Written by  :  Jacques Guy (55)
Written on  :  Apr 12, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars

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Everybody's out of gum in Vice City

The Good

The rollicking, outrageous, un-PC fun, the voices... everything

The Bad

The "save game" bug, but it probably affects only one in a million (read on)

The Bottom Line

I have a bitch about saving your game. You can save your game only in certain locations. But that is OK. What is not OK is that, whenever I saved my game, I was told "game saved". Well, it wasn't. When I tried to load it, all the saved game slots were empty.

I searched the Web high and low, and saw that a chap in Sweden had had the same problem with Grand Theft Auto III, but no solution. Now Vice City is copy-protected of course, and I got to thinking... does it see Alcohol on my hard disk? Does it decide, then, to play silly buggers, like Windows XP when it sees stuff that would make Baby Billy cry? More Web surfing took me to forums where they were discussing how to make copies of GTA, but no-one mentioned this failure of "save" to save games. Those people must have had Alcohol, or CloneCD, or BlindWrite, or whatever, so that could not be it. Eventually I stumbled on a No-CD crack, downloaded it, installed it... and... I could save my games! No, I am not making this up, I am not drunk, and I have an explanation. My CD drive shows up as drive R: and is sandwiched between Q: and S: which are both virtual drives put there, I suspect, when I installed Alcohol. Strange, but I think this is because I have two primary partitions on my hard disk and Windows just got its knickers in a fine twist there. Now I suppose that when GTA Vice City checks for the legit CD, it wrongly sees my drive R: as a virtual drive, and decides to teach me a lesson. It stinks all right, but the worst thing is that you cannot even blame the programmers. Put yourselves in their place, and see. Be warned, though, if you ever need it, that the CD crack disables the cheats. But I can live without cheats easier than without being able to save a game.

Now what a game! Totally un-PC, shockingly objectionable, in a word: wonderful. The baddies (I haven't met any goodies) look like the baddies out of B-grade gangster movies, they talk like the baddies out of B-grade gangster movies, they give you... er... quests??? that would make the Avatar blush and Iolo keel over with a heart attack. Great stuff. And you don't have to do it either. You can just mooch about town, bashing the odd passer-by for gun money, "borrowing" a car or a motorbike for a joy ride. I haven't found any little old lady whom I could help across the street, though, so it's a bit one-sided. But I am sure that if the designers are reading this... how about it, folks?

I don't have a joystick, and I found maneuvering a car quite a bit of a challenge (read: a pain in the bum). But still, it's fun. You crash into a pole, your bonnet flies off, steam billows out of the engine, but you can keep on going full blast. They don't build cars like that anymore ;-)

Final score.

Graphics. What graphics? You don't notice the graphics, they are so well matched to the gameplay. It's like wearing soft hand-made Italian shoes, you don't feel them. Oh, all right, there are some annoying features, like when you switch to the bird's-eye view. Great for finding your way around, but when you go under a bridge for instance, the bridge hides you from view, you and that power pole, and... kaboom!

Gameplay. To be handled with care, extreme care. When I sat at the wheel of my car (the real one), I had to tell myself, "Hey, slow down, watch out, don't swerve, this is not Vice City anymore". If I were the type to carry a baseball bat everywhere, I would have had to keep telling myself: "Careful! you are not supposed to go about bashing people in this town".

Replay value. Difficult to say, short of playing it several times over. But once is rollicking good fun, and bis repetita placent for sure.