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Not only is this the greatest game on PSP, it also leaves a large percentage of the PS2 back catalogue looking ordinary. Buy it right now.
Official PlayStation 2 Magazine UK.

Grand Theft Auto series chronology of events
1961London 1961
1969London 1969
1984Vice City Stories
1986Vice City
1992San Andreas
1999Grand Theft Auto 2 (possibly)
2013Grand Theft Auto 2 (possibly)
Vice City, 1984. Opportunity abounds in a city emerging from the swamps, its growth fueled by a violent power struggle in a lucrative drug trade. Construction is everywhere as a shining metropolis rises from foundations of crime and betrayal. As a soldier, Vic Vance has always protected his dysfunctional family, his country, himself. One bad decision later and that job is about to get much harder. Kicked out onto the streets between glamour and gluttony, Vic is faced with a stark choice...build an empire or be crushed.
— Official Description

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is the sixth and final game (but first chronologically) in the 3D Universe of the Grand Theft Auto series. Originally released as an exclusive game for the PlayStation Portable, it was later released on the PlayStation 2 console because of its success. It is the second Grand Theft Auto game to appear on the PSP system (the first being Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories). The game was developed by Rockstar Leeds, and published and released by Rockstar Games.

Take-Two Interactive originally announced the title was to be released in North America on October 17, 2006 and in Europe on October 20, but early in September, there was an announcement stating the game had been delayed for release until October 31 in North America and November 3 in Europe. It had also announced that the game will be released on November 10, 2006 in Australia.

On February 7, 2007, Rockstar Games announced plans for a PlayStation 2 release. The release dates were March 6, 2007, for North America and March 9, 2007, for Europe. It was released on PlayStation 3 via PlayStation Network on April 2, 2013, but has since been made unavailable. The PS2 port version of the game has a number of improvements over the original PSP version of the game, including enhanced graphics, new activities and a new Easter Egg.

Storyline[]

VictorVance-GTAVCS

The protagonist of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Victor Vance.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories marks the series return to Vice City, with the game taking place in 1984, roughly two years before the events of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The game focuses around Victor Vance, the brother of Lance Vance, both characters who have previously appeared in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Victor "Vic" Vance, the protagonist, is a U.S. Army soldier whose sergeant, Jerry Martinez, gets him involved in drug trafficking, which is strictly against Vic's morals. Soon, Vic is dishonorably discharged for the drugs found in his room and bringing a prostitute to the barracks, both of which were intended for Martinez. Vic works for Phil Cassidy. Phil's brother-in-law, Marty Williams, abuses his wife Louise and their baby Mary-Beth. After Marty kidnaps Louise, Vic kills him and begins a relationship with her, then shortly after, Victor takes over Marty's Empire.

Soon after, Vic's brother, Lance Vance, comes into town to join him on his quest to take over Vice City to get the money required to pay for their brother's asthma medication. Together they steal Martinez's cocaine, but tensions arise between the brothers after Vic finds out that Lance and Louise used it for themselves. A short time later, Victor discovers that Martinez was only transporting the drugs for the Mendez Brothers, leaving Lance and Vic with no option but to work with the Mendez Brothers, only to be betrayed after doing a few jobs for them. The Mendez Brothers then kidnap Louise sometime after Vic protects and saves Phil Collins' concert from the Forelli Family, and he and Lance rush to the rescue. Lance gets captured by Armando Mendez and Vic fights his way to the underground room of the Mendez Mansion, where a deranged Armando is waiting for him wielding a Flamethrower, but Armando is quickly killed by Victor during the intense fire-fight that ensues. Although Lance manages to survive, Vic is too late to save Louise. Afterwards, with help from Phil Cassidy and Ricardo Diaz, Vic manages to steal an army helicopter (The Hunter), and proceeds to gun down some of Diego Mendez's Goons, eventually bringing him to land on the roof of the Mendez Building where he enters inside and continues his killing spree.

Upon Victor's return to the rooftop, there is one final confrontation, which ends when Vic kills Diego and Martinez, who had arrived in a helicopter when Vic was halfway from reaching Diego. Lance arrives to help Vic, but turns up late. Lance offers Victor twenty kilos of cocaine for a deal ahead; however, Victor denies his interest and says that he wants to stay away from drugs. He then says that he would send some money to their sick brother Pete for his medical treatment. By the end of the game, Victor is a very wealthy man.

Eventually, Victor is dragged back into the Vice City criminal underworld by his brother Lance. They set up a deal with the Forelli crime family, apparently with the help of Colonel Cortez according to Ken Rosenberg. As the two groups are about to exchange their goods, a small group of hitmen arrives and shoots at them, killing Vic and two of the Forelli family members, whilst the Forelli representative Tommy Vercetti and Ken Rosenberg drive off and Lance flies away from the scene, starting the events of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Development[]

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories was developed by Rockstar Leeds in collaboration with Rockstar North.

