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"They turned the country up on its side, and everything loose fell into California..."
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The San Andreas map, showing Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas.

The same could be said of the state of San Andreas. And with three distinct metropolitan areas with interstate, countryside, desert, and one gigantic mountain all in between, it's safe to say that much was loose. San Andreas consists of three separate cities (not boroughs like GTA III). Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas all serve up a different experience and have their own unique atmosphere.

Los Santos (Los Angeles)
IMAGE Los Santos, the fictional city brethren to Los Angeles, is featured really as the core of the story's beginning and the events in Los Santos pick up where it once was left off five years earlier in CJ's life. I would be tempted to sum up Los Santos as gritty, rough and tough -- the darker side of street life in San Andreas. But I'd only be partially right.

While brutal mean streets do dominate much of the city, there are districts for every taste -- rich and poor, young and old. Aside from the Ballas, the Flats, and the Orange Grove Families all representing turf in Los Santos, there is the other side. Vinewood, glitz and glamour, the rich and the greedy. Vinewood is the equivalent of Hollywood and is no less brutal than the urban sections of the city -- lowlifes inhabit all parts.
Santa Marina Beach is based on Los Angeles' Santa Maria beach. During the day, the beaches of Santa-Marina and Verona are filled with sunbathers and ocean lovers -- but when the sun sets, the shoreline takes on a whole new atmosphere. A nighttime beach party can be seen during the mission Life's a Beach.IMAGE
Rodeo is based on the glamorous Beverly Hills, home of the rich and famous. Situated in west Los Santos. local shops include Didier Sachs & Victim, where overpriced sweatshop merchandise is bountiful. Need somewhere to stay the night, or host a company meeting? Check in at the Rodeo Hotel, which provides accomodations and hosting services for the wealthiest and most distinguished individuals of Los Santos - as well as the criminal elite.IMAGE
Ganton is based on the city of Compton - famous for it's years of gang violence and corruption. Carl's old home, Ganton is Grove Street Families turf. The blood-soaked asphalt of the hood stands for everything CJ hoped to forget, and everything he now has to face. New gangs are starting to bust in on the streets of Ganton, the most violent and hard-ass hood in Los Santos. Drugs, murders, driveby's... welcome home.IMAGE
Mulholland is based on the Hollywood area. Residing in the mansions overlooking the highrises and households of Los Santos, the city's beautiful and unimaginably wealthy citizens live in absolute bliss. Looking up towards the glorious estates on the hill, Mulholland serves as a gentle reminder that your life sucks. This area is also home to the Vinewood sign, based on the world famous Hollywood sign that sits on Mount Lee.IMAGE
San Fierro (San Francisco)
IMAGE If Los Santos is to Los Angeles, then San Fierro is definitely to San Francisco. The hills and valleys of this ethnically and culturally diverse city sit well suited for heavy-handed automotive missions and "Bullit"-style driving. While more colorful on the exterior there is definitely an underlying danger not far below the city's surface. Here, far from the Grove Street hood, CJ settles into his newly-won garage - and seeks a new start in the city by the bay.

In the 1960s, San Fierro was the center of the counterculture movement, but those days are long gone. Now, San Fierro is a bustling metropolis pulsating with a laissez-faire attitude. From flower power to free love and gay rights, San Fierro is a trendsetting city whose residents pride themselves on being individuals, down to earth and extremely cultured.
Hashburry is based on Haight-Ashburry - occupied by useless, pointless, meaningless, soap-dodging parasites. Or, simply "hippies". Visit the Hashburry and Garcia joint festival, or pay a friendly visit to Bings Bongs. Without a doubt, the safest area in town. But also the most frightening.IMAGE
Juniper Hollow is the residential area, famous for its steep hills and winding roads. Here, you can visit Jizzy's pleasure domes - the best place for adult entertainment, and the Gant Bridge visitor center. Its a very big bridge. It looks very nice. Therefore you should goto the visitor center! Right? The Gant Bridge (based on the world famous 'Golden Gate Bridge') links San Fierro to the Tierra Robada countryside, which leads onto the dry desert.IMAGE
Easter Basin is home to the Kincaid and Garver bridges. The Kincaid bridge is based on Scotland's Fourth Rail Bridge and the Garver bridge is a mix between the Fourth Road Bridge and the Bay Bridge. This dockland and bay area has become home to many viatnamese gangs, including Da Nang boys, who are currently at war with some local chinese Triads. Includes places such as Dry Dock - handy for docking boats that, erm, don't want to get wet. The Import/Export ship - this area is overun with criminals and drug dealers, believed to be a major entry point for drugs, weapons and immigrants.IMAGE
Doherty is an old industrial area, currently under re-development. This area is full of run down businesses and failed services. Now occupied by drug dealers, hookers and pimps. Includes Transfender Swap Shop, popular with people who like to buy cars, and then change them. Buy a car at Wangs Car Showroom. Wang sells only the best cars! You can also find Pay n' Spray, America's favourite pay n' spray shop since 1974. Popular with criminals re-spraying stolen vehicles. This area was the root of the disastrous 1989 Earthquake.IMAGE
Las Venturas (Las Vegas)
IMAGE The third and possibly most dangerous city is Las Venturas, Las Vegas' protégé. Its seductive façade and sexy front will pull you under and suck you in. It is said that you can not only interact with the casinos here, but build and run one yourself. And the hookers here are not hookers... they are "escorts". Classy.

