Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is by far the most ambitious game of the early 3D titles in the franchise. There are around 100 story missions and some very addicting side missions that are treated just as carefully as the main path.
While not every mission is golden, this list is meant to highlight the best of the best. San Andreas is over 15 years old, but you’ll be happy to know that it still holds up after such a long time. These missions in particular show an ambition that almost no other game of the time attempted.
10 Family reunification
A gang meeting goes wrong and CJ must rescue Sweet from a motel while the police attack him.
The best part of this mission is the hunt for it. It’s a rail shooting segment full of fantastic moments, some of which point to famous action films like Terminator 2 and Con Air. It culminates in a giant leap through a billboard, followed by a massive explosion. It’s the biggest mission in the game yet.
9 The green saber
After several hours of play, you feel like you have a good understanding of what San Andreas will be; a mission to take over Los Santos for the Grove Street gang. However, The Green Saber turns all of this on its head when you are betrayed by Ryder and Big Smoke.
The mission ends with you defending an injured Sweet. After that is done you will end up in the rural area of the map and have lost everything you have worked your way up to in the game.
8th Pier 69
After a while in San Fierro you destroy a small criminal ring run by a pimp and drug dealer. Ryder is there for the last attack. The shootout offers an interesting gameplay choice.
You can either stay on the roof and shoot everyone, or you can immediately jump out into the street and then attack people at close range. The mission ends with Ryder fleeing on a boat. You eventually blow him up and kill half the duo that betrayed you and the gang.
7th The Da Nang Thang
Some of the most unique missions in San Andreas involve large boats. This is a direct attack, starting with a helicopter overflight. After the crash, you will lose all of your weapons and will have to find new weapons on the boat.
Your ultimate goal is to rescue refugees trapped in shipping containers. Finding new weapons is not too difficult and there are no unfair ambushes, which makes this mission very enjoyable.
6th Yay Ka Boom Boom
This one is relatively easy, but exciting. They pick up a car armed with a bomb and have to drive it to a drug factory. After parking it in the center and arming it, you’ll have to make a daring escape. However, the gate is locked.
The mission ends with you finding another car and jumping over the gate using a ramp while the place explodes. The most exciting part of the mission is running over enemies while they are shooting at your car.
Salvatore Leone wants you to kill some of the Forelli gang before they even have a chance to land in Las Venturas. CJ takes a small plane and encounters the rival jet in midair.
He jumps out and infiltrates the other vehicle. After killing everyone on board, he takes control of the plane and lands it. San Andreas starts out with relatively grounded and ridiculous set pieces like this one that feels deserved.
4th End of line
The final mission in the game is also one of the greatest. It will only be activated after a certain number of gang territories have been taken over in Los Santos. To begin with, you’ll break into a building where Big Smoke is hiding. You shoot your way through and eventually kill the man you once trusted.
Tenpenny then tries to kill CJ. When he fails, he escapes and tries to blow up the building. CJ escapes and the rest of the mission is a daring chase where you chase the antagonist while he is driving a fire truck.
3 Vertical bird
Mike Toreno’s final mission is a big one. First you need to sneak aboard a boat and steal a fighter jet. Then you will have to destroy several boats before landing the jet back on your runway.
The mission is fun because CJ is so scared throughout the ordeal. He doesn’t handle it like a champion, but we’d also be scared if we betrayed.
2 The desparados
In one of the final missions of the game, you will team up with Cesar to recapture part of his gang’s territory. It’s all struggle all the time with that goal. Make sure to start the mission with a heavy arsenal.
You go to different places and rid them of enemies. It ends up storming a house where an enemy is raining on you with an RPG missile. It’s simple, but extremely exciting.
1 Bistro Markus
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is so big that it can’t be limited to just the San Andreas map. In this mission, you will fly back to Liberty City and attack the Saint Marco bistro.
It’s a nice piece of nostalgia for fans of the series who played the first mainline 3D entry. It’s doubly nice because you never actually walk into the restaurant in Grand Theft Auto 3, even though it’s an important landmark.
NEXT: Beginner Tips in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
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