Review by Lagunathemoron

"Aight mate, think you can give this the old click and do no?"

You can forget Final Fantasy X-2, Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix and other spin off extras, the only one you need is Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It is not a sequel to Grand Theft Auto III, nor is it a prequel. It is more of a side story, set around fifteen years before 'The Guy' strolled on to the streets of Liberty City.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has to be the most anticipated game in the history of gaming. For months before any information was announced, people flooded message boards and E mails with rumours on the game, who will be in it and what will happen, it got even worse when Kent Paul's website was put up.

So after all these months of work and anticipation, how does Vice City compare to that of III or the ones below. It does seem a bit pete tounge but I would rank it in my top three games of all time. You see, it is Grand Theft Auto III with a massive make over, a brand new city, new missions and many more things to do, you will keep on experiencing new things everytime you go on it.

I have had the game since Christmas Day now and having completed it, I still love it all the same, however, there is just one problem which I will explain a bit below. Everything in this game is more or less new. You have the traditional stuff like weapons, cars and coppers, but the game has many things that the third installment was missing, but managed to squeeze in to the previous games, these being motorbikes and helicopters.

That's right, helicopters and motorbikes. These didn't make it in to the third game but here they are. The motorbikes are great to ride, several missions require you to ride them and know people off them, they are a quick and easy way to get around providing you don't drive too fast and go smack right in to Mr. Jones' car or a wall which some fool thought to build his bussiness there. Helicopters are easier to control than the Dodo was, these are optional but really do help in several missions where the streets are too dangerous, saying this cop infested or too many gang members.

The game is set in 1986, which is a good thing. The main character is Tommy Vercetti, a bloke who spent fifteen years serving time in prison. He is back in Liberty City and his boss, Sonny Forrelli (A small family gang in Grand Theft Auto 3) sends him to Vice City to do a bussiness deal, only Tommy's deal gets screwed up when the money and drugs get stolen. Tommy must get Sonny's money. There are many, many plot twists in Vice City and friends become quite important, you will see a lot of them. Some of the supporting cast are as follows, Lance Vance, a black man in a white suit and a white car out to get revenge for his brother. There is Ken Rosenburg who is a hilarious clumsy lawyer, there to provide the laughs basically, Mercedes, the daughter of a high up boss. There is also a porn star Candy something, revealing her last name will force CjayC to put an age warning on my review, and finally, my personal favourite, Kent Paul, the british geezer who again is a main character and will provide many laughs.

Being set in 1986 may seem a bad thing to those born late, however, it is a perfect setting as there are many references to 80's. Take the 80's arcade, there are parodies of them, clothing and much more. Cars are more flashy and sporty, they are much faster although some of them are the hard to find cars from the third game. The best thing of all though is the 1980's music. I havn't experienced much 80's music but I recognise many tunes, Two Tribes go to War by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Atomic by Blondie spring to mind. I have found a taste for many tunes as well, including the ones by Love Fist, a band that the developers have created and 'Billie Jean' by Jacko which is my favourite song on the game. Adding these tunes to the game make the game worth playing more, instead of keeping to one radio station like I did on the other games, I am always changing to see if I can hear Japanese Boy or Video Killed the Radio Star or any other songs I like.

Speaking of radio music, there are new DJ's and four familiar ones. The new ones are not a person favourite for me, some like Amy, the chat show host is incredibly annoying, luckily there is another chat show, the Pressing Issues which is hilarious. The returning DJ's are Lazlow, this time he is doing the rock station, Toni is back doing Flash FM, Maurice, the person mentioned by Lazlow has a few cameo roles on Pressing Issues and a personal favourite, Fernando is back and is funnier than ever.

For those who are new to the Grand Theft Auto series, you tackle a hundred or so missions which involve stuff from killing somebody, ramming a car, collecting stuff, taking photos to blackmail people, delivering, taking part in a gang war, assasinating, you name it. You can go along nicking cars, have cop chases, fight people, blow heads off, whatever you like, personally I enjoy running people over.

Vigilante Missions are back. These Vigilante missions are just fire engine, police, ambulance, pizza bike and taxi missions but still provide a lot of fun and challenges.

So what has this game got what Grand Theft Auto III hasn't? Well many stuff. I have already noted down Helicopters and motorbikes but there are many more things. The main character, Tommy speaks and is voiced by Ray Loitee. You have a sidekick, Lance Vance, you can buy places to save and buy bussiness' to earn some quick cash like a taxi service, strip club or a car showroom. There are many, many more things in store and as stated earlier, is surprising each time.

The city is larger than Liberty City too, the whole city is giant. There are two main islands which are massive, one of them breaks out on to a smaller island. There is also a run down island for criminal life and a rich estate island for the erm... rich and powerful. It is not all roads and buildings, there is an eighteen hole gold course, you cannot take up a game but you can kill golfers and have a cruise in a gold caddy. There is also a rubbish tip, airport, army base and a stadium. Also, many buildings are explorable, not just the gun shops but chemist, jewelers, pizza places, café's, airports and many more.

As well as brand new features, we have some improvements, like better prizes for 100 Hidden packages and vigilante missions. Missions are mostly new and never the same, with the exception for one that you get in this game which is similar to a Donald Love one, but then again the mission is meant to be the same for some character development. Missions have now been thought of more clearly, giving the player several strategies to clearing the mission, take one for example, chasing a person on a motorbike. You can either shoot him, knock him off his bike or run him over. Other improvements include; people often have a passenger in the car, you can blow heads off, carry melee weapons such as katanas, people ride helicopters and boats, no more lonely skies and seas, you can change clothes etc. Wow!

The worst thing about it is that it ends. There are around 100 missions in the game and by the time you unlock the final few story missions, you have already completed a nice percentage of the game, therefore you have hardly anything to go back for except for 100% and a few checkpoint missions, however the build up to the final will last a long time and even so, you will enjoy every minute of it.

Graphics of the game have improved a lot, there is much more detail on everything and everybody. The ''mist'' from the third game has gone, you can see for miles especially in the air as the whole city is nice and bright instead of foggy and murky like Liberty City was. This is definatly the best looking Grand Theft Auto game.

Finally I would like to recommend Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to everyone who has a Playstation 2 basically, it is easily superior to Grand Theft Auto 3, it has everything in it but this time, perfected.

Good

- It's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
- Many improvements on all elements of the game
- Amazing detail
- Better missions
- More fun to play
- Over one hundred missions
- Exciting story
- Listening to hits like Billie Jean, Bark at the Moon and Japanese Boy

Bad

- It ends... heh but so does everyone, start the game again!

Summary

Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 10/10
Music - 10/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Story - 9/10
Enjoyment - 10/10
Challenge - 8/10
Lifespan - 9/10
Overall - 10/10

Alternatives: You cannot find a better game really except for Final Fantasy VII and Shenmue II. However, for similar games you could try previous Grand Theft Auto installments or the Yakuza Missions, a weaker rival to the series.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/02/03, Updated 02/02/03


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