Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

aka: GTA: Vice City Stories, GTA:VCS
Moby ID: 25695
PSP Specs

Description official descriptions

Vice City Stories is a prequel to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2 years earlier) and it is the sequel to Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Set in 1984, players take on the role of Vic Vance, an army soldier who loves his country, family, and himself. One bad decision turns everything around and he is kicked onto the streets of a tough city. He has to build an empire to survive, or be left to die. Together with his brother Lance, a drug addict, the siblings try to take over Vice City.

Just like other GTA titles, gameplay consists of third-person shooting and driving sequences in an open environment. You will meet new enemies and gangs, and old foes. The missions require you to kill with a selection of weapons, steal vehicles such as a car, a boat, or a plane, rob to make it big, or just to have fun. New features for the portable version include swimming, and side missions such as Air Rescue, Vigilante, Firefighter, and Paramedic.

Similar to San Andreas' gang wars, this title has an Empire mode. To make money, you have to take over businesses from other gangs. By attacking and damaging rival businesses, it will be put up for sale, for you to take over. With a new building constructed, you can then choose an activity such as prostitution, drugs, protection racket, smuggling, robbery, or work as a loan shark. These activities earn money and the location in the city influences the revenue.

Multiplayer is available over Wi-Fi with ten different game modes, either focusing on fighting (Vice City Survivor), businesses (Empire Takedown), racing (Street Rage), stealing/selling (Grand Theft Auto), capture the flag game types, or games centered around a single vehicle such as a tank.

Spellings

  • 俠盜獵車手:罪惡城故事 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (PSP version)

1,013 People (903 developers, 110 thanks) · View all

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 82% (based on 82 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 51 ratings with 3 reviews)

Perfect for Misogynist

The Good
Budweiser is the “King of Beers”; however, an unscientific poll of anyone who has had the pleasure of the company of said royalty and have imbibed alcohol in a place other than the local sports bar down the street will tell you Budweiser is crap beer. This disparity always confuses me. How can something so popular be so bad? Nothing clears this up; when you ask a Budweiser fan you may be given an answer of, “Because I just like it,” or “Why don’t you shut up!”

Well, liking something will prove to be the end of you. That chick you liked back in high school that let you feel her up on your birthday will eventually be the woman you marry who will destroy your will to live. That friend you trust so much now with the news you felt up a chick on your birthday will be that guy in the future who will pull you back down to his miserable level and not let you go onwards to do all the things you wanted to do. Those gloomy Goths and sour Brits may be on to something: if you don’t like anything you will never be disappointed. (and you may even get into Buddhism)

No, it doesn’t pay to be a fan because if you believe in something, it must be good… it has to be. It’s your belief. If that first bottle of Budweiser tastes good, well that fifth bottle must be good as the first one. Well, this fifth game in the current Grand Theft Auto III series isn’t fit for any kegger because it’s trying to please it’s loyal fanbase. Folks, never give people what they want: you do and you’re Liberace, you’re the Beegees, you’re an Italian guy with a red hat and a big moustache jumping over barrels. Give people what you need to give them. The problem with any GTA game from now on is that it’s a GTA game.

It’s not all bad. This mod is a great opportunity to go back and re-experience the real star of any Grand Theft Auto game: the city. No matter how much you can dress up the protagonist of any GTA game or lines to speak the real reason you love the game is because of the world you are given to explore and conquer. Every Grand Theft Auto game is at its core an adventure game because the city is what captures your imagination. One muses: “I wonder if there are any hidden packages behind this row of houses,” “this would be a cool place to have a race, I hope the game will take me there,” “I want to know if I can get on top of that, there must be a way,” or waxing nostalgic like “I remember this was the place I first carjacked a tank” or “I had so many six star fights with the cops here,” and so on. Adventure games don’t necessarily need puzzles.

One thing that both Vice City games have captured very well is the feel of the time period. I have no qualms in admitting I’ll play this game for the soundtrack alone. Though the first game did it bigger and better, Vice City Stories still has a good soundtrack that will have you do that thing in the shower (I mean sing). However, do you remember that song you slowed danced to with that girl? You know, that song which was all slow and mellow in the beginning and then when the radd-est drum fill ever came in you started drumming on her back? You know, “In the Air Tonight”? That song will lose its coolness.