Discussing the improvements GTA Vice City Stories would feature over the earlier entry GTA Liberty City Stories, Rockstar Leeds studio director Gordon Hall explained "One of the biggest technical achievements in GTA Vice City Stories has been the enormous effort involved in making Vice City this incredibly vibrant, detailed and alive place. The detail seen in the city has been ramped up massively over Liberty City Stories. We now have double the number of polygons in a city block, with new features such as animated textures and neon light effects and an all-new radiosity lighting model. On top of this we had to push for an even greater draw distance, especially now that we have the addition of helicopters and planes -- it's a real blast taking to the sky in these things and seeing the city sprawl beneath you. And just for good measure, GTA Vice City Stories is even faster and smoother than Liberty City Stories."[1]

Hardware[]

Commenting further on the upgrade from GTA Liberty City Stories, Hall noted "that engine just couldn't cope with these demands. Among a raft of tweaks and tune-ups, we've come up with new ways for the CPU and the graphics processor to talk to each other. This has freed up the CPU to do other things, and allowed us to push the graphics processor even harder, bringing the Vice City vibe to life with these incredible views stretching off into the horizon."[1]

He would go on to add "we've compressed and optimized across the board, both by hand in the creation of the art and in the code itself. For example, we've now got a lossless compression system for an animation, which has allowed us to have a greater variety of cars and pedestrians at once, and we have this greater complexity and variety alongside even faster loading times."[1]

Commenting on how the PSP would be able to handle viewing an entire city from the skies while flying an aircraft, Hall said "Vice City is a complete city, and we have utilized all elements of the physical space in this game, from the land to the sea to the air. Vehicles have been created with these very different spaces in mind. From a technical standpoint, perhaps our greatest accomplishment has been the issue of draw distance. We have created a system that increases the draw distance to the point where every element in the players view has been created on screen. When you are in the air, pedestrians, cars, and anything on the ground will scale down depending on how close or far the player is to them, much as they would in real life. It really takes the scope of the series -- creating living cities -- one step further, this time for your PSP."[1]

Gameplay[]

Gordon Hall went on to talk about the landscape of Vice City; "Another area that we've concentrated on is the water surrounding the landscape. Vice City itself is surrounded by a whole lot of water, so we've gone to town here. We've enhanced the water and boat physics, programming an improved buoyancy model which really becomes apparent if you mess around with the new Jetski. What's the point of creating new water physics without putting in vehicles uniquely designed to take advantage of the environment? As always with Grand Theft Auto, the emphasis here is on fast, fun and fluid mechanics (pun intended). With the Jet Ski you can dive under water and come bursting back up, you can really feel it bounce off the waves as the weather conditions change, you can turn on a dime and really send the water spraying. The look of the water has been improved too, with better translucency, wake, spray and wave effects."[1]

Speaking briefly about how the targeting system would be upgrade, hall commented "Like all of versions, we have tweaked the existing targeting system. I wouldn't call it a complete overhaul, but we definitely have taken a fresh look at it, particularly in regards to how it relates to the hand-to-hand combat system. The combat system has more depth to it than any other Grand Theft Auto game. The targeting mechanic has been tweaked, but the biggest change has been to unarmed combat - you can now perform grappling moves and throws, you can get on top of an opponent on the ground for ground domination, and more."[1]

Soundtrack[]

Commenting on how players can customize their musical experience in the game, Hall said "Custom soundtracks exist. You'll be able to add new music right away. However, I'm not sure why you would want to -- the soundtrack has over 100 tracks, and is probably the best, deepest collection of songs ever assembled for any one project -- TV, Film, or Game."[1]

Characters[]

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories contains many of the characters (and voice actors) from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, including Phil (Gary Busey), Ricardo Diaz (Luis Guzman), Lance Vance (Philip Michael Thomas) and Umberto Robina (Danny Trejo). In addition to the gangs previously featured in Vice City, new gangs make a debut in this game: the Trailer Park Mafia, the Cholos, the Mendez Brothers Gang, and the Stallionz. Some of the gangs from the previous game have been renamed: the Streetwannabe's are known as the Sharks, and the Cubans are known as the Los Cabrones.

