLetdown: Satchel charges. They're only required for a few missions and they have very little use outside any mission where your target is already on the move. They're fun for a quick laugh if you want to screw around, but the money spent could have been used for other guns.
* PretenderDiss: OG Loc, a black kid who tries so hard to be gangsta it hurts to watch. His rapping is just as bad.
* PrettyFlyForAWhiteGuy: OG Loc is pathetic as a "gangsta"[[note]]he's black, but this trope covers that as well[[/note]]. He ''does'' manage to make a music career out of it for a while, but that's only because he had CJ steal Madd Dogg's rhyme book.
* PrettyInMink: Some of the women pedestrians walk around in a fur coat.
** Spoofed when a pimp claims he has loads of stuff made of mink.
** Also spoofed in [[GTARadio a radio ad]] about selling fur coats to guys in a mid-life crisis.
* PreviousPlayerCharacterCameo ([[{{Prequel}} Sort Of]]): The [[SilentProtagonist quiet player character]] from ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'' (Claude) makes a cameo as the new boyfriend of CJ's ex-girlfriend, Catalina. CJ refers to him as "[[LampshadeHanging that mute asshole]]".
** In the meathouse shootout mission where Ken Rosenberg is accompanying CJ he sometimes shouts:
-->'''Ken''': Just like old times, [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity Tommy]]!\\
'''CJ''': [[LampshadeHanging Who the fuck is Tommy?]]
* PrisonRape:
** OG Loc is implied to have been raped in prison.
** Tenpenny threatens to arrange for [[spoiler:Sweet]] to be raped in prison in order to coerce CJ into doing his bidding.
* PrisonsAreGymnasiums: One mission has CJ picking up his old friend Jeffrey (who now goes by "OG Loc") from prison. When they get a chance to talk, CJ compliments him on his new muscular physique. OG Loc is quite proud of it himself, and touts prison as a great place to get into shape. CJ notes he could have done that without going to jail, but OG Loc thinks doing it while imprisoned is important for street cred.
* ProdigalHero: CJ does it twice: first time, at the beginning of the game when he returns from Liberty City, and second time, when [[spoiler:Sweet gets arrested]] and spends most of the game in San Fierro and Las Venturas, only coming back to Los Santos near the end of the game.
* ProfessionalKiller: The game features a main character that takes contracts to assassinate people.
* ProperlyParanoid: The Truth, who at first glance looks like your average [[TheStoner perpetually stoned]] NewAgeRetroHippie. But as the game goes on, more and more of the weird, seemingly random and/or insane stuff he talks about turns out to be true.
* PsychicStatic: The Truth convinces CJ and co to "Think of a pink golf ball" and other such oddities when you reach different locations. He doesn't say WHY he says to do these things, but it's presumably to make sure CJ doesn't think that he's avoiding a mind-scan, which would tip off whoever is reading your mind that you're trying to avoid having your mind read.
* PsychoExGirlfriend: Catalina is one of these to Carl Johnson, although he never actually ''wanted'' to be her boyfriend.
* RacingTheTrain: The mission "Wrong Side of the Tracks" involves you and Big Smoke trying to chase a train while on a dirt bike so that he can shoot the rival gang members atop the train. It's ThatOneLevel, due to the fact that [[GuideDangIt the game never tells you]] that you need to be at least another train's width away from the train so that Big Smoke can hit them.
-->[[MemeticMutation "All you had to do was]] [[MostAnnoyingSound follow the damn train, CJ!"]]
* RareGuns: CJ can acquire the Desert Eagle when he reaches Las Venturas, though there's a free one lurking around the first city.
* RealIsBrown: Check out the graphics. An unmistakable brownish-gray trend emerges. The game might justify this by imitating the look of early 90s films set in South Central.
* RealMenWearPink: A couple missions feature the Ballas ambushing the Grove Street Families in a hot pink car. While CJ can't get any pink clothes, he can get a pink mohawk.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Kendl gives one to CJ when he complains about the state of the garage he's received, telling him that he's wanted rewards without work, and can't see an opportunity when one falls into his lap.
* RecklessGunUsage: In [[GTARadio one of the radio segments]], [[TheAhnold Jack Howitzer]] threatens to kill host Billy Dexter unless he touches Jack's genitals (ItMakesSenseInContext... sorta) and then says he was just fooling around and that his gun was unloaded, only for it to [[IJustShotMarvinInTheFace go off and kill Dexter]].
* ReliablyUnreliableGuns: In the mission "Reuniting the Families", Ryder hands your character an ancient, POS AK-47 that jams to the point of uselessness [[PlotDrivenBreakdown right when you need it.]]
* ResignationsNotAccepted: C.J. finds out that this is also true about gang-banging. So, in a CrowningMomentOfAwesome, he [[spoiler: ''takes over the entire state''.]]
* ReverseMole: Late in the game, it is revealed that [[spoiler:Officer Jimmy Hernandez, who was never an overly willing participant of C.R.A.S.H. to begin with, has been feeding dirt on Tenpenny and Pulaski to Internal Affairs]].
* RiceBurner: Customizing was one of the new features made available - though some cars are much better suited to it (hint: an actual sports car can take more modifications and already goes fast anyway). In keeping with the trope, most of these will make no difference whatsoever to the car's performance, a notable exception being the NitroBoost.
* RightThroughHisPants: The infamous "hot coffee" mini-games has Carl keeping his pants on while the women he beds are usually nude.
* RightThroughTheWall: When C.J. chooses to have "coffee" (sex) with one of his girlfriends, the camera stays outside the home and the sounds of them having sex are muffled, as if we're listening to them through the wall. Later games with this option, ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' (and its DLCs) and ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'', also keep the camera outside during "coffee" or "booty calls", but the sounds are no longer muffled.
* RightWingMilitiaFanatic: The game features one mission where CJ must sneak on a farm owned by a Waco-esque group in order to steal their combine harvester for The Truth. They shoot at him on sight -- although CJ ''is'' trespassing with the intention of committing theft, he barely steps foot on his property before they start firing. Also, they shout racial slurs at CJ and clearly enjoy hunting him down. [[ChunkySalsaRule But once you actually get to the harvester...]]
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: The bent cop Tenpenny works for an anti-gang unit C.R.A.S.H. -- Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums. The unit is (very loosely) based on a real life police counter-gang unit gone bad. In real life the Los Angeles Police Department was rocked by the C.R.A.S.H. Rampart scandal.
** CJ's mother was killed in a drive-by from a green Sabre, [[spoiler:which is later found in a police garage.]] This is directly based off the black Chevrolet Impala SS in the drive-by which killed [[Music/TheNotoriousBIG Chris Wallace]], which although related happened in 1997.
** Towards the end of the game, [[spoiler:the riot that breaks out in Los Santos is a take on the Rodney King beating trial riot]].
* RiskStyleMap: There's a color-coded overlay for the turf wars in Los Santos, denoting blocks and sometimes even streets as belonging to a certain gang.
* RoadBlock: The roads are blocked due to an earthquake some time prior to the game events that has destroyed most bridges. Since your character can swim, there's also a BorderPatrol in the shape of a wanted level whenever you leaved the unlocked area.
* RougeAnglesOfSatin: An interesting FreudianSlip is to misspell "martial arts" as "marital arts". It appears on the billboard of a usable gym in San Fierro. Easy mistake to make but [[RefugeInAudacity since this is this]] ''[[RefugeInAudacity GTA]]''...
