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GTA Vice City

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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for the PC needs no introduction. Not only is this game in many ways better than its amazing predecessor Grand Theft Auto III, but it's also technically superior to the original version of Vice City that was released on the PlayStation 2 a number of months ago. Like GTAIII for the PC, Vice City is identical to the original PS2 version in terms of content, so if you've already played that version to death, you won't find the PC version to be much different. However, the PC version of Vice City does offer enhanced visuals and controls, improved loading times, and a few extra frills. More importantly, it offers the same refreshingly open-ended gaming experience, which has occasionally been reviled for its controversial subject matter, but has far more often elicited much-deserved praise. Simply put, if by some chance you've put off playing Vice City up till now, don't wait any longer.

GTA: Vice City is an excellent follow-up to what was an amazing game to begin with.

To be clear, Vice City is an extension of Grand Theft Auto III, rather than a completely overhauled sequel. That's definitely a good thing, because GTAIII's freestyle gameplay was extremely entertaining and offered tremendous replay value, yet still had more potential. Vice City fulfills a lot of that potential, as it features improved production values (including over eight hours of licensed music and plenty of Hollywood voice actors), new types of drivable vehicles (motorcycles, helicopters, and golf carts), new weapons, better vehicle damage modeling, indoor environments, and more.

Yet the most obvious difference between GTAIII and Vice City is that in the new game, you're in a brand-new setting, a sprawling city styled after Miami, Florida, circa 1986. Laced with neon and featuring miles of beachfront property, Vice City simply looks a lot more pleasant than GTAIII's oppressive New York City-inspired Liberty City. Nevertheless, like Liberty City, Vice City is actually a den of corruption and evil. And it's your playground. You're free to roam Vice City on foot or in any manner of vehicle you can get your hands on, and you can undertake a wide variety of action-packed missions, explore the town, wreak havoc, or whatever. The game's convincing physics and terrific atmosphere make any of the huge variety of activities available in Vice City enjoyable in themselves, and even greater than the sum of their parts when you put them all together. You'd be hard-pressed to find a single-player action game with more variety than this one, and Vice City will more than likely surprise and impress you even if you've already played GTAIII to death.

Rather than put you in the role of a nameless, voiceless antihero like GTAIII, Vice City lets you assume the role of Tommy Vercetti, a tough guy who has just gotten out of the slammer. He gets himself back into trouble fast when a drug deal goes bad and he barely makes it out alive, so the basic plot of the game is to get the drug money back and take out the double-crossers. In so doing, you'll get to kill all your enemies, buy up the town's priciest hot spots, and eventually become Vice City's resident crime lord. Vercetti, who is expertly voiced by Ray Liotta, is a likable and memorable protagonist, and many of the other characters he'll meet, like a crooked lawyer and a South American crime boss with an explosive temper, are also well done.

As Tommy Vercetti, you'll have a lot of dirty work to do, but you'll have a blast getting the job done.

Vice City pays closer attention to its characters, making the proceedings seem more cinematic and more story-driven than GTAIII, which was criticized in the mainstream media for letting people live out their sociopathic fantasies. Regardless, if you were surprised by GTAIII's unflinching portrayal of mature content, be advised that Vice City doesn't pull any punches either. And, like GTAIII, Vice City somehow brings to bear a truly inspired dark sense of humor amid all its violence and chaos. Smartly written dialogue, scathing social critique and caricatures, and a remarkably well-done depiction of '80s excess make Grand Theft Auto: Vice City far more than just a game about causing mayhem.

The story missions in Vice City are generally more complex and often more entertaining than those of GTAIII. They're multiple-stage affairs, often requiring you to take out various targets, make deliveries to key areas, drop someone off in exchange for something, and so on. They're fun, and they also do a great job of introducing you to Vice City's gameplay and new features. You usually have multiple missions to choose from at any given moment, and, true to the game's open-ended nature, many of the missions play out quite differently if you attempt them multiple times. Like in GTAIII, you can also steal squad cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and now even pizza-delivery mopeds and take on various peripheral missions in them, all of which make for fun diversions. The game's save system, which requires you to constantly return to a specific save point, is identical to that of GTAIII, so it might slightly frustrate those accustomed to being able to save anywhere and at any time. But since the missions aren't that long, being able to save your progress only in between missions simply helps maintain the game's pacing, forcing you to accomplish each of your objectives in one, dramatic take.