Vice City in 1984[]

Similar to Liberty City in 1998 compared to 2001, Vice City has many differences due to the different timeline setting, including a fairground in the location where Avery Carrington's construction site is. There is also a warehouse in Little Haiti that does not exist by the time GTA Vice City takes place, though the fate is explained in the game. The Mendez Building and Victor's Empire Buildings no longer exist in 1986. Diaz's Mansion (later the Vercetti Estate) is only partially finished. The Mendez Mansion is newer and still resided in, although the fate of the mansion is explained in the game. Phil Cassidy runs a business in Viceport instead of Downtown Vice City. InterGlobal Studios is owned by future Flashback FM DJ Reni Wassulmaier instead of Steve Scott, but the reason why this is explained later in the game. A Trailer Park is present, that is absent in GTA Vice City and is replaced by a bigger Sunshine Autos near Escobar International Airport.

Compared to its chronological sequel, Vice City seems to be much more chaotic and crime-riddled.

Gameplay[]

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is structured similarly to other releases from the Grand Theft Auto series. The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large, open environment to move around in. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, running, swimming (an ability last available in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas), and jumping, as well as utilizing weapons and basic hand to hand combat. Players can steal and drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, airplanes, helicopters, and motorcycles.

The open, non-linear environment allows players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain areas and content, they are not required, as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam and create havoc (e.g. Drive-By Shooting, robberies, etc.). However, doing so can attract unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the authorities. The more chaos caused, the stronger the response: police will handle minor infractions, whereas SWAT teams, the FBI, and the Vice City national guard respond to higher wanted levels.

The player can also partake in a variety of optional side missions. The traditional side missions of the past games are included, such as dropping off taxi cab passengers, putting out fires, driving injured people to the hospital, and fighting crime as a vigilante. A new addition to the game is "Beach Patrol", in which Victor plays lifeguard on Vice City's beach, saving citizen's lives or dispatching local gangs. One improvement to the PS2 controls with regards to many of these side missions is that exiting a vehicle (accidentally or intentionally) usually does not fail a sub-mission anymore, allowing easier replacement of damaged vehicles, or re-entering a vehicle if the exit was due to hitting the wrong button.

One of the key gameplay elements in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is the "Empire Building" system. New to the Grand Theft Auto series, it borrows a few ideas from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's "properties" and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' "gang wars" systems. In order to make money, the player must open and operate various businesses on property taken over from enemy gangs.

The combat system was overhauled to feature more depth than ever before. The targeting mechanic has been tweaked to "intelligently target"; enemies posing a threat or attacking the player will be targeted over pedestrians. The biggest changes concern the hand-to-hand combat system, as players can now perform grappling moves and throws, and stand on top of enemies laying on the ground.

For the first time in a Grand Theft Auto game, players are able to bribe policemen or hospital staff when "Wasted" or "Busted" in order to keep weapons that ordinarily would have been lost. Also new to the series are icons scattered around the city that allow Vic to purchase vehicles. For example, a bulletproof Sanchez is available at the first safehouse (only in the PS2 version).

The standard hidden package system returns in the form of 99 red balloons scattered around the city. This is a reference to Nena's 1980s hit, "99 Luftballons". Also, extras that have been discovered (Red Balloons, Rampages and the Unique Stunt Jumps) appear on the in-game map. Trip skips also return. However, functions such as eating and exercise and skill-level increases, last seen in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, remain absent. The game also reintroduces strip club interiors (absent in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories), albeit in a non-interactive form and depending on what Empire Building options the player chooses.

Improvements to the graphics since the release of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories include new animations, faster load times (although a load screen is still displayed when travelling between the two major islands), a further draw distance, reductions in clumping of pedestrians and vehicles, more complex and realistic explosions, and increases in the density of objects, vehicles, and NPCs.

One new feature of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is that the player can receive a small cash bonus for being a good Samaritan and rescuing pedestrians being attacked by enemy gang members.

Multiplayer[]

Like the game's predecessor, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories features a multiplayer mode that can be played via WiFi. Ten different modes of play are offered, and these multiplayer games will incorporate use of automobiles, aircraft, and water-based vehicles.

Influence[]

Much like the original Grand Theft Auto: Vice City game, the look and feel of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is heavily influenced by the television series Miami Vice. More specific references include the corrupt VCPD detective Bryan Forbes, who dresses in a white suit, loafers and a pastel pink t-shirt, mimicking one of the signature looks of Sonny Crockett, one of the primary characters in the show. Philip Michael Thomas, who portrayed Rico Tubbs, Crockett's partner and the other main character in Miami Vice, also returns to provide the voice of Lance Vance in the game.

Much like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, the game's soundtrack includes several songs that featured in the show, including "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, "I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner and "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins, the latter in particular having a very strong association with the show after its iconic appearance in the pilot episode "Brother's Keeper". Collins additionally appears in Vice City Stories as himself, "performing" a live rendition of "In the Air Tonight" (in fact taken from his No Ticket Required video) during the mission of the same name. This parallels how Collins likewise appeared in an acting role in Miami Vice, playing a con-artist in the episode "Phil the Shill".