* RPGElements: Unlike previous games, CJ's skills improve the more he uses them. Physical activity (running, biking) improves stamina, swimming improves lung capacity, weight lifting increases strength, vehicles become easier to control the more CJ uses them (in specific categories; four-wheel, two-wheel, flying, pedals), guns have greater accuracy and range with use (and you can strafe while aiming), and he can even learn new combat moves from trainers at the various gyms. The player also has to eat to occasionally in order to stay healthy. If CJ goes without eating for too long, it begins to drain his fat. Once that's gone, muscle and stamina follows. Conversely, eating too much builds fat that affects his strength and stamina accordingly. CJ's physical appearance also feeds into his relationships with his girlfriends. Some like CJ to be wearing certain clothes and fat is generally looked down on. Fortunately, several of these statistics can be bypassed through various means. If you find all 50 oysters in the game, Carl has infinite lung capacity and will automatically be attractive regardless of appearance. If you earn $10,000 in the Burglary side mission, you gain infinite stamina. Compared to the [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV sequel]], the work required to keep on top of these elements is fairly light and often optional.
* RunningGag:
** Catalina will periodically call Carl to tell him how happy she is and how she [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial doesn't miss him at all]]. She does this well through to the end of the game.
** People calling Carl a terrible driver.
* RuthlessForeignGangsters: The Da Nang Boys, Vietnamese drug dealers, and human smugglers all try to muscle in on both the San Fierro Triads and the Loco Syndicate. Since the latter two groups have CJ on the payroll, it doesn't go well for the others.
* {{Sadist}}:
** Catalina. She loves to cause misfortune or suffering to others, including sexual, and this is evident when she tortures C.J. for sexual pleasure.
** Tenpenny and Pulaski.
* SafetyGearIsCowardly: In the final mission, CJ taunts [[spoiler:Big Smoke]] for wearing body armour, contrary to his gangsta image, Ryder also mocks a member of the Ballas for doing the same in a previous mission.
** The fact that [[GameplayAndStorySegregation CJ can buy body armour at stores]] doesn't seem to count.
* SatelliteCharacter: Kendl is for the most part CJ's sister / Cesar's girlfriend.
* SaveScumming:
** You can save scum to build up all the money you'll ever need by gambling, if you're willing to spend several hours. This is most easily accomplished after you purchase the casino in Los Venturas (to have a nearby save point). Simply gamble at your choice of game (video poker is a popular one) and save when you win big, or quit/reset when you lose all your money (though leave the sound off unless you want to hear the same two songs on an ENDLESS LOOP. Tell 'em, Godfather...).
** Another method of doing this which can be accessed earlier in the game is to use the betting shop in Blueberry. Catalina's house on Fern Ridge has a save spot and a fast car that spawns on every load. The road down the ridge leads directly to the Shop, and only takes about 30 seconds. Betting on the longshot has a massive payout and can net you a huge income very quickly.
** The game had save scumming in spades when it came to weapons. Any time you died or got busted, you lost all your guns, leading players to save after every single mission and reloading if they died or get busted on a mission. ''San Andreas'' introduced ways to let the player keep their weapons after death or arrest to discourage save scumming: it had a few missions where you would lose all of your guns at the start of a mission, pissing off players who had been save scumming to keep their guns and finding out they have to lose them anyway.
* SawedOffShotgun: With the advantage of greater spread and no real reduction in power versus the basic shotgun. Not only can sawed-off shotguns be wielded like pistols, but CJ can use ''[[GunsAkimbo two at once]]'' with enough practice. [[MST3KMantra Best not to think about how he reloads]].
* ScatterbrainedSenior: Old Reece is implied to be this, as Ryder mentions the former having 'popped his membrane years ago'. Indeed, he will talk to CJ in a manner that suggests he is mentally in the past.
* SceneryPorn: Being a sandbox game, ''San Andreas'' doesn't have much in the way of huge, time-consuming panoramic shots of the landscape, but the love and attention to detail is clear. [[FictionalCounterpart Las Venturas]] is, barring certain plot-and-legality-based changes and scale, almost perfectly accurate to the Strip and Fremont Street in real life (at least, how they were in the 90's; Fremont Street has since become 'The Fremont Street Experience').
** Dated visuals aside, the countryside is still quite beautiful, with its rolling hills, tall trees and open meadows and fields that are easy to get lost and immersed in. On the other hand, it can also be [[NothingIsScarier quite creepy, especially at night]].
* SchoolyardBullyAllGrownUp: One of the motorcycle cop voices in the game is an inversion of this trope. You might sometimes hear him tell CJ that he was the one who bullied him back when they were kids.
* SchrodingersGun: In the mission "Green Goo", it's always the third box that contains the eponymous green goo you're looking for.
* ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem: Officers Tenpenny and Pulaski were assigned to stop gangs and instead tried to control them.
** Toreno has elements of this, although he's aware that many of his actions have to stay quiet.
* SealedRoomInTheMiddleOfNowhere: Reversed in one mission you are required to kill a group of construction workers (they looked at your sister funny or something). The mission is fairly routine until the last guy, who runs into a portable bathroom and you push him into a pit and fill it with cement. He doesn't get rescued.
* SelectiveCondemnation:
** The game contains a central plot point involving the protagonist being forced to do the bidding of a crooked cop, who has in his possession a gun used in the murder of a police officer. He threatens to use it to frame CJ, and it's implied that this gun alone is evidence enough for a murder conviction and life imprisonment sentence. However, in-game, the player can freely murder police officers in broad daylight (often dozens at a time), and subsequently actually be arrested, with no dire consequences.
** Not to mention the time CJ and Ryder stole a ton of guns from a National Guard depot, shooting dozens of soldiers in the process. You know, ''treason''.
** An optional side-quest requires CJ, the protagonist, to murder about twenty police officers. Why are they gunning for him? He took pictures of blueprints for a casino.
* SelectiveEnforcement: An early mission has you fleeing on bicycles from gangsters shooting at you with machine guns from a car. The police won't respond even as they stand in the gangster's line of fire, but so help you if your bike bumps into them.
* SenselessViolins: Implied in one mission, where you have to gun down a bunch of Mafia thugs who were going to carry out a hit disguised as a ''string quartet.''
* SeparateButIdentical: The Grove Street OGS hate the palette-swapped Ballas. The only real difference between the two crews is the Ballas sell cocaine; otherwise both are filled to the brim with violent psychotics.
** Similar goes for the two Latino gangs in San Andreas.
** The Ballas in the south near the beach differ in that they are armed with pistols at best.
* SequelEscalation: If you were expecting more of the same ''GTAIII'' / ''Vice City'' gameplay, only set in the '90s and with RPG elements, boy were you in for a surprise.
* SequenceBreaking: It ''is'' possible to simply swim out of the parts of the game you're currently permitted to explore, but doing so sets the cops and even the navy on you. Most of this can avoided by making a jump over the guard building into the airport, getting into a plane and simply flying off (it does, however, mean flying while being attacked by Navy planes). Using this technique to complete all the optional goals before playing the actual story is a fairly popular SelfImposedChallenge.
** There are several missions in San Andreas that can be done in a way different from intended:
*** ''Robbing Uncle Sam'': instead of opening the gate immediatelly after you enter the military base, you can kill every soldier already spawned on the place, then use the forklift to place the boxes near the entrance neatly waiting for when you finally shoot the gate's control panel to open and let Ryder take drive inside.
*** ''Wrong Side Of The Tracks'': instead of driving alongside the train and let Big Smoke kill the Vagos, you can overtake the train, ride your dirtbike on top of a nearby building using a few ramps and a bridge, then jump on top of the train and use the AK47 or M4 to kill the Vagos yourself.
*** ''Badlands'': Instead of facing off against the FBI agents to kill the witness, you can scare him into getting into his car and running away. When you're out of the FBI's range you can shoot his car until he bails and kill him easily.
*** ''Local Liquor Store'': Why use the QuadBike if you can leave a Sanchez nearby and use it to chase the thieves?
*** ''The Da Nang Thang'': You lose all your weapons during the helicopter crash, but since there's no timer in this mission, you can go back to the city, stock up weapons, armor and ammo, the go back and finish the job.
