Grand Theft Auto - Vice City PC Games and Downloads
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Released on 15/05/2003
Please note Grand Theft Auto - Vice City is rated 18 by BBFC. Welcome to Vice City. Welcome to the 1980s. Having just made it back onto the streets of Liberty City after a long stretch in maximum security, Tommy Vercetti is sent to Vice City by his old boss, Sonny Forelli.
They were understandably nervous about his re-appearance in Liberty City, so a trip down south seemed like a good idea. But all does not go smoothly upon his arrival in the glamorous, hedonistic metropolis of Vice City. He's set up and is left with no money and no merchandise. Sonny wants his money back, but the biker gangs, Cuban gangsters, and corrupt politicians stand in his way. Most of Vice City seems to want Tommy dead. His only answer is to fight back and take over the city himself.
From the decade of big hair, excess and pastel suits comes a story of one man's rise to the top of the criminal pile as Grand Theft Auto returns to the PC.
Vice City is a huge urban sprawl ranging from the beach to the swamps and the glitz to the ghetto, and is the most varied, complete and alive digital city ever created. Combining non-linear gameplay with a character driven narrative, you arrive in a town brimming with delights and degradation and are given the opportunity to take it over as you choose.
As a major gateway to South America and the Caribbean and attracting migrants, Vice City is brimming with diverse characters, so there's a friend for everyone. It is a sociable place and the new guy in town is sure to meet all manner of friendly people in the sunshine capital of America. Athletes, pop stars, real estate developers, politicians, trailer trash, everyone is moving to Vice City to find out what makes it the number one growth city in America. But, as Tommy quickly finds out, trust is still the rarest of commodities.
Vice City offers vehicular pleasures to suit every taste. For the speed enthusiast, there's high-performance cars and motorbikes. For the sportsman, a powerboat or a golf buggy lets you enjoy the great outdoors. For those that need that sense of freedom and escape, why not charter a helicopter and see the beauty of Vice City from the air?
As the party capital of America, you would expect your ears to be seduced by a host of sultry melodies and pumping beats, but the city is truly rocking. You'll be AMAZED as you sweep through Vice City's FM dial. If you are feeling like trouble, you can tune into some driving rock, or some crucial electro, or maybe you want to slow down with some sweet soul, and there will always be some great romantic anthems if you want to really take your mind off things.
For the action man, or outdoors type, there's tons of fun things to do and adventures to be had… guaranteed. For the secretive or creepy type, Vice City is full of surprises, a place where you'll constantly be surprised by the vivacious, fun-loving types who live there and the things you can discover.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is the most diverse and ambitious piece of interactive entertainment yet created.
Scootie Benoit checks out Vice City on PC.
Coming off the back of one of the most popular and successful games in gaming history is no easy task. Living up to the expectations of many was always going to prove difficult for Rockstar North, but Vice City is a much better game than any fan of the Grand Theft Auto series could have hoped for. Rockstar have built upon the previous titles, and by doing so, have managed to create a game more free-form than its predecessor, more varied and most importantly, more fun.
In order to accomplish their goal, Rockstar have made several important changes to the award-winning formula of GTA3. Perhaps the biggest addition to the title is that your character now has an identity. Where in GTA3 you played a nameless rogue void of any personality, you now take control of Tommy Vercetti, voiced perfectly by actor Ray Liotta. More importantly than that though, the introduction of Vercetti opens up new doors for the developers, enabling them to branch out where story and plot concepts are concerned.
It’s the plot which makes the game that much more different than the last. Where as GTA3 featured a throw away plot that had you track down the people responsible for your supposed death, Vice City pulls you in deeper and allows you to interact with a range of believable characters. Vercetti starts the game recently discharged from a long stretch inside, and is quick to pick up where he left off. After being screwed out of a drug deal, he’s set the task of finding the money, merchandise and the individual responsible for setting him up.
Vice City has an assortment of new toys for you to test out, ranging from an extended inventory to a broad selection of motors. You’re now only able to hold one type of each weapon, so weapon selection now offers a little in the way of strategic planning. There’s also a new clothing feature, where you’ll be able to fit Vercetti out with an assortment of costumes depending on the mission type. For instance, one mission early on requires you to dress up as a member of a golfing establishment in order to infiltrate the grounds. Donning a new set of clothes will also shake the cops off your tail, offering that little bit extra breathing room when being confronted by the law.
Also new to the franchise is the ability to enter buildings. Vice City features a limited selection of indoor areas to explore, including a shopping mall with fully working escalators, a loud, gritty nightclub and a hotel where you’ll be able to save your game as well as change into your regular outfit. Sure, some indoor areas serve little purpose to the game, but considering the sheer scale of the city, the indoor areas serve as a great technological achievement at the very least.
One of the most talked about aspects of Vice City is that the game is set firmly back in the 1980’s and the development team have done a remarkable job of capturing the essence of the aforementioned decade, not least with the use of popular hits of the 80’s on the radio. There is a certain feeling of nostalgia as you belt it down the highway in your open-top, neon lights shining in your face while Spandau Ballet’s “Gold” feeds itself into your ears.
