video games, video game consoles, video game reviews
video game forums, free video game forums, game forums video game news, latest video game news, video game industry news game boy advance console, game boy advance cheats, best game boy advance games nintendo ds, nintendo ds games, nintendo ds console Sony psp, Sony psp games, Sony psp console nintendo gamecube console, gamecube games, gamecube cheat codes nintendo wii, nintendo wii console, nintendo wii games playstation 3, Sony playstation 3 reviews, playstation 3 games PlayStation 2 console, Sony PlayStation 2 cheats, PlayStation 2 games xbox 360, xbox 360 reviews, xbox 360 video games microsoft xbox, xbox games, xbox console computer games, computer video games, computer game reviews
Video game reviews
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City review for PlayStation 2
 
Gamermall.com rating:
9.4
I've been reminiscing about the past recently. Last year's onslaught of AAA games had us staggering with delight -- and exhaustion -- when the year finally came to a close. In comparison, this year's lineup of games, well, it initially looked stunning, before the delays anyway. But now it's clear what 2002 is all about. Like a co-worker of mine said a few weeks ago, there's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and there's everything else. The biggest, most anticipated game of 2002 is upon us, and a large population of the gaming public has come to a halt as Rockstar North has slaved away to finish its second massive blockbuster just one year after GTAIII lit the videogame world on fire. And now it's here. It's finally here.

So how is it? How does the sequel, prequel, or next iteration of the series (whatever you want to call it) play? It's a spectacular piece of videogame technology and design, a large-scale operation that no other action games can come close to replicating, at least so far. It's still wonderfully designed with a luxurious open mission structure, it's enormous, stylishly draped with '80s regalia, adorned with mature themes, and on and on, and it's as fun, if not more fun than last year's effort. But it's nowhere near the wake-up call surprise Grand Theft Auto III was. It no longer shocks me with its ambitious gameplay design or the sharp hilarious radio sociopolitical commentary, or the deliberate presentation of mature and stylish themes that its predecessor did. Sure, it's still got all those qualities; but I now expect them from the Grand Theft Auto series. Over the last year a little of that sheen, that surprising magic, has worn off. Now that I'm back on planet Earth, it's time to take a closer look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Although Rockstar North has solved a handful of problems and minimized others from last year's game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City plays a whole lot like GTA3, with a giant bag of goodies thrown in. It's painted with broader strokes and an absurdist's look at the 1980s. A cursory overview of the game reveals several highlights: The missions are more substantial, woven more delicately into the storyline, and they get hard, real hard. Branching out from a nearly 100% car-based game, Rockstar North has widened the vehicle gap, enabling players to drive cars, but also motorcycles, more boats than before, and now helicopters and airplanes -- as a regular part of the game. And yes, you can take new weapons, such as a chainsaw and lay them into anyone, or for that matter you can grab machetes, samurai swords, screwdrivers or hammers. The impressive details stretch on like the greatest roll of unending newspaper that ever was.

But before we get caught up in that very minutia, let me address this first: This year's model is bigger, badder and slightly prettier than 2001's effort, and most people will enjoy the game like few other games before it. It's enormous, packed with an immense amount of gameplay, and it's a truly unique gameplay experience. Nothing right now comes close to Grand Theft Auto. But with last year's game the die was cast, the formula trademarked, and the medium made. GTA: Vice City is like a new suit fitted on last year's model. It's genuinely impressive, but underneath the Don Johnson suit, it's the same old boy, and you already know him quite well.

What's New, What's Not
In re-imagining the GTA universe, Rockstar North looked around at its old maps, and there, staring up at the team appeared a shiny bright star, a tacky neon pink badge begging to be paid attention to, like a fleshy young Madonna on MTV or Michael Jackson singing Billy Jean and before the surgeries. That icon on the map was Vice City, an old section of the GTA universe, but yet one that's never been exploited to this degree. Also, setting this game in the 1980s, the team expanded on ideas it previously wanted to implement -- and also it incorporated ideas from its own fan base to create a game its fans would adore.