*** ''Ice Cold Killa'': Pop tires of Jizzy's car before entering the Pleasuredome. When he tries to flee using his car, it's much easier to chase him.
*** ''Pier 69'': Instead of jumping on the water and swimming after Ryder, just shoot him from the dock with the Sniper Rifle.
*** ''Toreno's Last Flight'': Get a Heat Seeking Rocket Launcher before the start of the mission. When the chopper takes flight is just a matter of lock on it and fire. Same can be done in ''Interdiction''.
*** In ''Misappropriation'' the games wants you to have a spectular chase using among other things a helicopter. You can bypass it all by sneaking in quickly enough in the place where the case is, kill the guy who's carrying it, grab the case and flee.
*** There's actually two ways of beating ''High Noon''. The first is pop the tires of Pulaski's Buffalo and chase him afterwards as normal, or you can get a Minigun and fire away as soon as the cop enters the car. A few seconds of blasting and the car will go up in flames. (Oddly enough the car will be intact in the cutscene and afterwards)
** Other than that, there's still the side missions. The ''Chiliad Challenge'' for example. Instead of winning your races, you can come in dead last, and using a, sniper rifle, kill the competition after they crossed the finish line but you still haven't. Killing the competition also works on the ''Dirt Track''.
* SerialKiller: Catalina. In fact, she has three bodies buried in her backyard.
* SetAMookToKillAMook: This is quite fun to do. Unless two mooks are specifically on the same side, any mook will attack the mook that attacked it last (or run away). You can often offend someone into attacking you, and then get the police to kill them for you (or the other way around). Irate taxi drivers are particularly useful; climb onto the roof of their cab and [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight they'll ignore you entirely]], but when the guy chasing you throws a punch at your ankle and [[WatchThePaintJob hits their car]], they'll be brawling in no time.
* SexyDiscretionShot: The player can choose to sleep with his girlfriends. If he does so, the camera shows the outside of the house while you hear the sounds of love. Amusingly, Rockstar was actually planning to allow the player to control the sex scenes, but wisely changed the game to prevent it. When a man later discovered them, it spawned the infamous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_coffee Hot Coffee mod controversy.]]
** It also happens in the intro to the "Gone Courting" mission, where Catalina decides to jump C.J.'s bones, and from what she brings into the encounter in question, she's into S&M in a big way.
** Not to mention, the player can pick up hookers on the street and take them to a quiet area for some ''fun''. This causes the car to rock violently, but nothing can be viewed... Unless you change the camera to see inside the car, when both the player's character and his prostitute just sitting there, facing forward and not moving, the sounds apparently coming from nowhere.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Spoofed when one of the guests on a radio talk show, ''Entertaining America'', is a washed up action movie hero who earnestly believes everything that happened in his movies, including his friend dying in Vietnam, happened for real. And the host gets shot and killed by him when he calls him out on it.
* ShiftingSandLand; The desert around Las Venturas qualifies to some degree: although it's rather realistic, it has Native American reservations, ghost towns, rock formations with funny names, an abandoned airport, oil pumps, a big Hoover-like dam, a geyser, and even [[DoubleEntendre ''Area 69'']], the local version of the Area 51.
* ShirtlessScene: The game gives players the option to dress CJ however they wish... that includes stripping him to his underpants for a nearly completely nude shootout with cops and rival gangsters! Is the block hot or is it just me?
* ShootTheFuelTank: The game allows you to instantly detonate a car if you aim for the gas ''cap''. Even if you can clearly see the rest of the tank, as on lorries, only the cap will set it off.
** Maybe they're [[IncrediblyLamePun blasting caps]].
* ShopliftAndDie: Been doing a little gambling in a casino, and you're a bit in the red? No problem, they'll give you time to pay them back...about five minutes real time. After that, the casino owner will send a hit squad of four guys with SMG's after you. Even if you happen to be the casino owner...
** And when you kill them, they drop a ''lot'' of money. An interesting way to pay off your debt.
* ShoutOut / ReferenceOverdosed: [[ShoutOut/GrandTheftAuto All on this page.]]
* ShovelStrike: Shovels can be found and used as melee weaponry. Farmers are often equipped with it.
* ShowWithinAShow: The game includes a large number of in-game radio stations that can be listened to from any vehicle (or even simply during the pause screen). Content ranges from music and dynamically updated news bulletins, to complete talk shows and phone-in programs.
* SignsOfDisrepair: A billboard shows a girl drinking a bottle of milky-white soda. At the end of a mission, CJ's out-of-control car changes its message from "A taste of what's to come!" to "A taste of come!"
* SillinessSwitch: Possible to have hordes of Elvis (Elvii) and fast food employees rioting through the city while any car hit goes flying into space.
* ASimplePlan: "[[MostAnnoyingSound ALL WE HAD TO DO, WAS FOLLOW THE DAMN TRAIN, CJ!]]"
* SimultaneousWarningAndAction: The San Fierro Police are trained social workers. That means they try to "Open a constructive dialog" while beating Carl with their nightsticks.
* SinkOrSwimMentor: Mike Toreno "teaches" CJ to learn to fly by giving him a plane and ordering him to figure it out for himself.
* SlashCommand: The game can be patched to play online. Most servers have hundreds of commands, and every one is different, so switching is always an exercise in frustration.
* SlashedThroat: It's possible to do this. It's not possible to see it in the console version, since the third-person camera view obscures the sight, but it sounds pretty messy. The PC port, on the other hand, allows for the player to see it in full – it's an initial deep stab followed by CJ ripping the blade out the front of the victim's neck.
* SleevesAreForWimps: CJ starts out wearing a white tanktop.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' games generally lie heavily on the cynical side. As an example, in San Andreas, the only two police officers that seem non-corrupt are both killed by the corrupt ones that drive the plot. Even generic cutscene cops often care more about taking bribes or eating snacks than actual justice.
** Even then ''San Andreas'' was more optimistic than the other ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' games in the franchise. Carl and Sweet managed to defeat the corrupt cops and their traitors without losing anyone close to them, especially after Cesar pulled a Retirony moment out. Compared to what happens to the later VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto Protagonists, San Andreas is by far the most optimistic of the franchise as the sequels will not be so kind to the other protagonists who loses everything close to them.
-->The Truth: You know, I mean, you beat the system! I tried for thirty years to cross over, but you've maaaanaged it, man! I mean, man, you're an icon, man!"
* SlidingScaleOfVideoGameWorldSizeAndScale: The game would fall under a form of '''real-time, small scale world''' (for example you can drive across San Andreas in a couple of minutes, even though it's meant to represent a whole state). However, the game also features the '''locked doors everywhere''' feature, in that there's usually tons of buildings but few, if any, are actually enterable.
** Driving times ARE shortened by the fact that you're normally driving pedal-to-the-metal without a care about crashing. But even if you did drive like people do IRL, the locations are still much smaller than their real-world inspiration.
* SmallNameBigEgo:
** Sage, the DJ at grunge/alternative station Radio X, to the point that she's an in-universe [[TheScrappy Scrappy.]]
** Ryder talks big and acts like he's "too fucking intelligent" to go to school. While Ryder is a decent shot with a gun, even Sweet tells Ryder that CJ (the player character) has been doing all the work and might be better at being a gangbanger than Ryder is. [[spoiler: After you discover Ryder betrayed your gang for a rival gang, he still acts like he's the best. Luckily, you get to put a bullet in his head.]]
* TheSnackIsMoreInteresting: Big Smoke has this reaction when your car is attacked by a car full of Ballas gang members, chowing down on the food everyone just ordered instead of shooting like the others. [[spoiler:Of course, considering he defected to the Ballas before the game started, this turns out to be more {{Foreshadowing}} about his betrayal.]]
* SnowMeansDeath: This is present when CJ returns to Liberty City later in the game, he shows some Italian mobsters how to have fun in the snow, Grove Street style.