The city itself is beautifully crafted, magnificently recreating the feel of a sun-drenched city by the sea. The sunset casts a warm red hue over the camera while light glistens off the water during the day. At night, the city is lit up and you’re thrust into a neon-coloured spectacle, complete with designated nightspots and quiet, twilight moments by the sea. The city is so believable at times; you can happily pass hours exploring the streets and while the game flawlessly contrasts between night and day.
The conversion to the PC is seamless, and the port has allowed for the developers to take advantage of the PC’s scalable hardware. The draw distance now stretches much further than that of the PS2 version, although it can be adjusted for those with low-spec machines. Resolutions can be increased beyond the 640x480 resolution of the PS2 version, and the end result is much more aesthetically pleasing on the PC.
The tried and tested combination of the keyboard and mouse is much easier to get to grips with than the PS2 controller, and missions that require a careful or quick aim are made that much more easier. Console elitists may claim that the system on the PS2 works wonders, but it’s no match for the sheer ease and comfort that the classic keyboard and mouse control system offers.
Vice City, despite being released for the PS2 last year, remains one of the best games available for any format this year. Even when you’re through with the lengthy story missions, you’re free to explore the city and discover secret missions, hidden bonuses or just simply enjoy the splendorous surroundings. You’re unlikely to touch anything else for weeks.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, gives gamers a lot of choice. And as Jay proves (everyday) choice is a dangerous thing.
There's two sides to every person. Accompanying the angelic sympathetic side of a person that cries at certain points of Rolf's Animal Hospital and gives loose change to homeless people, is a ruthless, curious and quite sadistic side that when put in situations lacking any kind of risk factor, instantly sets out to do more harm than good.
As people who spend our lives obeying the law, being good and taking few risks, we look to TV and videogames for escapism. Films give a great insight into the world of the cool, hip and dangerous sorts that you'd imagine yourself being if you were harder and a bit less worried about unwanted prison-side intimacies. Games can go one further: They can allow you to actually take control of the proceedings yourself and in a game like GTA: Vice City, you've a lot of scope for doing the things you want to.
Fans of the other GTA games, most notably GTA: III, will understand this, having already been entertained with the large possibilities on offer. But now it's being taken even further.
Whilst GTA: III was simply set in modern times, Vice City is set in the 80s, offering a whole world of additional appeal and atmosphere - it's not just the violence and ability to literally get away with murder that will sell Vice City, many of us who can remember the 80s will be sold on the charm factor alone.
Vice City is based on Miami, the place that is so associated with the 80s, that simply going there now is like going back in time for us English folk. It featured in such great Amercian TV series as Miami Vice (the name gives that one away), and in such classic 80s gangster flicks as Scarface. No other place could be more 80s if it tried. Vice City shares many architectural features: buildings look just like Miami buildings and there are palm trees everywhere.
Possibly the coolest and most atmospheric aspect of the game is the music. Just as with previous GTA games, there's a variety of radio stations and here the radio stations are mostly filled with actual tunes of yesteryear across all the main genres, like new wave, rock and pop. Expect to hear songs from Michael Jackson, Cutting Crew, Flock of Seagulls, Blondie and many more that you'll no doubt recognise but not be able to put a name to. It's pure nostalgia. Often is the case that on your way to a mission a familiar tune will play out and you'll just have to park up and listen to it before finally getting out of the car and carrying on with your current tasks. Should you be more obsessive about old music, you may want to just park up and allow your station of choice to play for ages whilst you do something else, like write a review for instance' [readers, we can confirm Jay was indeed listing to the sounds of GTA: Vice City whilst writing this review - Editor]
The city itself is absolutely huge. In fact it's massive! Filled to the brim with numerous background details and small touches. It's also really diverse: you have the posh side of town and the poorer, scummier side and everything in between. Houses have their own unique designs and in some cases have large outdoor pathways and stairwells that you can happily wander about at your leisure. The mall is one of the most impressive sections, boasting overly shiny floors and a nice collection of retail outlets, including what seems like a McDonalds outlet (unbranded), complete with unresponsive employee. There's even escalators, working escalators! A lot of effort has been put into this game.
So you now know about the music and the surroundings, but what can you actually do' Well, discovery is one of the fun aspects of this game, so we won't give it all away, but here's a few things we've happily got up to: We've mugged people, we've performed drive-bys, we've intentionally gone out of our way to run people over, we've stolen a police car, we've ran over a policeman, we've shot the above-mentioned food counter employee for not getting us food and we've 'hired' ladies of the night. In case you didn't know, these women can give you back your health whilst also taking your money and making your car bounce about a bit. Don't worry too much about your money though, you can beat her up afterwards and get it back if you like. We did.