The Bad
This could have been a very good game; it’s already halfway there, with the city already designed and a legacy of game play that has proven to be so popular. It’s this fact that makes it so frustrating and sad that a company with a reputation for breaking the status quo with games like State of Emergency (“riot sim”) and Manhunt (“murder sim”) should now uphold it so ruthlessly. Every release can’t be a guaranteed euphoric adrenaline rush giggle but with this game and the similarly released Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Rockstar has jumped the shark to be satisfied with being the rich, fat cat. “IV” doesn’t look so good anymore; maybe yet another delay may do it good.

There have been well made mods released before: Half-Life: Opposing Force and Starcraft: Brood War come to mind. Those mods were very successful because they built upon the success of the original game. They don’t just give you more of the same; they take the familiar you have to come to know about the game and have challenge your expectations. What GTA: Vice City Stories does is just more of the same, just different. There are some differences, granted, like having you start out at the west island on the army base. However, everyone and their accountant has played the first game; why not play the whole game as a black ops army goon? How about being a soccer mom who cracks under the pressure and starts taking illicit jobs? What about a Haitian who has come up from the old country and has something to prove?

Releasing a GTA game that is in fact a GTA-clone just proves that Rockstar has no guts. Both “City Stories” take place before each of its own game storyline, providing unnecessary back story and thus not having any effect upon the game universe whatsoever. Why not provide a game that tells me what happened after I played the last game? I didn’t get 100% completion on that last game to find out events that have little to do with anything. If Rockstar had “real balls” (as this game keeps telling me) they would make a game where the point of the game is to kill the hero of the last game. “Tommy Vercetti took over Vice City… and now you’re going to take him out.”

A strong narrative has been important in Grand Theft Auto games previously, but not this game. The ending for this game’s protagonist, Vic Vance, has already been written: he dies at the beginning of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City; it’s the premise that set that game up. I’ve never wondered who Lance Vance’s brother is like, and it appears his life can’t be that interesting if it ends so mundanely (well, for a video game..). Just as troubling to the story is his position as a reluctant hero; from the beginning Vic Vance is portrayed as an unwilling participant in a life of crime, but all his actions refute that. The game tries to tell us that he hates dealing drugs, yet he has a day job as a drug overlord. Well, it’s a living; I suppose it all makes since once you see the “You don’t have to be crazy to work here… but it helps” sign on his desk next to the mirror and razor blades.

There is one built-in problem with the game design: places have been designed with a purpose already in mind. Alleys are designed to hide the rampages and unique packages of the first game. Your safe houses in the first game have no use here. Roads and buildings were set up for the specific placement of unique jumps. This has been dealt with but in a summary fashion; c’mon, challenge us! You’re bigger game geeks than us… if this is the same city I spent 160 hours in the first time (yep, most of it doing Vigilante in “Brown Thunder”… level 201, thank you kindly), I would like to come back here to rediscover it all over again. Tommy Vercetti’s first safe house on Ocean beach is now a 5 level enemy dungeon. Ken Rosenberg law office is run by his even more neurotic cousin Larry… as a brothel. As an ode to Hard Boiled, the last boss fight is out of a hospital. Your home base is the police station because you are the cop assigned to take down Tommy Vercelli… a bad cop. You know, if I can pull these ideas out of my ass a thousand monkeys down at Rockstar HQ are bound to hit videogame premise paydirt. What this also could mean is that yet another Vice City Story could be released if this was successfully done; that’s right, a second game based on the original. However, this lack of creativity and flogging of the dead horse ensures a) a quick buck and b) no Vice City Stories II: SimCity Gangsta!

Now might be a good time to mention that Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is completely misogynistic. This game does everything except mention “stupid bitch” somewhere in the dialogue. GTA games have always up to this point done a good job at parody; however this game crosses that line. Good parody will take overrated subjects and knock them down a peg: this is as in the first Vice City game the “me” generation was criticized for its selfishness and self-importance, just as were overzealous swampland entrepreneurs, golden age videogames, Reagan-nomics, tree hugging leftists and nudists. On the other hand in Vice City Stories each amusing bit becomes the same “women are stupid and inferior” theme and really takes the fun out of everything. I have no idea why more folks don’t mention these things in games.

Something must be said about the game play: after seven years and five games of driving from one halo or corona to another, it really gets boring. Save for the sublime “Domo arigato Mister Domestibot” every mission has a tired been there, done that feeling—even the last mission. The new mini-games don’t enhance the game any. “Lifeguard” is no different than “Paramedic” but in a boat. New additions like snapping one’s neck from behind serve no purpose, and even distract you from the story (said my brother of said snapping: “that’s not nice”). The next GTA game has to be different, next gen or otherwise.

