Tag Archives: San Andreas

I can’t beat the second mission in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

I’m pretty sure no one likes admitting they suck, but here I am, all guts and no glory, telling the world (well, really just the select few that read Grinding Down) that I can’t even beat the second mission of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Trust me, I tried. I tried oh so hard. In fact, I attempted to complete “Big Smoke” roughly four or five times, but found that controlling Carl Johnson on a bicycle and avoiding a car filled with gangsters and guns is beyond tricky. From what I understand, that’s the whole mission, too: put CJ on a bicycle and pedal your way to safety.

The first few times I was focusing more on staying up to speed with my gangsta buddies, so as not to get lost in the sprawling cityscape of San Andreas, but that often led to CJ crashing into something, falling behind, and failing the mission. Other attempts ended with CJ pinned against a wall or another car, a hundred and seven bullets flaying his skin, pelting him with ire, turning him into a slice of Swiss cheese. There was no chance at fighting back, only avoiding the car, but here’s a little fact that many people might not know: cars are faster than bicycles. No matter how hard I tapped the X button, I could not pedal ahead of the car, which pulled up right next to me and opened fire.

So after my sixth failed attempt, I muttered a cuss and took to highjacking some random automobile and causing as much chaos as I could. At one point, Tara came home and was talking to me, and we were having a full discussion, face to face, as I held down the gas button; amazingly, without even looking at the screen, my car was still on the move, hitting people and benches alike, as well as avoiding cops with an insane amount of luck. My car refused to get stuck, refused to explode. Maybe that’s the secret to doing well at a Grand Theft Auto game–not looking at the TV screen. Might have to try that trick if I ever attempt “Big Smoke” again. Or maybe not. I’ve no heart left in me, and I’m spoiled from L.A. Noire‘s easier action missions (and the ability to skip ’em entirely if they prove too hard or not fun).

Anyone want to come over to the Leaky Cauldron and finish this mission for me? I’ll pay you in praise and pretzels.

Adding to the Backlog – A whole bunch of drastically different videogames

Suddenly, without warning, my backlog grew tremendously over the last couple of weeks. Actually, no, not without warning–I’ve been buying games pretty frequently, mostly because I’m trying to fill out my PlayStation 2 games collection before all copies of anything PS2-related disappear like pay-phones, cassette tapes, and music videos on MTV. Also, Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger’s pride.

Here’s a little summary of my recent additions:

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

I actually ended up buying a new copy of this game for around $15.00. This totally confused the GameStop employee as he claimed that he had not sold a new copy of a PlayStation game in many, many months. He had no idea where they kept them. He called three people on the phone. Time passed, and I shuffled back and forth on my feet, waiting, wondering. Anyways, I’ve yet to pop this baby into the disc tray. Soon, I’m sure.


This is okay. Not quite a GTA clone, but there’s bits and pieces there, as well as a character named Pauly. However, I’m stuck on the third mission. Like, I’ve tried it six times, and I can’t get past it. You’re supposed to bash a bunch of cars up with a baseball bat and then ignite them in a blaze of glory with a molotov cocktail; the problem is that once you’ve smashed up two and a half cars, a bunch of goons with guns attack you, and within a few shots, the main character is dead. I’ve tried it a bunch of different ways, but can’t seem to avoid their shots and finish up the job at the same time.

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit

Haven’t played it yet, but the store clerk was excited to see me getting this game. Seems to be more of a platformer than an adventure game, but I’ll give it a shot.

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue

Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter, Sly…those were the staples of PS2 platforming titles. However, another series existed, one about a not-so-crazy Tasmanian tiger that kept a nifty collection of boomerangs. I have and enjoyed beating the first game in the series so I picked this one up for super cheap. Shame it has a laughingly bad name. Can’t wait to rescue some bush.

The Simpsons: Road Rage

Tara saw this and said something to the effect of, “The Grand Theft Auto Simpsons!” And she’s a huge fan of the show, much more than I am, so I grabbed it for her for $4.99. However, it turns out it’s more like Crazy Taxi than GTA, but it’s still pretty fun. Love that it has all the true voice actors in it. I got to be Ottoman and drive around a topless school bus.

Tokobot Plus: Mysteries of the Karakuri

No idea what this is, but the Capcom-esque art style and inclusion of a mini army of robots was enough to sell me. It was like $4.00. Haven’t gotten to try it yet.

Now, if I just complete all six of these games in the next week, that’ll bring me up to 25 total for 2011, and then I can gleefully go out and purchase L.A. Noire for the extended holiday weekend. Ha, not likely. Besides, I’ve got a bunch of artsy projects I really should work on instead of playing with pixels. However, I’ll still be searching for other PS2 titles I want…if you have any, please send them to me as soon as possible, and I’ll repay you with a silly drawing. Seriously, that’s the deal. Unless you have Suikoden III. Then I’ll do you a silly drawing…in my very own blood.

