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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Information about Grand Theft Auto Vice CityGrand Theft Auto: Vice City (abbreviated as GTA: VC) is a sandbox-style action-adventure computer and video game designed by Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) and published by Rockstar Games. It is the second 3D game in the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise and sixth original title overall. It debuted in North America on Oct. 27, 2002 (15 years ago) for the PlayStation 2 and was later ported to the Xbox and PC in 2003 (14 years ago). Vice City was preceded by Grand Theft Auto III and followed by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Vice City draws much of its inspiration from 1980 (37 years ago) American culture. Set in 1986 (31 years ago) in Vice City, a fictional city modeled after Miami, the story revolves around Mafia member Tommy Vercetti, who was recently released from prison. After being involved in a drug deal gone wrong, Tommy seeks out those responsible while building a criminal empire and seizing power from other criminal organizations in the city. The game uses a tweaked version of the game engine used in Grand Theft Auto III and similarly presents a huge cityscape, fully populated with buildings, vehicles, and people. Like other games in the series, Vice City has elements from driving games and third-person shooters, and features "open-world" gameplay that gives the player more control over their playing experience.
Upon its release, Vice City became the best-selling video game of 2002 (15 years ago). As of Jul. 2006 (11 years ago), Vice City was, in the American market, the best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. Vice City also appeared on Japanese magazine Famitsu's readers' list of all-time favorite 100 videogames in 2006 (11 years ago), the only fully-Western title on the list. Following this success, Vice City saw releases in Europe, Australia and Japan, as well as a release for the PC. Rockstar Vienna also packaged the game with its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto III, and sold it as Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack for the Xbox. Vice City's setting is also revisited in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, which serves as a prequel to events in Vice City.
GameplayBecause Vice City was built upon Grand Theft Auto III, the game follows a largely similar gameplay design and interface with GTA III with several tweaks and improvements over its predecessor. The gameplay is very open-ended, a characteristic of the Grand Theft Auto franchise; although missions must be completed to complete the storyline and unlock new areas of the city, the player is able to drive around and visit different parts of the city at his/her leisure and otherwise, do whatever they wish if not currently in the middle of a mission. Various items such as hidden weapons and packages are also scattered throughout the landscape, as it has been with previous GTA titles.
Players can steal vehicles, (cars, boats, motorcycles, and even helicopters) partake in drive-by shootings, robberies, and generally create chaos. However, doing so generally attracts unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the police (or, in extreme cases, the FBI and even the National Guard). Police behavior is mostly similar to Grand Theft Auto III, although police units will now wield night sticks, deploy spike strips to puncture the tires of the player's car, as well as SWAT teams from flying police helicopters and the aforementioned undercover police units, à la-Miami Vice.
A new addition in the game is the ability of the player to purchase a number of properties distributed across the city. Some of these are additional hideouts (essentially locations where weapons can be collected and the game saved). There are also a variety of businesses called "assets" which the player can buy. These include a movie studio, a dance club, a strip club, a taxi company, an "ice-cream delivery business" (acting as a front company), a boatyard, a printing works, and a car showroom. Each commercial property has a number of missions attached to it, such as eliminating the competition or stealing equipment. Once all the missions for a given property are complete, the property will begin to generate an ongoing income, which the increasingly-prosperous Vercetti may periodically collect.
Police trouble.Various gangs make frequent appearances in the game, some of whom are integral to story events. These gangs typically have a positive or negative opinion of the player and act accordingly by shooting at the player or following him. Shootouts between members of rival gangs can occur spontaneously and several missions involve organized fights between opposing gangs.
Optional side-missions are once again included, giving the player the opportunity to make pizza deliveries, drive injured people to a hospital with an ambulance, extinguish fires with a fire truck, deliver passengers in a taxi, and be a vigilante, using a police vehicle to kill criminals. Monetary rewards and occasional gameplay advantages (e.g. increased health and armor capacity and infinite sprinting) are awarded for completing different difficulty levels of these activities. Different sums of money are awarded for landing trick jumps in motorcycles or fast cars depending on the number of flips and height achieved.
The weapons system used in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is derivative of those from its predecessors, but has been significantly expanded. Compared to 12 forms of weapons from Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City features a total of 35 weapons divided into 10 classes (classified by portability, firepower or function), with the player allowed to carry only one weapon from each class. Each class presents a set of weapons with each presenting their own strengths and weaknesses, such as weight, damage and efficiency. For example, when a player has semi-automatic pistol in hand (which inflicts lower damage, but has a higher firing rate and larger magazine capacity) and encounters ammunition for a Colt Python (which inflicts a large amount of damage, but is weak in firing rate and more frequent reloading), he or she can only choose to replace the automatic with the revolver or choose not to replace the automatic. Because of this, the player is only allowed to carry up to 10 weapons at once while being allowed to pick specific weapons from each class.