* SoccerHatingAmericans: The host of "The Tight End Zone" calls out to fans of various sports before lashing out at soccer fans.
-->''Your game is terrible and we don't win at it.''
* SocialClimber: Progression in WideOpenSandbox games often features examples of this. The PlayerCharacter starts poor but eventually becomes super-wealthy, his mission-givers also show the same progression. The most extreme example is the hero Carl Johnson, who grows up in a Los Angeles slum with poor weapons and neighbourhood gun-fights, graduates to working with the Triads, moonlights with a corrupt American agent and then becomes a wealthy entrepreneur in the casino business while tussling with the Italian Mob for turf.
* SocietyIsToBlame: Done satirically. When the player beats or kills someone or steals a car, CJ will sometimes spout lines like "Don't blame me, blame society!"
* SoftWater: You can get into a jet, go over a body of water at full screaming-engine speed and drop without a parachute and all you'll get will be wet clothes. Of course, previous games in the series [[SuperDrowningSkills lacked a swimming mechanic]], and so treated any body of water greater than waist-deep as a pool of instant death.
* SomeDexterityRequired: A staple of the GTA series, some missions are made difficult NOT by actually being hard but by forcing the player to use cars with inferior to awful handling. Case in point: Race across San Fierro would be MUCH easier if the car didn't fishtail every time you tried to turn. Same goes for the 8-track stadium car racing.
* SortingAlgorithmOfWeaponEffectiveness: The game tries to keep this in effect. The weapons you can't get in the starting city are the M4 (better assault rifle) and some of the heavy weapons, which can show up in later towns. The gun shops unlock according to a pattern as well ... although there's nothing stopping you from {{sidequest}}ing your way to an arsenal.
** To be fair, you're locked out from purchasing the better weapons from stores legitimately until you hit a certain point in the storyline, but there's still hidden weapon spawns where you can pick them up (with the bonus of them being free!). Experienced GTA players know where the good drops are and will often stock up on ammo (the only way for them to respawn is to save the game and advance time forward) by saving at the nearest safehouse and making a few "gun runs". Of course, that then begs the question as to who's constantly dropping weapons worth several thousand dollars in the back of an alley...
* SoundtrackDissonance: Can happen at anytime when you listen to the radio while driving, but there is also at least one deliberate example: When you have to go to Liberty City to execute a hit in a restaurant (i.e. it turns into an [[MoreDakka action packed gunfight]]), quiet classical music is playing in said restaurant.
** Radio X contains [[PrimalScream 'Movin' On Up']], a heartwarming and inspirational song that simply doesn't mesh with the drive-bys and manslaughter.
** Radio Los Santos typically plays type 1 and 2 GangstaRap that suits the game perfectly. But then we have '[[TooShort The Ghetto]]' and 'Hood Took Me Under', both of which are certainly not glorified takes on gangster culture.
* SpeedRun: The game was dominated in [[http://speeddemosarchive.com/GrandTheftAutoSA.html six hours nine minutes]]. Though that wasn't in a single sitting.
** Years later, this records has been shattered, with the WR for San Andreas being [[http://www.speedrunrecords.com/Grand_Theft_Auto_San_Andreas/run/551 5:24:17 by UltimateOmega07]] ''done in a single sitting''.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: OG Loc's name is ''not'' pronounced "Ogg Lock".
* SpicyLatina: Catalina.
* SpitefulAI: The police cars don't really do much except try to crash into you as hard as possible. They don't mind flipping over in crazy ways that no normal human could survive, or brutally totaling their car every now and then. They just want to TAKE YOU DOWN.
** Even if you're driving a tank and their cars instantly explode when they hit, the LemmingCops will still constantly ram you just to slowly drain your HitPoints.
** Another way the police AI hates you is seen when other criminals go after you. In one of the early missions, you can be riding a bicycle while three men in a car are gunning you down. Even if a policeman is standing in the line of fire, he won't respond. But god help you if your bicycle hits the policeman. Some older games take this UpToEleven: The police may be in a neutral or hostile (to you) state, and any criminal action against the police by AI enemies will cause the police to act as if YOU attacked them.
* TheSpook: Mike Toreno. Even his name is suspect, since he was [[spoiler:working undercover]] when CJ was introduced to him.
* SpySpeak: In a mission cutscene, you overhear [[TheMenInBlack government agent]] Mike Toreno's radio conversation:
-->'''Mike Toreno:''' Roger that, Big Monkey, I got a 13-6 fat vulture. Need to acquire a drowning baby. Over. [gets interrupted by Carl's arrival] In 15 by the moon. Break your heart. Over and out.
* StealthBasedMission: Some of the storyline missions and the "Burglar" side mission follow this formula. They are generally not too difficult, and actually quite engaging, as they take cues from [[{{Manhunt}} another infamous game by Rockstar]].
* SteelEarDrums: [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] in a mission. CJ and Catalina chase after redneck bank-robbers on a quad; CJ's driving, Catalina's shooting while sitting behind him. CJ keeps on berating her shooting right next to his ears, even saying at one point that he thinks he's gone deaf. However, he suffers no hearing loss whatsoever, and all other instances of people being gunners in/on the same vehicle as him go without any mention from him. (The difference between Catalina and all other instances is that [[AxCrazy Catalina is a lot more trigger-happy than the others are]].)
* StickyBomb: There are remote-detonated satchel charges that when thrown stick to any wall, vehicle, or [[BreadEggsMilkSquick innocent bystander]].
* StillWearingTheOldColors: [[spoiler: Big Smoke and Ryder still wear their [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience Grove Street Family greens]] long after betraying the gang to work with the purple-clad Ballas and yellow-clad Vagos]].
* TheStinger: Immediately after the credits have rolled and you are dumped back into the gameplay after completing the final plot mission in the game, Catalina will call Carl to yell at him one final time.
* TheStoner: The Truth and Ryder. A few of the recurring characters from ''Vice City'', as well.
* StonersAreFunny: The Truth.
* StormingTheCastle: The cops do this to your motel, then you do this on [[spoiler:Smoke]]'s crack house.
* StoryDrivenInvulnerability: The "OG Loc" mission, where you can shoot at Freddy while chasing him by motorcycle, but you can't actually kill him until after the chase.
* StoryOverwrite: In the mission "Dam and Blast", you have to sneak into the Sherman Dam and rig the power generators with explosives. Even if you get in, plant all the explosives, and get out without being spotted by the guards, the following cutscene will still show CJ running away from the police.
* StrangeSecretEntrance: The game [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this in a way, by having a sign that reads "There are no Easter eggs here, go away" on top of a massive bridge, and in itself features a presumably unintentional version of this with the legendary [[MinusWorld "hidden interiors"]].
* StupidCrooks: Very early, CJ's friend Ryder tries to rob a Pizza House where he is a regular customer. He wears a PaperThinDisguise that consists of taking his hat off and putting on a nearly-transparent mask. The results are as expected.
-->'''Clerk:''' Ryder? [[OhNoNotAgain Not this again]]!\\
'''Ryder:''' [[ImplausibleDeniability It ain't me, foo]]'!\\
'''Clerk:''' No one else is that small. I feel sorry for your dad!
** Also, turns out the clerk is [[MuggingTheMonster better armed than Ryder is]].
* StupidSurrender: This game is quite possibly the [[TooDumbToLive Crowning Moment of Stupid]] for this trope, more so because Rockstar Games had, even when the game was first released, developed a reputation for [[LampshadeHanging hanging lampshades]] and PaintingTheMedium. Carl Johnson not only surrenders without a fight the moment crooked cops Tenpenny and Pulaski point guns at him, but even spends several hours digging his own grave with Pulaski standing over him after Tenpenny has left to do more important things than keep a gun trained on a guy wearing 200% armor, 200% hit points, and strapped with weapons ranging from katanas to rocket launchers to rocket jetpacks. Only when Pulaski is about to execute the compliant CJ does he drop his gun for no apparent reason at all, which is apparently the trigger CJ needs to start trying to fight back... but only after he lets Pulaski climb into his (explosion and bullet proof but strangely not impact proof) cop car parked several meters away. Because the goal of the mission is to kill Pulaski, and it just has to be done only after engaging in a car chase along the entire length and breadth of the game map.