GTA: Vice City does things GTA3 didn't do. The full list is far too extensive, but the crucial elements are as such: 1.) You can ride motorcycles (four different kinds, a high-powered street bike, a chopper, a scooter and a dirt bike) all over the city. They all handle remarkably well: Some are incredibly fast, and others handle traffic better than others. And you can pull off Stunt Jumps with them, adjusting the bikes in mid-air, thanks to a city specially designed with ramps, jumps and surfaces designed for launching you into the air. 2.) You can pilot helicopters through the skies, lifting up above everything and landing down on whatever permits a vehicle of that size. Vice City is designed as two large, mostly symmetrical thumb-like islands, enclosing at least three smaller islands, providing channels of water in which to skipper boats. 3.) Yes, Rockstar expanded the use of boats, and just like the acquisition of cars, motorcycles and helicopters, players can now acquire a quiver of water-ready vessels to ride.

Just as the city has expanded on the outside to include more waterways and more rooftops (you'll be surprised to see the lines of rooftop jumps designed for you Stunt Jump artists our there), it's also expanded internally. 4.) Lead character Tommy Vercetti opens doors and then walks inside them; and after a short load time of five to 10 seconds, he's inside, be it a strip club, mansion, dance club, movie studio, apartment, hotel, what have you. Missions take place inside buildings, sometimes using a combination of both inside and outside structures. Inside, the camera work isn't perfect. In fact, it grows quite aggravating; and for the most part the architecture isn't stunning either, but the idea of levels taking place inside is a natural extension of the game, and it work out well enough.

Adding to this diversification of new areas is the ability to use an extensive new set of save spots, which are tied into properties. Yes, properties. 5.) Once you pass a critical stage of missions, you earn enough money on a regular basis to acquire property, each with its own special quality. The first is a mansion (though it would spoil to say whose), but the string of acquisitions afterward is exhausting. Consisting of businesses such as taxi houses, ice cream companies, and movie sets along with various estates like the aforementioned mansion, boat docks, hotels, etc, the list is long and large. Each new property serves as a safe house (sometimes just to stores vehicles or clothes), a save house (for which to save your game), and a location generating new missions. And each one represents the growing power Tommy Vercetti, the new guy in town, on his way of the corruption ladder.

The cache of weapons is larger, more versatile and organized, and deadlier. Players can pick up the classic weapons from before, such as handguns, uzis, rifles, shotguns, etc., but now they can grip their hands onto chainsaws, hammers, screwdrivers and machetes. 6.) Weapons are classified into categories now, thus enabling you to carry one weapon from each class, such as one kind of semi-automatic, melee weapon, long-range rifle, handgun, etc, streamlining the selection process. And you can shoot from motorcycles, too, be it on the right, left, or in front of you. 7.) With this new set of guns players can perform excellent new tasks too, such as blowing out car tires and using sniper rifles to shoot enemies through their car windows.

Rockstar has improved the troublesome aiming system a bit, though it hasn't perfected it by a long shot. 8.) Enabling Tommy to fight more efficiently, Rockstar enlarged and emboldened the reticule, as well as streamlined the aiming system. The camera moves instantly to focus on your enemy with third-person weapons, and quickly zooms into first-person mode with sniper-style guns. There are few problems now with swerving cameras that once produced dizziness and confusion. It's also added a priority aiming system, meaning that in a crowd of enemies, your gun will automatically aim at the most powerful one of them first. Like before, you press R1 to aim, and you press L2 or R2 to toggle through the enemies. In addition, players can crouch and duck, which is handy in a fight with little protection except for a few crates.

Yet, the targeting system is still light years from being perfected, and you'll find yourself dying quickly in a jam because the toggle system is still clumsy and the character doesn't move that fast or smoothly on the ground, and because the reticule sticks to dead bodies, instead of automatically switching to a live one. Games such as Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Devil May Cry, among others, are far more advanced when it comes to swift and efficient combat control.

