Saints Row: The Third

Mod of the Week: Sandbox+ v1.2, for Saints Row The Third

Christopher Livingston at

Are all your friends playing Saints Row IV and you're not? Me too. Are you going to wait for it to go on sale? Me too. In the meantime, fellow budget-conscious gamer, join me in wringing a bit more ridiculous, violent fun from Saints Row: The Third. We'll do it with cheats! Not just some cheats. ALL of the cheats, compiled into a single mod (by master SR modder IdolNinja) called Sandbox+ v1.2. It maps dozens of cheats to simple key combinations, allowing you easily teleport to different locations, give yourself superpowers, and turn all the citizens of Steelport into zombies or mascots.

With the mod installed, I naturally begin by turning all the pedestrians into zombies. This is a cheat from the original game, but instead of having to take out my in-game phone and enter a code, I can just hold down 7 and press the INSERT key. PRECIOUS SECONDS ARE SAVED! See, I want to pretend the zombie apocalypse has hit Steelport, and fight my way across the city on foot through scores of zombies, armed only with a spiked bat and a shotgun.

Zombies. Does this mean Chris Hardwick will talk excitedly about my column? God, I hope not.

Zombies slowly begin to appear on the sidewalk and chase the remaining, uninfected citizens around, trying to bite them. Within a minute there are no citizens left, only shambling flesh-eaters, and they have my scent. WilI make it through this grim version of Steelport alive?

The TF2 Scout couldn't dream of doing this with his puny bat.

Well, uh, yeah. Quite easily, in fact. I can run faster than the zombies, and I never get tired, so just straight-up fleeing isn't a a problem. Plus, they still spawn like citizens, on the sidewalk, leaving me a clear path down the middle of the street, and they only really get aggro if I get close to them. So, my desperate run through Steelport isn't quite as fraught with peril as I'd expected. I switch to my bat to make things harder, but my bat is actually a lot better than my shotgun at wiping out crowds of zombies. Huh.

Christina Hendricks is NOT impressed.

Well! My plan of spending the entire column describing Steelport's zombie apocalypse isn't going to pan out, so I'm forced to turn to other activities. One thing will always remain fresh and fun: killing mascots. Another key combo (7 and HOME) turns everyone in the city from zombies into costumed characters. The city becomes an instant cosplay convention, with walking bottles, rabbits, and monkeys, all strolling around or driving those little carts and scooters.

Suddenly, I'm the weird one.

They don’t attack me like zombies, of course, but I won't let that stop me from treating them as hostile targets. What could be more offensive to humanity than some sweaty idiot stuffed into a giant foam suit? They must die. They ALL must die, and as it happens, they're all here, so that works out pretty well.

Running down mascots. It's just good clean fun.

If you’re looking for a seedier experience, another key combo will let you transform the city into one big brothel, where every citizen is turned into a pimp or a prostitute.

Now, at least, I don't feel like the weird one.

Along with transforming (and murdering) the populace, there are roughly 1 million other cheats, all accessible with a simple two-key combo. Teleportation keys can be punched to whisk you anywhere in the city, to the roof of the tallest building in Steelport, the top of the steelworker statue, and even to Mars. No more trying to remember where you parked your helicopter: just press the right keys and you're whisked to your destination. Another key combo lets you cycle through the various times of day in the blink of an eye.

Teleport + clock control = no more waiting around to take attractive daytime screenshots.

There are plenty of standard cheats, like turning off police notoriety, so the cops don’t chase you because you just ran over seventy-five mascots. On the other hand, what's the point of running over seventy-five mascots if it doesn't lead to a massive battle with the fuzz? The superpowers that come with chugging a can of irradiated Saints Flow can be yours with just another couple keystrokes, letting you run through the city with the speed of a sports car for as long as you like.

Running in heels at 60mph. Can't feel good no matter how super you are.

Speaking of super, you can imbue yourself with explosive electrical or pyrotechnical powers that pulse from your body at regular intervals, blasting your enemies (or, you know, whomever happens to be nearby) into jiggling helplessness on the street around you.

I found something better than running over mascots. Watching them deathjiggle as you electrocute them.

Sandbox+ v1.2 is pretty much what it says it is: a sandbox, something to play around in, putting scores of cheats at your fingertips and letting you muck around with whatever you want, whenever you want it. I wouldn’t use this mod if you’re legit playing through the game, but if you’ve finished the game or just want to mess around for a bit, this mod is good for a few hours of chaotic, wish-fulfilling gameplay.

Installation: There are a few important steps, and several files that need to go in separate places, but the readme.txt that comes in the download (this is a direct link to the .rar, and here's a link to the forum with info on the mod) is easy to follow, and includes all the new command key combos. Once you’ve got the files in the right spot and have loaded the game, you’ll need to go to the option screen and reset your key-mapping to the defaults. You can re-customize it after that, but the new key combos won’t work unless you first switch to the default setup. More info on how to do this properly in this post.