(Rockstar Games, October 29, 2002)

Sure, it's a 2002 title but I couldn't put it down once I played it. Grand Theft Auto Vice City is perfect for retro fans like me and newbie's alike so it makes the perfect GOTM for Nov 2002, baby! Steal your copy today........ Ok, don't steal it but get it anyways even by means of cash, know what I'm saying?

Grand Theft Auto III was not only thee biggest game of the 2001 Holiday season but it even continued to sell well in 2002! Heck, GTA III even out sold other big names like Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and even the X box's acclaimed Halo, now that's impressive, eh? GTA III has even sold over 6 million copies and it hasn't even seen the light of day in Japan and it's been banned in Australia. The company behind the madness, Rockstar games, isn't slowing down just yet because here we have another game in the GTA series in 2002. Grand Theft Auto Vice City gives us more of what we loved last year but now we are back in the 80's! "Yes! The 1980's, the greatest decade of all Time!!" The game has an all new look, new radio music, and of course all new weapons and means of transportation to steal away to get your various jobs done. So is this game a dream comes true for those GTA fans or is it just another wimpy rehash of a popular game?

Pop Rock Bottom!

The world of Vice City is in a fictional area of Florida (anybody remembers Miami Vice?) and you play the role of gangster Tommy Vercetti (no more nameless anti-hero this time). Tommy had a hard life so far and it's an about to get worse for the guy. Tommy just got out of prison after serving a long 15 year sentence and his newest 'job' to score up some white gold (cocaine) in a trade for big cash at Vice City. Things goes horribly wrong when Tommy gets set up which leaves him penniless, drugless, and in big trouble with the Forelli Crime Family who originally gave him the assignment to begin with. Tommy must do whatever it takes to get any info, get his money back, and get some revenge on the people who screwed him in the huge Vice City. Sure, it's a Video Game but make no mistake it's not for kids and it deserves that big 'M' rating, so you parents shouldn't be quick to buy it even though it maybe the hottest game of the season (I can remember when some stupid parents would take their kids to see the Blair Witch Project a few years ago).

What makes this Grand Theft Auto so different then part III is not only the new mostly sunny location filled with huge palm trees and urban hotels but also the time period has changed as well. Vice City is set in the year 1986 and Rockstar games did an excellent job in recreating the era I once lived though. The cell phones are gigantic and the radio stations even play all 80's music (more on that later). You'll see Tommy and others dressed in 80's fashions like expensive suits and you'll also see the streets laced with shiny corvettes and girls in bikinis. The game even loads up like a Commodore64 game in one of the intermissions! "You got to love that!" What hasn't changed though is the fact that Tommy is good at the 'art of Car Jacking'. If you see something you like then you can just take it, and if somebody is driving it just throw them out of the car or whatever (you may want to stay away from the cop cars though)! You can even steal scooters and motorcycles by simply knocking out the rider(s) at a stop sign, I highly recommend this because it's funny to see them get knocked off their bikes and its even better you get off yourself after going 50 miles per hours. There are nearly a 100 different vehicles here alone and there's bound to be something here for everyone because you can 'borrow' anything from a Golf Cart to a super quick Helicopter in the game. Grand Theft Auto Vice City isn't all about stealing cars, Tommy can just as easily walk around to get where he's going like in other 3D games like in Super Mario Sunshine and Metal Gear Solid 2. It’s just going to take a lot longer to run around the city of course. Sometimes it's cool to look around any back alley where your cars can't go to see if you can find any secrets stuff like weapons, body armour, and a 100 special packages lying around all over the place. Everything helps!

Tommy can even do odd jobs to help get some extra cash. Drive Taxis, Delivery Pizzas, and Drag Race, even help cops by beating up other wanted criminals (other than you) on the run. Believe me; you're going to need all the cash you can get! If things don't go so well for Tommy and you get wasted or busted by the cops then you still get to continue your game but you will lose your weapons and some of your cash too. Money can be used to buy things like weapons from Ammu-nation, paint jobs can be used to confuse the coppers, and certain real estate areas too like the Pole Position (a cleverly named strip club). You can easily get several cool weapons like a screwdriver, guns, and even a chainsaw just by searching around but if you're in a big hurry or something then just buy what you need.