Other areas of newness: 9.) The city AI is slightly more sophisticated. You'll see cops hassling gang members in malls, traffic accidents that cause death, cops chasing people down the street, and gang warfare in broad daylight -- which cops pay attention. Cops are smarter about you, too. Aim a gun at a cop in front it him and he draws his weapon (though not from behind ' he can't see you). And they can do what you can, ducking behind cars and blowing out your tires, if necessary. You can interact with storeowners, too, buying from them like before, or holding them up for money (at the risk of being caught, mind you).

10.) And finally, many more missions are structured around the central storyline and they're also multi-tiered, meaning they're slightly more complicated, gleaning various gameplay elements into one mission, instead of from one singular errand or idea.

Story/Presentation
Much like GTA3, GTA: Vice City tells the tale of a guy who makes his way to the top through the corrupt structures of the mafia, smugglers, corrupt businessmen, and grotesques (in other words, outcast societal types). Instead of last year's tale of female betrayal, where you, the nameless, voiceless lead character, progressed through an armada of missions to find out who stole your girl, set you up, and stole your money, you're an Italian mafia member who's just finished a 15-year sentence in jail. Playing Tommy Vercetti (perfectly voice cast by Ray Liotta from Goodfellas), players take on the role of a gangster who's been around the block, who has ambitions, and who doesn't take being screwed with well.

The story sets the scene with Vercetti as a troublesome type for the family. He didn't squeal while in jail, but he's not on the A-team list either and he's certainly not a made man. So, the family decides to 'reward' him, i.e. sent away to Vice City, to expand business operations. He connects with Ken Rosenberg, a neurotic lawyer who isn't very good at much, and who's clearly modeled on Fredo from the Godfather. Together they set up a deal -- drugs for money -- but the scenario is a set up, and the drugs and the money are stolen. The result is that Tommy lands in deep sh*t with Sonny Forelli, the father of the organization and his boss, so he sets out to find who set him up and find his lost money.

Naturally, as you progress through the game, you befriend a cast of people connected or suspicious of the betrayal, from real estate moguls to drugs barons and soft porn movie directors, to bike gang leaders and gun aficionados, and just like the game's luring side missions, the story often gets side-tracked from the original theme. Much of the story, in fact, focuses on Tommy's own adventures, entirely irrelevant of the main premise, including his friendship with Lance Vance, a knobby-headed English weasel who is associated with the band Love Fist, and an assortment of other crooks and freaks.

Lastly, the use of a great actor to color the voice of the lead character is a good thing. So often development companies have muted their characters to provide you with the feeling that you are playing the role. On the flip side, companies have often tainted their games by providing poor voice talent, and thus ruining the gameplay experience. With actor Ray Liotta providing the voice of Tommy Vercetti, Rockstar has truly found the right person and the right voice. Remember, it's not often that this works out, but in this case, it's the perfect marriage of character and talent, and Tommy's personality is fleshed out well and with Liotta's unwavering quality of bad-guy bravado.

Using the movie Scarface and the TV show Miami Vice as source material, GTA: Vice City also borrows numerous ideas from other media, such as character models and scenario depictions from and presentation styles from action-based TV shows, and pretty much any film or show that conveyed the brash, bright duplicity of the 1980s. The game opens like a movie, showing credits and a stylized action entrance, exquisitely capturing the loo, feel and style of the '80s in its heyday (though I personally preferred the slick jazzy intro of GTA3 better).

Once players get into the game, new menu modifications become apparent. The entire map of Vice City appears in the map option instantly. On it, players can toggle on or off a key, explaining the icons on the map, and they can move about the map in any direction as well as zooming in or out of the screen to highlight a special area of interest. The menu offers stats, radio station selections, wide screen support, and DTS compatibility. And among other choices, players can switch on or off that conspicuously annoying blur effect, if they want.

Gameplay
For those who have played GTA3, GTA: Vice City is the most impressive action game of its kind, with a scope and range of qualities that in many way surpass the other PlayStation 2 greats Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Devil May Cry. Perhaps what's most impressive about this game is not that it handles mature themes well -- though that's highly commendable -- or that it once again opens the videogame mortality jar, it's the game's design that's so strikingly good. Funnily enough, when you think about the original Grand Theft Auto, it shared the same design, which hasn't fundamentally changed since 1997.