Of all the additions to the gameplay, the new vehicles are the highlight. Various types of motorcycles and helicopters join a huge variety of cars, trucks, vans, boats, planes, and more, letting you get around Vice City however you wish. Just like the cars, the motorcycles and choppers handle convincingly, and the motorcycles in particular allow you to reach some ridiculously high speeds and pull off some truly insane stunts, if you so choose. The game's vehicle physics are realistic only for the sake of fun and visual authenticity. The vehicles handle very well even when they've been beaten up front and back.

Vice City features new types of vehicles, including motorcycles, helicopters, and sea planes.

Like in GTAIII, some of the best moments in Vice City are when the cops are hot on your trail. They won't go after you if you run a red light, but if you commit a serious crime in front of them, they'll give chase. The more mayhem you cause, the more serious the opposition will get, and soon enough the cops will be setting up roadblocks and calling for reinforcements from police choppers, the FBI, and eventually the National Guard. You'll even come up against undercover vice squads, in their fancy sports cars and pastel suits. The enemy AI isn't quite perfect, as you'll notice when your foes try in vain to shoot you through solid walls when indoors. But Vice City's few minor blemishes are easily forgivable, since they don't get in the way of the action.

The PC version of Vice City, like GTAIII before it, features a default mouse-and-keyboard control scheme that works great. Using it, you can easily control any of the game's vehicles, and on foot, the mouse allows you to aim your weapons as in a first-person shooter. You can also opt to play with a gamepad, to mimic the PS2 version's controls and its auto-aim feature.

Vice City looks better on the PC than on the PlayStation 2 thanks to sharpened textures and higher resolutions. You can also adjust the draw distance either to improve your frame rate or be able to see much farther toward the horizon on higher-end machines. The game runs smoothly on systems that exceed its minimum requirements, though you might spot an occasional hiccup in the frame rate when the play disc is being accessed. The artistry of Vice City's graphics and the realistic physics of its vehicles do much to compensate for what's an otherwise technically unremarkable presentation. No, these aren't the sharpest textures in the world, and the vehicles and characters aren't made up of an obscene number of pixel-shaded polygons or anything, but Vice City's graphics have a great amount of style and a good level of detail. Fans of GTAIII will love how many of Vice City's vehicles are earlier models of the vehicles from that game, and how they're clearly inspired by real-world '80s autos. Also, the stylized characters featured in the game's well-choreographed and entertaining cutscenes use convincing facial expressions and lip-synching, which helps the story sequences a lot.

Despite all its other great qualities, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's audio turns out to be one of the best things about it. Like all the other GTA games before it, Vice City features a soundtrack that consists of the various radio stations you'll be listening to as you drive around in stolen vehicles. These are themed after the sorts of stations you'd expect to hear in '80s-era Miami: There's a new-wave station, a rock station, a rap station, a metal station, and even a Spanish-language station, plus a couple of talk-radio stations for good measure. Suffice it to say that there are hours upon hours of recognizable radio hits from all genres of '80s music on this soundtrack, so even if you never touched the game's controls, you'd practically be getting your money's worth out of this game just by virtue of its being an excellent compilation of '80s tunes. The radio stations all have their own DJs, many of whom are very well written characters in their own right, and you'll even hear radio spots that cleverly mock the sorts of products that made the rounds in that era. Vice City's audio ultimately deserves most of the credit for establishing the game's atmosphere, and other than the soundtrack and voice acting, the sound effects for all the various vehicles and weapons are spot on.

Vice City's nasty police force makes for a ruthless and challenging opponent.

Like GTAIII for the PC, Vice City offers an instant-replay feature that you can use whenever you manage to pull off a truly one-of-a-kind stunt, escape, or killing spree. You can even save your replays if you want. You can also create new skins for Tommy, if you want to change his appearance for some reason (though you'll see him wearing a variety of outfits over the course of the game anyway). And, if all the '80s music isn't good enough for you, you can load up a bunch of MP3 files and listen to those on the radio instead. All this is icing on the cake.

After the incredible success of GTAIII, it was difficult to imagine Scotland-based developer Rockstar North following up with a comparably outstanding game, especially after just one year. But that's what Vice City is. It's similar to GTAIII only as much as necessary, and it boasts so much new content and so many new types of vehicles to drive and exciting missions to experience that it is certainly not just an attempt to further cash in on GTAIII's success. No, this is an exceptionally good action game, whether you consider it on its own merits, or measure it against the incredibly high standards of its predecessor.