Like in any 3D universe, the controls do take some getting use to. The whole controller is used for various actions like jumping and jacking and the controls are changed while driving and flying of course but once learned the game becomes second nature. I advise learning the complete set up before you go on a tougher mission or you may be lost on how to do things like drive bys and lock-ons. The thing that really seemed cool to me was to option to use either the Digital pad or Analog stick to move around if you like! Most 3D games only use the Analog for their characters controls but everybody knows that those sticks are too sensitive, but with the Digital pad control you get tighter movement which some may prefer. Not even Super Mario Sunshine has that feature. Why Nintendo?!

I didn't go to Law school for this!

Before I talk about the graphics here; PLEASE! Turn off the blur motion by pressing start and changing the display before you start your game. This will increase the frame rate and make the game much easier to see. Other than then that Vice City runs on the same engine as part III did and that means a lot of the problems of the past game's like pop up in the distance and the animation can look a little jerky at times, those issues are still here. The actions can also slowdown if there is too much on screen but it's nothing too heavy. There are several great things about the looks here though like the character models are now much better looking and the facial expressions are quite impressive in the cinemas. The in game textures are not only realistic but they also very colourful which really help to bring out this crazy decade to life. Many of the buildings are filled with cool neon signs that glow pink at night. You'll also notice lots of great little touches, such as the glint of sunshine off the windows of nearby cars. Vice City excels in style because part III really had no real theme to it.

"The only good thing about life is Death!" -Goth Guy

Vice City is one of the best sounding games for the Playstation2 easily! Although a lot of games out there use Text to bring the story to life but this game is all voice acted like in the last game and even the main guy (Tommy) talks this time. Tommy Vercetti has tons more personality then the other guy in GTA III and he is even played by famous actor Ray Liotta. Tommy's not only well acted but he's not afraid to mouth off to the crazy citizens here. If you're not too sure who Ray Liotta is then maybe you may recognize some of these big names like: Burt Reynolds (CannonBall Run, Strip Tease, Evening Shade), Dennis Hopper (Super Mario Bros), Jenny Jamerson (porn star!), and many more actors too! Vice City has one of the biggest sets of stars in any video game! The game is also filled with realistic sound effects like the scraping of a car next to concrete wall from to gunfire are outstanding. The cars even sound different in the distance. Those awesome radio stations in Vice City are back for whatever you're driving but now every station has an 80's feel to it. There are an amazing set of 9 stations to pick from and each has nearly an hour worth of music or chat for your listening pleasure! Vice City even uses real music too which is worth the price of the game alone. You'll hear such big names like Michael Jackson's Billie Jean on Flash FM, Run DMC's Rock Box on Wild Style, Foreigner's Waiting for a girl like you on Emotion98.3, and many more big groups and singers are here like Blondie, Bryan Adams, Ozzy Osboure, Loverboy, and many more. There is something here for everybody! The '80s music found on the stations really helps set the feel for the game. Vice City radio also comes with two fictional talk radio stations if you want a good laugh. K-Chat returns with it's over the top celebrity interviews hosted by a clueless chick. VCPR Pressing Issues is the city's way to talk about their many problems but the guests are totally nuts with many radical ideas and the host is a former circus clown. The effort alone for sound deserves a ten!

"Sunglasses at night!"

Sure, I liked Grand Theft Auto III but Vice City is even better. I absolutely loved going back into the 80's again in this cool game to see just how different life was back then. Everybody knows the StarSoldier is a hardcore retro freak and I still got my golden goodies like a NES, and some Transformers G1's in the house to satisfy my 80's flashbacks, now I can do it in a game in 2002. It doesn't hurt that Vice City gives you so much freedom to do almost whatever you want either and that been GTA series greatest feature, (even if the first two games sucked big time) eh? Sure, Vice City is a huge 3D game like GTA III with similar graphics but it's still no rehash of the previous game like all those lame brain Street Fighter II games, Vice City was a entire new experience so don't be afraid to play even if you already have part III. It's not perfect though, I hate that you can't save during certain missions so you don't have to go through something boring or too easy all over again only to be killed off by something harder later on. You also can't visit cool areas like the Airport right away because of the bridges are off limits and you have to wait and spend to get excess to a lot of the game's cooler places. Another annoying thing is the constant traffic and cops just getting in the way all the time during an intense chase scene or something. Those are only minor issues though and this game is perfect for Super Mario type gamers looking for something more serious and the 80's idea are absolutely brilliant. Vice City is a complete package of stylist graphics, hip music, and edgy game play for the adult gamers out there.



overall rating: 97/100

For 1 player only
Rated (M) for Mature

graphics: 9/10
sound: 10/10
gameplay: 10/10
replay: 9/10

(Ryan Genno) 2002

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