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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The No. 13 Texas A&M women's tennis team took on No. 7 Georgia and served up a score of 4-1 to clinch its newest title: NCAA Champions.  The...

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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

So much fun, it’s criminal

Comedian Bruce Daniels once opened a show with a rant against the video game Grand Theft Auto: “There’s this game that encourages you to pick up hookers, engage in sex, beat them then rob them.” At the mention of GTA, cheers of approval surprised him. He admonished the crowd, “Don’t cheer for that game! Don’t you cheer!”
Welcome to the love/hate relationship of the Grand Theft Auto game series.
GTA would be hard to defend morally if it wasn’t so thrilling to play. Perhaps the master of the non-linear, game designer Rockstar North, has recreated its series into a masterpiece of voice acting and cut scenes (bits of animation in between game play). The fact that the cut scenes are one of the game’s most appealing aspects is a huge accomplishment for GTA.
As with any GTA game, your character starts as a down-on-his-luck criminal, broke and in trouble with the crime world in a specific setting. For example, “Grand Theft Auto: III” had a mob-themed game, “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” had a “Miami Vice” theme and now “San Andreas” has an urban and rap storyline.
Your character, Carl “CJ” Johnson, returns to his old Grove Street ‘hood to solve his mother’s murder and discovers that the old neighborhood is in shambles. In the opening act, you and CJ lead Grove to defeat rival gangs and eventually control the city. From there, involvement with corrupt cops, evil government agents and Asian triads control your future activity. The story has a number of great twists that reward your playtime.
“San Andreas” does a much better job of developing an engrossing storyline as you complete missions and navigate the various subplots of the game than previous GTAs. Like “Vice City,” “San Andreas” benefits from an impressive list of celebrity voices (James Woods, Peter Fonda, Samuel L. Jackson, Ice-T), and the soundtrack is outstanding, as usual (2Pac, Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine).
While previous GTA releases changed the story without altering the game play, “San Andreas” has significant modifications to how the game operates. CJ can get tattoos, haircuts, muscles or customized low-riders. He can steal a car and take it to the chop shop for rims, paint and even nitrous injections. Helicopter, airplane, boat and swimming visuals have all been added or improved in this release.
Visually, “San Andreas” is a graphical improvement from its predecessor, but still not impressive. There is the occasional lag and choppy frame rate, but the amazing level of detail does not disappoint.
Although “San Andreas” is almost a perfect Playstation 2 game, it has a couple weaknesses. The biggest issue is the mini-map at the bottom of the screen. It’s so small that navigating streets is virtually impossible without stopping the game to consult it for directions (hey, guys read maps). Overall, it is a useless feature because of condensed size. “San Andreas” would have benefited from a “Baulder’s Gate”-style map, which could overlay the screen and be shrunken into a corner mini-map.
The second great annoyance plays only a minor part in the game, but wastes too much time: CJ gets a girlfriend. And not just one … CJ manages to find a girlfriend in every major city. They call, they whine, they interrupt the missions. If people want to play “Leisure Suit Larry,” they can buy that game.
And I still wonder about how to give flowers to these women; I tried to hand them a bouquet, but instead, CJ hit them with the flowers. The voiceover said, “You abused your girlfriend. Your girlfriend died. You have no girlfriend.” Man, I just wanted to give her those flowers.
Don’t plan on renting “San Andreas” – completing the game will require about 60 hours of game play. The layout is huge, and there are a myriad of mini-games and distractions throughout.
“GTA: San Andreas” benefits from many improvements from the previous games, and virtually all the previous bugs have been fixed. It is fitting that “San Andreas” is the last of the GTA series, since it is overwhelmingly the best. And if this is the end of the GTA line, it is a worthy finale to a great ride.

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