Grand Theft Auto: Vice City  
Rockstar's new adventure takes GTA 3's mighty experience to new levels.

HarryIn the heat of the "next-generation" fever of the latest two years, Grand Theft Auto 3 has shown what the mass, the greatest part of gamers, wants to find in a videogame.

The first two instalments of DMA's Grand Theft Auto series for Playstation and PC were definitely popular, thanks to an immediate and captivating game concept - they were 2D crime simulators, and seasoned with enough realism to enter the territory of mature audience. But they were also games characterized by bad controls and old-looking graphics.

The 2D world created by DMA design hadn't the strength to convey the visual realism requested by the game concept. That's where all the hype around GTA3 started. The big jump to a fully 3D world was what fans of the series were expecting. More freedom, good controls, realism, and humour created a formula that overshadowed the success of games like Final Fantasy X and Metal Gear Solid 2. Grand Theft Auto 3 hadn't the artistic value of both these games, and surely it was far from the beautiful complexity of Metal Gear Solid 2, but it was a game modelled on the needs of the mass of gamers, a pick-n-play experience with an inebriating sense of freedom.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, currently scheduled for an October 29th release in North America, is the answer to the millions of people who loved GTA3 and that are now asking for a new instalment.

For the gamers who have lived on another planet for the latest months, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is not an add-on or an expansion to GTA3. It's a completely stand-alone game, with a new story, new characters, and first of all a new city to be conquered with your criminal acts, a city that's three times bigger than GTA 3's Liberty City.

The setting and the story
If Liberty City was clearly a projection of the modern New York, Vice City is a digital version of Miami.

"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." (from Rockstar's official press release)

But the game is also a humorous celebration of the most kitsch period of the XX century, the Eighties, and overall, the setting seems the same of Miami Vice. Vice City is a warm, colorful city, a place made of palms, sun, swimming pools, shiny cars, sexy girls in bikini, Hawaiian shirts, and terrifying hairstyles.

Vice City is a warm, colourful city...
...really a great place!

In this happy world of corruption, drug dealers, pop stars, and too powerful politicians, life is not easy for Tommy Vercetti, a member of the Liberty City mafia, sent to Vice City by his Boss, Sonny Forelli. Like the nameless criminal in GTA3, Tommy Vercetti will have to fight many dangerous organizations, find new allies, and become the leading actor on Vice City's criminal scene.

Known new features
Rockstar's guys seem to be not too interested in revealing details and features of their new game. After all, they surely don't need advertising for a title that's already expected to sell a huge number of copies.

GTA: Vice City will be based on the same game structure of GTA 3, and also the graphic engine looks basically the same. But Vice City should offer more variety, more freedom, more realism than its predecessor, and that's exactly what players are expecting to find in this new episode.

First of all, there will be more weapons, and the bloodiest ones seem to be those for hand-to-hand combat. Tommy can use hammers, and he can also attack his enemies with a chainsaw and let you revive with much more humour that unforgettable, terrifying scene of Scarface with Al Pacino. Among the other weapons available there will be Python Magnum revolvers, the best choice for Clint Eastwood's fans, the "classic" Uzi and MC-10 submachineguns, heavy military models like the M60 machinegun, and sniper rifles.

There will also be much more vehicles to steal and drive in the game. Motorcycles are back from the 2D games, and this time you can also drive helicopters, golf carts, boats, and high-performance cars, including a clone of the Lamborghini Countach, called the "Inferno".

This time, you can also drive motorcycles!
And there will be dozens of surprises for you!

The great in-game radio stations are back, with more than eighty different tracks from good and not so good authors of the 80s like Judas Priest, Blondie, Flock of Seagulls, Kool and the Gang, Hall and Oates, Grandmaster Flash, Cutting Crew, with the intent of recreating the undoubtedly unique musical assortment of the period. Just to let you understand how vast the soundtrack of the game is, Rockstar and Sony Music Entertainment will release seven soundtrack albums in the day of the launch of Vice City; each album will include the music from one of the in-game radio stations.

Last but not least, it seems that the game will feature more fully detailed indoor environments than GTA 3, where the player was actually able to enter just in four-five places, even if the greatest part of the missions will most likely take place in the open air.

At this point, it's impossible to have other information. You might be able to find out something more looking at, the first website related to the world of Vice City. What's sure is that GTA Vice City is not GTA 4, so the ones expecting big changes to the game structure of GTA 3 could be disappointed.

Players have been asking new features for the series from the very first days following the release of GTA 3. In fact, the undeniable sense of freedom of GTA 3, its strongest point, is also what makes the limits of the game more striking. Basically, the more freedom you get, the more freedom you want. Yes, you can go around freely, steal cars, kill peasants, create your own garage of cars, find multiple strategies to complete the missions but why can't you enter in the buildings, why doesn't the police arrest other criminals besides you, why can't you organize your own bank robbery, why can't you create your own gang of criminals? The answer is simple: this is a game, and games cost money - DMA did what they could with their budget and within the development time at their disposal, and the result was that amazing game that is GTA 3.

GTA: Vice City will probably be unable to fulfil all the desires of the gamers, but it will undoubtedly bring GTA 3's greatest qualities to higher levels. And after all, that's exactly what we all want from those criminal minds at Rockstar.

- Harry (September 9th, 2002)