Expect significant Italian influence in this city. But beware.. The desert is close by, dark and desolate, and no one knows how many holes are its among solid grounds, or what fills those holes.
Rockshore - Not exactly the most glamorous area of the city, but still, if you're on a tight budget, this is the place to go. Here you'll find adequate accomodation, and charming views of Red County. With great cheap rates during the week, the Last Dime Motel provides accomodation for, er, low-lifes, druggies and hookers. Beautiful eh? So you've got a girl, and you want to start a family. Why not get married at the Rockshore wedding chapel--the place to make a serious mistake, very quickly! Rockshore has a history of crime incidents.IMAGE
The Strip - The main attraction in Las Venturas - The Strip caters for all parties, rich and poor. Make an extra buck at the Four Dragons Casino (based on the Four Queens), one of the newest buildings in the area. This casino is funded with money from Hong Kong, and said to have connections with Triad gangs in San Fierro, although nothing has ever been proven. You can also visit the Come-a-lot casino, famous for being not-so-fun, although the structure of the building is very appealing. Other casinos include the Camel's Toe (egyptian themed) and Caligula's Palace, a mob controlled casino based on Caesar's Palace.IMAGE
The Old Venturas Strip is famous for it's bright lights and flashy casinos. Home to places such as 'The Craw Bar'- good for people hoping to get lucky (and those who can dance). 24-7, open 24 hours a day, and heavily over-priced. And if you're feeling a bit pekish, why not try the Chili-dog and Ice-cream stands.IMAGE
Las Venturas Airport is one of three airports in San Andreas -- based on McCarran International Airport. More than 100 countries fly direct to Las Venturas Airport, a major international hub serving the whole of Eastern San Andreas. Buy tickets outside the terminal, and travel between cities in the state. Plenty of parachutes are available!IMAGE
Badlands & Desert
IMAGE Arguably the most notable feature of San Andreas will be the massive spaces of countryside which Rockstar has planned between each city. The stretches of land will be literally huge, with plenty of variety such as deserts, streams, lakes, hills, forests, a mountain, and 12 small towns.

The countryside will by no means be a lonely, desolate place. It will feature lots of side-missions and tasks to keep you busy, and each of the small towns has an atmosphere of its own.
Palomino Creek is a small community located in the north-eastern portion of the Los Santos countryside. Although tiny, Palomino is not without it's modern conveniences -- a 24-hour Drive-Thru Confessionary Church serves the locals well, who always seem to be remarrying one another at any given time. The local bank has been robbed so often that the police department has given up on protecting it, and Hanky Panky Point provides the perfect atmosphere for wooing your "significant other" (a cheap hooker), or scaring the living bejesus out of horny teenagers.IMAGE
Angel Pine is a small countryside town located in Whetstone, towards the west of San Andreas. Contains a rest stop for truck drivers, Ammunation - America's favourite gun store since 1962, and of course Mount Chiliad - the largest mountain in the entire state.IMAGE
Bayside Marina is located north of San Fierro in Tierra Robada, this area offers spectacular views of the Gant (Golden Gate) Bridge. You can also take part in 'Boat School', or in other words learn how to sit in a boat and let it float. Very complex stuff, by the way.IMAGE
Las Barrancas is a desert town in Tierra Robada, with a history of famous events. In 1842, the 66th cavalry, under the command of Colonel Henry Bolt, was stationed in nearby Fort Carson when they answered a call for help from Homesteaders under attack from bandits. Riding to the rescue, a whole force fell down a hole. It is said that the sound of a hundred horses can be heard riding through the town at midnight. This area is home to the Sherman Dam, based on the world-famous Hoover Dam.IMAGE

All in all, San Andreas reeks of one thing... diversity. And perhaps the greatest thing of all has been left unsaid up until this point -- each city is equal to, or greater than, the size of Vice City.

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