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Game DescriptionIn the original Grand Theft Auto games--you know, the ones you played on a "computer" with a "keyboard," you had several cities in one game that you could blast around in, causing the usual mayhem, wanton destruction and Borgesian analysis of the substance of reality, and most of that could be done sober. The big appeal of GTA San Andreas, besides inviting strutting white boys from malls across the country into a stylized version of the thug life, is that it combines all the major West Coast cities in one fell swoop, an amazing achievement when you consider the anemic horsepower of the PS2. Yeah, that's right, I'm talkin' smack! But not only did it all fit on one disc without choking the PS2, but they did it without hardly any load times.
Thankfully for us San Fran kids, Rockstar was gracious enough to open up a local office just a few miles away from our fortified compound in Brisbane, and they even had a copy of GTASA for the PC to flash at us like shiny bling last week. I was tasked with heading up to North Beach, where we got a nice little presentation and some hands-on action. This build was on a laptop sporting a mobile version of the 9700 Pro (and using some Omega drivers, interestingly). San Andreas seems to support widescreen just fine, and I didn't notice any slowdowns, despite running hi-res wide--I recall it was 1650x1000. And thing loads incredibly fast. The game itself takes less than ten seconds (with a 3.2 GHz P4 and 1GB of PC3200 on the laptop), outdoor/indoor transitions are instantaneous, and cutscenes load whip-smart.
Rockstar tells us that the games are designed from the start using high-res textures, so they didn't have to re-do that aspect of the game (or worse, just leave it as it is). Everything looks nice and sharp. You won't mistake it for Half-Life 2 or anything, but the combination of nice textures, improved view distance, and better character models makes it above-par for the PC. Unlike the PC version of Vice City, textures load a lot faster. You may recall building facades and pedestrians not appearing very fast when you were moving through the city at high speed, and there still is some of that going on here, but you have to look for it now. And with the much farther view distance, you can see buildings from miles off and drive right over to them. The sky also has a lot more color to it throughout the day/night cycle.
Game Screen Shots
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Grand Theft Auto San Andreas 1mb High Compressed