While many of the missions are based on the trial-and-error theory, a doubled-edge sword of good and bad, the progression scheme is what wins me over. Enabling players to get lost in the city itself, searching out secret stunt jumps, finding hidden packages, experimenting with the AI, and most of all, permitting players to progress at their leisure -- GTA: Vice City is undeniably likeable. Instead of quitting after a difficult mission, throwing down the controller, and putting in another game that's quick, light and playable, I can instead just tool around Vice City. In fact, that's the beauty of it, one can spend hours, even days, tooling around Vice City without even progressing through the missions. It's got everything: it offers the light, brainless arcade stuff that doesn't require thought at all -- a good quality that games often provide -- and it feeds your need to dig deep into the core story and progress through those hardcore levels, giving players a feeling of satisfaction and achievement.

Naturally, there are many excellent additions to the game. Driving motorcycles is unparalleled. The bikes handle extremely well, and numerous jumps and alleyways have been set up specifically for them and them alone. Flying helicopters around the city is also a rush, especially using the blades to slice people up. The enormity of the city can be seen from the copter, which looks and feels incredibly easy to handle, after a few minutes at the controls. But the new weapons, especially the tools, are less than exciting. A hammer? Screwdriver? Well, nice but who cares. Boring. A chainsaw? Now that's exciting, yet, it's not as gory and intense as I expected it to be. But buying property, robbing stores, and finding new missions via the new acquisitions is a whole new way of seeing the game that I hadn't ever imagined -- I love buying property! It's a natural extension of the premise and an organic way of getting the gamer to invest in the game itself, so to speak. Clever, clever. If I'll remember one thing about GTA: Vice City, it'll be the feeling of satisfaction in purchasing scores of property. Each new purchase provides gamers with a new save point, at least one garage (sometimes up to five or six, or perhaps a place to land your helicopter or boat), and an excellent vantage point from which to begin your new missions.

Weapons and Vehicles
The list of cars and weapons in immense, and there are clearly more in all categories than in the GTA3. The weapons list includes: Brass Knuckles, Screw Driver, Golf Club, Hammer, Nightstick, Baseball Bat, Knife, Cleaver, Machete, Katana, Chainsaw, Grenades, Teargas, Molotov, Bomb/Detonator, Colt 45, Colt Python, Chromed Shotgun, Spaz Shotgun, Stubby Shotgun, Tec-9, Ingram Mac, Uzi 9mm, MP5, Ruger, Colt M4, Rocket Launcher, Flame Thrower, M60, Minigun (or Gatling Gun), Sniper Rifle, and PSG-1.

The car list features: Blista Compact, Cuban Hermes, Hermes, Manana, Phoenix, Sabre Turbo, Sabre, Stallion, Voodoo, Banshee, Bloodring Banger, Cheetah, Comet, Deluxo, Hotring racer, Infernus, Stinger, Admiral, Esperanto, Glendale, Greenwood, Idaho, Oceanic, Perennial, Regina, Sentinel XS, Sentinel, Virgo, Washington, Baggage Handler, Caddy, Love Fist, Romero's Hearse, and Stretch Limo. There are others, too: Ambulance, Barracks OL, Cabbie, Enforcer, FBI Rancher, FBI Washington, Fire Truck, Ultimate Vehicle, Kaufman Cab, Mr. Whoopee, Pizza Boy (scooter), Police, Predator (police boat), Rhino, Taxi, and the Zebra Cab. Then there is the BF Injection, Bobcat, Landstalker, Mesa Grande, Patriot, Rancher, Sandking, Walton, Benson, Boxville, Bus, Coach, Flatbed, Linerunner, Mule, Packer, Securcar, Spand Express, Trashmaster, Yankee, Burrito, Gang Burrito, Moonbeam, Pony, Rumpo, and the Top Fun.

