Rockstar’s classic Grand Theft Auto: Vice City turns 18 today, so here’s a look back at the now legendary game from the franchise that keeps delivering with each instalment.
Cast your minds back to 2002. Signs, Catch Me If You Can, and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones all hit cinemas. Avril Lavigne’s Sk8er Boi, Eminem’s Lose Yourself, and Nelly’s Hot In Here entered the charts.
Feeling old yet? That Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is now a few years shy of 20 should tell you, yes, you most certainly are.
Vice City, which was released in October 2002, was an instant hit upon its release. It may not be the best GTA title in the franchise (that’s obviously up for debate, but GTA III was a game-changer and 2013’s GTA V was incredible for so many reasons), but it has a hell of a lot going for it.
Set in 1986, it veered away from other modern-day GTA games with its time shift, with some of the most incredible music, from Motley Cru to Blondie, and throwback narratives gamers could indulge in all their ’80s glory.
In case you’re feeling nostalgic, here’s the 10th anniversary trailer that’ll take you back to when the PS2 boasted some cutting-edge graphics:
The main character, Tommy Vercetti (voiced by Ray Liotta), really holds it together. Everything about Vice City – the backstory, the Miami Vice and Scarface influences, the radio stations and thrill of the game’s bonkers missions – made audiences feel like they were having far more fun here than in previous instalments.
It takes the most guidance from the aforementioned Al Pacino movie, with the game mimicking the film’s narrative – there are even actual nods to the Brian De Palma gangster epic dotted throughout.
The 1980s vibe means it’s more colourful in terms of its characters and aesthetic of the various beachside locations Tommy has access to. The missions are varied and often insane – notably the one where you have to take your ice cream van out to sell cocaine-laced treats – and the game saw the first time options to purchase properties, order cabs, and fast travel were introduced into the franchise.
Sure, the graphics don’t look great by 2020 standards, but back then it was cutting-edge stuff.
Lovers of the franchise will have to remain patient for the release of GTA VI, which, while a confirmed date has yet to materialise, will no doubt be hitting next-generation consoles over the next year or two.
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