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GTA: San Andreas - Los Santos Edition

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[Be sure to check out the coverage of San Fierro over at SFist!]

Most, if not all, Angelenos understand the bond between an LA resident and their car. It is, for most people, the only guarantee that you can get to anywhere in Los Angeles in a (relatively) timely manner and without all the stops and starts necessary in public transportation. For those of us not shackled to the whims of the MTA, driving is our illusion of freedom, and it comes with some great side benefits—like road construction, broken stop lights, traffic, buses, garbage trucks, freeway interchanges, bad drivers and, of course, pedestrians.

Because of the fury that driving usually inspires, there is noting more cathartic than roaming the streets of our fair city blaring The DOC and Danzig while cheerfully mowing down all the pedestrians in your way—or at least being able to pretend you are. This has been LAist's chief joy amongst the many available in all of the Grand Theft Auto games. Aside from enjoying the stunning graphics and kickass soundtrack, LAist can participate in all the heinous activities a day fighting traffic on the 405 can inspire. Now the fun happens right in our own backyards, roaming the streets of Los Santos in GTA: San Andreas.

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For those unfamiliar with the game, San Andreas is a state—roughly comparable to California—including two cities we are all familiar with: Los Santos and San Fierro. (Las Venturas is also included, which is why the state is only roughly comparable to California.) The game kicks off circa '93, placing you in the persona of one of LA's famed gang members. You're a bad guy gone good, returning from your reformed life in Liberty City when your mother is killed. From the beginning, you're harassed by corrupt cops and doubtful friends; to regain your rep, you have to complete missions like tagging, cleaning up the neighborhood (with a baseball bat), and executing a drive-by.

For those disinclined to such activities the game probably seems a bit much, but playing a gangster in Los Santos is eerie. Cruising up and down freeway ramps that seem strangely like those on the 10 and 110, accidentally winding up on a joyride in the LA River, cruising down a street that looks strangely like Sunset Boulevard (complete with Blob Records), the large white letters on a hillside above Vinewood, and even stumbling upon a set of strange spiked towers that looked awfully familiar while wandering surface streets on the way to Idlewood.

LAist isn't much on the LA-SF rivalry, but we think that Los Santos is definitely the high point of all the locations in San Andreas. Sure, San Fierro is cool—but it isn't nearly as cool as our palace of debauchery and vice. Viva Los Santos!