The other vehicles in the game include aircraft, such as the Maverick (helicopter), Police maverick (helicopter), Sea Sparrow (helicopter), Skimmer (floats on water)(plane), Sparrow (helicopter), and the VCN Maverick (helicopter). The boats in it are the Coast Guard, Cuban Jetmax, Dinghy, Marguis, Reefer, Rio, Speeder, Squallo, and the Tropic. The motorcycles involved are the Angel, Faggio, Freeway, PCJ 600, and the Sanchez. You can also pilot three RC Vehicles, including the RC Bandit (car), RC Bandit (plane), and RC Raider (helicopter).

Gripes, Fixes and Near Misses
Despite the additions to the game, GTA: Vice City looks, feels and plays very similar to its predecessor. The elements that were problems before, namely the control, the framerate and streaming issues, and the singular nature of the missions, have all been addressed. Have they been entirely fixed? No, but they have been addressed.

The biggest issues in last year's game centered around aiming and character control. Rockstar's changes to this aspect of the game are moderately commendable, but the issues haven't really been addressed in a substantial way. Players are given a larger, more prominent reticule to aim with, and the targeting feature pops up whenever an enemy is near and you hold down R1. By pressing Circle players shoot and to toggle between enemies players press R2 or L2.

The new priority system is helpful, but it doesn't provide the ease and control one needs to dispatch a room or street-full of enemies. Oftentimes I found the reticule stuck to a dead enemy, while another enemy filled me full of lead. I had to let go of R1, re-position myself, and then target again, all the while taking heat. Likewise, if surrounded by enemies, I could rarely dig myself out of the hole, and I found the best strategy was to instead run, re-position myself, and attack from afar -- if I was still alive. The problem is that the targeting system doesn't address the whole group of enemies, just the ones in front of you, and it's not as lickety-split fast as I'd like it to be.

Sure, the game has to provide challenge and tension, and a player isn't going to win in every level the first time through. I also realize the problems that were fixed from last year's effort, which was even wilier than this one. And I prefer a challenge over an easy game, but this control system needs major tweaking. First, switching between characters could be quicker; second, the character could react faster to your commands; and third, adding the crouch move isn't enough to get you out of massive seven-on-one jams. Settling the control issues in GTA looks like the team's biggest obstacle for the future.

As for the streaming problems, most of those seem to have been sorted out. The draw-distance is more impressive than before. Whether it's from inside a car, and obviously when it comes to piloting a helicopter or a plane, you can see over the entirety of Vice City -- which is a truly awesome thing. How many games can boast this feature? The only time you might encounter problems is in the fastest cars. Occasionally, I found that a few objects popped in blatantly, but never was there the rampant disturbance from GTA3. In the flying vehicles, LOD problems are simply bound to happen, and given the enormous scale of the city, pop up here and there is bound to happen. You see these most often over the water, where giant rocks instantly appear from beneath the water surface.

The framerate, however, never seems to ascend above 30 FPS. And often times, when three to four cops are attacking you at once, it dips significantly. Naturally, the game is always pushing the limits of size and scale on the PS2, and the framerate gets pummeled since there simply is so much on screen at once. Graphically, visually, technically, it hurts the eyes to see that framerate drop so low. I guess you can't have everything, and honestly, the framerate doesn't affect the core gameplay itself, but it doesn't help either.

The missions are different than before I many ways, while remaining true to the series' trademark levels. This time around, there are more missions structured around the story, and less singular side missions. Which is NOT to say there aren't enough side missions, but once the game gets going, you'll notice they revolve more around lead characters and story elements. This is an improvement over GTA3, giving players a stronger feeling of being inside a story within a world that truly exists. So while the game is still ridiculously large, the side missions involve important things that progress you toward your goal, and even though they seem distracting, they're actually pushing you forward. GTA: Vice City in essence, is more like an onion than an orange in game design -- each time you pull off a layer, there is another equally important layer just beneath It -- all the way to the very center.

