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. 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 if not all 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 PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system this October. 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 has been overtaken by drug lords, gang violence, and the police.
- 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, or maybe you want to have a good laugh and listen to Talk Shows.
- 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.
- 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 eventually 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.