I LOVE Vice City, There I said it. Might as well end this blog-post right now.
But for those of you who ask why, I'll try to make that clear as we go along.
This game came out in 2002, which happens to be 10 years ago as I am writing this entry
I was 12 at the time and having grown up with everything from Wolfenstein 3D to GTA III so far, I wasn't going to miss this one. Not that the Norwegian government didn't try their best to keep it out of the hands of youngsters like myself.
Similar to how Mortal Kombat paved the way for the ESRB rating system, GTA Vice City was the first game in Scandinavia that came with an additional warning on the box that it was not suitable for anyone below the age of 18. Norwegian politician from the Christian Conservative Peoples Party, Valgjerd Svartstad Haugland, even tried to have the game removed from the shelves, and only sold to people who specifically asked for it, Though this motion was ultimately denied
The controversy surrounding the game, just meant more kids were going to play it
I remember our parents taking note of the game on the news, and say that we weren't allowed to play it, What they often didn't know though, was that they had bought the game to us already.
Yeah, we were pretty sneaky back then.
But back to the game: GTA: Vice City is a prequel to GTA III, which was a major success both critically and commercially around the world, The game is set in 1986 Vice City which was heavily inspired by Miami. (similarly, Liberty City was inspired by New York)
The player took control of Tommy Vercetti, a mobster who just had done 15 years in prison after he killed 11 people back in Liberty City in a hit gone wrong. Tommy, who was a member of the Forelli Crime family was sent off to Vice City after his release, as the Forelli's didn't want him walking the streets of the town where he was a convicted murderer.
Sonny Forelli had wanted in on the drug trade from Vice City for a long time, So he saw Tommy's release as an opportunity to make his move. Tommy was sent down with two other guys from the family to be part of a drug deal at the Vice City docks that the Forelli family's attorney, Ken Rosenberg, had set up.
The deal goes south as another gang shows up, kills most of the participants and runs off with both the money and the drugs. The only survivors were Tommy and Ken. Tommy then informs Sonny about the missing drugs and money, and is told that Sonny is not a man to mess with and that he expects that Tommy delivers the money back.
This serves as the backdrop for what, in my opinion, is THE best games in the GTA series.
GTA Vice City isn't very large compared to either Liberty City or San Andreas, but what it lacks in size, it makes up in charm and narrative. the game world sports a Miami Vice feeling with pastel colors and the best of the best when it comes to 80's music, You could do everything from drive cars, Dune buggy's and motor bikes, fly in choppers and Dodo planes. to dealing drugs out of an Ice Cream truck.
Tommy unlike Claude Speed from GTA III had a voice actor, And in Rockstar's "Go big or Go home" mind set, they choose none other than Ray Liotta, Henry Hill from the Goodfellas, himself as the voice for Tommy Vercetti.
GTA: Vice City featured many celebrities as voice actors, William Fitchner, Burt Reynolds, Danny Trejo, Dennis Hopper, Jenna Jameson, Phillip Michael Thomas (who played Lance Vance, who's back story is very similar to PMT's best known role as Rico Tubbs from Miami Vice)
During the player's time in Vice City, they'd encounter a rich gallery of characters, There's Ricardo Diaz, a coked out mob boss inspired by Tony Montana (he lives in a house that's pretty much an exact replica of the house from Scarface), A biker gang, Umberto Robina who is the leader of the Cuban gang and operates out of his father's diner in Little Havana, A porn director who fashion's himself the Steven Spielberg of pornography and Avery Carrington, a Texas real estate mogul who uses highly illegal business practices in his corporate dealings, and serves as a mentor for Tommy when it comes to acquiring a foothold in Vice City.
There are lots more characters in Vice City, and some of them you'll encounter in both GTA III and GTA San Andreas, As those three games all exist inside the same continuity.
As for the game play mechanics, anyone who'd played GTA III would feel right at home, the button layout was pretty much the same, though I do recall the Lock on system was a tad bit better than the one in GTA III, Players would for the second time in the GTA series run around in a fully rendered 3D environment doing the various criminal activities that comes with the GTA Series.
I'm not really sure what, except for the kick ass story and setting, that makes this game stand out so much for me. San Andreas has a lot "more" going for it, introducing new game play mechanics such as a refurbished fighting system, having to work out to stay fit, and it also delivered some great gaming moments and voice acting. But what I feel San Andreas lacks is the charm and narrative that Vice City manages to deliver.
All I know is, come December 6th, I'll be playing Vice City on my Samsung Galaxy S3, And I reccomend that anyone who hasn't played this gem of a game, should check it out too.
Unfortunately it is currently unavailable at Steam, due to some licensing rights
Authors Note: I can't seem to scale the pictures right, anyone got any suggestions to what I'm doing wrong?