Review by D'Hoost
"ScarFace? Meet Sony."
The Grand Theft Auto Series was a huge success, and yet in the light of its success, is one of the most infamous games of all time.
Every child wants to own a Grand Theft Auto game, and nearly all parents don't agree to it- I know; I see it every day (a VG store employee). It's always the same: Children want this game for its violence and because it's the "cool" game, and every parent fears that their child will be mortally scarred by playing it.
I have to admit, the parents who feel this way about the Grand Theft Auto series are not incorrect- this game is bloody, and it is filled with language and adult themes. A young child that wants to buy this game SHOULD be told "No, I'm sorry, but you're just too young to play this game." There are far too many adult themes to this game- it very firmly earns the M rating.
And yet... Somehow, this game prevails. Somehow, RockStar continues to pump them out to huge success. Well, if it's as horrible as parents say, then what's the appeal?
The appeal is in the problems itself. It's violent beyond measure, and I can gaurantee you that any man who owns a Grand Theft Auto game will admit to using it to blow off steam- what better way to let some rage out than to go on a lawbreaking rampage, am I right?
Yes, it has language, but in all fairness, so does all of public television: while the language is most certainly not suitable for a 5-year old, a person that is 17 or older (the expected audience for the game), should find nothing objectionable... Unless you are Puritan, of course. Granted, I have nothing bad to say about Puritan; much of my family detests this game (as well as calling Harry Potter the mark of the devil), but the fact remains that you're a minority in thinking that the language is grotesque. That being said, why are you reading my review, anyway?
As for the adult stuff... It is few and far between. Vice City has a strip club, in which women strip down to their underwear (never exposing anything "forbidden"). There are women in scantily clad bikinis walking along the beach. Heck, there's even a porn studio in which you get to listen to (though not watch) a scene of sexual intercourse. At one point, a woman DOES take her top off, for you to see.
That being said, the game DOES NOT revolve around the pornography or the strippers. They make up approximately 3 or 4 percent of the game. In the grand scheme of things, the porn and strip club are there solely for the males who feel that the game wouldn't be complete without it- those of us who prefer to ignore it will feel no obligation to indulge in those areas.
...ANYways, that officially covers the bad aspects of this game. If you are 17 or older, and of a solid, typical American mind, you're probably thinking to yourself "I don't mind any of this... for the most part, it's a plus!" From here, the game is excellent, and has a little bit of something for everyone. Sure, San Andreas has got a bit more, but it's also more complicated. Vice City is easy to pick up, easy to learn, and fun to play.
Oh, and as I mentioned in the topic title, the game spins itself off of ScarFace . Drugs, cuban gangsters, chainsaws... yea, it's got some of the highlights of ScarFace, including his famous line, "Say Hello to my Little Friend!" (Well, the character doesn't actually SAY it, but the scene plays out just the same.)
Normally I'd start with gameplay, but I figure it's best to explain the story before diving into details about gameplay.
Tommy Vercetti is the character that you will get to control. Tommy comes from an Italian mob family (didn't you guess?), and he's just gotten out of jail due to a screwup by his friend/family, Sonny Farelli. Fifteen years in jail... needless to say, there's no love lost between them. Anyway, Tommy is sent to Vice City (he originally comes from GTA3's liberty city) to do a quick drug deal. The deal goes awry and Tommy is left with no drugs and no money. Needless to say, Sonny is pissed, and demands that Tommy find who screwed them over and, as Tommy says "I'll mail you the dicks of the guys responsible."
The game's story revolves around Tommy finding those who set him up, and gets him deeply mixed with the drug lords of Vice City. It comes to Tommy's attention that by killing the other lords of the city, he could easily pull a coup d'etat, and that's exactly what you do.
You control Tommy (duh), and the game plays out in the gigantic 3D map of Vice City. You've got lots of options. The most fun option is a rampage of destruction. The only problem is this- you start with no weapons or money; how do you plan to kill everyone with your fists while they attempt to shoot you from a distance using sub-machine guns?
That's why you should continue the storyline. You have a world map in the corner, and the world map is covered in icons. Icons for weapon stores, icons for clothing stores, icons for paint shops (to paint your car and throw off the cops), and of course, icons for the location of your next assignment. By completing assignments you obtain new weapons, unlock different locations, and change the opinion of yourself among other people.
Doing missions can be quite entertaining- it varies from things such as an assassination of a pizza boy to hijacking a tank, to simply grabbing a stripper for some drunk guy to get it on with. Every mission completed awards you money.
Money has a few purposes in this game. Money is used to pay off the cops and to pay medical bills if you get hospitalized from bullet wounds. You also use money to pay for paint jobs, weapons, and body armor to protect you from the aforementioned bullet wounds.
Later on, money takes a new purpose- after you have become the drug lord of Vice City, you begin the wonderful sport of real estate. You buy land (local businesses, mostly), and reap the benefits of said land. On an average day, a player who owns all of the businesses rakes in about $50,000.
Now, I mentioned rampaging- it's one of the most relaxing parts of Vice City, but it comes at a price. Killing someone obviously has repercussions in the form of police resistance. They police obtain a warrant for your arrest, and a star will appear on your screen to indicate so. As your star level goes up (from 1 to 6 stars), the police take new forms. At 1 and 2 stars, you deal only with policemen, who are intent on arresting you rather than killing you. At 3 stars, they become more violent, and SWAT choppers fly overhead in the hopes of bringing you down. 4, 5 and 6 stars brings SWAT vans, FBI trucks, and military tanks. All of these people are hellbent on killing you, no matter the cost. They don't hesistate to kill their own men so that they can kill you.
Oh, and lest I forget- the cops are infinite, and once you hit 2 stars, they appear out of nowhere. It's hellishly difficult to drive once you're at 2 stars, because the drivers of cop cars are STUPID- they run right into you (even if it kills them), in the hope of stopping you. When 2 cars hit you from 2 sides, your car is liable to tip over. Needless to say, it takes skill to rampage while keeping yourself in one piece.
There are other aspects to the game; sidequests, and whatnot, but those are less important- I think you've got the gist of Vice City.
The graphics are pretty good for a 2002 title. The characters are rendered very well, but frankly, they don't have to be. The game keeps a sort of comic-book feel to it, while still seeming realistic enough not to disgust you. Sunlight is the best aspect- RockStar mastered the sun and its effects on the game (Sun in your eyes, especially). San Andreas isn't any better, so going a step up won't help you any.
Quite good, actually. When you hijack a car, you get access to several radio stations, each with its own music theme. There's rock, there's love, and there's even some spanish music for you ethnic-oriented folks. Everyone should be able to find something that they like. If not, you can always turn it off.
Seen enough? I hope so- Vice City is always a good game to pick up. Be it with cheats or without (oh, didn't I mention? There are a hundred cheats that you can use for this game to tweak your experience), you'll be certain to enjoy it... at least, assuming you're the average white male of America, ages 17 and older.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/11/05
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