* StylisticSuck: The one OG Loc song we hear, "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyl-MN8JdQA It's Loc Baby]]", contains all the things common in bad GangstaRap songs rolled into one: A simplistic and repetitive beat, random shout outs, extremely short verses and terrible wordplay. [[EarWorm Doesn't stop it from being incredibly catchy]].
* SuicideAsComedy: We hear this on the radio:
-->'''James:''' Hello, you're on "The Wild Traveler". Where are you?
-->'''Caller:''' I'm on a cliff.
-->'''James:''' How romantic!
-->'''Caller:''' I want to jump!
-->'''James:''' Yes, I know what you mean. [[ComicallyMissingThePoint Jump into the unknown.]] How can it be a sin if it feels good? Anyway, why are you calling?
-->'''Caller:''' Why am I here?
-->'''James:''' I don't know. Why are you there? Where are you? Kenya?
-->'''Caller:''' No, I'm in Verdant Bluffs.
-->'''James:''' Loathsome place. I'd jump if I were you.
-->'''Caller:''' I want to go to Hell.
-->'''James:''' Me too! Buy a refrigerator magnet when you get there!
* SuicideDare: Madd Dogg is on top of a building thinking about jumping after losing all his money and his rhyme book. A couple of bystanders encourage him to jump.
* SuperDrowningSkills: The first game in the series to [[AvertedTrope avert]] this. Unless you're an NPC character controlled by the AI whose name isn't CJ. Then you die the second you hit even a shallow pond.
* SurprisinglyEasyMiniQuest: There are a couple instances where you lose all your weapons, no matter if you never get wasted or arrested (or never save when that happens). The next few missions after each on have the good grace to drop in difficulty until you get your stock up, although it's not a cakewalk.
* SuspiciouslyAproposMusic: Depending on the player and a little luck, this can happen. For example, CJ could be on one of The Truth's missions, in the hippie van and high as a kite while "In A Gadda Da Vida" by Iron Butterfly is playing on the radio.
** Also, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9lEr53rXaI this]] one might qualify.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: In one of the very first missions, Ryder puts his cap backwards and goes to rob the local Pizza Stack. But when the cashier recognizes him due to his height and voice (and, obviously, his PaperThinDisguise):
--> '''Ryder:''' Give up the money! This' a raid!
--> '''Cashier:''' Ryder! Not this again!
--> '''Ryder:''' It ain't me, foo'!
--> '''Cashier:''' I don't know anyone so small! I feel sorry for your dad!
* SwordFight: Played, to a point. One mission gives you the choice of going sword to sword against a crimelord. Your other options involve whatever other guns you picked up on the way to him.
* TakeOverTheCity: ''San Andreas'' upped the ante and gave you three cities to conquer.
* TakeThat:
** Quite a few at ''Driv3r'' and ''True Crime: Streets of LA'', most notably a billboard in Los Santos with "True Grime: Street Cleaners". Also, at the War Memorial in San Fierro, at the top and bottom are tombstones that read "R.I.P Opposition 1997-2004". Also HilariousInHindsight, due to ''[[SaintsRow Saints Row 2]]''.
** Get a Bullet off of the Import/Export ship and read it's license plate. "EA SUCKS" and "FUCK YOU" can be read on them occasionally.
* TalkingDownTheSuicidal: CJ comes across a rapper threatening to jump. He makes a token effort to get him down, but in the end steals a straw truck so he lands semi-safely.
* TankGoodness: A series staple, the Rhino, returns with upgraded speed and handling as well as a new look based on the M1 Abrams. There's also a bulletproof SWAT tank in the final mission, though the only way to get it in normal gameplay is by exploiting the game mechanics to save it after failing the mission.
* TechnicalPacifist: The Police Helicopter Pilot could be considered one of these:
-->'''Gunner:''' Why do I always have to do the f*cking killing?
-->'''Pilot:''' Because I am a pacifist, '''SHOOT 'EM!'''
* TeleportingKeycardSquad: The mission "Vertical Bird". If you don't blow up the other two Hydras before stealing the third, three of them will chase you. If you do blow up those two, a single one will chase you anyway. And if you are fast enough to get on the deck and destroy the Hydra that's taking flight at that moment (wich one would assume is the one that chases you later), at least one Hydra will appear out of nowhere and chase you anyway.
* {{Thememobile}}: The Truth's "Mothership", a repainted camper van, is a great example. Several other major characters have their own vehicles, but for the most part they're only distinguished by a unique license plate.
** Players can also create their own Theme Mobiles thanks to the game's vehicle modification capabilities.
* ThemeTuneRap: CJ's voice actor is Young Maylay, an up-and-coming rapper. His debut album, "San Andreas: The Mix Tapes", features a song that has him rapping about the game in character as CJ.
* ThereAreTwoKindsOfPeopleInTheWorld: [[GTARadio Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith's]] view on the world: "There's two kinds of people in this world: Those who like me... and those who can go to hell!"
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: As the game progresses the player gains access to very powerful weaponry and vehicles, which can make a number of missions a cakewalk. The epitome of this is the Rhino, a near-indestructable tank, which can be used on everything from the game's Vigilante side-mission to running over hapless enemy gang members during the gang warfare stage of the game. It's also possible (though usually more trouble than it's worth) to do several missions using an assault helicopter if you place it where it needs to be in advance.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodSandwich: Subverted in one mission, which has you go to a drive-thru restaurant, only to be attacked by Ballas after you've got your food. This doesn't stop Big Smoke from enjoying his food instead of shooting at them [[spoiler:since he's also working with them.]]
* ThinkUnsexyThoughts: Maccer [[ADateWithRosiePalms is a chronic masturbator]]. To get him to stop, his manager tells him to "Think of Thatcher". Unfortunately, that just turns him on more.
* ThirtySecondBlackout: There's an optional sidequest composed of several sub-missions preparing for a big cassino heist, OceansEleven style. One of these missions involves planting [[StickyBomb remote controlled sticky bombs]] on the generators of the dam that powers the game's [[NoCommunitiesWereHarmed Las Vegas analogue]], so they can be detonated and blackout the whole city during the heist. When it happens, the power stays off for a few minutes requiring the player to venture back upstairs and blow the cassino's back-up generators. Despite this, the city has power about a minute later.
* ThisIsForEmphasisBitch: "I ain't ''nobody'''s "ass technician", bitch!" - OG Loc
* ThisIsSomethingHesGotToDoHimself: CJ invokes this trope on Sweet in the final mission. CJ insists he takes on the BigBad alone in order to make up for running out on his gang when they needed him most.
* ToastedBuns: Averted with the Black Project Jetpack, which has outboard shoulder-level thrusters, by a simple use of [[RealLife actual]] design of Bell Rocket Belt that has exhaust pipes moved away and to the side of pilot's body. It is also a very practical vehicle to use; it is useful in collecting the [[GottaCatchEmAll hidden Horseshoes in Las Venturas]] and plays a central part in [[Awesome/VideoGameLevels one of the game's most memorable missions]].
* TooAwesomeToUse: The combine harvesters. These vehicles had the unique and delightfully sadistic feature of turning crops of pedestrians into [[{{Gorn}} neatly bundled up bales of body parts]]. Unfortunately, the harvesters are rare, encountered only at certain times in rural areas. In addition, almost all of them are locked and can only be accessed by killing the driver of one already in use. Even after obtaining one, the size of the vehicle makes it difficult to move in populated areas and impossible to fit into a garage for safe keeping. Its slow speed and bad handling make the player easy for law enforcers (who inevitably start to show up after a few good mauls) to catch. Finally, if the player decides to exit the vehicle for any reason, [[AtomicFBomb the door locks behind them]].
