Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is the most anticipated game of 2002. Released to America on October 29th, 2002 by Rockstar, all game retailers sold out instantly. The game doesn’t have plans to reach Japan at all. Europe has a release date of November 8th, 2002. Most were already preordered while some like Best Buy sold them first come first served style, and didn't even bother putting them on the shelves as they flew out of the store.

Vice City is an instant classic, taking the Grand Theft Auto III engine and just improving on it in ways that help the game. While only in production for a year and six days the game has changed vastly.

This node will deal mostly with the improvements to the engine. It will try to avoid most spoilers, as Vice City is an almost perfect game that deserves to be experienced by the players without any detraction from its greatness.


Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is the story of Tommy Vercetti and Vice City, which is supposed to resemble Miami. The game is set in the 80's, and makes the player feel like he is in the time period. Everything from the sounds, to the people, to the cars to the radio makes the game feel like it is the 80's.

The game starts with the character leaving jail after fifteen years and coming to Florida, a deal goes bad, money lost, and one pissed mafioso create a story that envelopes the player. Though this time the characters aren’t so quiet. There is an epic story that rages on through out the entire game. Tommy Vercetti is at the center point, creating havoc, killing people, and enjoying the scenery.

Filled with amazing scenes, and interesting links to Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's story takes ideas from the original and expands on it threefold. To start with there are more people to be hired by. Each one needs jobs done. There are about fifteen different places to get jobs if not more.


The graphics of Grand theft Auto: Vice City have improved upon Grand Theft Auto III. The graphic system was polished to a fine shine. The system was well built, but they made the sun play more of a role. The cars become beautiful 80s automobiles. The sun is actually noticeable and annoying when it is low in the sky.

The game reflects the differences from 2000 to 1980s as well as the differences from Liberty City (New York City) to Vice City (Miami). The game feels like you’re on the beach most of the time, there is a large amount of water. There are more character models in this game. There is also the ability to change clothes that can change the feeling a bit. Running around in a fitted suit is different then running around in a tracksuit.

The games still suffer from what can be called "mystery paper" as well as "mystery palms" now. This is caused by the limitation of the graphic engine of the Playstation 2 to display a certain distance of ground. The ground is seen but the fine detail is sometimes lost in the distance. The graphics though are a huge improvement over the original system.


There is really three different fields for sound in this game, each unique in their usage.


Nine radio stations now line the dial in Vice city. Each radio station is completely different from the rest, even the two talk stations. The first song that I heard was Michael Jackson's Billy Jean. Some groups that are heard are

Though that is only some of the 78 artists playing 79 tracks. (Michael Jackson sings two songs.)

Each radio station is different. There is

Each radio station has a different feel. The rock station has a louder volume with heavy metal types, while the Emotion is more soothing. The DJs and commercials give each station their own flavor.


Grand Theft Auto: Vice City changed many preconceptions including giving the main character a voice. Ray Liotta does Tommy Vercetti’s voice. Ray Liotta sounds conspicuously like he did when he played Henry Hill in Goodfellas, whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up to the player to decide though it can remind players of Henry Hill. Overall the voices are almost perfect, though they don't sync perfectly with the video they do feel like they belong with the characters. The actors are

The game contains some of Hollywood’s top talent and the production of the cut scenes are nice, there is a lot of acting and interesting conversation involved. Especially when the main character grows and expands his influence.


Grand Theft Auto: Vice City improved on the original game though there are about 30 actors for pedestrians that talk though there is less of the humorous comments. This is understandable as this is Miami in the 80s, not New York City in 2000. Though the game does remain funny, the feeling that your in the city is greater.

Each gun also sounds different. The sniper rifle sound is easily identifiable by the single shot, the chainsaw's roar is perfect. There are so many weapons and each one does sound different from the rest.

Overall the sound system has a much improved feel, the radios are completely new, as are the voices.

Game play

Without graphics and sounds, Grand Theft Auto is still Grand Theft Auto because of the game play. The whole engine from the original game has been revamped. No longer is the main character able to carry three hundred guns and have a billion dollars.


The first change that is noticeable in the game is that the game is based in the 1980s. The money therefore is based on 1980s where instead of 1000-dollar jobs or missions in Grand Theft Auto III, the characters get 100 dollars. This expands to all extended missions including ambulances and taxis. Money is much harder to come by, but money buys more. The weapons in the game are impossible to find, though they can be purchased at any of the ammunitions or hardware stores.