The missions are larger, more complicated and more varied than before. I described one mission in my hands-on piece ("Guardian Angels"), which involved a set-up, a lengthy shootout, and a chase and retrieval, which is a great example of a new, Vice City-style mission. Numerous other missions, such as "Death Row," which features breaking into a compound guarded by numerous enemies, getting into save Lance, and then exiting -- which in itself includes avoiding gang cars and making it to the hospital safely -- is what Rockstar likes to call a rite of passage. I wholeheartedly agree. By beating "Death Row," players have essentially become made men, jumping into the next level of difficulty. "Rub Out" is also a relatively tough one (in which you betray the first major character in the game, thus earning his compound), and by beating it you then reach another major plateau in the game, which is acquiring property. Other missions such as "All Hands on Deck," "Cop Land," and "No Escape" provide equally difficult and entertaining multi-tiered challenges. Here's hoping that in future iterations of GTA that there are even more equally balanced and deep missions.

Some gameplay problems still are troublesome, such as the camera angles inside rooms, getting on and off boats, and occasionally trying to bail from cars. The camera is not perfect by any means, and on more than several occasions, it clips through walls, buildings, and inside of other vehicles. It also jumps and flitters. Eighty-five percent of the time the camera is not a problem, but it can ruin a mission for you, which is sloppy.

Also, for the first time in the series, Rockstar North has dropped the top-down perspective (which I don't miss in these new versions anyway), though you can still play it from four perspectives in the car -- over-the-shoulder far, medium, and close, and first-person perspective, and three while controlling Vercetti. While using Vercetti, the fourth perspective is usable when he stands still or uses the appropriate gun.

And hey! I agree with all of you -- what's up with Tommy V not being able to swim? Where is it in the book of Mafia that says that Mafioso can't swim? He can carjack anybody, outrun cars, live through a bank raid, and jump from tall buildings without dying, but he can't swim? Come on, guys! Give him the ability to swim, and make it work into the gameplay.

There is another thing that the series can definitely improve upon: Saving. As you acquire new property, each new one provides you with a new save point. It's a nice feature. The whole idea of acquiring property is actually extremely cool, engrossing and investing you in the game more than ever. But to get back to the point: After a mission is complete, your mission will be saved into RAM, so even if you bite it in the next mission, the prior mission will be saved for a short time. That's OK, but it's not the best solution. Why can't I just save on my cell phone? Why can't I automatically save after a complete mission to the memory card? The game should instantly save the mission to your memory card in the background so I don't have to drive all the way back to the save point, which is usually quite far away. Does this ruin the gameplay experience? Does it cut into the flow of the game? No, but I'd try more things and spend less time traveling to and fro if I could save right after a completed mission.

Lastly, the game opens up differently than in GTA3. At first the island is closed due to storm warnings, but after only 20-15 missions (about three or so hours), the game opens up, freeing players to travel around the city's entirety. And while each and every section of Vice City is bustling with people and cars, the missions within it are dormant until enough stages have been completed. With this more open approach to the environment, players are given a subtler, more fluid ability to explore the vast nature of the game, and earlier than in GTA3.

Graphics
Having burnished and bolstered its software engine, Rockstar North has accomplished several technical feats in GTA: Vice City. At one end of the spectrum, you can pilot planes and helicopters on a regular basis in the game, while it's improved the visual look of everything in the game. Perhaps not dramatically, but improved nonetheless.

Right off the bat, the lighting looks better in GTA: Vice City. The shining sun beams down on Vice City, creating all sorts of lens flares, blinding moments, and a radiant glow to the entire landscape. Using Radiosity, a technique to create more illuminative surfaces, the game takes on a clean, shiny appearance strikingly opposite of Liberty City. Inside, you can see reflections off clean shiny, polished floors, and outside you can glimmer water surfaces. Since the game takes place in the '80s, the classic color schemes from that dreadful period are apparent. Neon colors, pastels, pinks, and character outfits from the period are all too present.

The characters are better textured as well. Tommy Vercetti is better looking than the kid, with a more detailed face, more fluid looking clothes, and several outfits to wear (10 in all: Soiree Outfit, Coveralls, Country Club Outfit, Havana Outfit, Cop Outfit, Bank Job Outfit, Casual Outfit, Mr. Vercetti Outfit and a Tracksuit). Also the cars are better looking, and the textures of the motorcycles offer sweet looking valves, engine parts and mufflers. Lead and AI characters also provide a huge array of animations, too, all of which are worth playing with.

