After many hours of fun, mayhem, and crazy stunts, I finished GTA:SA.
I have done quite a bit of the side missions, but after finishing the whole main mission track, my completion is just about 80%, so I guess there is still much fun to be had from this game (had not done odd jobs such as the BMX challenge, or the quarry missions, etc.)
The environment in this game is huge, much bigger and rich than the previous GTA games (which I’ve also played). And true to its design, even though some missions are very linear, sometimes you can accomplish them in odd ways.
For example, when trying to accomplish the “Grove 4 Life” mission, more often than not I will either fail because I let Sweet die while trying to take a second area in Idlewood, or because I was trying to cover for him so it will not get killed. It was a pain, and I could not use fun stuff like remote satchel explosives or grenades, because of the risk of killing Sweet.
So, I tried something just for fun. Got CJ (the character you control in the game) into a car, waited until Sweet got into the vehicle, and then headed towards the garage nearby, parking the car in such a way so the door on the side where Sweet was sitting was flushed against a wall, then exited quickly the car and got out of the garage, letting the door close and trap Sweet in there.
Taking another car, and going to take over the 2 Idlewood areas was then much simpler. Some well placed satchel charges made it easy to clear the waves of attacking enemies. All the while, I could still hear Sweet’s voice, as if it were next to CJ in the car (a newly jacked one), even though he wasn’t there at all.
The game gives you freedom to explore and try silly things, for example, I got a bus, and then called 7 members of CJ’s gang, waited until all of them boarded the bus, and drove it from Los Santos to Las Venturas. The reason to do that was just to see if I could get all those characters to board the AT-400 (a jet airliner) that appears in the big hangar at Las Venturas Airport. It turn out that they could not do that, I am not sure because the AT-400 was not programmed to accept more than one character, or because the characters kept falling from the boarding platform when trying to follow CJ into the plane.
A very new thing in GTA:SA, is the option to perform some missions with a friend. From rampages, to driving around, etc. Interesting idea, although I’ve done only one of them (the rampage on Pershing Square in Los Santos).
Overall, It’s a game that is more than worth the cost, and with tons of things to discover (like the geyser at the foot of “The Big Ear”, etc.).