Part 101: Behind The Scenes - Gang Wars, Tattoos, Pool and B-Ball
A major aspect of San Andreas is the concept of Gang Wars. Unfortunately it's also a very tedious, frustrating aspect of the game. First introduced early in the first part of the game, it is possible to capture territory from rival gangs - the Ballas and the Vagos - which puts more and more of your homies onto those streets. To kickstart a gang war, you find and kill several (usually 3-4) rival gang members, and then have to survive three waves of enemies to capture the territory. At the end of the first and second waves, full health and armor power-ups spawn, but as the waves progress you have to face more and more gangbangers with better weapons - including some that can put you down in as little as 2 to 3 shots.
Of course, as long as other rival gangs exist, you are not only fighting to gain their territory but fighting to protect your own from theirs. As soon as someone attacks "your hood", you (as far as my experience shows me) are unable to gain new territory until you repel their attack.... or start another mission/save your game, in which case the attack just goes away. As a result, many people try to gain as much territory as they can at the start of the game to stop the attacks on the hood. Unfortunately, as many people have discovered much to their frustration, after the mission where Sweet is shot and you are tossed out of Los Santos, any territory you have gained is immediately lost.
As a result of this frustration, alot of people grab the 35% necessary gain at the end of the game to access the last mission and give the rest a miss. It's not required to get 100% gang territory to achieve 100% in the game, but since I had done so much already it just seemed to make sense to do so - so that's what I did!
As you can see in the map, sections controlled by Grove Street are marked in green. Ballas are marked by purple and Vagos are marked by yellow. Unmarked areas are presumably either Azteca areas or just areas with no gang control (such as particular areas of Downtown/Commerce). Normally you attack and gain control of areas by recruiting gang members - and the more territory you control the higher your respect, and the higher your respect, the more gang members you can recruit (Up to 8 at a time). Unfortunately, these gang members tend to either stand out in the open and get riddled with bullets, or choose the most inopportune time to crouch down right in front of you, meaning you blow their brains out the front of their heads while trying to shoot some Balla asshole.
But it can't be done alone, so how to take 100% territory relatively quickly without using cheat codes OR gang members?
A big shiny fuck off tank! That's how!
Using the tank is a Godsend, because apart from a brief period when you first kickstart the gang war (gangbanger deaths only count towards starting a gang war if they're done on foot, as far as I've been able to ascertain) you are essentially invulnerable. The tank can be destroyed, but it takes one hell of a licking and keeps on ticking. The tank does bring with it its own problems though, it tends to attract alot of police attention, and you also tend to gain territory so quickly that you don't realize you've encountered the other incredibly frustrating part of Gang Wars.
Tiny little sections of territory are annoying as hell because you can end up waiting forever to get at a few gang members to start up a Gang War. If you've managed to gain control of all the territory AROUND a little sliver or Balla or Vagos controlled territory, it becomes even harder as your own homies are everywhere and will open fire on sight at rival gangs who stray into their territory. In cases like this, the Sniper Rifle is a savior, because you don't have to kill gangmembers standing in their patch of territory, you just have to kill them while YOU are standing in their patch of territory.
As I said though, the tank DOES draw the attention of the police, and it isn't indestructible. So if you don't feel like hoofing it across the State to the restrict military base near Venturas multiple times, I advise saving your game frequently, and keeping the tank in a garage it will fit in (CJ's Garage on Grove Street, the house on the beach etc). Plus it gets you cool shots like this.
Follow this guidance and far more quickly than you would have otherwise, you'll be down to just one last territory to capture.
And now nothing stands in the way of you and total gang dominance in Los Santos! Just kick off the Gang War, jump into the tank, fire and..... and.....
But surely I can still.....
The moral here is don't fire a tank on the edge of a bridge without a brace of some sort.
But that minor setback aside, wipe out the last gang of Vagos and the Gang Wars are over - Grove Street now controls 100% of all gang territory.
With only roughly two updates left in the LP, now also seems as good a time as any to see a couple of the other activities that Carl can take part in that haven't come up so far. As previously mentioned by others, Carl can get tattoos as well as work out, change clothes and get new hairstyles. Since tattoos really aren't my thing, I didn't bother with them, but here's a look at what could have been.
We've already seen that Carl can gamble on horses, cards, low riding and racing. He's also able to play pool, with most bars/nightclubs having at least one pool table with a guy hanging out willing to try and hustle you.
Don't get too excited, he potted the black one second before his final ball to give me the win!
The local bars/convenience stores also include arcade games, and Madd Dogg's mansion has a game system set up that lets you play a console style Galaga.
In previous updates you might have noticed some characters playing basketball. This isn't just something scripted into cutscenes, Carl can actually play basketball, even if it's just by himself. Find any basketball court (including the small hoop outside of Sweet's) and every so often you'll find a basketball sitting there. Walk up to it and you'll get the prompt to start playing.
Believe it or not, there is still more that I haven't shown. In the console version at least there are sections where you can play limited "2-Player" games by finding particular areas of the game, though I never found these particularly fun, they were just too limited. By all accounts, GTA IV more than makes up for this with its multiplayer.
So this is it, there will be one more Behind the Scenes updates that looks at Easter Eggs and other "hidden" bonuses to the game, but the next two updates will finish up the story of the game at last. The answers to all the unanswered questions (hopefully!), a wrapping up of loose ends (hopefully) and a conclusion that satisfies everyone!