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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Score: 95%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar Games
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

When the original Grand Theft Auto first hit the shelves, few people expected the controversial title of the day to evolve into a global sensation. To some, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City may have been reason enough to purchase a PS2 a few months ago, even if it was the only PS2 game a person would ever buy. Well, thankfully that isn't necessary anymore. GTA has made its return to the PC, and GTA: Vice City is absolutely amazing. Not only does it feature the deep and excellent gameplay and atmosphere of the one-time PS2 exclusive, but numerous improvements have been included, along with some rather cool new features. In fact, it may be enough to warrant owning a second copy of the game. A large chunk of the improvements in GTA: Vice City have been appropriated to the graphics. Already stunning, these additions bring new realism and detail to the characters and world of GTA. The 'pastel' color scheme is as vibrant as ever, with support for resolutions as high as 1600x1200. Worn down walls, luster on vehicles, and wrinkled faces never looked more detailed and vibrant.

The enhancements don't end there. By taking advantage of the power in most gaming PC's, GTA: Vice City is capable of drawing a larger area of the city's outsides. This means that while traveling 'cautiously' through the streets of Vice City, you can see artifacts in the cities' distance for much greater distances than possible in the PS2 version.

More icing on the cake waits when you hear GTA: Vice City's amazing audio and sounds. Featuring a soundtrack that is made up of various styled radio stations, each with its own format, the game makes use of numerous tunes from the 1980's. These radio stations are led by a few well-versed DJ's that bleed seamlessly into the atmosphere of the game. Just driving down the road, players could wander for days listening to the tunes or, if they wanted, they can import their own mp3s into the game and jam out with individual style. This individuality is also accessible with your characters' clothing. Players can custom skin the character as needed, although quite a bit of costumes come to play during the game itself.

Voice acting is made possible by some fairly popular names in the business of crime drama actors. Ray Liotta, Dennis Hopper, Burt Reynolds and more make contributions to the vocal flavors in Vice City.


Tommy Vercetti, an ex-con trying to get back into the business, has gotten in to some trouble. As Tommy, your boss sends you down to Vice City, a Miami-style town where the prime trades are tourism and crime. While in the middle of a drug deal, something takes an unexpected turn and you lose both the drugs and the money you were supposed to receive in exchange for them. Now, you need to find a way to get the money back or your boss will take it out of you. As a result, you find yourself peddling yourself in Vice City, working various odd jobs for different criminals until you have enough smug to run the town yourself.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is mission driven. Most are quite varied, although each consists of somehow getting into a car (usually stolen) and terrorizing the city while attempting to locate the mission objectives. These missions range from killing a loudmouth informant to 'fixing up' a number of jury members to ensure a certain outcome occurs in a court trial. As would be expected, GTA: Vice City sets you up with quite a selection of vehicles. Since you can practically pull any car off of the road and drive it, you may find yourself buzzing down the road in a speedster or roaring inside of a monster truck. The boundaries are practically limitless, and even include access to speedboats and a helicopter. Traveling through the city, players may engage in activities in any number of arrangements. No explicit order is set on this open ended game, and you can even run completely off track of the main missions by running mini-quests like 'vigilante' missions after commandeering a police car.

As mentioned earlier, GTA: Vice City's story is set in the 1980's. Everything in the game looks and feels like the dirty, materialistic society that stereotyped that generation. By allowing players to freely roam through the city, players can become overwhelmed by the perfectly satirized world of GTA: Vice City's 1980's excess. Much larger than Liberty City, which was the town space of Grand Theft Auto 3, the game overachieves by allowing an almost unbounded area of exposure for exploration.


Depending on the mission at hand, and your intention to complete that mission accordingly, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City can vary in difficulty. Many of the individual missions are difficult enough to require a few retries or deaths before completing it correctly. However, because GTA: Vice City is so open ended, there are often numerous paths to completing a mission. Some of those paths are less difficult than others.

Game Mechanics:

Bringing back the aspect of customization, which was included in both the visual presentation of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as well as the audio choices, GTA: Vice City features a mouse/keyboard control scheme that grants the user complete control over action and movement. Players can opt to use a game pad if they want the same feel as the PS2 counterpart. However, using the default mouse/keyboard scheme seems to perform generally well and seems somewhat better when aiming at targets. At some points, the mouse has its advantages over the keyboard, where others the keyboard is a clear winner. Thankfully this can be configured at the slightest touch of a button.

Considering the 1980's as a part of nostalgic past could make some people feel slightly older than they wish they were. Nevertheless, GTA: Vice City takes advantage of the eighties feel and atmosphere and delivers an experience like no other. The days of The Godfather, Goodfellas, and other popular action crime flicks have been numbered with the emergence of Grand Theft Auto. The experience is unique and the game play is golden. If you haven't already shelled out the two hundred dollars for a PS2, your wait has been rewarded. If you have already purchased the game before, however, you will probably want to pick this one up again anyway.

-==Boy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Kyle Prestenback

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, 800 MHZ processor, 128 MB RAM, 32 MB video card with DirectX 9.0, compatible drivers, 915 MB of free hard disk space, 8x CD / DVD drive, Soundcard, keyboard, mouse

Test System:

Windows XP, Athlon XP 1800+, 1GB Ram, 64MB Gforce4 TI 4200, 16X DVD drive

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