* ToxicFriendInfluence: CJ, the protagonist, [[VillainProtagonist isn't exactly a paragon of morality]], but he tends towards PragmaticVillainy. His friends are all dumb thugs to a greater or a lesser extent. A typical mission will begin with them explaining their latest scheme, him [[OnlySaneMan pointing out how risky it is]], them [[BerserkButton calling him a buster]] (mainly Ryder, for whom this is almost a CatchPhrase), and him agreeing to go along with what turns out to be an absolute clusterfuck with at least seven people shooting at him at once. [[{{Railroading}} Of course, if he didn't go along, we wouldn't have a plot]]...
* TrainEscape: The player can do delivery missions using trains. Initiating the delivery mission while wanted will cause the player to lose their wanted level.
* TrashTalk: CJ does this all the time in combat. "Oh, look, a gun." * Blam*
* TheTriadsAndTheTongs
* TrueCompanions: The group CJ builds during the course of the game is large, diverse and bound together like family.
* TwentyMinutesIntoThePast: Released in 2004, set in 1992. [[spoiler:Since San Andreas is an {{expy}} of early-90's California, the ending features [[HistoricalInJoke the GTA universe's counterpart to the 1992 LA riots.]]]]
* UnconventionalVehicleChase: A pursuit mission in go-karts.
* UnexpectedGameplayChange: The game featured a couple of stealth segments in the main story, and more in the form of sidequests.
** Many of the missions were horribly designed, nearly impossible to control flight simulators. What truly makes this awful is that while flying itself was very straightforward and easy, the mandatory missions forced the player to use the poorest plane available. Imagine if the player had to do the street racing segments with a street sweeper, the slowest motor vehicle in the game.
** RC Plane, Query Missions, Caesar's Races, Pilot School, rhythm sequences.
* UnexpectedlyRealisticGameplay: One of your missions as Carl is to date a chick in order to steal her key card to get access to a casino. In a game with some missions that won't even let you destroy your highly non-essential car without failing the mission, this mission has two options: Go on a couple of dates with her. [[CuttingTheKnot Or just kill her.]] You won't fail anything, and the key card will be right there in her house.
* UnexpectedShmupLevel: Subverted in The "Da Nang Thang", where it initially looks like it's going this route, only for your helicopter to be shot down almost immediately, forcing you to complete things on foot.
* UnexplainedRecovery: Villain Toreno seemingly explodes in a helicopter. Several missions later, he's having C.J. ride around in a monster truck. No explanation is given for living--or for the truck.
** Its implied through his dialogue he just fooled CJ into thinking he got on the helicopter - he knew CJ was trying to kill him, and needed him to think he had in order to get his help.
* UnflinchingWalk: This is without a doubt the most fun way to use the remote plastic explosive, and with the FreeRotatingCamera you can make sure you've got the best possible viewpoint.
* TheUnfought: Officer Tenpenny is the meanest, most {{manipulative|Bastard}} son of a bitch in the game, but you never get to actually fight him. After a city-wide car chase, he ends up losing control of his truck and driving right off a bridge through a concrete barrier, just in front of [[WhereItAllBegan CJ's home]]. [[spoiler:CJ is convinced by Sweet not to drive a bullet in the man's head "just to make sure", and lets Tenpenny die of his own internal injuries.]]
* UnifiedNamingSystem: Grove Street Families vs. Kilo Street Ballaz vs. Varrio Los Aztecas vs. [[OddNameOut Los Santos Vagos]].
* UniversalAmmunition: Pistols don't share ammunition (one fires a bigger bullet than the others, and another presumably uses lower-velocity ammo to complement its suppressor). The [=SMGs=] and shotguns can take ammo from other weapons in their class, which are justified by all using the same rounds (and being fed with loose ones in the case of the shotguns).
** However, the AK-47 and M4 both share ammo.
* UniversalDriversLicense: The game introduces airplanes as available vehicles; the PlayerCharacter must complete a training course before he can ''legally'' fly those, but is still ''perfectly capable'' of flying them before that if he sneaks into an airport and hijacks one.
** Not only can Carl Johnson pilot airplanes perfectly the first time he clambers into the cockpit, he also learns how to fly a Harrier jet just as fast (all of his previous experience likely being little more than a P-51, an Apache, and a Learjet) and learn how to properly operate all of the weapons systems well enough to defeat several experienced pilots in a dogfight and destroy boats sitting in a lake with heat-seaking missiles.
** And don't forget the ''experimental'' jetpack that you steal in one mission, and thereafter always have, if you can bother to go pick it up. Not only does he fly it without trouble, but he can fire any singlehanded gun from it as well as from any vehicle.
* UnnaturallyBlueLighting: The MoodLighting of the city of San Fierro is predominantly blue.
* UnwinnableByMistake: There's a well-known glitch occurring in the later mission "Madd Dogg". You're supposed to line up a truck full of hay under down-and-out rapper Madd Dogg before he jumps to his death, but for still-unconfirmed reasons he can commit suicide as soon as the mission cutscene ends. Fans speculate that this is caused by too many cheats being saved, though this has been mostly discredited. Another theory is that the pedestrian riot cheat has been activated, which makes Madd Dogg walk off the roof to attack the nearest person. There is no way to complete the story mode on the same save file if this happens.
* UpdatedRerelease: After the game was pulled from stores after the [[HotCoffeeMinigame Hot Coffee]] incident and the {{Media Watchdog}}s had a field day with it, Rockstar tried to justify a rerelease of the game (while making the "offensive" bit truly inaccessible to keep the game rated M) by including a "behind the scenes" movie and a 30 minute cut scene showing events that occurred before the beginning of the game. Some say that some glitches and bugs were also fixed. PC modders tend to avoid the updated PC version as it made modding, well, harder.
* UpperClassTwit: The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToumKORTtgM Rich Guy]].
* UranusIsShowing: You can play a SpaceInvaders like [[ShootEmUp shooter game]] on the VG console of Sweet's house. The game's name? '''They Crawled From Uranus!'''
* UselessUsefulStealth: This even shows up. There are two or three stealth-based missions, in which you can evade detection entirely by hiding in shadows. The game tries to tell you after the first one that you can also use stealth to hide from police, but [[TheAllSeeingAI anyone who's played a video game]] [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard before that point knows better.]] In fact, "stealth" kills with a knife outside of missions seem to attract more attention than waving a sword around or even firing a silenced gun at someone.
** There's also robbing houses, which the player is also introduced to through one of the aformentioned stealth-based missions. It's supposed to be an easy way for the player to make cash without actually playing the storyline, but in 90% of the houses you can try to infiltrate, its occupants are in the front room, ready to discover you as soon as you enter.
* VanInBlack: Get a 5-star wanted level and the FBI will come after you in black tinted SUV's. Probably the best time to retreat to a safehouse before [[TankGoodness the army]] shows up.
* VanityLicensePlate: The game upped the ante by including a far larger number of vanity plates on specifically parked or mission-specific cars.
* VerbalTic: T-Bone ends each and every sentence with "Ese", to sound more "cholo". Cesar Vialpando also does this, though less often, and also ends his phrases with "holmes" and "vato". (A number of pedestrians can be heard using these phrases in their conversations, too).
* TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon: [[spoiler:Big Smoke]]'s Crack Palace, an abandoned set of apartments that the Ballas have taken over to install their drug factory.
* ViceCity: Well, Vice ''State''.
* VideogameCaringPotential: The nameless Grove Street mooks you pick up to assist in missions will chatter with C.J. on the way to the goal, giving him shit like all his named friends. Makes it hard to watch them mowed down like wheat. Of course it doesn't help they tend to fire wildly at every cop that comes by.