Soundtrack[]

Like all other games in the Grand Theft Auto series, the soundtrack plays an integral role in setting the game's atmosphere. The game features nine different radio stations which play over 100 licensed songs from the 1970s and 1980s. Most of the stations remain the same as in the settings of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (1986), though Fever 105 and Wildstyle are replaced with Fresh 105 and Paradise FM, and the talk radio station K-Chat does not broadcast.

Vehicles[]

Sports and Muscle Cars Two-Door and Hatchbacks Four-Door Sedans and Saloons SUVs, Pickups, and Vans Commercial/Industrial Gang
Government/Emergency Public Service Bikes Boats Aircraft Misc./Fun

Gangs[]

Weapons[]

The weapons in Vice City Stories are set to fit the time the game is set on. For instance, the Tec-9 is replaced with a Scorpion and the rocket launcher has the look of an M72 LAW. The M4 is switched to the look of a M16 as there were no M4's during 1984. The main pistol in the game was changed to the Beretta 92. Most of the other weapons are the same as the ones from GTA Vice City, GTA: San Andreas and Liberty City Stories, while the Python now has a scope, though it's not functional. It is unusual that GTA Vice City Stories has the AK-47 whereas GTA Vice City has the Ruger. Note that the AK-47 was designed and manufactured in 1946. The machine gun in the game was a M249, where as in GTA Vice City the M-60 was used. The Sniper Rifle now has the look of a Springfield M12 while the Laser Sniper is based on a Dragunov.

Safehouses[]

Accolades[]

Date Award Category Recipient(s) and Nominee(s) Result
2006 IGN's History of Awesome 2006 Best Licensed Soundtrack on PlayStation Portable Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Won
26 October 2007 Golden Joystick Awards Best Handheld Game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Won

Platform Differences[]

PS2 exclusive content[]

Other changes[]

  • Trails option added on the PS2 version.
  • Button pressure sensibility support for the DualShock 2.
  • The Squalo is called Squallo (with two "l") on PS2 and Squalo (with one "l") on PSP. However, in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Impound, it's called Squallo with two "l" on PSP.
  • Some palm trees were added at a house in east Starfish Island on PS2.
  • Multiplayer was removed on the PS2 version.
  • Victor is immune to bullets when attacked by the hitmen in the mission Soldier on the PS2 version.*
  • A rampage in the Easter Egg Building is located near the dirt track on PS2.*

(*) Change also applied on the Japanese PSP version.

Bug fixes[]

  • A bug that reset Victor's health to 100% after completing Air Rescue when reloading a save was fixed on PS2.
  • A glitch that vanished vehicles from the garages was fixed on PS2.

Sound effect differences[]

There are some sound effect differences between the PSP and PS2 version. The PSP version recycles the sounds from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, whereas the PS2 version has some differences:

Glitches[]

The "disappearing vehicle" glitch - in which a car driven to a mission trigger point disappears after the cutscene - is at its worst in this title. Not only do vehicles almost always vanish after the mission cutscenes, but they also vanish if the player saves their game in a safehouse with a vehicle parked outside, even if Victor immediately goes back outside (in previous games the last vehicle driven by the player remains parked outside the safehouse after a save as long as the console isn't reset or a game reloaded).

Trivia[]

Further Reading[]

References[]

Trailers[]

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Trailer #1 (PSP)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Trailer #2 (PSP)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Trailer #3 (PSP)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Official Trailer (PS2)

External Links[]

Navigation[]

[ ve ]Grand Theft Auto series
Grand Theft AutoProtagonists | Liberty City (and New Guernsey) | San Andreas | Vice City | Characters | Missions | Vehicles | Weapons | Radio stations | Cheats
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London 1969Protagonists | London | Characters | Missions | Vehicles | Weapons | Radio stations | Cheats
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Grand Theft Auto AdvanceMike | Liberty City | Characters | Gangs | Missions | Vehicles | Weapons | Soundtrack | Cheats
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City StoriesToni Cipriani | Liberty City | Characters | Gangs | Missions | Vehicles | Weapons | Radio stations | Cheats
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City StoriesVictor Vance | Vice City | Characters | Gangs | Missions | Vehicles | Weapons | Radio stations | Cheats
Grand Theft Auto IVNiko Bellic | Liberty City | Alderney | Characters | Gangs | Missions | Vehicles | Weapons | Radio stations | Achievements/Trophies | Cheats
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The Lost and DamnedJohnny Klebitz | Liberty City | Alderney | Characters | Gangs | Missions | Vehicles | Weapons | Radio stations | Achievements/Trophies | Cheats
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