Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
|Grand Theft Auto: Vice City|
|Series||Grand Theft Auto|
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is an open world action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 27 October 2002 for the PlayStation 2 console, on 12 May 2003 for Microsoft Windows, and on 31 October 2003 for the Xbox console. It is the sixth title in the Grand Theft Auto series, and the first main entry since 2001's Grand Theft Auto III.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is played from a third-person perspective in an open world environment, allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. The game is set in 1986 within the fictional city of Vice City, which is heavily based on Miami[c] and draws inspiration from 1980s' American culture. The single-player story follows Tommy Vercetti, a Mafia hitman who is released from prison. After his involvement in a drug deal gone wrong, Tommy seeks out those responsible while building a criminal empire and seizing power from other criminal organisations in the city.
Upon its release, the game was acclaimed by many reviewers who praised the music and gameplay, which uses a tweaked version of the game engine used in its predecessor. It became the best-selling video game of 2002, and has sold over 20 million copies as of 2011; until July 2006, it was the best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. The game is cited as a landmark in video games for its far-reaching influence within the industry. The success of Vice City led to the creation of a prequel, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006), which revisits the Vice City setting just two years prior. Vice City 's violent and sexual content has also been the source of public concern and controversy.
Its successor, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, was released on 26 October 2004, and also received critical acclaim. In December 2012, in celebration of the game's tenth anniversary, a mobile version of Vice City was released for iOS and Android. The game has also been ported to various other platforms and services, such as OS X and the PlayStation Network.
Tommy Vercetti, a loyal former member of the Forelli Family, has just been released in 1986, serving 15 years for killing 11 men in the Harwood District of Liberty City in early 1971, earning him the nickname The Harwood Butcher. Tommy's old boss, Sonny Forelli, fears that Tommy's presence in Liberty City will heighten tensions between the other Liberty City families and bring unwanted attention to his organisation's criminal activities.
To prevent this from happening, Sonny ostensibly promotes Tommy to a capo and sends him to Vice City under the guardianship of a crooked lawyer and Sonny's contact Ken Rosenberg to act as their buyer for a series of cocaine deals for Sonny, whose interest is to expand his family activities down the South and to overrun the Liberty drug market with the high-end cocaine from Vice City, hoping to create a monopoly on the Liberty City drug ring to establish the Forelli Crime Family on the top.
Soon, Tommy and his bodyguards are awaited at the Escobar International Airport by Ken, who gives them an info about the deal and takes them to the docks, where they are awaited by the Vance Crime Family, prominent drug kingpins of Vice City led by Victor Vance, who arrive in the chopper. As they settle the deal, they are ambushed by several armed and masked men, who kill Victor and Tommy's bodyguards. Tommy narrowly escapes with Ken from the docks, and as a result, he ultimately loses both Forelli's money and the cocaine in the process. Ken drives to his office, while Tommy returns to his hotel.
When Tommy informs Sonny of the ambush, Sonny loses his temper and threatens Tommy with the consequences of attempting to cheat the Mafia. Tommy promises to retrieve the money and the cocaine and kill whoever was responsible for the ambush. Towards this end, Tommy meets up again with Ken at his office, who leads Tommy to retired Colonel and mid-level drug dealer named Juan Garcia Cortez, who was Victor Vance's contact and who organised the deal between the Vances and the Forellis. Cortez expresses regret about Tommy's bad deal and promises that his own lines of inquiry are being made to find out who masterminded the ambush plot. Tommy also meets Cortez's daughter Mercedes, who becomes Tommy's confidante shortly thereafter.
While Tommy waits for the outcome of Cortez's investigation, he meets cocky 21-year old British record producer Kent Paul, real estate mogul Avery Carrington, and a mysterious man, who introduces himself as Lance Vance, younger brother of Victor and the underboss of the now-defunct Vance Crime Family, who wants revenge for the death of his brother and also wants the Vance Crime Family back on the map.
As time passes, Tommy befriends Cortez and begins to do regular work for him as an errand boy and hitman. On one such job, Tommy is called in with Lance to protect the deal of a drug baron named Ricardo Diaz during a deal with the Cubans, looking to buy some high-end cocaine. During the deal, Diaz is ambushed by a gang of Haitians, but Tommy is able to kill them and save the deal, as well as Diaz's life. Consequently, Diaz begins hiring Tommy for his own agenda. Tommy takes this work because it pays well, in spite of his distaste for Diaz. On another errand for Cortez, he plans to meet a French courier to retrieve missile chips stolen from the French government. The deal is ambushed by several French agents and Tommy later kills the courier, who fled the ambush with the chips, retrieving the items.