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Vice City Stories is a sandbox-style action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar Leeds in association with Rockstar North. It was published by Rockstar Games for the PlayStation Portable in late 2006 and later for the PlayStation 2 in March 2007. The game is the eighth installment in the Grand Theft Auto series. It is a prequel to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and successor to the previous PSP release, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

History

Take-Two Interactive originally announced the title was to be released in North America on October 17, 2006 and in Europe on October 20, 2006, but an announcement in early September stated that the game's North American release had been delayed until October 31.[1] It was also announced that the game would be released on 10 November 2006 in Australia. Moreover, in Europe (Excluding the UK & Ireland) the game suffered another delay, from November 3, 2006, to November 10, 2006, the same as Australia.

[edit] Gameplay

Map of Vice City as depicted in Vice City Stories.Vice City Stories is structured similarly to other releases from the Grand Theft Auto series.

The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large, open environment in which to move around. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, running, swimming and jumping, as well as utilizing weapons and basic hand to hand combat. Players can drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, planes, bicycles, helicopters, jetskis, and motorcycles.

The open, non-linear environment allows players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain areas and content, they are not required, as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam.

The player can also partake in a variety of optional side missions. The traditional side missions of the past games are included, but have been moderately upgraded and enhanced compared to previous titles. A new addition to the game is "Beach Patrol", in which Victor must deal with bikers on the beach by beach buggy (by ramming or shooting to knock them off their bikes) or throwing life preservers to drowning swimmers by boat or by taking a paramedic around to injured people on the beach.

One of the key gameplay elements in Vice City Stories is "empire building." New to the GTA series, it borrows a few ideas from Vice City's "properties" and San Andreas' "gang wars" systems. In order to make money, the player must open and operate various businesses on property taken over from enemy gangs.

For Vice City Stories, the combat system was overhauled to feature more depth than ever before. The targeting mechanism has been tweaked to "intelligently target"; enemies posing a threat or attacking the player will be targeted over pedestrians. The biggest changes concern the hand-to-hand combat system, as players can now perform grappling moves and throws, and stand on top of enemies lying on the ground.

Players are able to bribe policemen or hospital staff when "Wasted" (killed) or "Busted" (arrested) in order to lower their wanted level, and keep weapons that ordinarily would have been lost.

The standard hidden package system returns in the form of 99 red balloons scattered around the city. This is a reference to Nena's 1984 hit "99 Luftballons", which was featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Improvements to the graphics since the release of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories include new animations, faster load times, a longer draw distance, reductions in clumping of pedestrians and vehicles, more complex explosions, and increases in the density of objects, vehicles, and NPCs.

[edit] Characters

Main articles: List of characters in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and List of gangs in Grand Theft Auto series

Like previous GTA games, Vice City Stories features notable voice actors. Gary Busey, Luis Guzmán, Philip Michael Thomas, and Danny Trejo reprise their roles as Phil Cassidy, Ricardo Diaz, Lance Vance, and Umberto Robina, respectively, which they previously played in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Phil Collins also makes a cameo as himself, making him the first famed musician to ever appear in a Grand Theft Auto as a virtual representation with a character model, with his song "In the Air Tonight" in the game's soundtrack. Also, several cast and crew members of The Opie and Anthony Show were recorded and used as voices of several minor characters.

In addition to the gangs previously featured in Vice City, new gangs make a debut in this game: the Trailer Park Mafia, the Cholos, the Stallionz, and the Mendez Brothers. Also, it explores the Vance Crime family, that was introduced in the original game, in more detail.

[edit] Plot

The protagonist Victor Vance (left), at Escobar International Airport with his brother Lance (right).The game is set in 1984, two years before the events of Vice City. Victor "Vic" Vance, the protagonist, is a U.S. Army soldier whose sergeant, Jerry Martinez, gets him involved in drug trafficking, which is strictly against Vic's morals. Soon Vic is dishonorably discharged for the drugs found in his room and bringing a prostitute to the barracks, both of which were intended for Martinez. Vic works for Phil Cassidy, who is also featured in Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Phil's brother-in-law, Marty Williams, abuses his wife Louise and their baby Mary-Beth. After Marty kidnaps Louise, Vic kills him and begins a relationship with her, then shortly after, Victor takes over Marty's Empire.

