Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
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Robbing Houses Robbery will be a means to an end in GTA: San Andreas. That's because money will be very important in the game, since you'll need it not just to equip yourself with the hardware you'll need to survive but also because it'll be the key to main character CJ's influence and ability to move freely about the state. Unfortunately for you and CJ, you won't automatically rake in dough each time you complete a story mission like you did in previous GTA games. After all, CJ's not some hired goon. He'll end up doing much of his dirty work on account of his friends and family. Still, he'll need cash. And to earn it, he'll be able to break into people's homes, steal their valuables, and then sell these items to a fence. Just like with the taxi or vigilante jobs, you'll be able to initiate the robbery mission by simply pressing down on the right analog stick when behind the wheel of the appropriate vehicle. What's an appropriate vehicle for a robbery? A moving truck, of course. Find one, switch places with its driver, hit R3, and you're good to go. Well, actually, maybe not quite. You don't want any eyewitnesses, one way or another, if you intend to bust down some rich snob's back door. So, to prep yourself for a heist, you'd better change out of those shorts and T-shirt and try on something like a ski mask or a balaclava. Naturally, both are available for a fair price from the local sporting goods shop. A baseball bat might not be a bad impulse purchase while you're there, though a visit to the local Ammu-Nation would probably be best for safety's sake. Then it's time to pick your target. Rich neighborhoods like Los Santos' Vinewood and Rodeo will be readily apparent from their fancy-pants residents and overpowered sports cars. These may be appropriate locations for you to strike. Alternatively, some quaint, little out-of-the-way homes may offer fewer rewards, but there's much less risk as well. Gotta start small, right? Interestingly, robbery missions may only take place at night, which makes sense, because you wouldn't want to get the police to catch wind of your scheme in broad daylight. Furthermore, when you walk straight through the unlocked back door of some ignorant sap in the middle of the night, chances are you'll find him sound asleep. Maybe you can take his TV, VCR, stereo, and other valuables without even rousing him. And if not, well...just make sure he doesn't make it to his telephone--or else you'll have company real soon courtesy of the fine folks at the 911 hot line. A pistol or rifle trained on your robbery victim's chest might cause him to throw up his hands in surrender. However, it's up to you to decide how to proceed from this point. Of course, cowards aren't the only people you'll be robbing in San Andreas; some of the state's finer residents will make every effort to defend themselves and their possessions. As a result, you might have a fight on your hands, which is all the more reason to show up ready for anything. Speaking of which, it's not like everybody's going to leave their doors wide open for you. That's why they've got windows. Bust those suckers open, and climb on in. And if there's a fence barring the way between you and a door or window, well...climb over that bastard too. Robbery missions will reward you for not making a ruckus. As you equip yourself with a ski mask or balaclava, you'll enter into a sneaking mode, causing you to move about more quietly than usual. A horizontal noise meter will appear as part of the game's heads-up display, and you'll need to gingerly nudge the left stick to move quietly, or else the noise meter will top out and send some unwanted attention your way. In Manhunt, characters could hear you as well as see you if you weren't standing in shadows, so expect some of those same gameplay refinements to be put to good use. San Andreas features some new audio technology, making for realistic contextual audio distortions. This will be apparent in such cases as when you're trying to eavesdrop on a conversation in a home you're robbing but are barely able to make out the words that are being said because of the building's solid walls. As another example, when you're in a high-speed chase in a tunnel, the action will sound even more deafening than usual. At any rate, once you've taken anything of value from the house and have loaded it into your truck, it's time to pawn off all the junk you've "collected" to reap the rewards of your hard night's work. This means it's time to pay a visit to the local fence--that is, the guy that's willing to buy all of your hot goods from you. What you proceed to do with your hard-earned loot is naturally yours to decide. Whether you pig out on fast food, pick up a shotgun, or save up for that local business that's looking for a shrewd investor is up to you.