Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
27th October 2002
Grand Theft Auto series
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (also referred to as GTA Vice City, Vice City and GTAVC), is the second game in the GTA III Era. Although it was released after Grand Theft Auto III, it was set 15 years earlier.
GTA Vice City is set in Vice City, Florida (USA) in 1986, and concerns the exploits of protagonist Tommy Vercetti as he rises to become Vice City's major criminal power. The game's events follow on from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
Designed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games, it debuted in North America on October 27, 2002 for PlayStation 2 and quickly became the best-selling video game of the year. As of July 2006, GTA Vice City is, in the American market, the best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. GTA Vice City also appeared on the Japanese magazine Famitsu's readers' list of 100 all-time favorite videogames in 2006. Following this success, GTA Vice City saw releases in Europe, Australia and Japan, and became available on PC and Xbox. Later, Rockstar Vienna packaged the game with its predecessor, GTA III, and sold it as the Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack for Xbox.
It uses a tweaked version of the Renderware game engine used by GTA III, and similarly presents a huge cityscape, fully populated with buildings (from hotels to skyscrapers), vehicles (cars, motorcycles, boats, helicopters, and planes) and people.
From the official site:
- 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 prison, Tommy Vercetti is sent to Vice City by his old boss, Sonny Forelli to buy some drugs and because they were understandably nervous about his re-appearence in Liberty City. Tommy as well as two Forelli representives Harry and Lee go to Escobar International Airport and meet the Forelli's contact, lawyer Ken Rosenberg. Ken explains that the deal is at the docks and the contacts are brothers, one does the deals and the other does the flying. However the deal is an ambush and the seller, as well as Harry and Lee, are killed. The money and drugs are lost. Tommy, Ken, and the pilot escape. Tommy gets a call from Sonny and after explaining the situation Sonny demands that he has the money back. Tommy immediatly begins to investigate the ambush, Ken suggests that Tommy trys Colonel Juan Garcia Cortez as he helped Ken put the deal together. Ken also explains that Cortez is having a party on his yacht. Tommy goes to the party and meets Cortez's daughter Mercedes as well some other people at the party. Ken also explains that Kent Paul will know who has the coke and he is holed up at the Malibu. Tommy learns from Kent that there is a hitman/chef named Leo Teal who is killed by Tommy. The helicopter pilot from the deal appears and helps Tommy escape from the other chefs as well as get some weapons. After doing some more work for Ken, he introduces Tommy to Avery Carrington and Tommy helps Avery with his property problems. Soon Cortez asks Tommy to meet him at his yacht where he explains that whoever ambushed the deal learned it from one of his henchmen, Gonzalez who is killed by Tommy at his penthouse. After doing some more work for Cortez, Tommy encounters the heli pilot again and explains that his name is Lance. Tommy and Lance through Cortez meet Vice's drug baron Ricardo Diaz. After doing some work for Diaz, Lance explains that is was none other than Diaz who ambushed the deal though they decide to continue working for him to learn more before they take him down. Kent soon calls Tommy and asks Tommy to meet him at the Malibu where he explains that Lance tried to kill Diaz but was captured by his goons forcing Tommy to rescue him. After helping Cortez escape the city, Tommy and Lance storm the mansion and kill Diaz as well as aquire his business'. Lance feels neglected by Tommy and Sonny gets more angry that he still dosen't have his money. Soon Sonny loses his patience and has his goons tax Tommy's business' but are killed by him. Failing that Sonny decides to to to Vice to deal with Tommy himself. The three try to give Sonny the fake money instead of the real only to be betrayed by Lance who reveals their plan to Sonny. Tommy then kills Lance and Sonny in a huge battle in the mansion. Tommy and Ken are now running the city and start a business relationship.
- Mercedes Cortez, Juan Cortez, Earnest Kelly, Umberto Robina and Mitch Baker: People Tommy likes because he can relate to them with little arguments or problems. This is most notable with Mercedes Cortez and Earnest Kelly.
- Ken Rosenberg, Avery Carrington and Love Fist: people Tommy works with for either money or favors.
- Sonny Forelli, Ricardo Diaz, Lance Vance, and Gonzalez: People Tommy can't get along with due to their greed and lack of respect. All end up dead.
- Alberto Robina, Mike, Donald Love, BJ Smith, Rico, Pepe, Candy Suxxx, Alex Shrub, Kent Paul, Leo Teal, Mr. Black, Harry, Lee, Steve Scott, Delores and Victor Vance: People Tommy meets that do not fall into any category.
Setting and Influences
GTA Vice City is arguably the most heavily themed Grand Theft Auto game, taking influences from a wide range of classic 1980s movies, television series and music.
Perhaps the closest real-life counterpart to GTA Vice City is the television series Miami Vice. Aside from the broad-ranging similarities (80's music,--including new wave, glam metal and synthesizer pop-- organized crime, drug trafficking, styled cars, pastel clothes etc), several specific references are included. For example, at a 3-star wanted level or above, two undercover police officers who strongly resemble Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs--the primary characters from the aforementioned TV series--will chase the player in a VCPD Cheetah, which is itself styled after the 1986 Ferrari Testarossa, Crockett and Tubbs' vehicle of choice in the later three series of the show.