Some RPGs I’ve never gotten to play and maybe never will (PART ONE)

I once lived only on wishful thinking, and one of those gleaming nuggets was this: to play every videogame that came out. That hope quickly dashed itself into non-existence when I learned about time and money and headspace and all that jazz that keeps us from spending hour after hour in a digital world. And so, as it often happens, a good number of videogames get released and pass on by. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I can test a demo out and get a feel for whether I really need to play more or not. Most of the time–eh, no. And back in the day, back before online Let’s Play forums and countless YouTube videos, not playing a game yourself really meant not experiencing it all, save for some magazine articles, tiny screenshots, lunchroom gossip, and whatever magic your imagination could work.

And that’s sad. I’ve missed out on a lot of videogames over the years; there’s just not enough time to play ’em all, as much as we’d all wish there was. RPGs especially, considering the majority of these are 3o+ hour games versus the more standard 8+ hour adventures of non-RPGs. They take so long of a time to play that when you do finally hit the end credits, a good four or five new RPGs were already released and taken off the shelves for other new releases. Oi.

Anyways, here’s some RPGs that I, unfortunately, missed the boat on:

Final Fantasy X

Something happened here, and I still don’t understand it. See, I played pre-ordered Final Fantasy VII and started playing it the very day I got it. Same goes with Final Fantasy VIII. I did not buy Final Fantasy IX immediately, but I really didn’t wait too long to get that one. Then I went to college–the very same time Final Fantasy X dropped for the PlayStation 2. Oh man, was there hype! This one was sporting voices. People were going crazy over it, and I just didn’t have the time or money to invest in it. Alas, I did not know many other gamers in my dorm, and so this passed on by without a beep. By the time Final Fantasy X-2 came out, I was over the idea of going back to see what made it so special. Was it 95% soccer under water and 5% fun? Can’t say. But I feel like I should try to play it eventually considering just how many of these Final Fantasy games I’ve already played at this point. Funny enough, a used copy still comes in at like $20.00.


Modeled very much after The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Alundra was about a boy with the power to go into people’s dreams and fight back their nightmares. It was released for the original PlayStation in 1997 and went with the exact opposite of what that system was trying to push. 2D sprites and anime-inspired FMV were its most obvious strong points in terms of visuals. Heard the puzzles got hard, and the music very repetitive. However, I distinctly recall never seeing this game on store shelves when I’d be browsing.

Suikoden III

This is the series that truly started it all for me. Loved the first game, loved the second game even more. That seems to be the status quo for just about everyone that set off to collect 108 Stars of Destiny. And then I completely missed out on III and IV (the latter is supposedly a good thing)…again, I blame college. I had very little time to play back then despite my continuous subscription to PSM for all four years of learning. Anyways, heard that this one kept up the grand tradition of an epic story of war and waging politics, but this time did it through several different POVs. Not sure if the 3D models have aged well–I mean, they were only just okay in Suikoden V–but I still feel like I missed something solid here.

Secret of Evermore

There’s traditional fantasy RPGs, like Final Fantasy, and then there’s this. Like Earthbound, Secret of Evermore strives to be quirky. That’s kind of all I really know of the game. Oh, and that you follow a boy and his shape-shifting dog (yes!!!) through a fantasy world reflecting different periods of time and the magic system throughout is focused on alchemy. Sounds good to me. Really good, actually. A shame I knew nothing about it back when I owned an SNES and spent all my car-washing money on Shaq-Fu. No, really. I bought Shaq-Fu. I’m saving that juicy story for another time on Grinding Down; y’all will just have to wait. Insert evil laughter.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Wait, what? You’re shouting at me? Grand Theft Auto isn’t a role-playing game series! There’s no turn-based action gameplay or any stats to worry about! Hmm…maybe not the first four games or so, but from what I’ve gathered, that all changed with GTA: San Andreas. Character development is totally a thing, with clothes and accessories affecting how the streets see the main protagonist. One also has to eat and work out to stay slim and fit, and there’s skills to work towards (driving skills, firing skills, lung capacity skills, bowstaff skills). Sounds like quite an RPG! I’ve always had trouble staying interested in these sorts of games, but if the above is true and solid, well…this might be the GTA for me.

Well, that’s all for this post. Certainly there’s about a hundred more RPGs I’ve yet to play, and you’ll find out about them down the road. Have you played any of the above? Tell me in the comments below. I’d love to know if any of these are worth tracking down–if possible–and playing this day and age.