|Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories|
|Series||Grand Theft Auto|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer (PSP)|
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is an action-adventure video game developed in a collaboration between Rockstar Leeds and Rockstar North, and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 31 October 2006 for PlayStation Portable and later for PlayStation 2 on 5 March 2007. The game is the tenth instalment in the Grand Theft Auto series and the sixth and last game in the 3D universe. This was also the last game in the series to use well-known and Hollywood voice talent; Grand Theft Auto IV onward would instead use lesser-known and unknown voice actors. It is a prequel to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and the successor to previous PSP release, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Vice City is a representation of Miami, Florida.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is an action-adventure game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective, structured similarly to other releases from the Grand Theft Auto series. The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large environment in which to move around. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, running, swimming, jumping, as well as using weapons and basic hand-to-hand combat. The player can drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, planes, helicopters, jetskis and motorcycles.
The open, non-linear environment allows the player to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain areas and content, they are not required, as the player can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, the player can freely roam game's world. The player can also partake in a variety of optional side missions. The traditional side missions of the past games are included, but have been moderately upgraded and enhanced compared to previous titles. A new addition to the game is "Beach Patrol", in which Victor (the player's character) must deal with bikers on the beach by beach buggy (by ramming or shooting to knock them off their bikes) or throwing life preservers to drowning swimmers by boat or by taking a paramedic around to injured people on the beach.
One of the key gameplay elements in Vice City Stories is "empire-building". New to the Grand Theft Auto series, it borrows a few ideas from Vice Citys "properties" and San Andreas "gang wars" systems. To make money, the player must open and operate various businesses on property taken over from enemy gangs - these can range from protection rackets to brothels or smuggling compounds; the type and scale of a business is entirely dependent on the player's wants. For Vice City Stories, the combat system was overhauled. The targeting mechanism has been tweaked to "intelligently target"; enemies posing a threat or attacking the player will be targeted over pedestrians. The biggest changes concern the hand-to-hand combat system, as the player can now perform grappling moves and throws, and stand on top of enemies lying on the ground. The player is able to bribe policemen or hospital staff when "Wasted" (killed) or "Busted" (arrested) to lower their wanted level, and keep weapons that ordinarily would have been lost.
The standard hidden package system returns in the form of 99 red balloons scattered around the city. This is a reference to Nena's 1984 hit "99 Luftballons", which was featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Improvements to the graphics since the release of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories include new animations, faster load times, a longer draw distance, reductions in clumping of pedestrians and vehicles, more complex explosions, and increases in the density of objects, vehicles, and NPCs.
Like the game's predecessor, the PSP version of Vice City Stories features a multiplayer mode, for up to 6 players through WiFi ad-hoc mode (local area). The game features 10 different modes of wireless multiplayer gaming, which incorporate the use of automobiles, aircraft, and water-based vehicles. Various pedestrian and character models from the single player mode are available as player avatars. These multiplayer modes are not included in the PS2 version.
Victor "Vic" Vance (Dorian Missick) had an impoverished upbringing with two brothers; Pete who is suffering from asthma and lazy Lance Vance. To make money for his dysfunctional family, Vic is employed as a Corporal for the U.S. Army.
In 1984, Vic is stationed at Fort Baxter in Vice City. His supervisor, Sergeant Jerry Martinez (Felix Solis), a corrupt soldier of the Army who works as a drug smuggler, gives Vic the task of managing a drug dealing business. Vic arrives on the buyer's yacht, but they are ambushed by unknown assailants who blow up the boat, leaving only Vic alive.
After the negotiations' failure, Martinez, despite being angry with Vic, gives him a new job. He visits Phil Cassidy (Gary Busey), an eccentric war veteran who owns a gun range at the docks. Cassidy gives him a gun and tests his skills. He makes another job with Martinez, who instructs him to get his girl Mary from a party. He goes to Phil's place and he provides him with the sports car. Vic arrives at the party, beats up several thugs and rescues the girl. He gets her back to the base, but a Master Sergeant confronts him about a pack of marijuana which Martinez planted under his bed, and he also confronts him about the girl, who reveals herself to be a prostitute. As a result, he is dishonorably discharged from the Army and charged with high treason.
Now on the streets, he gets a call from Phil, who gives him his old place to stay. He also does several missions with him, usually confronting Cholos. Later, he meets Marty Jay Williams, who is Phil's brother-in-law. Marty is the leader of a small organisation known as the Trailer Park Mafia, known for being involved in racketeering, loan sharking, and prostitution. Vic does various missions with Marty, often protecting his business. Marty often abuses his wife Louise, who has a child with him. Louise develops a relationship with Vic, which angers Marty. One day, Louise is beaten up badly and kidnapped by Marty, and Vic is able to track Marty down and kill him.
With Marty dead, Vic takes over the Trailer Park Mafia, now renamed Vance Crime Family. Soon after, his brother, Lance Vance (Philip Michael Thomas), arrives, hearing the news. He picks him up from the Escobar International Airport, but they are ambushed by Cholos. They manage to escape. As Vic expands the Vance Crime Family by taking over rackets from Cholos and Bikers, Lance sets up various deals. They transact with the Cuban-Americans under the leadership of Umberto Robina (Danny Trejo). Using a pinata resembling a rudely gesturing Robina, Vic destroys the Cholo's business, eliminating them from Vice City. Meanwhile, Lance has connected with local drug dealer Bryan Forbes. After several deals, they find out that Forbes is actually an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, and he runs away with their money. They catch him and lock him in an old slum building, where they force him to expose drug deals around the town. He misleads them into various traps, even leading them to a gay bar. They return only to discover Forbes attempting to escape their captivity. Vic chases him and kills him.