Despite its improvements, GTA: Vice City isn't the best looking PS2 game on the market, nor does it deliver the best textures or character models ever on the PS2. In fact, it's quite ordinary looking in all of the standard visual categories. The characters all move with a weird rag-doll feel, and they all have small boxing gloves for hands, with no fingers. They aren't realistic looking; they're caricatures. But for what it lacks in graphic textural design, it makes up for in size, scope and occasionally in special effects.

GTA: Vice City isn't about stunning people with its graphics, it's about impressing people with scale, volume and seemingly endless minutia. At any given point in the game, there are dozens of little details of surprisingly size, giving the player the strong feeling that many people are paying excruciating and agonizing attention to the placement of every jump, ramp, news stand, plant, picture, boat dock, etc., etc. There are tons of small details of this very kind that I can't catalogue at once, but some of them include exploded cars that stay around in a mission longer than before, rain reflections, the ability to look across the entire city from a helicopter, volumetric fog and cloud cover, et al.

In short, GTA: Vice City delivers working man graphics. What's impressive is the technology behind the engine, the sheer volume of stuff, but not the fine decoration of textures, designs or realistic looking human characters.

Sound
Whether you loved or hated the '80s, the Reagan decade was surely one of the most impressive periods of music in recent history, with punk, new wave, heavy metal, dance, electro and rap, among other kinds of music filling the airwaves. Looking back on it, the period was an immense hotbed of ideas, styles and forms of expression. This year's game surely contains the most impressive list of songs in a game we have ever witnessed (and yes, I know that David Smith said that about Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, but that has just changed).

GTA: Vice City contains more than 113 songs, snippets and commercials, all of which can be switched to and fro using the L1 button on our PS2 Dual Shock Controller. In fact, Rockstar and Epic Records felt the music was so good that it compiled the songs on seven separate albums, which are now in record stores. That list includes these songs, in their entirety, plus more.

Disc 1 features Vrock, and it includes: Lazlow, You've Got Another Thing Comin' - Judas Priest, Too Young To Fall In Love - Motley Crue, Peace Sells - Megadeth, Dangerous Bastrad - Rockstar's Lovefist, Turn Up The Radio - Autograph, DJ Lazlow, I Wanna Rock - Twisted Sister, Bark At The Moon - Ozzy Osbourne, Madhouse - Anthrax, 2 Minutes To Midnight - Iron Maiden, Raining Blood - Slayer, Cumin' Atcha Live - Tesla, Yankee Rose - David Lee Roth, DJ Larlow, Exploder, and Thor.

Disc 2 features Wave 103, and it includes: DJ Adam First, Two Tribes - Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Pale Shelter - Tears For Fears, Kids In America - Kim Wilde, Atomic - Blondie, I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock Of Seagulls, Fascination, (Keep Feeling) - The Human League, DJ Adam First, 99 Luftballons - Nena, Love My Way - The Psychedelic Furs, Gold - Spandau Ballet, Hyperactive! - Thomas Dolby, Never Say Never - Romeo Void, Sunglasses At Night - Corey Hart, DJ Adam First, Sissy Spritz, and Synth And Jon.

Disc 3 features Flash FM, and it includes: DJ Fernando Martinez, Africa - Toto, Crockett's Theme - Jan Hammer, Missing You - John Waite, Died In Your Arms, (I Just) - Cutting Crew, Waiting For A Girl Like You - Foreigner, Broken Wing - Mr. Master, DJ Fernando Martinez, More Than This - Roxy Music, Tempted - Squeeze, Keep On Loving You - Reo Speedwagon, Sister Christian - Night Ranger, Never Too Much - Luther Vandeross, Wow - Kate Bush, DJ Fernando Martinez, Knife After Dark, and Petstuffers.

Disc 4 features Flash FM, and it includes: Hi I'm Tom, Out Of Touch - Hall & Oates, Four Little Diamonds - Electric Light Orchestra, Billie Jean - Michael Jackson, Your Love - The Outfield, Life's What You Make It - Talk Talk, Run To You - Bryan Adams, Dance Hall Days - Wang Chung, DJ Tom, Call Me - Go West, Running With The Night - Lionel Richie, Self Control - Laura Braningan, Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain) - INXS, Owner Of A Lonely Heart - Yes, DJ Tom, Blox, and Just The Five Of Us.