** An even better example is [[http://venturebeat.com/2010/06/05/my-four-year-old-son-plays-grand-theft-auto/ this story]] of a four-year-old whose father let him play San Andreas, only to discover that the innocent kid used the WideOpenSandbox potential to arrest criminals, help firefighters, and drive the wounded to the hospital in an ambulance, refusing to steal any cars or drive recklessly because that would be wrong.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: A staple and much of the point of the whole GTA series, but it especially comes into play here as an odd case of GameplayAndStorySegregation. CJ is, for the most part, presented within the story as a ruthless but well-meaning AntiHero rather than a VillainProtagonist, but the player's still free to go on genocidal rampages in between each mission.
** There's a few cruelty moments that are a part of the main missions. One mission has you kidnap a music manager and drive off the docks while you jump out of the car, hearing him whine before that he can't swim. Another one has you get revenge for your sister who was harassed by some construction workers by pushing the foreman around with a bulldozer while he is inside a portable toilet, hearing him gag and yell about the smell and being splashed with his own poop. You kill him by pushing his stall in a ditch and ''filling it with cement, burying him alive''!
** In ''San Andreas'', they added the ability to swim to the player, the girlfriends and some other {{NPC}}s. Note that cops are not on the list.
** ''San Andreas'' has just dozens of examples; heck the cops and pedestrians will sometimes just kill the hell out of each other with no player involvement.
** ''San Andreas'' gives the player the option to do burglaries as a side mission. While the only mandatory burglary enforces stealth, the typical sidequest burglary goes like this: Enter house, kill the occupants in their sleep and then just sweep the apartment clean. Repeat a few times each night.
** Sometimes, hitting a pedestrian in the car would not be enough to kill em. You could just park ''over'' them instead and watch the blood flow from underneath your car...
* VideogameFlamethrowersSuck: Definitely the case: the tendency for enemies to run directly at you when you light them on fire (leaving you completely helpless and vulnerable), the ridiculously short range meaning you could have killed the enemies with anything else in the game by that point, and that, since its technically classed as a BFG, you can't run and gun with it makes it all but useless.
* VideoGameFlight: Oddly, ''San Andreas'' has flight as a later-game ability, with the requirement being 'learn how'. Not many limitations, aside from two logical ones: avoid buildings, and avoid no-fly zones. Of course, not many [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential targets]] when you get too high.
** It's not naturally a late game ability, you can climb over the airport fence and steal a plane at any time. It's just that if you don't have a pilot's licence, military jets will come and shoot you down.
** Even later in the game, you get a jetpack (''[[IWantMyJetpack finally!]]'')
* VillainExitStageLeft: {{Averted|Trope}} in the final mission. This is what [[spoiler:Tenpenny intended to do -- bail out of Los Santos, or perhaps out of San Andreas for good, even as the city burns with riots over news that he has been cleared of charges of corruption (thanks to blackmailing CJ into concealing damaging evidence). Not if CJ and Sweet had something to say about that]].
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: [[spoiler:Big Smoke]] appears as a respected public figure on the news in latter parts of the game, encouraging (of all things) to keep the streets drug free while building orphanages. Lazlow, of all people, remarks on this during a radio interview...
-->'''Lazlow''': [[spoiler:Big Smoke]] is doing a lot for the community. Or ''to'' it.
* VillainousBreakdown: Both Tenpenny and Pulaski undergo one late in the game, because [[spoiler:the FBI has taken an interest in their involvement with the criminal underworld. Tenpenny is the one most visibly effected by it, as he goes from being smug, superior and cocky to edgy, paranoid and prone to outbursts. And when it's revealed that fellow officer Hernandez has been ratting them out... well, Tenpenny's reaction isn't pretty.]]
* ViolationOfCommonSense: There's one point where you jump out of a moving plane, onto another moving plane, open the door and start shooting everyone in sight. Impossibility notwithstanding, who the hell would ever think of trying to do this just for a second?
** CJ himself lampshades some of these missions himself occasionally, especially during the Toreno missions, in which he would have just walked away and never looked back if it wasn't for the fact that Toreno happens to be the key to getting Sweet out of jail.
* VirtualPaperDoll: For the first time in the series, you are given a highly customizable character in the form of CJ -- you can make him skinny, buff or fat, change his hairstyle and facial hair, and buy him a wide variety of clothes.
* VivaLasVegas: The city of Las Venturas, a dead ringer for Vegas, as the third big city in the state along with [[HollywoodCalifornia Los Santos and San Fierro]].
* {{WAFF}}: If you move CJ to certain places, you can start a "two player run", and a second player will plug the controller, choose one of the characters and play with you. You can't go on missions but you can kill and destroy stuff together JustForFun. If both player are near each other, any of them can press the L1 button, [[TimeStandsStill the time will stop]], and the characters hug and kiss, even if it's [[HoYay CJ and another guy]] (and [[ForcefulKiss you can't deny the kiss]]). You can even kiss a police officer... [[{{Narm}} This so out of place for a GTA it's more hilarious than cute]].
* WarpWhistle: The trains and airports.
* WarriorPoet: OG Loc refers to himself as one during a radio interview and it apparently is the image he tries to create. It doesn't quite work out that well.
* TheWarSequence: At the end of the Los Santos mission chain when CJ arrives late to a gang fight after discovering a horrible secret and has to kill waves of Ballas (some of them driving cars) while protecting his brother, with only the help of a few surviving gang members and some cars parked in a circle for cover.
* WatchThePaintJob: After reuniting with Big Smoke, CJ finds that Smoke has gotten himself a pretty nice car, and they drive to Beverly's funeral in it. As they're leaving the cemetery, some Ballas show up and pull a drive-by. [[EveryCarIsAPinto Take a wild guess what happens to Smoke's new car.]] "AW MUTHAFUCKA, MY CAR!"
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Tenpenny claims that his approach to the job is about "percentages" and that his philosophy calls for overlooking some crime to achieve a greater good. It appears that he believes what he says, but in reality he's rotten to the core.
* WetBlanketWife: Kendl Johnson, sister of protagonist CJ and lover of CJ's ally, Caesar Vialpando, constantly acts as an exasperated voice of reason between the two macho {{Gangbangers}}. She usually has some sort of gripe against their lifestyle, but she's often right, such as when one of them plans to [[LeeroyJenkins plans to run off and do something stupid.]]
* WeUsedToBeFriends: C.J. and Sweet with [[spoiler:Big Smoke and Ryder.]]
* WhamEpisode: "The Green Sabre". Not only are [[spoiler: your best friends Ryder and Smoke revealed as working with the enemies (C.R.A.S.H. and the Ballas), but your brother Sweet is shot and arrested, Grove Street goes to shit, you lose all the territory you'd captured up to this point, and you're taken out in the middle of nowhere to do an errand for Tenpenny and Pulaski. Just... Holy shit.]]
* WhatAPieceOfJunk:
** Sweet's Greenwood. At first glance, it appears to be an unremarkable, boxy, and dated sedan (even by 1992 standards), but turns out to be dependable enough that it's the definitive car driven during specific drive-by shootings and car chases in missions. Even after the car survives a HelicopterBlender, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P0HkRCCplI#t=9m09s ends up in a spectacular crash with a tanker trailer]], and Sweet's stint in prison, Sweet remained insistent reacquiring the same car, having the player driving it in late in the storyline and the final mission.
--> '''Carl:''' "Can't believe you bought that same bucket ass car, man!"
--> '''Sweet:''' "Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
** A better in-game example (as the Greenwood is average at best in all areas) is the Clover. It looks like your typical redneck ride, corroded paint and parts of different colors included. However, it has a very nice acceleration rate, brakes nicely and turns like a dream. It's not on par with the [[CoolCar sportscars]] you can find in richer areas, but it's a dependable ride that's very common everywhere.