After this, they locate and steal a major drug shipment, unaware that the drug shipment belongs to the Mendez brothers, Armando (Yul Vazquez) and Diego. Soon, they are kidnapped by them. Lance lies to them that Martinez stole the coke shipment, and that he is actually a DEA agent who wants evidence to arrest them. They take photos of Martinez with a DEA agent, and they copy the Forbes files with Martinez's file, which describes Martinez as an agent. They do several jobs for the Mendez brothers, who connect them to Reni Wassulmaier (Barbara Rosenblat), a transsexual film director. Reni gives Vic several jobs to work, and he also helps Reni's manager, Barry Mickelthwaite (Timothy Spall), to get Phil Collins (himself) on his concert unharmed from the Forelli mobsters, to whom Barry owes money.
Reni connects Vic to Ricardo Diaz (Luis Guzmán), a drug baron, for which Lance and Vic do a few jobs. The Mendez brothers are not pleased with this, and they betray them, saying that Martinez exposed them off, and if they give all of their businesses to them, they will let them go alive. They refuse this offer, and they are knocked out. They wake up at the power plant, where they kill several of Mendez's men and barely escape. Vic cooperates with Diaz to take them out, and they break into the Mendezes' safe and destroy their bearer bonds, which makes Armando and Diego bankrupt. As revenge, the Mendez Brothers kidnap Louise. Vic wants to save her, but Lance is hesitant, until the Mendez's henchmen blow up his car. Losing his mind, Lance assaults them, and he gets into a trap, and the Mendez brothers kidnap him as well. Left with no choice, Vic arrives at their mansion, and fights with Armando, who arrives with a flamethrower and tries to burn him alive, but he manages to kill him. He finds Lance and Louise, but Louise is badly beaten and dies in his arms. Vic leaves angry, swearing revenge against Martinez and also Diego, who escaped.
Diaz helps Vic track Diego and Martinez. He makes Vic steal an army chopper from Fort Baxter. Phil helps Vic by making a diversion. After Vic successfully steals the chopper, Vic assaults the Mendez's fortress. He blows up a few floors, but his chopper is shot and he is forced to land on the building. He raids several offices, and he finds out that Martinez and Diego are on the roof. After a tense stand-off, Victor kills them. Moments later, Lance arrives in his chopper to find Martinez and Diego dead. Lance and Vic agree to never engage in drug business again. The Vance Brothers then leave Vice City to send Pete the money for his asthma medications.
Like previous Grand Theft Auto games, Vice City Stories features notable voice actors. Gary Busey, Luis Guzmán, Philip Michael Thomas, and Danny Trejo reprise their roles as Phil Cassidy, Ricardo Diaz, Lance Vance, and Umberto Robina, respectively, which they previously played in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Phil Collins makes a cameo as himself, making him the first famed musician to ever appear in a Grand Theft Auto as a virtual representation with a character model, with his song "In the Air Tonight" in the game's soundtrack, including an on-screen performance of the song by the animated version. Phil Collins was played by Joseph Martignette during the in concert scene. His songs like "Easy Lover" with Phillip Bailey and "Turn It On Again" with Genesis also appear on the soundtrack. Also, Opie and Anthony, as well as several crew members of The Opie and Anthony Show were recorded and used as voices of several minor characters.
In addition to the gangs previously featured in Vice City, new gangs make a debut in this game: the Trailer Park Mafia, the Cholos, the Stallionz, and the Mendez Brothers. Also, it explores the Vance Crime family, that was introduced in the original game, in more detail.
Take-Two Interactive originally announced the title was to be released in North America on 17 October 2006 and in Europe on 20 October 2006, but an announcement in early September stated that the game's North American release had been delayed until 31 October. It was also announced that the game would be released on 10 November 2006 in Australia. Moreover, in Europe (Excluding the UK & Ireland) the game suffered another delay, from 3 November 2006, to 10 November 2006, the same as Australia.
On 7 February 2007 Rockstar Games announced plans for a PlayStation 2 port, released on 6 March. It was confirmed by Rockstar Games that the PlayStation 2 version of the game would be an almost straight port. The port has improvements such as enhanced graphics (including the addition of bloom effects, enabled via a "trails" option), draw distance, and performance as expected, but also includes a few new side activities that were not in the PSP release such as five new odd jobs, six additional unique jumps, five more rampages, and a new easter egg.
While other Grand Theft Auto ports have had extra features added (such as replays or custom soundtracks), this is the first port of any Grand Theft Auto game to include extra in-game content.
The PS2 version of Vice City Stories was announced as a digital release for the PlayStation 3 in 2012, as a PlayStation 2 Classics title, and was released in April 2013 via the PlayStation Network.
Like all other video games from the Grand Theft Auto series, the Vice City Stories soundtrack plays an integral role in setting the game's atmosphere. It features 10 different radio stations that play 105 licensed songs from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Three of the radio stations featured in GTA: Vice City were removed from Vice City Stories: Wildstyle, KCHAT and Fever 105. They were replaced by three new stations: Fresh 105, VCFL (Vice City for Lovers) and Paradise FM.
The PlayStation 2 port of the game was criticised for having the same coding as the PSP version and for fixing very few issues and removing some things, but was praised for better lighting.[by whom?] As of 26 March 2008, Vice City Stories has sold 4.5 million copies according to Take-Two Interactive.Hyper's Eliot Fish commends the game for using "the slick veneer of the 1980s [and the] story is well integrated into missions".
The game's PlayStation Portable version received a "Platinum" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom.