Part 72: Behind The Scenes - Races, Trains, and Planes
Behind The Scenes
Well thank FUCK for that.
With all oysters collected, Carl gains a couple of immediate bonuses. For one, all "checks" for sex appeal with the various girlfriends in the game are over-ridden, Carl is immediately appealing to all women in the game regardless of any other consideration. One neat little touch Rockstar added to the game to go along with the ability to change clothes is the reactions you get from various pedestrians/girlfriends/npcs etc. If you wear the same set of clothes for days on end, characters actually start telling you that you stink, go take a bath etc. But with all the oysters, even if you DO stink, even if you're a fat sick of shit who hasn't bathed in a month.... every potential girlfriend in the game will fall all over you. This is particularly handy for characters like Helena who demand almost no muscle mass or fat, or Michelle who demands high levels of body fat. The other bonus is that every date immediately ends with an invitation for "hot coffee" - you no longer need to reach the 40-60% threshold, they all put out on the first date.
So we've sprayed over tags in Santos, taken snapshots in San Fierro and collected oysters across the entire state. But there is one more set of collections to make - Horseshoes.
Horseshoes increase CJ's "luck" when it comes to gambling, and also unlocks respawning weapons outside of the Four Dragons Casino - a combat shotgun, SMG, satchel charges and a M4. Horseshoes are only found in Las Venturas, and the jetpack is required to get all of them (either that or INCREDIBLE talent with planes and parachutes). Happily, with the jetpack it becomes incredibly easy to grab all the horseshoes quickly, no matter how fucked up some of their locations are.
With the horseshoes collected, all "collections" in the game are done, but there is still plenty to do. When Jethro called us up earlier in the game to let us know about the Underground Racing Circuits, it unlocked the races in San Fierro, Las Venturas and Los Santos. The first half of the races in Venturas have been done now (the latter half aren't so much races as "achievements") as part of the storyline, as have those in San Fierro. That leaves the Los Santos races, which aren't part of the storyline for this thread simply because it would make no sense for Carl to go back to the city he was kicked out of just to race, and when he DOES return it still wouldn't make any sense. So this gives us an opportunity to see something you don't see too much in this thread.
All my unbelievable fuck-ups.
I included this shot because FUCK YEAH!
Confused by the above screenshots? So was I, during the race I somehow managed to get completely lost and didn't know what the fuck was going on.
This does NOT work, punching someone and stealing their bike gets you DQed, no matter what I said happened in the Dirtbike Challenge in Venturas.
See that blue glow just off to the left? That's my bike, which I only have a limited amount of time to get back to.... UNDERNEATH THE FUCKING OVERPASS! Yes, I was winning the race and hit the wall and I landed on the freeway and the bike kept on going. Still, it's not an entire loss, I can sti-
Still, with the bike races out of the way, surely I'm going to be better in the cars, right?
So far so good, what could possibly get in my way now?
Still, we keep on no matter wha.... ouch.
Still, I've learnt my lesson now, and I won't be making that mistake agai-
Okay, but THIS time I got this shit down cold I-
Still, eventually I prevail and move on to the last race INSIDE Santos.
Not a good start, and tired of Santos races by now I decide to take my time and drive conservatively.
That's what driving conservatively gets you.
So the trick is to balance speed with conservatism, so that's just what I did.... and here is what it got me.....
Oh well, that's just a kick in the balls.
After that I move on to the last race - Into The Country - which takes you out of Santos and Cross Country. Out of city racing is generally a lot easier because you're not ducking and weaving in and out of traffic and you have more wide open space to move. If you can take an early lead, the other cars will generally fuck themselves over and you're free to take your sweet time to an almost assured victory.
Still, eventually, I did get it all done.
With the map entirely opened up now, it also opens up a couple of additional challenges - one of which isn't required for 100% but is fun to do. The "Beat The Cock" Challenge.
The Triathalon Event is held in two different locations on weekends - Santa Maria Beach in Los Santos and Fishers Lagoon out in Red County. Presumably the event is sponsored by Cluckin' Bell, and the idea is to beat the "Cock" and other competitors in a race that takes you from Santos to Fierro and Red County to Las Venturas respectively.
The event begins with swimming, which - despite having maxed out lung capacity - is my Carl's weakest "strength". I usually fall behind at this point, but either catch up or pass the other competitors in the next part of the vent - bicycles. The other competitors - including "The Cock" - are on a preset path so you're able to "cheat" by taking shortcuts between one checkpoint to another, letting you open up an enormous lead. After that is the running part of the event to finish the race - and if you have maxed out infinite sprint you are at even MORE of an advantage, and able to generally pull clear, though the competitors have a surprising ability to keep within spitting distance.
The neat (or eerie) thing about the Triathalon event is that it "shuts down" the world. Traffic disappears, pedestrians no longer exist, you essentially run across the length of a San Andreas completely devoid of people. This is probably to avoid competitors (and yourself) being killed by various accidents/crashes, but it creates some truly bizarre scenes, like running through a Las Venturas with all the lights on but no people, like something out of a movie.
Of course, the very SECOND you complete the Triathalon, everything turns back on, and in my case what turned on was a car driven by "Elvis" crashed headlong into a cop car, and I got to watch the ensuing chaos.
That was worth almost more than the prize money!
So that's it, all the racing (bar some airplane challenges) done, the optional triathalons completed, and the entire map now open to Carl to go where he wants, when he wants. Of course, the problem there is that there's just SO MUCH to go and see, and it can be annoying having to travel all the way from one city to another.... hell, even flying sometimes takes too long.
Enter "trip skips"
If you take Carl to any of the train stations around San Andreas and grab jack a cargo train, you can complete freight missions in which you speed across the tracks to a location to deliver your cargo. The trick here is that if you go too slow you run out of time, but if you go too fast you derail, and if you don't stop in exactly the right place, you miss your offload point. You have to complete 5 cargo runs in a row to pass level one, then another five cargo runs to "complete" your freight runs.
So what's the point of all this? Well now, if Carl is at any train station in the game and sees a train coming, he can hop on and.... it does the driving for him. You're treated to the cinematic camera and a scenic trip of the State as you ride through it. Best of all? You can hit a button to "trip skip" and go automatically to the next stop. Time still passes as normal, so a three hour trip will take three hours, but as far as you the player are concerned, you've teleported.
And yes, you can do this with airplanes too - BIG ONES!
You can't see it, but the game actually throws Carl's model into the pilot's seat for the flight, so technically he's brought a ticket and is flying himself from city to city. Juank Air (yes, ANOTHER wank joke from Rockstar) have an interesting business model. Give us your money then do it yourself!
And there you have it, today's "Behind the Scenes". Much larger than expected, I had alot of material to get through. The game, while still having alot of content left, is mostly in-game plot stuff now with just a few optional extras thrown in. We're about 86% through our quest for a 100% game, this is "almost" over, though the thread could easily last another month at least.
New (story) update within the next day or so, all going well!