Part 104: Behind The Scenes - 100%
This is the message that greets you after the end credits roll over sweeping shots of San Andreas (An overhead shot of Grove Street; Mount Chiliad; San Fierro's Gant Bridge in the rain; the Strip in Las Venturas) and you find yourself outside CJ's house with a call coming from Catalina. Of course, while the game has ended, it isn't over. The whole world remains open to you, you can go anywhere and do anything, there just aren't any missions left for you. The "sandbox" world remains, but it's a big old world and there's lots of exploring to do. Luckily, if you've gotten 100%, the game rewards you with some stuff to make it easier to get around.
Take a closer look past CJ, past the Elvis impersonator walking the streets (several spawn outside of CJ's after the end credits roll, for some reason, perhaps as a nod to the rows of Elvises you could run over in GTA2) to Sweet's house. Now look above Sweet's and what's that on the roof?
Yes, the Hydra plane is now yours, and you don't have to run out all the way to Verdant Meadows to get the one stashed in the hangar. Just climb up onto Sweet's roof, jump in the cockpit, and you've got a flying, hovering death machine capable of traveling faster than the speed of sound.
Of course, if flying isn't your thing and you just want to wreak havoc....
The Rhino tank now sits under the bridge by Ryder's old house, and you no longer have to run out to the army base to grab one and fight your way clear to get it. Jump in and go for a cruise, blow the fuck out of everyone and everything in your way, and if it blows up or you die.... just go back and a new one will be waiting for you!
Essentially, Rockstar gives the player the reward of being able to do whatever the fuck they want in the gameworld AFTER the game itself has finished. You get most of the rewards of cheatcodes without having to put in cheats - spawning tanks and hydras, infinite sprint, fireproof, increased lung capacity, health and armor, weapons spawning for free in multiple game locations, etc.
Now, as promised, here is a look at some of the statistics that Carl managed to rack up over the course of 400+ in-game days, 8 months of real time and across three (technically four) cities and large sections of the countryside, the sea and the air.
Outside of the pretty much accepted fact that it is a video game, the above stats go a long way towards explaining Carl was able to pull off a bunch of what he did. We're essentially looking at a guy who is classified as being beyond expert in the use of pistols (and silencers), Desert Eagle handguns, shotguns of any variety, sub-machine guns and AK47s and M4s. He's also proficient in the use of Molotov Cocktails, grenades, rocket launchers, and the sniper rifle. Basically he's James Bond and Jason Bourne all rolled into one.... in fact, that pretty much makes him a 70s Blaxploitation leading man, Richard Roundtree for 1992. He can do anything and no one can stop him, he's a one man army.
Case in point:
Carl has taken over 58 territories due to the fact that he lost the 57th and had to recapture it (essentially a hood was attacked while I was busy doing something else, so I left it and had to go back for it later), but after the Los Desperados missions the actual number held drops to 53. You can also see Carl tended to do things alone, he rarely recruited gang members because they mostly just got in the way and got themselves killed. Of course being an expert in weapons and martial arts and having a ton of money and being able to do anything he puts his mind to doesn't automatically make Carl a Blaxploitation star. Those guys always had a little something else going for them:
100% girlfriend status isn't necessary to get 100% game completion, but some things just feel wrong being left "incomplete". Plus, there are some neat costumes that can only be unlocked by getting to 100% with the girlfriends, and it was worth it for the police outfit. At least with the girlfriends you get to hear some pretty funny dialogue between them and Carl as they're dating. It was certainly more fun than the often tedious (and required) task of collections in the game.
Of course, the collections were designed to be found AS you played the game and encourage you to explore the world that Rockstar created (they went to a lot of effort, after all, they want you to see it!). The sad fact is though, if you want to avoid a nightmare of getting 99% of collections completed and then not knowing where the last ones you need are - it pays to do them all at once.
And it all leads to the glorious day when you realize you've put 112 hours and 52 minutes into playing this game over 8 months and finally reached 100% completion!
I was so terrified I was going to complete the last mission and be on something horrible like 99.745% completion and just go insane. It was a massive relief to see those three numbers.
Of course, that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the incredibly detailed stats that San Andreas keeps. Thanks to a very helpful "save stats" key, I was saved the effort of editing them all together. This represents EVERYTHING Carl did in the game from first mission to last.
Warning: Lots of Stats ahead!
But don't just take my word for it. For those of you who have San Andreas and want to have fun in the sandbox world - check it out for yourself.
100% Save Game
The above is the last save for my game, with 100% completion. There's no story missions left to play, but you can still fuck around in the world, fly the aircraft, drive cars, pick up hookers, take the girlfriends out on dates, go on rampages, get into police chases, play pool, gamble, go swimming, just walk around in the city, complete all the unique jumps I never got around to doing, go dancing, take part in Low Rider meets, race cars and bikes and planes and boats and all manner of other things.
Basically, Carl's created a world where he can do anything he wants - why not enjoy it with him!