Review By: Dan
Theft Auto. In the PS1 days, this was one of the most
controversial games ever released. It had some terrible
graphics for a PS1 game, but it had a fairly big following, and
made Rockstar a fairly decent amount of money. Grand Theft
Auto II. The game received less-than-stellar reviews, but
many people enjoyed the hell out of it. Was pretty much
the same basic game but there were minor improvements here and
there. Grand Theft Auto III. Everybody expected this
game to be a hit... but not this big of a hit. It
sold nearly seven million copies in less than a year.
Everybody has the game and loved every second of it (except a
Mr. Jared Black, who has yet to play it :P ). [Ed:
Lies, all lies!] This game also became controversial
because of its violent content (wah, wah). Now a year
after that huge hit made a splash, the sequel has n! ow hit
store shelves. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City had to
live up to a lot of huge expectations, and not only does Vice
City live up to those expectations, it surpasses them.
Story-wise, Vice City doesn't have anything to do with GTA3.
It has some little in-jokes (like one of the characters from
GTA3 makes a brief appearance), but other than that, this is a
whole new storyline. Tommy Vercetti has just finished a
lengthy jail sentence in Liberty City, and now he is on his way
to Vice City. He meets up with his old boss, Sonny Forelli,
and is given the job of picking up a whole lot of money.
But the deal goes sour as everyone but Tommy is killed, and the
money is taken. He then learns that Vice City is a city of
corrupt politicians and dangerous gangsters. So Tommy sets
out to make an impact on the city, and take it over for himself.
One thing that amazed me is the number of recognizable voices
you hear in the game. Tommy Vercetti is voiced by
Goodfellas star Ray Liotta, Sonny Forelli is voiced by Saving
Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down star Tom Sizemore, and other
voices are provided by the likes of William Fichtner, Dennis
Hopper, Danny Trejo, Burt Reynolds, Lazlow Jones (reprising his
role from GTA3 as himself), Gary Busey, Luis Gazman, and Jenna
Jameson (who plays a porn star, not suprisingly).
There are many new vehicles/aircrafts in Vice City. There
are motorcycles in the game, and they're a blast to ride.
It takes a while to get totally "in-control" of them
(since they handle a little differently than cars, and are
easier to wipe-out on) but they're a neat addition to the game
(some missions also require them). There are also planes
and helicopters, but those are a pain in the ass to control at
first. Once you get the hang of them, however, they're a
breeze, and they'll help you dodge the cops in missions where
your wanted level can get up to five stars (meaning there are
cops everywhere waiting to take your sorry ass to jail).
You can also buy assets (actually, to beat the game, you need to
own every single asset). Every asset (not including ones
where all they have is a garage and a save point) has some
errands you need to run for them. And yes, you'll need to
raise money to buy these assets (money actually has a whole
bigger purpose in this game than in the last one). Errands
range from dropping porno flyers from a Skimmer to watching a
stripper dance (yes, just sitting there spending $600 on her is
an actual mission) to breaking out somebody from jail.
After you complete all the errands for an asset, the asset
starts making money for you. So each day, you can pick up
some cash from the asset (ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 a day).
Aside from the asset missions, there are the side missions.
You can take missions from a biker gang, a woman who looks like
Miss Cleo, a rock band called Love Fist, Cubans, and the
anonymous phone caller. Those missions range to killing a
drag queen stalker to killing a pizza delivery boy.
Another way to make money and they get you closer to the 100%
There are also the "R-3 missions." If you are in
a special vehicle, and you press the R-3 button, you can go on
little missions. Police cars will let you play as a
vigilante killing criminals. Taxi cabs will let you pick
up and drop off passengers. Ambulances will let you pick
up hurt/sick people and take them to the hospital (I find this
one especially hard since one bump of the ambulance hurts your
chances of getting the hurt man to the hospital alive, and
ambulance doesn't handle especially well). There are also a few
others including being a pizza delivery man, selling "ice
cream", and putting out fires with a firetruck.
There are also a better variety of weapons in the game. It
would be impossible to list them all, but they include a hammer,
sniper rifle, rocket launcher, chainsaw, minigun, gernades,
shotgun, and flamethrower. There are weapons scattered all
over Vice City, but if you're too lazy to look for them and
would rather spend the money, then go to an AmmuNation (note
that weapons like the rocket launcher and the minigun are not
available at AmmuNations; you have to get a little farther in
the game to be able to buy those). You can also buy the
very useful Body Armor at AmmuNations. Just remember that
AmmuNations are your friends while playing this game.
The graphics aren't the best the PS2 has to offer, but they're
good enough not to be ugly. The characters look very good
(although not greatly detailed), and they capture the essence of
what it was like to live in the '80s. The cars look a
little better, and the car damage graphics are also improved.
There's some very minor pop-up (like the taxi that picks you up
to take you to the last place where you took a mission from will
suddenly show up out of nowhere), but it's nothing to cry about.
Not much difference from GTA3, but the graphics are still good
enough to count as an improvement.
The sound is great. The voice acting is some of the best
thats ever graced a video game (all those well-known actors
mentioned above also help). The radio is, quite simply...
wow. There are tunes from Ozzy, Judas Priest, Anthrax, and
a load of others for the local rock station. There's also
the jazz station, rap station, and the mix. Then there's
the one and only chat station, which is VERY funny to just sit
there and listen to. There's apparently over nine hours
worth of overall radio to listen in on. Awesome stuff.
best voice-acting I've heard in a while
graphics and sound
provide endless hours of entertainment and replay value
missions may be too frustrating for some
to end sometime
great game. Like Joe Rolfe said in his GTA3
game has Game of the Year written all over it. It'll be the
best $50 you'll ever spend.