Tommy learns from Cortez that Cortez's own lieutenant, Gonzalez, was partially responsible for the ambush on Tommy's cocaine deal since he is the only person besides Cortez to know about the deal, and Cortez asks Tommy to kill Gonzalez as a favour, since he was a man who he did distrust and was working behind his back. Afterwards, Cortez voices his suspicion that Diaz might have been behind the ambush. Tommy initially continues the status quo to prepare for his attack, but his hand is forced when Lance attempts to take revenge by himself and fails, forcing Tommy to rush across the city and rescue him from the junkyard in which he is held. With the die cast, the two move quickly to raid Diaz's mansion and execute Diaz. With Diaz dead, and Colonel Cortez fleeing the country to escape the French, the established drug empires in Vice City quickly crumble and Tommy and Lance personally take over, becoming Vice City's drug kingpins.
Tommy becomes the head of his own organisation, the Vercetti Crime Family, distancing himself from the Forelli Family and Liberty City and more interested in personally controlling Vice City than being Forelli's puppet. But the more powerful and rich Tommy gets, the more Lance begins to exhibit paranoia and sociopathic behaviours, to the point that he begins to abuse his own bodyguards and constantly calls Tommy in states of hysteria, losing his mind over being just a powerless second-in-command as he was under his brother for the past 2 years. Tommy begins to suspect that Lance is up to something.
Tommy makes alliance with Umberto Robina's Cubans against Auntie Poulet's Haitians, even though he is at the same time hypnotised by Poulet's voodoo into helping the Haitians as well. However, Tommy and Poulet part ways Tommy and the Cubans sneak explosives into the Haitian drug factory disguised in Haitian gang cars and blow it up, effectively ending the conflict and putting the Haitians out of business, enabling the Cubans to take over Little Havana. Umberto then becomes Tommy's partner. He also becomes friends with Big Mitch Baker, a leader of the biker gang and a Vietnam veteran, with both the bikers and the Cubans becoming protectors of Vercetti family business.
As his drug business expands, Tommy buys assets in nearly bankrupt companies such as a car lot named Sunshine Autos, a cab depot Kaufmann Cabs, a popular night club called The Malibu, a local boathouse, a print shop, Print Works, an ice-cream company, and an adult film company, all of which he turns back into competitive businesses. He also becomes a personal bodyguard to glam metal band Love Fist, and pulls a major bank heist. He starts to control almost all the assets and ties of Vice City: Sunshine Autos as a chop shop, Kaufmann Cabs for money laundering, The Malibu Club for dispatching drugs, the ice-cream company for the production of drugs and the film company to control the underground movie scene.
Eventually, the Forelli family discovers that Tommy has gained control over entire Vice City and without having sent a single dime back to them. Sonny is enraged that Tommy has become independent and is hustling him, and sends collectors consisting of high-ranking Forelli members to force money out of Tommy's assets. Tommy disposes of them, but after they injure the elderly operator of his print shop of counterfeit money, he decides to cut Sonny and the Forelli family out of his business, severing his ties with the Forelli family.
An angered Sonny arrives in Vice City with a small army of mafiosi, intent on taking their tribute by force. Sonny and his henchmen soon arrive at the Vercetti Estate. Just as Tommy attempts to give them their tribute in counterfeit money, Sonny reveals he is the one who set Tommy up fifteen years before, sending him to kill the eleven men who were expecting him since he was feeling that Tommy would himself take over Sonny's business. Lance then exposes himself as a traitor, revealing Tommy's attempt to fool Sonny, and also admitting to informing Sonny about Tommy's activities in Vice City. Lance explains that he did it because Tommy started to disown him and didn't treat him equally, and wanted him dead so he could rebuild the Vance Crime Family and the fortune he had with his brother. An enraged Tommy starts a gunfight.
In the ensuing battle, Tommy first chases, ridicules, and finally kills Lance, then storms downstairs, where he faces off with Sonny, eventually killing him in the main hall of his estate, where Ken awaits, shocked about the events, but Tommy reassures him that everything is fine. With his enemies vanquished, Tommy establishes himself as the undisputed crime kingpin of Vice City.
