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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Score: 98%
ESRB: Mature (Blood and Go
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar North
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is technically the same as Grand Theft Auto 3, but the game has been given quite a makeover, with a staggering number of vehicles, weapons, and locations that you can visit and even purchase. Part of this makeover includes a major amount of 80's tunes, as well as (my favorite) KCHAT Radio. Those of you who, like me, are fans of 80's music, will find many of your favorite tunes available on the radios of the many vehicles you can procure throughout the game. The extensive sound track is available as a boxed set, by the way, from Epic Records. Unfortunately, it doesn't include a CD for KCHAT; I'd love to listen to that as I drive around the city...

As for the graphics in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, well they do get a bit graphic. The animated violence is animated and, um fairly violent. Certain missions would require that you hurt others with such mild mannered devices as golf clubs and, well, a chainsaw. This game is rated 'Mature', and aptly so. You also may go to (or even purchase) a strip club, where you can enjoy watching scantily clad, low polygon 'models' dancing for you (and only you, wink wink). I would say that the violence part is more suggestive than the sexual situations part, but overall, the graphics are handled pretty well.

Ah, the gameplay... Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a mature game for mature people to explore their immaturity. GTA:VC offers a chance to explore a multitude of ways to 'not play well with others' - from running over bystanders, to stealing cars, to soliciting prostitutes to trashing cars, and everything in between; and, of course, the game rewards you in various ways for doing all of the above. The world presented by Vice City is a fictional representation of Miami, Florida, but as a simulation, offers fun interaction between the various elements. Personally, I find it difficult to maintain the discipline required to actually play through all of the missions, because I find so much entertainment in trying different things out in this simulated world. How long can you keep up a hit and run killing spree on the beach before the authorities take you out? How deep can you venture into the police station before they cap you? How many flips can you make in that fast sports car when you leap it off of the parking garage? (...Wait - now what mission was I supposed to be on?) In the end, I suppose the important thing is that the game is fun, supposing you aren't offended by the nature of the game, of course... and I'd be playing it now, if my wife weren't playing one of those Resident Evil games...

Again, I suppose the difficulty of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is greatly dependent on what your ultimate goal is. Many of the missions are quite difficult, either based on the time allowed, or other factors. However, there are often times that you can find alternatives to the obvious way that may work better (and easier); and Vice City is one of those rare games that actually allows a good number of these alternative solutions. Then again, if you're like me, just testing the possibilities in the simulated world can be extremely entertaining; and the difficulty of these tricks are based on what you're trying to do.

If you're one of those gamers who wants desperately to finish the game, then you might want to pick up the Official Strategy Guide from Brady Games. It's a nice, slick guide with a lot of illustrations, expalanations and hints, and a flod out map that definitely comes in handy!

Game Mechanics:
I present to you a simulated world where the objects therein are able to interact with each other in as many ways as you can imagine. (Or close to it...) Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is an amazing simulation that allows for many things to 'work' whether they were ever thought of by the game developers themselves. These unexpected actions and solutions are known as 'emergent behavior', a factor that is becoming more and more of a consideration as games are becoming better and better simulations.

As an aspiring game developer, I applaud the GTA:VC team at the high level of interactivity allowed by the game's engine. At the same time, however, I have some concerns as to the content. I have no problems with a simulation that allows killing - killing occurs every day in real life. However, as the depiction of violence becomes more and more realistic, it seems to me that the depiction of the results of such violence should become more realistic as well. While it's true that the more violent you get, the more forces come after you - right on up to the military - however, when you are eventually caught, you simply start off again from the closest police station or hospital. In real life, you simply could not repeatedly get away with such acts of violence. I also think it would have been nice to offer a career path that wasn't into a life of crime, but then I guess it wouldn't be 'Grand Theft Auto'... Perhaps allowing the player to play the part of a police officer trying to thwart criminals such as Tommy Vercetti, as an option...

As it stands, however, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is an extremely fun game and should provide hours of entertainment for its target audience. (and hours... and hours...)

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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