Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Review for the Playstation 2 (PS2), XBox and the PC

GTA: Vice City is the fourth game in the Grand Theft Auto series. It takes place in the year 1986 in Vice City which is modeled after Miami, Florida. You could say that the theme is GoodFellas meets Miami Vice. Tommy Vercetti is the main character who was recently released from prison after doing a stint of 15 years. Tommy was and is involved with the mob so when he got busted he had the opportunity to rat them out for a lesser sentence, but didn’t. As a reward the mob boss sent Tommy to Vice City on a job, a really good job, but things were fouled up. Someone had obviously had it out for him in a bad way and they decided to double-cross him, only he doesn’t know who that someone is. Now the mob is none too pleased with him and he wants to find out who is at fault for everything that has gone wrong. Tommy is on a mission.

The mob that Tommy works for is the Forelli family and they sent him to Vice City to score some cocaine and then set up shop. Only his very first deal goes horribly wrong leaving him with absolutely nothing. So Tommy starts nosing around, trying to figure out who is behind all of this before he gets taken out himself.

The voice for Tommy Vercetti is done by Ray Liotta who has had some experience playing the part as a punk in the movie GoodFellas. He sounds like the genuine deal. Tommy comes from Liberty City and so does the Forelli family. Liberty City is where GTA: III takes place. There is some cohesiveness between GTA: III and GTA: Vice City.

Tommy Vercetti starts out living in a hotel room near the beach, this is his safe house, a place to take cover when being pursued by the police. If you change clothes the cops won’t recognize you when you reappear again. In the hotel room you can stock up on some weapons and save the game when you feel the need to do so. Throughout the game other places will go on the market that you can buy. Once you buy a place you can save your game there and hide out there if need be. Also you will begin getting missions at these places. Many interesting places will come up for sale such as a strip club, a taxi company, an ice cream delivery shop, a film studio, the Malibu Club, and even a car dealership. Once all of the missions have been completed for that particular building you will begin earning money there. Be sure to make your rounds to collect your money often.

There are plenty of side missions that have nothing at all to do with the story line, but will help you out by either giving you money or special abilities. Try out the fire-fighter missions, the vigilante missions, the ambulance missions, or the taxi missions which were in the previous game too. Also there are new missions such as pizza delivery and target practice. Don’t miss out on the dirt bike races and mini remote control car races down by the beach either.

This is the 1980’s so expect some very tacky styles such as pastel suits and buildings. You will even hook up with a band called Love Fist who looks and sounds very typical for the 1980’s. Tommy even wears a Hawaiian t-shirt for the better part of the game. The music on the radio stations play songs from around that time period and talk radio spouts off little quips about the era.

Ray Liotta is not the only big name on the casting list for this game. Look forward to hearing the voices of Gary Busey, Dennis Hopper, and Jenna Jameson. The voice actors did an outstanding job. In fact most of the sound in this game is spectacular. The sound effects for the guns, the vehicles, etc. make you feel like your in the game. The choice of songs from the 1980’s was a nice mix. I can honestly say that nothing is lacking in this department.

There is an array of choices for weaponry and vehicles alike. There are mopeds, dirt bikes, hogs, helicopters, seaplanes, tanks, race cars, trucks, and the list goes on. As for weapons look forward to guns, guns, guns, flamethrowers, chainsaws, screwdrivers, knives, machetes, baseball bats, etc. You can find these in the mall or at Ammu-Nation. Many of these will be needed for the 80 plus missions that there are to complete.

Look forward to the police being more difficult to escape from. They seem to be smarter in Vice City than they were in Liberty City. They come equipped with tack strips to pop your tires and roadblocks to get in your way. Prepare for war with the police because they mean business. When you draw too much attention to yourself the FBI and the army will join in on the chase, then your chances are slim to none. If too many cops come on the scene at once the game has a tendency to slow down which makes it even more difficult on you.

The graphics are splendid, the characters look more life-like, but not perfect. However you can find yourself facing a building that you didn’t even know was there because your going too fast for the game to catch up. You can see the sun shining on the windows of the cars. There are posters on the walls with pictures and writing that you can actually make out. Not to mention the area is huge once you have access to everything.

The gameplay is exciting although very similar to GTA: III. This is a spruced up version of a game already made, but it’s still fun to play again. The story is different of course and there are some new, innovative things about the game, but all in all it’s the same as the last one. It’s funny, it’s raunchy, it’s violent, and it’s definitely not for children. You will probably never run out of things to do, although you may get bored after awhile. The missions can be a bit difficult, but the game is pretty easy to figure out. When your feeling stressed out just bust out GTA: Vice City and take it out on some of these animated characters, after all that’s what their here for.

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