Soon after, Vic's brother, Lance Vance comes into town to join him on his quest to take over Vice City to get the money for their brother's medications for his asthma. Together they steal Martinez's cocaine, but tensions arise between the brothers after Vic finds out that Lance and Louise used it for themselves. They find out that Martinez was only transporting the drugs for the Mendez Brothers. Lance and Vic are forced to work with the Mendez Brothers, only to be betrayed, soon after doing a few jobs for them. The Mendez Brothers then kidnap Louise sometime after Vic protects and saves Phil Collins' concert from the Forelli Family, and he and Lance rush to the rescue, Lance gets captured by Armando Mendez and Vic fights his way to the underground room of the Mendez Mansion, and Vic kills Armando while he is trying to kill Vic with a Flamethrower. Vic is too late to save Louise, although Lance lives. With help from Phil Cassidy and Ricardo Diaz, Vic manages to steal an army helicopter (The Hunter), and he then guns down some of Diego Mendez's Goons with it, and lands to continue his killing spree on top of the Mendez Building. Finally there is a confrontation on the top of a building, which ends when Vic kills Diego and Martinez, who had arrived in a helicopter when Vic was halfway from reaching Diego. Lance arrives to help Vic, but turns up late, and together they agree never to touch drugs again. Then the Vance Brothers then get in Lance's Helicopter and leave Vice City to send Pete the money for his asthma medications.

[edit] Weapons

The weapons in Vice City Stories are essentially identical to those in Liberty City Stories, with the exception of a few changed weapon models and names (such as the TEC-9 being replaced with a weapon model of the Skorpion, but it is still the same weapon in function) which were changed to fit the period (such as the M4 Rifle replaced with the M16 because the M4 did not exist in 1984). Another noticeable change is the pistol (originally the M1911), which now has a different model, a Beretta M9. The AK-47 also replaces the Ruger Mini-14 from the original Vice City, and the M249 light machine gun replaces the M60 machine gun. There is also a new version of the rocket launcher, modeled after the M72 LAW, which now includes a centerpoint-crosshair. Some weapons such as the land mines and tear gas were removed from the game and can only be obtained with cheat devices.

[edit] Soundtrack

Main article: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories soundtrack

[edit] Radio stations

Like all other video games from the Grand Theft Auto series, the Vice City Stories soundtrack plays an integral role in setting the game's atmosphere. It features 9 different radio stations that play 105 licensed songs from the 1980s. Three of the radio stations featured in GTA: Vice City were removed from Vice City Stories: Wildstyle, KCHAT and Fever 105. They were replaced by three new stations: Fresh 105, VCFL (Vice City for Lovers) and Paradise FM.

V-Rock

Flash FM

Emotion 98.3

Fresh 105 FM

Paradise FM

VCFL

Wave 103

Radio Espantoso

VCPR

[edit] Custom soundtracks

This section needs additional citations for verification.

Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2008)

Like its predecessor, Vice City Stories has the ability to play custom soundtracks. Prior to the PSP series, only Grand Theft Auto games on Xbox and PC were able to implement custom soundtracks.

Rockstar released an application called "Rockstar Custom Tracks" on the official site under the "Downloads" section. The application appears to be based on Exact Audio Copy.[citation needed]

In the application, songs from a CD are ripped, compressed, and converted to files that can be read by the game. Rockstar Custom Tracks (RCT) only allows the ripping of songs that are from a store-bought CD. However, fans have found a way to compress and convert MP3 files that are not burned onto CDs.[2] RCT can also look up and use the names from the FreeDB server if there are no names for the song(s). There must be at least one save file in order for RCT to work. It is thought that this will be used for other games Rockstar will release on the PSP from the name. More details can be found in the PDF in the file downloaded from the official site.

Players using the Rockstar Custom Tracks (RCT) from the Liberty City Stories edition need only rename their custom tracks output folder to ULES00502CUSTOMTRACKS, and the tracks will then be accessible by Vice City Stories.

[edit] Multiplayer

Like the game's predecessor, the PSP version of Vice City Stories features a multiplayer mode, for up to 6 players through WiFi ad-hoc mode (local area). The game features 10 different modes of wireless multiplayer gaming, which incorporate the use of automobiles, aircraft, and water-based vehicles. Various pedestrian and character models from the single player mode are available as player avatars. Rockstar decided not to include these modes in the PS2 version.

[edit] Reception

The game has received an 86% on Metacritic[3] and 85% on GameRankings.[4] It received a rating of 9.0/10 from IGN on the PSP. The PlayStation 2 port of the game was considered worse with a rating of 7.2/10 from GameSpot and a 7.5/10 from IGN. As of March 26, 2008, Vice City Stories has sold 4.5 million copies according to Take-Two Interactive.[5] Hyper's Eliot Fish commends the game for using "the slick veneer of the 1980s [and the] story is well intergrated into missions".[6]

Awards

Received IGN's award for the best licensed soundtrack on PlayStation Portable in 2006.[7]

Best Handheld Game - Golden Joystick Awards 2007.[8]

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