Game Spotlight: Grand Theft Auto Vice City

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You know a game is pretty good when I can vividly remember spending hours just playing in the sandbox world, no missions, no storylines, just playing. I can remember spending a couple hours every day just hopping on my PCJ 600, getting a two-star level, enough to get the cops in a frenzy and just drive around the entire city. The goal was simple, see how long I could steer around traffic and cops on a motorcycle without falling off. I did that. For hours.

So it’s no surprise that a game that’s capable of doing this gets the spotlight treatment. Out of all the Grand Theft Auto games, Vice City is easily the game I sunk the most time into (not counting GTA V’s online portion, ’tis a little unfair) and also easily the best game in terms of its story, characters and especially the soundtrack!

There are so many fantastic songs in this game! Here’s just a few classics that the game has:

  • Judas Priest – You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
  • Motley Crue – Too Young to Fall in Love
  • Megadeth – Peace Sells
  • Twisted Sister – I Wanna Rock
  • Anthrax – Madhouse
  • Ozzy Osbourne – Bark at the Moon
  • Slayer – Raining Blood
  • Iron Maiden – 2 Minutes to Midnight
  • A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
  • Toto – Africa
  • REO Speedwagon – Keep on Loving You
  • Foreigner – Waiting for a Girl Like You
  • Hall & Oates – Out of Touch
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
  • Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
  • Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart

That’s sixteen tracks that I know of as major hits, two of them are from the King of Pop! To have that great a music selection is something that even games today wishes they could accomplish.

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The game itself looks fantastic, at least speaking from the standards at the time. The 80s Miami Beach kind of scene was a perfect choice for a setting, it’s colourful and full of life. I wish we’d get a new GTA game in this setting, we could use a little more colour in all our games. The characters are pretty colourful themselves, guys like Tommy Vercetti being constantly heated and angry, Lance Vance being as cheesy and over the top as he is, Kent Paul as the asshole promoter and agent, there’s a lot there that keeps the world lively and full of energy at all times.

There’s also a ton of big names as a part of the voice cast in the game. You’ve got Ray Liotta playing Tommy Vercetti, Dennis Hopper as Steve Scott, Burt Reynolds as Avery Carrington, Danny Trejo as Umberto Robina, Gary Busey as Phil Cassidy, Lee Majors as “Big” Mitch Baker, and even porn actress Jenna Jameson as Candy Suxxx. Just like there’s a great soundtrack to the game, there’s a fantastic cast of people voicing various characters in the game.

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The story while I don’t recall much, it was interesting in parts. It is very reminiscent of movies like Scarface and with the great voice cast and personalities of characters they have at their disposal, even a meh at best script still would’ve been very good. The early going is when I like the game the most, towards the end not so much, especially when working with the if I remember correctly, voodoo sort of gang in the city. That part was dumb as shit for me.

Lastly, the gameplay is just so solid, especially when you think this was a PS2-era game. Like I said, I would spend hours just messing around with the world, getting into trouble, driving really fast, doing stunt jumps, the usual GTA fodder. But I think it was because the game was centered around the 80s that the game doesn’t go too over the top (unless you use cheat codes) since it’s not modern technology so having things like lock-on rockets and cell phones interrupting you constantly. The game just lets you go out and fuck shit up. And as a veteran GTA player, I couldn’t ask for anything more.

So assuming most of you have played it, maybe go back and check it out again. I know I have to now after talking about this game again. I need to go see how long I can bike around the city again…

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