Scarface: Money. Power. Respect.

Moby ID: 124346
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Description

Scarface: Money. Power. Respect. is a turn-based strategy game based on the 1983 movie Scarface. Players need to manage their drugs business and expand their turf to rule and expand the drug trade in Miami, just like the movie. The game can be played in a single-player mode, either as scenarios from the movie or as a cartel challenge managing one of several unlockable cartels. Each scenario has different objectives such as gathering wealth, building a certain amount of structures or taking over rivals. Usually there is a main goal with several, optional secondary goals. The movie scenarios are interspersed with clips from the movie.

Most of the game is played on a single, fixed-screen where a map of the environment is shown, divided into different turfs with colours signalling whom it belongs to. Players interact through different menu structures as each round goes to three phases. The buy phase is used to hire thugs to fight or pushers to distribute, while constructing buildings such as labs and warehouses. Next is the power moves. These are advantages that can be bought in the areas of combat, drugs and law to influence the odds and apply pressure. The final planning phase is the dealing phase where the drugs is sold, based on the pushers and the structures of the first phase. This is done by going through the available turfs and determining where and what to sell (cocaine, heroin, pot) and which amount.

There is also a combat phase to the game as a final step as players decide to either invade a neighboring cartel or defend. Unlike the rest of the game the execution of the combat phase is shown in a full 3D environment showing the fighting thugs as the camera swings around automatically to show the action. The combat is turn-based and player interaction is limited to attacking, defending or using power moves. Power moves can turn around a disadvantageous position for instance by providing grenade launchers or hiring snipers. Other option are setting car bombs, killing reinforcements or preventing the enemy from calling in reinforcements. In the planning phase it also possible to offer an alliance to a rival player.

The multiplayer gameplay is similar, but played between friends each representing a different cartel. Each cartel is different based on three statistics. Like in the single-player cartel challenges it starts with players taking turns selecting the different turfs on the map at the start of the game.

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Credits (PSP version)

249 People (164 developers, 85 thanks) · View all

President
Technical Director
Director of Development
Lead Designer
Art Director
Associate Producer
Associate Designer
Lead Engineer
Programming
Additional Programming
Senior Artists
Lead Animator
Animator
Additional Art
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Audio Processing
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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 64% (based on 2 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.0 out of 5 (based on 2 ratings with 1 reviews)

"Chichi, get the yeyo!"

The Good
I wasn't going to play this game. In fact - I had no idea this game existed. I was going for the PS2 port of Scarface: The World is Yours - hoping to finally get lost in cocaine-filled streets of 80s Miami. But as soon as I came across this PSP port I had to try it out. Was it any good? Well, read on...

First of all, we should start with a minute of silence for people who bought this game, thinking that it's similar to the PS2/XBOX/PC/Wii counterpart... It is not. It couldn't be further from it.

Made by a completely different developer - FarSight Studios & published in 2006, for PSP and Windows Mobile by Vivendi Games, under Sierra Entertainment brand, it is a turn-based isometric strategy in which you manage your drug empire as the legendary Tony Montana.

As soon as you start, the game greets you with an intro that is... approx. 10 minutes long. It's a scene from the movie, where a drug deal goes awry, chainsaw is flying and in the end Chichi gets the yeyo. I am not going to lie, for a moment I was forgetting myself thinking that I am watching a movie and not playing an actual game - I mean, I understand that it is a tie-in game & De Palma's Scarface is a great piece of cinema, no doubt about that, but 10 minutes right at the beginning, with a pretty powerful scene is a bit of an overkill in my book.

There are two different types of single-player modes. The first one is called Movie Scenarios and is happening concurrently with the plot of Brian De Palma's 1983 movie. There are 10 scenarios in total, and if we complete every secondary objective in all of the scenarios, an 11th scenario unlocks as a completion bonus. We're starting by being a right-hand man to Frank Lopez, while he talks us through the basics and rules of operating his drug business - essentially, acting as a tutorial for the player.

The premise is rather simple - produce, distribute, expand & conquer. We're in Miami, trying to take over different districts/turfs that are under control of enemy cartels. We do it by earning more money from drug deals than AI cartels; by aggressively taking over their territories; by flooding the streets of enemy controlled turfs with low-quality drugs, consequently lowering their sale price and so on... anything goes in Miami's underworld of the 80s. Every day above ground is a good day.

