This is the mulch-million selling action driving crime game Grand Theft Auto Vice City. Most noticeably it takes place in the 1980s, which means all of the excess, jokes and music of that era are here and it makes for a rich atmosphere that other games can’t hold a candle to.
As mentioned before this is an action driving crime game. It is meant for a mature audience, because right off the bat, the game’s protagonist Tommy Vercetti finds himself on the wrong end of a drug deal gone bad and to appease his bosses back in Liberty City he needs to get back the drugs, the fifty grand and make those pay who took the money. That means Tommy must take on missions given by great personalities voiced by some famous people like Dennis Hopper, Gary Busey, Laurence Taylor and even Tommy himself is voiced by Ray Liotta.
The main missions are fun and diverse. It stars simple like driving somewhere, picking someone up and escorting them and it goes to the complex such as stealing a cop car, uniform and destroying stores in the local mall. Vice City is a great big place and you’ll need to drive to get anywhere. The game offers a wide array of cars, bikes, motorcycles, planes, helicopters and boats to get where you want to go and do missions with. The game handles easy and simple, one button for forward, one for reverse. Certain vehicles let you take on side missions like vigilante where you are a cop going after cooks to kill them, a firefighter that has you water blasting out car fires, a taxi driver, and a pizza delivery boy. Each side mission gets you more cash and has a great prize for each if you can do several rounds of the side mission without running out of time. There are nice jumps that will score you cash, races, drive bys and car chases. It is some amazing fun.
When you’re on foot you can run, jump, auto aim your gun and shoot. The auto aim is a lifesaver and there are a diverse array of shotguns, pistols, machine guns and melee weapons like cleavers, swords, bats, hammers and golf clubs. Combat is fun and I’ve watched several friends beat down people just to do it.
The controls for the PC take some getting used to and its best if you use a controller and set it up like the PS2 controls (its impossible to set it up like X-Box controls). But the PC does make use of a mouse look system and click to shoot if you would like. It makes gunning more difficult because then you do not auto aim. There is no real graphics upgrade for the PC. It seems on par with Playstation 2 and not X-Box. If anything you can make the draw distance very far.
The game is full of rich characters, but it also has pedestrians, street walkers, gangs and feels full of life. Gangs will chase one another and war over turf… while you watch. Cops will chase bad guys, pedestrians will jump out of the way of your speeding car. Street walkers will walk up to your car. People will talk to one another on the street. It is nice to just sit back and watch it all.
Since you are a criminal, part of the random fun that comes from the game is getting the police after you with your wanted level. One star and you can be good and the heat will go away. Two stars and you will need to either get your vehicle spray painted or find stars that will make your wanted level go down. Three stars and the police will use spike strips and send undercover cars after you. The more you’re wanted, the bigger force will be out to stop you. Eventually tanks and helicopters will be after you. This adds some extra fun and excitement to ordinary missions or just normal pay.
As mentioned before, the game has a rich atmosphere. The atmosphere is more than just the 80s rap, new wave, 80s pop and televangelists on the radio. The cars look slick under the bright neon lights of a Floridian city. Rain effects and streaming tail lights add to an incredible look. Even if there wasn’t this environment, the game would be a lot of fun because of the mechanics.
The game doesn’t just stop once you’ve achieved what you think is your goal in the game. It continues on as you grow a criminal empire by purchasing businesses and residences to use as safe house save points.
In conclusion, you can spend 300+ hours just messing around in this sandbox world, discovering side missions and quirky things here and there. It is a fun game that has been around for nearly a decade. The hours you play the game will just fly buy as you drive, explore, gun down and chase anything you want.