You can perform a standard attack and block, but there's also a stealth kill and special attack that I don't quite understand. There are some combo moves as well.
Does timing play a role? What is the purpose of special attack? How melee weapons change your moveset (chainsaw can be used for continuous offensive move by holding "attack" key and some can decapitate when aiming at head)?


The short answer is: it depends on the weapon that you have equipped, or the 'Special Attack' fighting-style you choose when fighting unarmed.

The long answer: In GTA San Andreas, there are three weapon slots that count for 'Melee' attacks:

  • 'Unarmed Weapons' (Fists, Brass Knuckles)
  • 'Melee Weapons' (Bat, Knife, Chainsaw, Katana etc)
  • 'Gifts' (Flowers, Dildo, Cane etc)

Each have different perks and bonuses based on the weapon itself:


  • There are two types of unarmed attack:
    • Standard - X (Xbox), (PS2)
    • Special Attack - Y (Xbox), (PS2)
  • Attacks can be chained/comboed.
  • You can time hits so as to keep an enemy on the backfoot, without overextending by constantly attacking.
  • Once downed, you can also time your stomps/punches to keep them on the ground without letting them back up.
  • CJ can change his 'Special Attack style' by training at the Gyms across San Andreas. Each Gym has a certain type of style:
    • Los Santos: Boxing,
    • San Fierro: Martial Arts
    • Las Venturas: Kickboxing
  • The Kickboxing style - being a late-game unlock - can insta-kill an opponent with a properly executed combo strike
  • The Brass Knuckles give a bonus to all unarmed damage dealt.
  • Your 'Muscle' trait also determines how hard you hit



  • Can stealth kill (lock on from behind the NPC and creep up to them while crouched). The NPC cannot be in combat with you or anyone else when you perform the stealth kill

The Knife is more than just a simple melee weapon. If CJ is aiming behind an opponent, he will execute a stealth kill, quietly slitting the victim's throat, useful when the player is trying to avoid detection and doesn't have a Silenced 9mm. The Knife only produces a single wanted star when used to stealth kill a police officer or kills many people in a short amount of time.
GTA Wiki - Knife

Golf Club

  • Longer Reach
  • Can attack multiple enemies at once whilst swinging
  • Swings faster at grounded opponents than most other melee weapons


  • Slightly stronger than the Golf Club & Baseball bat
  • No other special traits

Pool Cue

  • Longest Reach
  • Cannot run while equipped
  • Can kill any pedestrian in one hit


  • Weaker than the baseball bat
  • Single Handed
  • Can run at top speed with it equipped

Baseball Bat

  • Very common, carried by a lot of NPCs in various locations across the state
  • No other special traits


  • Above Average Damage
  • Can decapitate opponents in a single slice
  • Not as cumbersome as the chainsaw


  • Attacking while standing still will start slashing, limiting movement speed
  • Attacking while moving will rev the chainsaw in a forward motion rather than swiping, without hindering movement
  • Cannot jump while equipped
  • Can more easily remove parts from cars (bumpers, doors, hood etc)


These items can be given to girlfriends as gifts (except for the cane), but can also be used as weapons


  • Inflict slightly more damage than bare-fists (for some reason)
  • Can easily blow up gas stations when attacked (also, for some reason)


  • Technically the most common spawning melee weapon, with 17 separate locations
  • Light damage


  • Damage similar to Fists
  • No other special traits


  • Uncommon, only one spawning location
  • Damage similar to Bat
  • No other special traits
| improve this answer | |
  • Do you know anything about special attack? – user598527 Jan 24 '17 at 11:23
  • @user598527 What do you mean special attack? Can you clarify? The video you linked in your question just shows CJ using the baseball bat as he would normally. When I read it, I thought you meant like the unarmed style you can learn at gyms. – Robotnik Jan 24 '17 at 11:59
  • The video I linked shows the game's melee combat tutorial screens. Special attack is different kind of attack, you should try it in the game. "Y" on Xbox and "triangle" on PS2. Based on my experience special attack seems to be a stronger type of attack, a kick that knocks opponents over. – user598527 Jan 24 '17 at 15:03
  • You should also mention if timing matters outside of combo moves. – user598527 Jan 24 '17 at 15:04
  • 1
    @user598527 - Yep, that 'special attack' is the unarmed style I talk about. The default version is basically just brawling tactics, but you can upgrade it like I covered. I've edited this section and added some points on timings. – Robotnik Jan 24 '17 at 22:28

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