Eating A new feature to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' is the food mechanic, which will require you to keep your virtual alter ego, CJ, in good physical condition by tracking down some choice grub. The basics of the mechanic are simple: When CJ is hungry, a message will appear onscreen alerting you to his need for some chow. If you choose to ignore this missive, his energy level will start to decrease, and a host of other bad things will begin to happen. Superficially, your boy will get skinny and look generally emaciated, resulting in the ill-fitting of his clothes, which is hardly the look you want to have when trying to earn respect on the streets. As if this wasn't bad enough, you won't just look weak. Your skinny butt will be unable to lift boxes or punch with any kind of force, thus ensuring many a beat-down in hand-to-hand fights. Along the same lines, you can say goodbye to speed and stamina, which will affect your performance as you swim, cycle, or run through the game. To keep yourself from looking like Snoop Dogg's sickly cousin, you'll have to seek out places to chow down. There are a few the locales in Los Santos, the LA-inspired city in the state of San Andreas, where CJ will be able to get his food on. As with the previous GTA games, you can expect the food service establishments in San Andreas to mirror real-life locales--but with satirical twists. To wit, three of the franchise restaurants in the game are Cluckin' Bell, Well Stacked Pizza, and Burger Shot. Cluckin' Bell is the obligatory chicken shack that you'd find in most any civilized town. The Bell's menu is all about chicken, and it features such specialties as the Cluckin' Big Filet Burger and the Cluckin' Huge Double Filet. There's also a wings-pieces bucket and a "fowl wrap" burrito. Well Stacked Pizza is a pizzeria whose menu includes such pie variations as The Buster, The D-luxe, and The Double D-luxe. Finally, Burger Shot will offer delicacies such as the Double Barreled Burger, for those craving a regular dose of ground beef. The restaurants are given an extra touch of realism, and it's a touch that's no doubt unpleasant for some. The employee uniforms for Cluckin' Bell and Burger Shot are of the fantastically demoralizing variety that anyone who's worked in fast food knows and loathes. However, if you're on the go (as any good gangsta should be, since sit-down meals beg for assassination attempts) and you don't want to hit up one of the above establishments, you can always stop by one of the vending carts that you'll find peppered throughout the city. Now, while it's clear you want to keep CJ fed in the game, just chowing down on anything and everything isn't going to do you any favors either. You obviously don't want CJ getting freakishly skinny and weak, but, at the same time, you don't need his morbidly obese butt rolling down the streets either. Each of the menu items we've mentioned has a specific caloric value that will affect how much CJ's energy and fat levels will increase. Finding the right balance between the two is a must, because eating too much can have some unpleasant results. First and foremost, you will become fatter and fatter, resulting in the unpleasant sight of CJ bulging out of his clothes. Your tough saunter will become a waddle, and you won't be able to put your arms by your side. To drive the point home, you'll notice CJ struggling to catch his breath when standing still. If you let CJ reach obese proportions, expect the extra pounds to impact everything he does that involves physical exertion, such as lifting, climbing, swimming, cycling, running, and so on. You'll even find that some actions will be impossible to perform once CJ balloons up enough. His reaction time will be slow when fighting, and his pudgy bod will make a target so big your grandmamma could hit it. To add insult to injury, expect to see non-player-character reactions to you change depending on your appearance. So plan on being taunted and not having much success with the ladies if you're too tubby. There really is nothing worse than being verbally abused by bandanna-wearing gang members in your own hood. Seriously. Worse still, if your rotund avatar has too much to eat, he'll just throw up, which isn't great either, because the money you spent on food will have gone to waste, and you'll be unable to buy more food for a while. So what do you do to ensure that you'll be in tip-top shape? Eat properly, and wisely avoid binges. And, when in doubt, work out.