* WhatASenselessWasteOfHumanLife:
** CJ says a variation of this after [[spoiler: killing his friend-turned-crack-pusher Big Smoke]].
** He also says something similar after [[spoiler: killing Ryder]] before Cesar snaps him out of it by [[spoiler:mentioning that Ryder had attempted to rape Kendl]].
* WhatMeasureIsAMook: The game follows this trope in order to FollowThePlottedLine. CJ is told by some corrupt cops that if he leaves town, they'll pin the murder of another cop on him. Thing is, during the game you can murder cops and civilians by the dozens with your comeuppance being...respawning at the police station or hospital less 10% of your money.
** Tenpenny and later Toreno stonewalls any attempts to put CJ away for good. And besides, it's knocking out a few fellow officers off the ladder.
* WhatTheHellPlayer:
** You can have fellow gang members ride around in your car. Driving recklessly (excessive speed, driving off a cliff, etc) will result in them calling you out on it. The best is "Cars can't fly, you ''bitch!''"
** The "dates" respond to crazy conduct, as well. Police officer Barbara is prone to scream "This is not responsible driving!" if you speed (Katie appears turned on by it, however, even though your relationship status meter actually drops). Even worse, if you use the attack button while trying to give flowers you'll get a sharp message about abusing your girlfriend and the relationship status will go down.
** When CJ crashes into cars, he tends to shout insults at them. e.g. "did you buy your license!?" or, "Oh, you asshole, my shit!" While he is technically insulting the driver of the other car, some of the lines could be interpreted as insults to the player's own driving abilities.
* WhatTheHellTownspeople: The townspeople are bizarrely convinced that the protagonist is a diaper-wearing hobo of some sort. No, really.
* WhereEverybodyKnowsYourFlame: The Gaydar Station. Like the other two night clubs you can visit, you can play on the arcade games there or go on the dancefloor for a [[RhythmGame rhythm-based minigame]]. Sadly, you still dance with girls there (which isn't a huge stretch, but still).
* WhereItAllBegan: The last few missions take place in Los Santos again. The final cut scene takes right in Grove Street, where CJ started his adventure after coming back home.
* WhileRomeBurns: During the last mission, [[spoiler:while riots are breaking all across Los Santos and CJ is storming Big Smoke's crack palace killing everyone who gets in his way, Smoke himself is merely sitting in his pad playing video games.]]
* WhipItGood: We don't actually see Catalina using the whip on C.J. in the intro to the "Gone Courting" mission, but [[SexyDiscretionShot oh man, do we ever hear it]].
* WhiteGangBangers: Subverted in this game, where the Grove Street Families and the Ballas are 100% black people; the Vagos are a Hispanic gang; and then there's the Triad running Las Venturas. You rarely, if ever, find a white gangster until the Mafia comes into play later on.
* WholePlotReference: The first third is basically ''Juice'' mashed together with ''Film/BoyzNTheHood''. The last two thirds of the game are basically the plot of ''Literature/TheCountofMonteCristo'' with a brief interlude to reenact ''Film/OceansEleven''.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes:
** Cesar is afraid of heights, as seen in a mission where he and CJ have to steal a car out of a cargo ship by lifting it out with a crane. CJ gets up in the crane while Cesar stays on the ground.
** CJ claims to be afraid of water at one point, after getting a [[{{Squick}} discarded condom on his face]] while swimming as a child. Ironically, he's the first character in GTA not to suffer from SuperDrowningSkills.
* WhyDontYouJustShootHim:
** In the mission "High Noon", [[spoiler: Officer Pulaski reveals that he's wanted to just shoot CJ from the beginning. The only thing stopping him was Officer Tenpenny, who kept coming up with reasons to keep CJ alive]].
** CJ could just shoot every villain near the beginning.
** Same with every villain towards CJ as well, an example being [[spoiler: when you first meet Smoke, he could have just easily bashed CJ's head in, seeing his true nature and all that. Big Smoke's approach may be justified, though, in that he may have preferred to convince CJ to come to his side a la [[StarWars Emperor Palpatine to Luke Skywalker]], especially when Sweet early was the guy heading the Families and CJ at that point was his [[TheLancer lancer]].]]
* WhyWeAreBummedCommunismFell: A couple of missions early in the game deal with this. In one, you have to stop an arms dealer from the post-Soviet black market who's been supplying the Ballas gang.
* WideOpenSandbox: Once all areas are unlocked, the player has access to a huge, open-ended, "living" region to explore, with widely varying geography, cities, and waterways. Even in the early stages of the game, when only Los Santos and countryside to the north is available, this still provides the player with more exploration space than most previous GTA games combined (and a cheat code, coupled with CJ's newfound ability to swim, makes it possible to explore the complete state from the start). Unlike the past games (and even the later GTA IV), the addition of rural areas and diverse city design give the game a sense of distance not found in the others; when C.J. is standing in the middle of the desert area, Los Santos seems a long way away.
* WithCatlikeTread:
** Carl and Ryder are ready to break into a war veteran's house and steal as much as possible; Carl suggests sneaking in rather than taking the place by storm. Ryder agrees that it's a smart idea, but then follows this up by howling "COME OUT YOU OLD BASTARD!" at the house.
** In the mission "Photo Opportunity", CJ and Cesar are taking pictures of a drug trade from a rooftop across the street. While they do this, the two are constantly shouting at the top of their lungs at each other. [[WhatCouldHaveBeen This is a remnant of the beta]], where the two would have been taking pictures from a helicopter rather than from a rooftop.
* WizardNeedsFoodBadly: The game tied CJ's life meter to his hunger. If you go without eating for a long time, CJ's fat and muscle stats begin to deplete, and his life meter eventually starts draining. Luckily, you'd have to go a very long time without food before the game starts to remind you that you need to eat and you'd practically have to be starving CJ on purpose if he were to die from hunger. Since food is the only way to recover energy while not on a mission, eating too much (except salads) would make CJ gain weight, while eating too much ''in one sitting'' results [[VomitIndiscretionShot in his meal coming back to haunt him]]. And don't forget the fact that, since it is tied with your life bar, ''[[HyperactiveMetabolism going for a burger heals the bullet holes in your body]]''.
* WorstAid: The medical personnel some how can magical revive people who died from gunfire, explosions, and fire just with CPR, and still run in to the enter the area the insane gun man (I.E. you) is still shooting up. That pales in comparison to all the people they '''run over''' in their pursuit of saving lives.
* {{Yandere}}: Catalina, particularly once she starts falling for you. As if she weren't already [[AxCrazy crazy enough]].
* YearZero: Invoked, but not used. After grabbing the Green Goo from an armored train for The Truth, he claims "they will call this YearZero". [[CrazyAwesome Sadly, nothing comes of it.]]
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: [[spoiler:Tenpenny has Carl retrieve a dossier during his time in Las Venturas. Right afterwards, he has Carl dig his own grave, intending to have Pulaski kill him.]]
* YouHaveResearchedBreathing: You can replenish your life bar by eating. However, you can't buy food until you've completed the "Ryder" mission. Fortunately, this is the second mission.
* YouKnowImBlackRight: Played with. CJ has been working with Wu Zi Mu (or "Woozie"), a Triad leader who tries to hide the fact that he's blind, but fails spectacularly. When CJ responds to Woozie's big reveal by saying "No shit!", he then asks if Woozie knows he's black. The Triad's response? "I'm blind, Carl, not stupid."
* YourHeadASplode: Heads would always neatly pop when shot with a sniper rifle.
* YourOtherLeft: When the player has to shoot incoming cops during a car chase;
-->'''Ryder:''' CJ, to the left!\\
'''CJ:''' Your left, or my left?\\
'''Ryder:''' Hell, I don't know, just shoot everybody, motherfucker.
----