Rockstar North conducted massive amounts of research before developing the gangs of San Andreas-this involved talking to DJ Pooh, Mister Cartoon, Estevan Oriol, and hundreds of other well-known faces. Gangs play a much larger role than they did in Vice City. Firstly, the number of gangs has increased. Aswell as having the large, dominating gangs, we see smaller, more local gangs. Generally, gangs cause a bit more trouble than they did in previous titles-toppling cars, crowding streets and using various new methods of attack. In some areas of the map, you are welcome, and in others, you are not. San Andreas gives you the ability to 'take over' areas of the map, and recruit new members into your gang to help and defend you.
Gang members are recognised by their clothing, tattoos, and hand signs. These are useful for two reasons-it allows police to identify a gang set or victim, and it allows gang members to interact with one another. Each gang has its own territory, indicated by street warnings, wall graffiti, or simply violence. In Los Santos, each of the 4 gangs are split up into different 'sets'. This is good and bad news. Bad, because not all sets get along, and good, because there's always plenty of backup available.
Gang Wars & Territory
Winning territory involves gang war, and this must be done carefully. Enter the area you wish to control, and kill every opposition member in sight. Killing 4 members will provoke a gang war, and the area under attack will flash red on the radar. The opposition attack in 3 waves to defend their land. Keep a close eye on the radar, and watch where the attackers are coming from. They may attack unexpectantly or in large numbers, so make sure you have a plentiful supply of health and armor before starting the war. If possible, shoot from long distances or from rooftops. Survive the 3 waves, and the area is yours. That area is now highlighted green on the map. Other gangs may try and take your territory, and it's upto you to defend it.
Gang wars and territory are introduced during Sweet's mission Doberman. After the mission The Green Sabre, CJ no longer has the ability to win new territory, or defend his own. The feature returns during the mission Home Coming, in the Final Missions strand.
Recruit some homies by pressing Up on the D-pad whilst targeting a member. CJ can recruit a maximum of 7 members at any given time. The maximum number of recruits depends on CJ's respect level.
A coach or bus will hold all 7 members, where as a typical car will carry a maximum of 2 or 4. Press Up on the D-pad and your homies will follow you. Press Down on the D-Pad, and they will stay put until told to do otherwise. Your homies will return fire to those who attack you, and shoot at rival gang members and cops. They will also participate in drive-by shootings, just like Sweet, Smoke and Ryder demonstrate in the mission 'Drive-By'. Don't depend on your homies too much as they aren't very reliable. They can, however, draw fire away from CJ. Press L1 with the camera to have a picture taken with your homies.
To disband the gang, hold Down on the D-pad for a few seconds, or simply abandon them. RESPECT AMOUNT NUMBER OF GANG MEMBERS
Above 1% 2
Above 10% 3
Above 20% 4
Above 40% 5
Above 60% 6
Above 80% 7
The Grove Street Families have been silenced over the past few years by drugs, internal disagreements and their arch rivals, the Ballas. The Seville Boulevard Families (controlling only a small area in south-east Los Santos) and the Temple Drive Families (located up north) have split from the Grove, so just because they're wearing green doesn't mean they are necessarily allies. Whilst these events took place, Vagos and Ballas took over. Everyday, Grove Street gets weaker, and the Ballas get stronger. Grove Street OG's include Sweet (Sean Johnson), Big Smoke (Melvin Harris), Ryder (Lance Wilson) and CJ (Carl Johnson). The families must re-unite if they are ever to rise again. The Grove Street Families control areas of Ganton and East Los Santos.
The Ballas have a bitter rivalry with the Grove Street Families. The Ballas come in two sets - Front Yard Ballas and Rollin Heights Ballas. The Front Yard Ballas are Los Santos' most nutorious drug dealers, and Grove Street's biggest rivals. The Rollin Height Ballas act as backup and control only the tiny area of Glen Park, although they are said to be expanding south, into Idlewood. The Ballas are battling with rivals (Vagos & the Grove Street Families) to control East Los Santos. The Ballas have been around since the 1970's - Involved in drug dealing, gang banging, prostitution, arms dealing, vandalism, degeneracy, but mainly, the cocaine trade. Mindless, uncontrollable, and thought to have ties with Mexican (Drugs), and Russian (Weapons) Mobs.
A latin street gang in Little Mexico, distinctly recognised by their turquoise outfits. They have a major rivalry with the Los Santos Vagos. Heavily involved in gun running and street violence, but slowly diminishing. The Varios Los Aztecas are traditionally anti-narcotics. Gang veterans include Cesar Vialpando, Sunny, Gal and Hazer.
The Vagos sport yellow outfits, and occupy a majority of North and East Los Santos, namely Las Colinas and Los Flores. This hispanic gang are sworn enemies of the Varios Los Aztecas, and attack in large numbers. Heavily involved in drug trade. The Vagos have a major involvment in Big Smoke's crack business.
This hispanic street gang control areas of Garcia, San Fierro. They are believed to have become a major hub in the international drugs trade - possible involvment in the cocaine trade. They have a dislike towards mexican gangs in Los Santos. T-Bone Mendez is involved with the Rifa.
A San Fierro based gang helped along by Wu Zi Mu, a blind gentlemen, and led by Ran Fa Li. The Triads operate the Four Dragons Casino in Las Venturas, but their main place of work is Chinatown. There are two sets of Triads-the Mountain Cloud Boys, operated by Woozie, and the Red Gecko Tong, led by Ran Fa Li. The Triads are currently having problems with a vietnamese street gang known as Da Nang Boys.
The Da Nang Boys are a vietnamese street gang based in San Fierro, preparing a full move to the United States. They control the dockland/bay area in Easter Basin - often causing disturbance. Currently at war with local Triad gangs. Extremely violent, major interests in protection.
3 Liberty City based mob families operate in Venturas, and each of them have a stake in Caligula's Casino. The Sindacco Family want to do business with the Leone's, and this involves Salvatore pledging 5 million dollars to the Sindaccos. Both gangs argue over who should run the casino, and so Ken Rosenberg (once working with the Forelli's down in Vice) is put forward as a neutral party. Ken is in the middle of the 3 mob families, so if one attacks the other, Ken will most likely be the target. The Sindaccos are represented by Johnny, and the Forelli's continue causing trouble for the Leone's. The Triads have opened a new casino at the opposite end of The Strip, which will likely feature as competition for Caligula's.