Money can also be used to buy "safe houses". At first there is only a hotel, but as the game progresses the player can buy other places to "live" and save progress. There is no garage at the beginning but like stated, the new houses can contain garages. The game requires money to be achieved, and money is always a problem until late in the game. Weapons can’t be found every five yards as in the original.


The second difference in the game is that the game got a lot harder. No longer is the player able to kill thirty cops in ten seconds. The missions are harder then in the original game. The cops became more organized and harder to slay, though still possible. The missions will keep you thinking of interesting ways to beat them.

Then comes the new cars and vehicles. Most of the vehicles have remained though the introduction of a few vehicles has made fans cheer. The first new vehicles that can be seen are the motorcycles. There are "crotch rocket" that are called PCJ600, dirt bikes are called Sanchez, Harley Davidsons are called Angels or Freeways, and Scooters called Faggios. Each one plays a little different. Also while on most of the bikes the player can pull wheelies and stoppies.

There are also many new boats in the game from speed boats to yachts to Coast Guard boats. Each one acts different, and each one has their own perks.

Also included in the game is air vehicles, unfortunately there is only one plane. The plane is a nice big full winged seaplane that is easier to fly. There are also five different versions of helicopters that can be flown. There are three versions of a regular helicopter and two versions of a bubble shaped helicopter. The controls are simple but enjoyable for them.

Finally the vehicles are now true objects in the game. The vehicles can easily be damaged by punching or slashing at them, in addition the tires can be shot out of all vehicles easily, and tend to happen when the missions get harder. The tires make the vehicle change from smooth driving to impossible in less then a second. Using an aimable weapons wheels can be shot easily.


Flying, driving, and boating may be fun but what makes the game is the violence, and for violence there should be weapons. The game does not disappoint in this area. A new weapon system has been made. Tommy can only carry one weapon of each type.

  1. Fist Weapons
    1. Bare Knuckles
    2. Brass Knuckles
  2. Melee Weapons
    1. Screwdriver
    2. Golf Club
    3. Night Stick
    4. Baseball Bat
    5. Knife
    6. Meat Cleaver
    7. Machete
    8. Katana
    9. Chainsaw
  3. Explosives
    1. Grenades
    2. Molotov Cocktail
    3. Bomb and Detonator
    4. Tear Gas
  4. Pistols
    1. Colt 45
    2. Colt Python
  5. Shotgun
    1. Chromed Shotgun
    2. Spas-12 Shotgun
    3. Stubby Shotgun
  6. SMGs
    1. Tech-9
    2. Ingram MAC
    3. Uzi M9
    4. MP5
  7. Rifles
    1. Ruger
    2. Colt M4
    3. Sniper Rifle
    4. PSG-1
  8. Heavy weapons
    1. Mini-gun
    2. M60
    3. Rocket Launcher (RPG)
    4. Flamethrower

There is eight types of weapons allowed. The hand-to-hand combat is more important in the game, though ranged combat can always be used. The game does make better use of the targeting system, though it is not perfect yet.


The final change to the game is mission wise. There are a total of 15 people to get missions from and each one is a different type of person. The missions are much harder in the game and each place involves a person with only one person on the phone.

Overall the game play feels completely new while staying the same, which is more then what should be expected after only a year in the works.


Sadly this game has critics. Many people purchased the game expecting a completely new game. The fact of the matter is this game is Grand Theft Auto III with some new add-ons and a more in-depth story. Overall the game is a lot of fun for fans of the series, but not a completely new game. Grand Theft Auto IV has been announced, but no dates have been set for it. During the waiting period Vice City does a good job to quiet the yearning for free range violence.

A note: This game is amazing similar to Grand Theft Auto III. The game is violent, involves questionable material and may not be suitable for everyone. While this game has not been pulled, it is rated Mature.

Congressman Joseph Liberman from Connecticut has already stated that Rockstar's game has caused the 2002 Washington area sniper attacks and demanded that the sniper rifle be pulled from the game. The fact that the game had gone gold made it impossible to do so but the fact that this game was already called detrimental to society before its release is an interesting proposition.