The game is set in 1986 in fictional Vice City, which is based heavily on the city of Miami and Miami Beach, Florida. The game's look, particularly the clothing and vehicles, reflect (and sometimes parody) its 1980s' setting. Many themes are borrowed from the major films Scarface, Carlito's Way, Goodfellas and Blow, along with the hit 1980s television series Miami Vice. Vice City also parodies and pays tribute to much of 1980s' culture in the cars, music, fashion, landmarks, and characters featured in the game.
Ricardo Diaz's opulent mansion and the climactic battle which takes place in it are very similar to their counterparts in Scarface. Another reference is the game's overall storyline, as it is highly similar to the film, as is the design of the final mission. There are also more subtle references, such as an apartment hidden within the game with blood on the bathroom walls and a chainsaw (in a nod to the film's "chainsaw torture" scene), or the pair of detectives who come chasing Tommy in a car resembling the Ferrari Testarossa after a three-star wanted level is attained, who look like characters portrayed by Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas in Miami Vice.
Vice City features dozens of characters, many appearing only in the cut scenes which describe each mission. The voice-talent includes Ray Liotta as protagonist Tommy Vercetti, Tom Sizemore as Sonny Forelli, Robert Davi as Colonel Juan García Cortez, William Fichtner as Ken Rosenberg, Danny Dyer as Kent Paul, Dennis Hopper as pornography Director Steve Scott, Burt Reynolds as Avery Carrington, Luis Guzmán as Ricardo Diaz, Miami Vice star Philip Michael Thomas as Lance Vance, Danny Trejo as Umberto Robina, Gary Busey as Phil Cassidy, Lee Majors as "Big" Mitch Baker, Fairuza Balk as Mercedes Cortez, and porn actress Jenna Jameson as Candy Suxxx. The voice of the taxi dispatcher is provided by Blondie singer Debbie Harry.
Although the main character is not the same as the one in Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City contains a few characters from GTA III at an earlier point in their lives. Donald Love, a business tycoon in GTA III, makes an appearance as an apprentice to real estate mogul Avery Carrington. The one-armed Phil Cassidy from GTA III appears in Vice City as well, with both arms intact, and one mission actually explains when and how he lost his arm.
Several of GTA III 's radio hosts can also be heard in Vice City: Lazlow, who was the host of Chatterbox, the talk radio station in GTA III, is the DJ for the hard-rock station, V-Rock, in Vice City (he mentioned in passing in GTA III that he used to be a DJ on a rock station). Toni, the burned-out, female disc jockey of Flashback 95.6, the 1980s music radio station in GTA III, also appears as a young, club-hopping DJ in Vice City's pop music station, Flash FM. Finally, Fernando, a self-glorifying procurer of women ("not a pimp... a savior", he claims) who appeared on Lazlow's show in GTA III, runs Emotion 98.3. Also naturist Barry Stark, a caller for Chatterbox in GTA III, appears as a guest on VCPR in Vice City.
Because 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 tends to generate unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the police (or, in extreme cases, the FBI and even the National Guard). Police behaviour 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 being rappelled down from flying police helicopters and undercover police units, à la-Vice Squad. Police attention can be neutralised in a variety of ways.
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 film 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.
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 following the player or shooting at him. Shootouts between members of rival gangs can occur spontaneously and several missions involve organised 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, be a vigilante, using a police vehicle to intercept (and kill) criminals, and the ability to drive a bus, transporting fare-paying passengers. Monetary rewards and occasional gameplay advantages (e.g. increased health and armour 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.
In total, there are about 114 types of vehicles in the game (including non-maneuverable vehicles and remote-controlled vehicles), compared to the approximate 60 in GTA III. Taxicabs, automobiles and boats return from the game (along with many others), while new additions include helicopters and motorcycles (a citywide ban in 2001 in GTA III prohibited their use in Liberty City). The car physics and features are relatively similar to that of GTA III, and some cars were added to the game, including a sportier variants of luxury cars and new sports cars, while some vehicles from that game were highly modified.
The Skimmer plane is the only flyable fixed wing aircraft in Vice City, and because it features pontoons and is normally found in water, it is a floatplane, a type of seaplane. It can land almost anywhere, in contrast to the jets in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It has been noted that the Skimmer's design is almost exactly like the Dodo aeroplane in GTA III. Vehicle performance varies with location, some vehicles performing better off-road or on the street, while others perform better in the air or on land.