This is before we bothered with any missions. Actually playing the game offers you the chance to get up to even more unpleasantness, except now you're being paid to do it. The missions are joyously diverse and are all like scenes removed directly from a gangster movie. As you complete missions, the opportunity for more missions are opened and the amount of cash you can earn rises. Eventually you can buy property, which gives you additional hiding places for when the fuzz are after you.
At first you'll not really worry about the police, but as you progress through missions, they become more of a hassle. In the initial stages where you just mug people for the sake of it, police capture isn't much of an issue. Later on though, when they're after you during a particularly lengthy mission or when you've managed to amass a large collection of weaponry, they are a bit of a nightmare. In the top right of your screen you'll notice six stars, as your wanted level raises, these light up. A one star rating will see them pursue you should they happen to pass you on the street and a two star rating will see them actually make an effort to hunt you out and follow you. Anything above this and you're as good as arrested, well, practically. They are relentless and never give up. Your only hope is to get back to your safe house or find another friendly place - like the Pay 'n' Spray shop that nullifies your wanted rating by giving you a repair job, a new engine and a re-spray.
Aside from the outraged parents who think this is a game that will teach their children to commit murder (despite the game not actually being for children), other more sensible people may also have issue with certain aspects of the game. The way the missions are designed means that often you'll have to attempt certain missions multiple times, which can get annoying, in fact it's often very frustrating. Repeating missions is also fairly disorientating, as after failing the mission you have to then re-visit your boss to get handed the very same mission once more.
Aside from this, there's not really anything else you can attack Vice City for. Sure it's violent and you are essentially playing as a criminal, but what you get up to is your own choice. No one's forcing you to drive women down to the beachfront and beat them with a golf club or run them through with a chainsaw. You are free to choose and make your own choices. Just like in real life.
GTA Vice City is an inspiration, one that possibly creates the most lifelike and free world yet seen in a videogame. It won't be long before it's improved upon - the assured success of this will ensure many copycat attempts and as good as it is, Vice City could be expanded on in so many ways. In fact, this genre is practically infinite - the only restriction on the depth and possibilities are how much time a development team has to create such a world. But anyway, back to the here and now, and currently this is one of the best games you could ever buy. It's easy to play, it's funny, it's cool, it's got real music and it will last absolutely ages. A true triple-A title.
Liberty City regular CJRavey acclimatises to 1980s Vice City and finds that the past is a different country; they do things differently there.
For some of you, this visit to Vice City is the first, but to us devotees of GTA 3 it's a trip we'll constantly be comparing to when we were back in the future. So - how does it compare and what makes it a different taste of the apple?
Difference, additions and improvements abound in Vice City. The radiosity effect, although sometimes patchy, makes a city less dull than Liberty, the weather effects are more varied from palm trees straining under high winds to rainbows. The eighties setting is more than just cosmetic, and lends some additions itself - most notably the capitalistic dream of the game's main aims. In Liberty City you worked for others, back here in Vice being a made man is all, so getting your hands on as much property (which then acts as save points) as you possibly can.
Additions such as motorbikes (really fast, but a fall can delay so they're not always best for a mission) and a taxi that waits to take you back to the starting point of your last mission if you're wasted or busted, really help things nip along. The right thumb stick now instantly shifts you into first person, which is a niggle at first - but worry not, L1 shifts the camera into the direction you're pointing; generally you should be happy leaving it where it is.
007 Nightfire style on-rails missions have been added, and are OK if not brilliant but generally the missions are the same mix of 'missed it by a second' frustration and genius. You can change clothes unlike last time - again, the eighties theme running deeper. You can still pay and spray your car, but this time the wanted lights flash - offend again whilst they flash and it's back to your original level. Generally you'll get busted more in Vice City.
The size is immense - you get to know Liberty City fairly well fairly soon, but twenty-four hours in and you'll still find yourself in whole neighbourhoods you'll swear didn't exist previously. The inside areas are OK - malls etcetera - but nothing to lose control over.
You can get out of cars etc., when they're moving - thank goodness - though it'll hurt and if you land in deep water you're dead (sigh). Yep, our tough guy still ain't a swimmer. Our hero, Tommy being a talker means you might feel a bit less 'I'm cool, this is me, strong and silent' as in GTA 3. You're playing as a definite someone else - Tommy has a character and you can't impose your own upon him as much. You also may be a bit horrified by what he gets up to!
On foot gunfire is improved from GTA3 but still a bit hit and miss. Oh for a full FPS-section, but I digress.
Difference, additions and improvements. That's what long-term players of GTA 3 should expect. Some will take you a while to get used to, some will take your breath away - but they'll all take over your life. Welcome to Vice City, this ain't Liberty any more Toto.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PC) (28/05/2003)
Coming off the back of one of the most popular and successful games in gaming history is no easy task. Living up to the expectations of many was always going to prove difficult for Rockstar North, b…
GTA Vice City (21/03/2003)
Additions such as motorbikes (really fast, but a fall can delay so they're not always best for a mission) and a taxi that waits to take you back to the starting point of your last mission if you're wa…
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