Codex Gamicus
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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a 2002 action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the fourth main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 2001's Grand Theft Auto III, and the sixth instalment overall. Set in 1986 within the fictional Vice City (based on Miami and Miami Beach), the single-player story follows mobster Tommy Vercetti's rise to power after being released from prison and becoming caught up in an ambushed drug deal. While seeking out those responsible, he slowly builds a criminal empire by seizing power from other criminal organisations in the city. The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot or by vehicle. The open world design lets the player freely roam Vice City, consisting of two main islands. The game's plot is based on multiple real-world people and events in Miami such as Cubans, Haitians, and biker gangs, the 1980s crack epidemic, the Mafioso drug lords of Miami, and the dominance of glam metal. The game was also influenced by the film and television of the era, most notably Scarface and Miami Vice. Much of the development work constituted creating the game world to fit the inspiration and time period; the development team conducted extensive field research in Miami while creating the world. The game was released in October 2002 for the PlayStation 2, in May 2003 for Microsoft Windows, and in October 2003 for the Xbox.

Gameplay[]

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective. The player controls criminal Tommy Vercetti and completes missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story. It is possible to have several missions available at a time, as some missions require the player to wait for further instructions or events. Outside of missions, the player can freely roam the game's open world and has the ability to complete optional side missions. Composed of two main islands and several smaller areas, the world is much larger in area than earlier entries in the series. The islands are unlocked for the player as the story progresses. The player may run, jump, or drive vehicles to navigate the game's world. The player uses melee attacks, firearms and explosives to fight enemies. The firearms include weapons such as the Colt Python, an M60 machine gun and a Minigun. The game's three-dimension environment allows a first-person view while aiming with the sniper rifle and rocket launcher. In addition, the game's combat allows the player to commit drive-by shootings by facing sideways in a vehicle. The game provides the player a wide variety of weapon options—they can be purchased from local firearms dealers, found on the ground, retrieved from dead enemies, or found around the city.

In combat, auto-aim can be used as assistance against enemies. Should the player take damage, their health meter can be fully regenerated through the use of health pick-ups. Body armour can be used to absorb gunshots and explosive damage, but is used up in the process. When health is entirely depleted, gameplay stops and the player respawns at the nearest hospital while losing all weapons and armour and some of their money. If the player commits crimes while playing, the game's law enforcement agencies may respond as indicated by a "wanted" meter in the head-up display (HUD), which increases as the player commits more crimes. On the meter, the displayed stars indicate the current wanted level, and the higher the level, the greater the response for law enforcement (for example, at the maximum six-star level, police helicopters and military swarm to lethally dispatch players).

During the story, Tommy meets characters from various gangs. As the player completes missions for different gangs, fellow gang members will often defend the player, while rival gang members will recognise the player and subsequently shoot on sight. While free roaming the game world, the player may engage in activities such as a vigilante minigame, a fire fighting activity, a paramedic service and a taxi cab service. Completion of these activities grants the player with context-specific rewards. As Tommy builds his criminal empire, the player may purchase a number of properties distributed across the city, some of which act as additional hideouts where weapons can be collected and vehicles can be stored. There are also a variety of businesses which can be purchased, including a pornographic film studio, a taxi company, and several entertainment clubs. Each commercial property has a number of missions attached to it, such as eliminating competition or stealing equipment; once all missions are complete, the property begins to generate an ongoing income available for the player.

The Plot[]

In 1986, mobster Tommy Vercetti (voiced by Ray Liotta) is released from prison after serving a fifteen-year sentence for murder. His boss Sonny Forelli (Tom Sizemore), seeking to establish drug operations in the south, sends Tommy to Vice City to oversee an important drug deal alongside crooked lawyer Ken Rosenberg (William Fichtner). However, the deal is ambushed by unknown assailants, with Tommy and Ken barely escaping it. Angered upon hearing the news, Sonny orders Tommy to recover the drugs, alongside the money he gave to him, under threat of consequences. Seeking information, Ken points Tommy towards retired army colonel Juan Garcia Cortez (Robert Davi), who helped set up the exchange. Expressing regret for the ambush, Cortez promises to find out who masterminded it.

While investigating, Tommy meets with several people who offer him help: music director Kent Paul (Danny Dyer), who maintains connections with the city's criminal underworld; Lance Vance (Philip Michael Thomas), who aided in the deal and lost his brother in the ambush; Texan business tycoon Avery Carrington (Burt Reynolds), who in return enlists Tommy's help with several deals; and drug kingpin Ricardo Diaz (Luis Guzmán), who employs both Tommy and Lance. Eventually, Cortez begins voicing his suspicions that Diaz organised the ambush. Upon further investigation, Lance discovers this to be the truth and, against Tommy's advice, tries to kill Diaz, only to get himself captured. After Tommy saves Lance, the pair find themselves forced to kill Diaz before he can retaliate. With Diaz dead, Tommy takes over his assets and, at Avery's suggestion, works to expand his new criminal empire by forcing businesses to pay him protection money and buying out nearly bankrupt companies to use as fronts for illicit operations. At the same time, Tommy provides assistance to several prominent gang leaders in the hopes they will support his expansion, and helps Cortez flee the city with stolen military equipment.

Eventually, Sonny discovers that Tommy has gained complete control over Vice City's drug trade without cutting the Forellis in. Enraged at his independence, Sonny sends mobsters to forcefully collect money from Tommy's businesses. In response, Tommy kills Sonny's men and severs his ties with him. Later, learning Sonny is personally coming to Vice City to collect what he believes he is owed, Tommy prepares to pay him tribute with counterfeit money. However, Sonny reveals that he was responsible for Tommy's arrest fifteen years prior, and that Lance has betrayed him and allied himself with the Forellis, having felt inadequate in Tommy's presence since his rise to power. A shootout ensues in Tommy's mansion, during which he prevents the Forellis from stealing his money and murders Lance for his betrayal, before finally killing Sonny in a tense standoff. When Ken arrives to a scene of carnage, Tommy quickly reassures him that everything is now fine, as he has finally established himself as the undisputed crime kingpin of Vice City.

External Links[]

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