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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is a sandbox-style action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar Leeds in association with Rockstar North. It was published by Rockstar Games for the PlayStation Portable in late 2006 and later for the PlayStation 2 in March 2007. The game is the eighth installment in the Grand Theft Auto series. It is a prequel to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and successor to the previous PSP release, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

History

Take-Two Interactive originally announced the title was to be released in North America on October 17, 2006 and in Europe on October 20, 2006, but an announcement in early September stated that the game's North American release had been delayed until October 31. It was also announced that the game would be released on 10 November 2006 in Australia. Moreover, in Europe (Excluding the UKmarker & Irelandmarker) the game suffered another delay, from November 3, 2006, to November 10, 2006, the same as Australia.

Gameplay

Map of Vice City as depicted in Vice City Stories.
Vice City Stories is 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, open environment in which to move around. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, running, swimming and jumping, as well as utilizing weapons and basic hand to hand combat. Players can drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, planes, bicycles, helicopters, jetskis, and motorcycles.

The open, non-linear environment allows players 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 players can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam.

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 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 GTA series, it borrows a few ideas from Vice City's "properties" and ''[[Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas|San Andreas]]''' "gang wars" systems. In order to make money, the player must open and operate various businesses on property taken over from enemy gangs.

For Vice City Stories, the combat system was overhauled to feature more depth than ever before. 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 players can now perform grappling moves and throws, and stand on top of enemies lying on the ground.

Players are able to bribe policemen or hospital staff when "Wasted" (killed) or "Busted" (arrested) in order 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.

Plot



The game is set in 1984, two years before the events of Vice City. Victor "Vic" Vance, the protagonist, is a U.S. Army soldier whose sergeant, Jerry Martinez, gets him involved in drug trafficking, which is strictly against Vic's morals. Soon Vic is dishonorably discharged for the drugs found in his room and bringing a prostitute to the barracks, both of which were intended for Martinez. Vic works for Phil Cassidy, who is also featured in Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Phil's brother-in-law, Marty Williams, abuses his wife Louise and their baby Mary-Beth. After Marty kidnaps Louise, Vic kills him and begins a relationship with her, then shortly after, Victor takes over Marty's Empire.

Soon after, Vic's brother, Lance Vance comes into town to join him on his quest to take over Vice City to get the money for their brother's medications for his asthma. Together they steal Martinez's cocaine, but tensions arise between the brothers after Vic finds out that Lance and Louise used it for themselves. They find out that Martinez was only transporting the drugs for the Mendez Brothers. Lance and Vic are forced to work with the Mendez Brothers, only to be betrayed, soon after doing a few jobs for them. The Mendez Brothers then kidnap Louise sometime after Vic protects and saves Phil Collins' concert from the Forelli Family, and he and Lance rush to the rescue, Lance gets captured by Armando Mendez and Vic fights his way to the underground room of the Mendez Mansion, and Vic kills Armando while he is trying to kill Vic with a Flamethrower. Vic is too late to save Louise, although Lance lives. With help from Phil Cassidy and Ricardo Diaz, Vic manages to steal an army helicopter (The Hunter), and he then guns down some of Diego Mendez's Goons with it, and lands to continue his killing spree on top of the Mendez Building. Finally there is a confrontation on the top of a building, which ends when Vic kills Diego and Martinez, who had arrived in a helicopter when Vic was halfway from reaching Diego. Lance arrives to help Vic, but turns up late, and together they agree never to touch drugs again. The Vance Brothers then get in Lance's Helicopter and leave Vice City to send Pete the money for his asthma medications.

Characters

Like previous GTA 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 also 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. Also, several cast and 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.

Multiplayer

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. Rockstar decided not to include these modes in the PS2 version.

Reception

The game has received an 86% on Metacritic and 85% on GameRankings. It received a rating of 9.0/10 from IGN on the PSP. The PlayStation 2 port of the game was considered worse with a rating of 7.2/10 from GameSpot and a 7.5/10 from IGN. As of March 26, 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 intergrated into missions".

Awards


PlayStation 2 port

On February 7, 2007 Rockstar Games announced plans for a PlayStation 2 port, released on March 6. 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.

References

External links




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