Vice City includes a large collection of licensed music from 1986 and before. It can be listened to by means of various in-car radio stations. Each station covers a particular music genre, such as rap music (Wildstyle), rock (V-Rock) and (most predominantly) pop music (Wave 103, Flash FM). The tracks are for the most part works from various real-life artists, such as Megadeth, Electric Light Orchestra, Judas Priest, Squeeze, Toto, 2 Live Crew, Blondie, Talk Talk, Zapp & Roger, Thomas Dolby, Iron Maiden Mötley Crüe to name a few. Additionally, a talk station (K-Chat) and a public radio debate show Pressing Issues (VCPR) are included. The radio stations and the game's storyline also feature a fictional heavy metal band called Love Fist. The multi-CD soundtrack to the game was an instant best-seller.
In addition to music and interviews, the stations also include satirical commercials, such as the Degenatron, a fictional video game console ("Save the green dots with your fantastic flying red square!"), likely a parody of the Atari 2600. The commercials and the game setting are consistent: Degenatron advertisements appear on billboards, and ads air for stores in which the player can actually shop, such as Ammu-Nation. Months before the release of Vice City, Rockstar Games created a Degenatron "fansite", which allowed users to actually play the "emulated" games. There is also a commercial for the "popular" weapons store Ammu-Nation ("We even have the rocket launcher that was used when we whipped Australia's Ass"), a deodorant named "Pitbomb", which is a parody of Right Guard, and a car called the Maibatsu Thunder, a parody of the Mitsubishi Starion, which was a favoured import sports car of the day.
The Windows and Mac versions of the game allow users to import MP3 songs, allowing them to hear their own music through vehicle radio when tuning to an extra radio station called "MP3". To be able to do this, the user must copy their MP3 files to a specific folder installed by the game.
Reception and sales
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was released to universal acclaim 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 US 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. It was also generally praised for its open-ended action and entertaining re-creation of 1980s culture.
The readers of Official UK PlayStation Magazine voted it the fourth-greatest PlayStation title ever released. Vice City also appeared on Japanese magazine Famitsu 's readers' list of the favourite 100 videogames of 2006, the only fully Western title on the list.
As of 26 September 2007, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has sold 15 million units according to Take-Two Interactive. As of 26 March 2008, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has sold 17.5 million units according to Take-Two Interactive, making it the fourth-highest-selling video game for the PlayStation 2. As of 2011 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has sold over 20 million copies.
On 26 October 2012 Rockstar Games announced that Grand Theft Auto: Vice City would be released on iOS and Android for the game's tenth anniversary, following the tenth anniversary release of a mobile version of Grand Theft Auto III in December 2011. The game was released for iOS on 6 December 2012; the Android version was slightly delayed and was released on 12 December 2012.
There are a few differences between the console versions and the mobile versions of Vice City, including updated graphics and character models, and custom controls with a fully customisable layout. Some features exclusive to the iOS versions include iCloud save game support, and the ability for the player to create a personal playlist using the music on their device.
Like Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has been labelled as violent and explicit, and is considered highly controversial by many special interest groups, some of whom suggest that parental supervision is necessary when young people play this game, since children were never the game's intended audience. The ESRB rated this game "M" for Mature. In Australia, it was censored in case of it receiving a refused classification rating in which the ability to pick up a prostitute was blocked, so the game could be given a MA15+ rating. In 2010, these small cuts were added back and the game still retained its MA15+ rating.
In November 2003, Cuban-American and Haitian-American civil rights organisations in Florida publicly criticised the title, contending that the game essentially invited people to harm immigrants from those two nations. The groups' claims of racism and incitement to genocide attracted a good deal of public attention towards Vice City. Rockstar Games issued a press release stating that they understood the concern of Cuban-Americans and Haitian-Americans, but also believed these organisations were blowing the issue out of proportion. Concerns regarding graphic depictions of ethnically-targeted violence in the title were echoed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, vowing to "do everything we possibly can" if Rockstar did not comply. Take-Two (the game's publisher) did agree to remove several lines of dialogue. This seems to have largely satisfied the organisations who raised the complaints, although the case was then referred to a state court, downgraded from the initial decision to refer the case to a federal court. In 2004, a new version of the game was released, removing and changing those lines of dialogue.
In February 2005, a lawsuit was brought upon the makers and distributors of the Grand Theft Auto series claiming the games caused a teenager to shoot and kill three members of the Alabama police force. The shooting took place in June 2003, when Devin Moore, 17 years old at the time, was brought in for questioning to a Fayette police station regarding a stolen vehicle. Moore then grabbed a pistol from one of the police officers and shot and killed him along with another officer and dispatcher before fleeing in a police car. One of Moore's attorneys, Jack Thompson, claimed it was GTA's graphic nature — with his constant playing time — that caused Moore to commit the murders, and Moore's family agreed. Damages are being sought from the Jasper branches of GameStop and Wal-Mart, the stores from which GTA III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, respectively, were purchased and also from the games' publisher Take-Two Interactive, and the PlayStation 2 manufacturer Sony Computer Entertainment. The case Strickland v. Sony was heard by the same judge who presided over Moore's criminal trial, in which he was sentenced to death for his actions. In May 2008, he was criticised by Judge Dava Tunis for unprofessional conduct during the Strickland v. Sony case.
In September 2006, Jack Thompson brought another lawsuit, claiming that Cody Posey played the game obsessively before murdering his father, stepmother, and stepsister on a ranch in Hondo, New Mexico. The suit was filed on behalf of the victims' families. During the criminal trial, Posey's defence team argued he was abused by his father, and tormented by his stepmother. Posey was also taking Zoloft at the time of the killings. The suit alleged that were it not for his obsessive playing of Vice City, the murders would not have taken place. Named in the suit were Cody Posey, Rockstar Games, Take-Two Interactive, and Sony. The suit asked for US$600 million in damages. The case was dismissed in December 2007, as New Mexico held no jurisdiction over Sony or Take-Two. Thompson was later disbarred.
In late 2012, the PC version of the game was temporarily pulled from digital stores, including Steam, due to a music licensing issue with one of the songs in the game. The song in question is believed to be "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" by Michael Jackson, though Rockstar Games has not confirmed this.
- Rockstar Vienna ported the game to Xbox.Grand Theft Auto III: 10th Anniversary Edition mobile versions developed by War Drum Studios.
- Published by Capcom for Japan release.
- Games in the Grand Theft Auto series are grouped into distinct fictional universes, which share interconnected plots and characters. The "3D universe" consists of Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City (2002), Advance (2004), San Andreas (2004), Liberty City Stories (2005), and Vice City Stories (2006).
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- Sonny Forelli: Tommy! What? No big hugs for your old buddy? / Tommy Vercetti: I've had fifteen years out of the loop. I'm a bit rusty on family etiquette. / Sonny: Always angry, eh Tommy. Didn't I say your temper would get you into trouble, huh?[...]How many was it? Ten? No, eleven men. That's how you get to be called the Harwood Butcher! (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Rockstar North/Take-Two Interactive, 2002.)
- Mobster: [Vercetti] kept his head down ... helps people forget. / Sonny: People will remember soon enough; when they see him walking down the streets of their neighborhoods it will be bad for business. (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Rockstar North/Take-Two Interactive, 2002.)
- Sonny: We treat him [Tommy] like an old friend and keep him busy out of town. OK? We been talking about expanding down South, right? Vice City is twenty-four carat gold these days[...] / Mobster: But it's all drugs, Sonny. None of the families will touch that shit! / Sonny: Times are changing[...]So, we send someone down to do the dirty work for us and cut ourselves a nice quiet slice. OK? (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Rockstar North/Take-Two Interactive, 2002.)
- Sonny: So, how'd the deal go down — you sitting on some white gold? / Tommy: Look Sonny, we were set up. The deal was an ambush. Harry and Lee are dead. / Sonny: You better be kidding me Tommy! Tell me you still got the money! / Tommy: ... no Sonny ... I don't have the money. / Sonny: That was MY money, Tommy, MY MONEY!!! (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Rockstar North/Take-Two Interactive, 2002.)
- Tommy: Wait Sonny. You have my personal assurance that I'm going to get you your money back ... and the drugs. And I'm gonna mail you the dicks of those responsible. (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Rockstar North/Take-Two Interactive, 2002.)
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Grand Theft Auto III launched in 2001 and sold over 12 million units. We then shipped another sequel in 2002 which sold over 15 million units, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. And then in 2004 we shipped Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which sold a remarkable 20 million units...
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