Another direct link to Miami Vice is the inclusion of "Crockett's Theme," a pivotal piece of instrumental music from the show, on the in-game radio station Emotion 98.3. Many other songs featured prominently in the show are also featured on the game's radio stations. The game's intro theme is composed in the style of the "Miami Vice Theme". One of the primary characters, Lance Vance, is voiced by Philip Michael Thomas, who portrayed Tubbs. Several vehicles in Vice City are also taken from the TV series, including the Squalo (Sonny Crockett's speedboat), the Stinger (Crockett's car for the first two seasons), the Marquis (Crockett's sailing yacht), and the Infernus.
Another significant influence on GTA Vice City is the 1983 film Scarface, starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana. Several in-game locations, such as the mansion that becomes the Vercetti Estate, are obviously styled after locations featured in the movie. Elsewhere in the city, there is a hidden apartment containing a chainsaw within a blood-stained bathroom, a nod to Scarface's infamous chainsaw torture scene. The game's final mission mirrors the end of the movie; in both the main character is assaulted by an army of goons at their mansion, although crucially Tommy Vercetti lives, whereas Tony Montana is killed. The "Mr. Vercetti" outfit available from the The Pole Position Club strongly resembles an outfit worn by Tony Montana, and even Tommy Vercetti himself takes many character and lifestyle traits from Al Pacino's character, specifically his short temper and heavy dealings in the cocaine trade.
It is also worth noting that the radio station Flashback FM from Grand Theft Auto III features the songs that were written for Scarface; the developers acknowledged the film as being a major influence on the overall rise-to-criminal-power theme of that game, and the soundtrack was included as an homage.
Other references and influences on Vice City include:
- Carlito's Way - Ken Rosenberg, Tommy Vercetti's lawyer and adviser, looks and acts like Sean Penn's lawyer character from the movie.
- To Live and Die in L.A. - later in the game there is a money counterfeiting scheme based on the movie. A song from the movie's soundtrack ("Dance Hall Days" by Wang Chung) is also included on the in-game radio station.
- Red Dawn - an Ammu-Nation radio advertisement calling this 1984 movie about a fictional Soviet invasion of the United States a "documentary" is just one example of the game's lampooning of 1980s American paranoia towards communism.
- Village People - a builder, a police officer, a soldier, a firefighter and a biker can be seen dancing on stage in the Malibu Club.
- Cars associated with 1980s pop culture - many of the game's vehicles are look-alikes of popular/famous vehicles from the time, such as the Deluxo, which is a nod to the DeLorean DMC-12, and the Burrito, an homage to the A-Team van.
- Pablo Escobar - possibly the most notorious Colombian drug dealer ever to have lived is alluded to by the name of Escobar International Airport.
- Hair Metal - as well as the rock/metal station V-Rock, a fictitious in-game metal band Love Fist spoofs many 80s glam metal clichés in the style of Spinal Tap and Mötley Crüe
- Characters in GTA Vice City
- Missions in GTA Vice City
- Vehicles in GTA Vice City
- Weapons in GTA Vice City
- 100% Completion in GTA Vice City
- Radio Stations in GTA Vice City
- Safehouses in GTA Vice City
- Assets in GTA Vice City
- Businesses in GTA Vice City
- Gangs in GTA Vice City
- Secrets and Easter Eggs in GTA Vice City
- Cheats in GTA Vice City
Tips & tricks
GameSpot rated the game 9.6/10, giving it an Editor's Choice award. Its record was surpassed by its successor Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Awards GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2002 Best Music on PlayStation 2, Best Action Adventure Game on PlayStation 2, Game of the Year on PlayStation 2 IGN's Best of 2002 Best Adventure Game for PlayStation 2 (Editor's Choice and Reader's Choice), Special Achievement for Sound (Reader's Choice), Best Game of the Year for PlayStation 2 (Editor's Choice and Reader's Choice) BAFTA Video Games Awards Best Design, Best PC Game, Best Action Game, Sunday Times Reader Award for Games, Best Playstation 2 Game, Best Sound
- Tommy Vercetti's character was voiced by Ray Liotta.
- The logo sequence for GTA Vice City is reminiscent of the Commodore 64 BASIC command prompt, which was common during the time when the game was set.
- According to Lazlow Jones, Rockstar began working on GTA Vice City, only one month after the release of GTA III.
- GTA Vice City is set in a fictional city based on Miami, Florida.
- GTA Vice City is set two years after GTA Vice City Stories which took place in 1984.
- All license plates are similar to Florida license plates, an orange logo resembling the state of Florida can be seen on them, some even having the Florida Gators logo.
- GTA Vice City is the only game so far to feature artwork for all radio DJ's (however GTA Vice City Stories features artwork of the GTA: Liberty City Stories Flashback FM DJ Reni Wassulmaier)
- GTA Vice City is the only GTA III-era game not to feature the AK-47. However in the loading art, Phil Cassidy is seen holding one guarding his fort, and it can be seen on the wall of any Ammunation. It was originally to appear, but was cut from the final game.
- GTA Vice City only took 9 months to make.
- GTA Vice City has more melee weapons than any other Grand Theft Auto game.
- GTA Vice City was voted "Most degrading Video Game to women" a few months after it's release. Points brought up included The Twins who the hosts wrongly called "a lesbian couple", the fact that Vice City is, as the hosts quoted, the babe central of America.
- GTA Vice City is the second best-selling game of the GTA III Era and the third best-selling GTA game overall with over 17.5 million units sold.
Many strange glitches and bugs have been found in Vice City, especially in downloaded torrents. One is the mysterious "Black Dreads Torrent", where an anonymous person told his story about downloading a torrent for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and being watched by another player.