Game Reviews for PC, PS2, X-Box, Playstation, CCGs, Pen and Paper Role Playing and Table Top Games, plus Movies, DVDs, and Anime!

     " Seriously, go buy this game. Run, don't walk. If you walk, it makes you easier to run over. "

      Title: GTA III Vice City by Rockstar Games

      Format: Crime Game for the PS2

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: GTA III was pretty well recognized as the greatest PS2 game ever (maybe arguably, but you'd have to make a pretty good argument). This, then, is the inevitable sequel. Engage in all new fun stealing cars and beating up pedestrians in this whole new entrance into the GTA III line.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: If you played GTA III, then you're in for much the same treat here. There have been a few graphical tweaks here and there, with more realistic water effects being the most impressive of them. Roaring through the streets during the rain fall will take on a whole new pleasurable aspect. Otherwise, the graphics are about the same as the old game, not that there's anything wrong with that though, as the old graphics were plenty good. The design aesthetic stays true to its source (80's nostalgia) and you'll really feel like you've returned to the 80's here…to the point that I know I'm not the only one reminded of CHIPs when I see the policemen walking around? The cars are cool looking, and the hookers look like… well hookers, whadda ya expect? Your avatar for this game will get many outfits throughout the game (I recommend the golf outfit, for maximum scare-ibility…). It's a great look that lends nicely to the feel of the game. 4 out of 5

      Playability: The engine for the game remains mostly the same with a few performance tweaks here and there. The main addition the game is all the new items and vehicles galore for your mayhem causing pleasure. New car models which perform in new ways and new vehicles including motorcycles and helicopters. For all those who remember the original GTA games, crashing in a motorcycle and hitting people on bikes are still the funniest things ever. Go smack some jerk on a Faggio and watch him fly (And yes, the Faggio is a bike). New weapons include more melee weapons like the nerdy favorite- the katana. The chainsaw makes an appearance for all your massacre needs, and believe you'll have far more needs once you get this baby in your hands. The one thing I didn't like about the new item management is the idea of the inventory slot that Vice City introduces. Now instead of having all the weapons you've collected, you get only one weapon of every type. That is, you can't have both a golf club and a baseball bat at the same time, and you have to get rid of either to grab a katana. One of the more fun things to do in GTA III was cycle through your plethora of weapons and decide which one to use to annihilate your foes. I suppose it makes inventory management easier with the multitude of new weapons, but it's less satisfying.
           Overall, the game plays a lot like the last one, reviving the great formula. Get into town, steal cars, run missions for various shady characters, pick up the occasional hooker, and otherwise get into wholesome mischief. The same freedom of choice from the last game is thankfully here as well. Even better, this game has only two islands, with the second one opening fairly quickly, and you can get good cars from the start of the game, rather than waiting for the 1/3rd point. The missions they offer are varied and interesting- ranging from pick up runs to death dealing. One mission even has you stealing a tank, guaranteeing you'll get at least one run in the Rhino without cheating. Essentially this game is every bit as fun as the last one, plus some. 5 out of 5

      Story and Drama: The story follows Tommy Vercetti, a mob man who's just gotten out of the pokey. He's shunted off on the Florida scene to get him out of the picture. Things go from bad to worse as he works his way up the criminal ladder (which is way easier than the corporate ladder, but has just as many back stabbings, incidentally). There are many twists and turns, and the story is actually pretty interesting. More interesting is the voice work. Your previous incarnation (in GTA III), was the strong silent type, never saying a word. Tommy is more outspoken, given his own voice actor (Rob Lowe, as it turns out). Everybody's got voice actors and for the most part they turn in grand performances. Hearing your taunts as you rip people out their cars is a mixed bag, but mostly pleasant. Speaking of pleasant sounds, the wonderful GTA radio takes a triumphant step into the 80s. They've got such a great mix of tunes that they actually put out soundtracks for the stations on CD. There are also two talk stations this time, each of which is utterly hilarious. It's almost worth stealing a car just to sit around and listen to the radio (I say almost because as long as you're in the car, you may as well go run over some pedestrians, right?). 4 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Unfortunately there's no multiplayer, but you can keep replaying this game until the cows come home. All the old favorite mini-missions are still available: taxi driver, vigilante, etc. They've added in a few others, such as Pizza Delivery. After all, running a criminal empire can be tedious and what mobster hasn't dreamed of those carefree days when they can throw pizzas at people on the street for money? Beyond that, this game introduces the concept of buying property. Now you have a reason to accumulate as much cash as possible. Moreover, buying property gives you weekly income, increasing your revenue so you can buy more property. Of course, before you can get the income flowing, you have to perform some missions. This is a bloody brilliant way of doing things and adds tons of lifespan to the end of this game. Really, there's so much to do with this game, your problem might not be replaying it, but finishing it the first time around. 4.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Secret to a successful sequel: Take everything cool about the first one and then make it three times cooler. Ta-da! You're a hit. Vice City does just that, taking everything that made the first one awesome and adding even more coolness into the mix. Seriously, go buy this game. Run, don't walk. If you walk, it makes you easier to run over.

      The Good: All the awesomeness of GTA III plus some additional awesomeness for good measure.

      The Bad: Some inventory annoyances is the only nitpicking I can do.

      The Overall Ugly: And thank god there's no Maria this time around. Sheesh.

      What it's Worth: Pay market price.

Buy it direct from

Copyright © Game Monkey Press, Game Monkeys Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
Game Monkeys(tm) 1999 Game Monkey Press