Each scenario consists of turn-based rounds & every round has three phases. Buying phase is the first out of the three - it allows you to buy production buildings on your turfs such as cocaine labs, pot farms but also storehouses, so you can store the excess product, otherwise it goes to waste. It's during this phase that you can also hire Thugs and Pushers - both are solid fundaments in building a larger empire - Thugs are able to attack/defend turfs while Pushers help in selling your product on the streets. It is also here, during this phase that you can purchase law, combat or drug power moves - a key mechanic in this game that can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Once purchased game then randomly assigns one to a player - it's almost like pulling a card from a deck. There's a risk element involved but it is minimal - power moves do not cost a lot. All AI cartel bosses as well as the player can execute power moves at any moment, such as boosting the production of their drug facilities, arming their thugs with better weapons, or even unleashing bribed law enforcement to stop the sale of certain drugs outright.

In dealing phase you are expected to make decisions regarding where to sell your product, different turfs have different demands and different prices, so to maximize your profit, you need to think things through - the more you sell at once during your turn the bigger the overall effect it has on street price of a particular product during next turn - so ideally you don't want to flood the streets with all of your produce, rather sell small but often - although this mechanic isn't implemented very well, and sometimes prices fluctuate without the impact of the player or AI. Once all of the decisions are made, you need to wait for the turn to end to be able to yield profits.

The last phase is a combat phase - it's here where you choose to either defend or attack the enemy - if you are defending, you can move your thugs between your turfs, there is no limit in how many times you do it... however - if you choose to attack from one of your turfs you can only use thugs that are already there. You won't be able to add any additional ones when planning the attack, which is a rather stupid and unconvincing limitation. So, essentially if you are planning an attack during one of your turns, but forgot to hire any thugs during your buying phase - tough luck, ese - you will not be able to move any soldiers around your turfs, unless you decide to back up and change your plans from offensive to defensive. The actual mechanic of moving player's thugs sounds very Total War-ish but it's nowhere near as neat as in the titles developed by Creative Assembly. You can certainly see that developers of this game were influenced by these great strategic games. Unfortunately, there's a long way between influence and execution and that's very evident during a combat phase and all of its shortcomings.

It is also during this phase that the screen changes from aerial Miami map to a street level (if you attack the enemy, or if the enemy attacks you) & you can observe a very simple gunfight between two rival cartels. Although, to be fair it looks more like two groups of blind people were given guns and were told to shoot at each other, so rather comical. You can influence the fight, by either calling/hiring additional thugs, using earlier purchased power moves or flee, however this option comes at a cost of losing the territory to an enemy cartel.

There is also an "Alliance" system in-game, where cartels can form temporary partnerships that last certain amount of rounds, to prevent fights and split the profits from drug sales in their territories. This sometimes work, sometimes doesn't - in my experience, every time when AI cartel was having a hard time against another AI cartel in 90% of cases they would send me an offer to form an alliance along with $100k or so. I have never received one under any other circumstances. Forming the alliance doesn't really work the other way, I personally couldn't work out the logic and reasoning behind AI refusing or accepting the offer - it seems like it is completely luck/random based, which is a shame.

The Bad
Finally, to succeed in a round you need to complete a primary objective or multiple objectives: taking control over x amount of turfs, eliminating a cartel completely etc. There are also secondary objectives to accomplish during a round and these come with financial profits, so every time you complete one, your cartel will get a hefty pay check. Most of these are very similar, there is no finesse, no creativity - a gaming definition of repetitiveness.

The other single-player mode is called Cartel Challenges and is essentially the same as Movie Scenarios, just harder and not based on a movie plot. The map never changes, it's always the same aerial view of Miami, same street gunfights, nothing changes - which is a huge disadvantage.

The Bottom Line
Despite some of the bad points this game seemed to work for me, in short 20-30min bursts especially - it felt good making money selling drugs and being able to outdo other cartels. I had some fun while it lasted although I can't really recommend it.

There's something zen-like in taking over territories and making them change colour, transforming the multi-coloured map to a map where a single dominant colour remains - I think that's why it worked for me - but so does Risk and Total War & they're much better games. Two stars from me, but edging towards 2.5/5.

PSP · by jackhnatejko (24) · 2023

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Game added by Sciere.

Game added April 2, 2019. Last modified March 8, 2023.