The weapons, which range from a variety of mêlée weapons and firearms become available to the player as he or she completes more and more missions. Guns (such as pistols, rifles, thrown weapons and heavy weapons) may be purchased at firearm store Ammu-Nation or obtained via a weapons dealer, and other types of weapons (such as baseball bats, hammers and chainsaws) can be bought at various hardware stores. There are also heavy-duty weapons such as flamethrowers and rocket launchers. Another quirk is the inclusion of a camera, which is used in only one mission to capture pictures.
Various ports of Vice City also present modifications on the inventory of weapons. The PlayStation 2 version is the only version of the game to feature tear gas, while the PC version and the Xbox version from Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack features modified names of weapons (i.e. the MP5 renamed as "MP" and the PSG-1 sniper rifle renamed as ".308 Sniper") The Kruger assault rifle has changed color as well.
PlotThe player takes on the role of Tommy Vercetti, a Mafia hitman released from prison after serving 15 years for killing 11 men. The leader of the organization for whom he used to work for, Sonny Forelli, fears that Tommy's presence in Liberty City will heighten tensions and bring unwanted attention upon his organization's criminal activities. To prevent this, Sonny ostensibly "promotes" Tommy and sends him to Vice City to act as their buyer for a series of cocaine deals. During Tommy's first meeting with the drug dealers, an ambush by an unknown party results in the death of Tommy's bodyguards, Harry and Lee, and the dealer, Victor Vance. Tommy narrowly escapes with his life, but he loses both the Forelli's money and the cocaine.
Tommy is tasked with retrieving the money and the cocaine and killing whoever was responsible for the ambush. Towards this end, he follows leads of the Forelli's lawyer Ken Rosenberg and contacts mid-level drug dealer and ex-military Colonel Juan Garcia Cortez, British record producer Kent Paul, real estate mogul Avery Carrington and a local criminal named Lance Vance. Lance is eventually revealed to be helping Tommy as his brother and business partner was the dealer killed in the ambush, and he too is seeking revenge. Tommy subsequently begins to do jobs for Cortez before being hired by Ricardo Diaz, a Colombian Drug Lord.
Suspicion for the ambush ultimately falls upon Ricardo. Tommy initially plans to continue the status quo to prepare for his own attack, but his hand is forced when Lance attempts to take revenge himself, but is captured and taken to a junkyard to be tortured, but is rescued by Tommy after hearing of the capture from Kent Paul. The two proceed to raid Ricardo's Mansion and they kill him outside his office. With Ricardo dead, his drug empire quickly crumbles. Tommy and Lance personally take over Ricardo's Businesses becoming Vice City's cocaine kingpins and seizing the assets of several near-bankrupted companies.
Tommy becomes the head of his own organization, and the more powerful and rich Tommy becomes, the more Lance begins to exhibit paranoid and sociopathic behaviors, to the point that he begins to physically abuse his own bodyguards and constantly calls Tommy in states of hysteria.
The Forelli Family find out that Tommy has taken over crime in Vice City without sending a cut to Sonny as required. Sonny sends collectors to force money out of Tommy's assets, but Tommy disposes of them. An angered Sonny arrives in Vice City with a small army of mafioso and street thugs, intent on wiping out Tommy once and for all. When Sonny and his henchmen arrive at the Vercetti Estate, Tommy attempts to bribe them with counterfeit money. However, Lance, having come to resent Tommy's substantial share of their profits, betrays Tommy and allies himself with the Forellis. In the game's climax -- a pastiche on the end of the Brian De Palma movie Scarface -- Lance, Sonny, and Sonny's henchmen raid Tommy's Mansion. Tommy kills Lance on the heliPad (3 walls) and storms downstairs where he faces off with Sonny. Sonny reveals he is the one who set Tommy up and had him kill the eleven men who were expecting him. Tommy faces off against Sonny in a large, climactic gun battle, eventually killing him as well. His enemies vanquished, Tommy establishes himself as the undisputed crime kingpin of Vice City, with Ken Rosenberg, who has worked with Tommy throughout the events of the game, as his right-hand-man.
ReceptionGrand Theft Auto: Vice City was released to extremely positive reviews from critics and fans alike. The game received ratings of 9.7/10 from IGN, 9.6/10 from GameSpot, 5/5 from GamePro, and 10/10 from Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. The game has a score of 95 out of 100 on the review compiling website Metacritic making Vice City the sixth highest rated PlayStation 2 game on the site. Most critics[who?] praised the game for its open-ended action and entertaining re-creation of 1980 (37 years ago) culture.
As of sep. 26, 2007 (10 years ago), Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has sold 15 million units according to Take-Two Interactive. As of Mar. 26, 2008 (9 years ago), Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has sold 17.5 million units according to Take-Two Interactive.
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