Disc 5 features Wildstyle Pirate Radio, and it includes: Mr. Magic, Rockit - Herbie Hancock, Message, The - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, More Bounce To The Ounce - Zapp & Roger, Mr. Magic, One For The Treble - Davy DMX, Bassline - Mantronix, Mr. Magic, Hip Hop Be Bop (Don't Stop) - Man Parrish, Al-Naafiysh (The Soul) - Hashim, Clear - Cybotron, Mr. Magic, Looking For The Perfect Beat - Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force, Mr. Magic, Rock Box - Run DMC, Breaks, The - Kurtis Blow, Mr. Magic, Magic's Wand - Whodini, Mr. Magic, Degeneration, and Maibatsu Thunder.

Disc 6 features Fever 105, and it includes: DJ Oliver Ladykiller Biscuit, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' - Michael Jackson, Automatic - The Pointer Sisters, Act Like You Know - Fat Larry's Band, Juicy Fruit - Mtume, Behind The Groove - Teena Marie, DJ Oliver Ladykiller Biscuit, Get Down Saturday Night - Oilver Cheatham, Ghetto Life - Rick James, Shame - Evelyn Champagne King, All Night Long - Mary Jane Girls, Summer Madness - Kool & The Gang, I'll Be Good - Rene & Angela, And The Beat Goes On - Whispers, DJ Oliver Ladykiller Biscuit, Salivex, and Yuppie And The Alien.

Disc 7 features Radio Espantoso, and it includes: DJ Pepe, Super Strut - Deodato, A Gozar Con Mi Combo - Cachao, Me And You Baby (Picao Y Tostao) - Mongo Santamaria, Mambo Mucho Mambo - Machito And His Afro-Cuban Orchestar, Jamay - Xavier Cugat And His orchestra, Pepe, Mama Papa Tu - Mongo Santamaria, La Vida Es Una Lenteja - Unresta, Expansions - Lonnie Liston Smith, Aguanile - Irakere, Maracaibo Oriental - Beny More, Latin Flute - Deodato, Mambo Gozon - Tito Puente, Pepe, Fernando's Medillion Ad, and Think Your Way To Success.

Capturing that much music on one DVD is truly impressive, especially when the game itself is so large and filled with stuff to do. And they are taking seven discs to get it all down. According to Rockstar this list above is actually the full collection of album soundtracks, not the actual game soundtrack, which is even larger. The game enables players to listen to all of the music using DTS technology, too, providing an even greater musical experience.

When it comes to voice acting and sound effects, GTA: Vice City is among one of the best of its kind. The sound production levels are excellent, and the voice acting is stealthily and carefully chosen. Some of the featured voices include Luis Guzman (Boogie Nights), Danny Trejo (From Dusk 'til Dawn), Gary Busy (as Phil Cassidy), Maria Chambers (Toni), Frank Chavez (Fernando Martinez), Lazlow Jones (Lazlow the DJ), David Paymer (Ken Rosenburg) and Lawrence Taylor (BJ Smith). Other voice actors include the aforementioned Ray Liotta and the lovely Jenna Jameson.

Click here to see more PlayStation 2 Video Game Reviews

compare video game prices, video game price comparisons computer games, computer video games, computer game reviews microsoft xbox, xbox games, xbox console xbox 360, xbox 360 reviews, xbox 360 video games PlayStation 2 console, Sony PlayStation 2 cheats, PlayStation 2 games playstation 3, Sony playstation 3 reviews, playstation 3 games nintendo wii, nintendo wii console, nintendo wii games nintendo gamecube console, gamecube games, gamecube cheat codes Sony psp, Sony psp games, Sony psp console nintendo ds, nintendo ds games, nintendo ds console game boy advance console, game boy advance cheats, best game boy advance games video game news, latest video game news, video game industry news video game forums, free video game forums, game forums