Still one more thing: what’s up with this 80’s cameo? On the game radio you keep hearing this one singer pop up and you think: “He wasn’t that popular, was he?” and then you discover he’s in it! NO!! Rockstar, you are now adult contemporary music! How unhip!! I can’t believe this same guy now officially exists in the same world as the Truth and Candy Suxx; a mission and subsequent unlockable has you watch some bad mo-cap of his concert. For shame, Rockstar. I thought a better rock star cameo would be the Police (all three of them, Andy is free these days).



The Bottom Line
Bad story that doesn’t make sense, retread old material, stale game play, unrefreshing take on the series, unhip on the side of comb-overs… man, it sucks to be a fan.

Yah yah, I know it was first a PSP release. Everyone was amazed at what you can stuff on one of those things. Sure, yah yah, science triumphs over art… but that’s all it is. With some creative thinking you could have had a nifty little number that would pump life into this old lady.

PlayStation 2 · by lasttoblame (414) · 2007

A step back in time and a step back for the series.

The Good
Now I have been playing GTA games since the beginning with the first rendition and when they transcended to the 3D realm with GTA III and its sequels Vice City and San Andreas. After these great titles I was a little worn on GTA, but always hoping for the next big hit when lo and behold I came across Vice City Stories. When it was originally released I was a little put off that the asking price was $20 and it was just basically a conversion of the PSP version and I just ignored it. Finally after many of years and countless games later, I was looking for a new game since the weaning days of the PS2 was looming and the PS3 was becoming more prominent and I finally bit the bullet and bought this game.

Well to begin the game gives you a retro feel with the visuals and colors, taking me back to the days I first popped in Vice City and I like how this game starts you on the opposite end of the island this time around. The story isn't anything spectacular but still interesting, telling a tale of a misguided man in the military suckered into a bad situation and ultimately becoming an outcast to everyone around him. Though I do like the story, there are a lot of issues with the presentation which I will get to in a bit.

The many choices of radio stations and the songs blew me away. Initially I thought there would only be a handful of stations and barely any audio tracks, but I was shocked by the plethora of stations including many genres for just about any fan of music, including the classic talk radio stations and the faux '50's propaganda style cereals. Always a good chuckle. As for the voice acting only one thing stood out in my mind and that was none other than the character Phil Cassidy, voiced by the lovable madman Gary Busey. I cracked up years ago with Cassidy and to find him again with Gary Busey behind the voice once more got me giddy, considering how crazy he is now compared to his original appearance, so I couldn't wait to get more involved. Sadly, though, this is where the good ends, which is kinda sad.

The Bad
Well, where do I begin, for one while the graphics do bring back a nostalgic feel there are just not as polished as it's predecessor. It looks awfully muddled with no sharpness to it whatsoever, everything has this soft feel to it which does disappoint me considering I was comparing it to Vice City and San Andreas which graphics are better in comparison. I'm not sure if this had something to do with the fact it was originally a PSP game, but still it could have been worked on more. The animations of the cinemas are off a bit at times too with the lip synching seeming like it has a time catching up or even at times there is no voice coming out of their mouth whatsoever. There was even times someone else's voice was coming from another person's mouth.

Somewhere along the line somebody developing severely messed up on the physics, resulting in some of the most messed up glitches and gameplay I've seen in a while. The cars are so slippery and slick that at times it seems I could skid sideways on the roadway without even trying. This is especially problematic when I'm either chasing someone or running from the cops and I barely tap the brakes and skid for what seems for miles until finally (and thankfully) coming to a rest.

I've also noticed at times where some glitches hindered my ability to even complete or even start a mission. In one instance I was to go into a shop and convince the shopkeeper to pay on a debt. As the cinema began I was seen walking into the shop with a shotgun, but when I appeared inside, I was holding nothing in my hand but it still seems like I was supposed to be holding on to it and when I tried to shoot something, he would act like he was recoiling from the shot, but nothing was there. I finally fixed it by cycling through the weapons, but still shouldn't quality control have picked that up a while back?

And speaking of weapons, the targeting system is way the hell messed up. You think after all these years, Rockstar could have finally had it where the main character would only target enemies instead of targeting every living thing in sight. In some instances I could have five enemies in front of me and instead of targeting them, he would turn around and target a pedestrian. What? Oh come on. At first I thought it might have been a glitch, but no, it keeps happening over and over and over and...well you get the idea.

Some of the missions are fun, but others makes you want to pull your hair out in frustration. In one mission I had to help Cassidy by using a forklift and maneuvering around a burning warehouse to load up a truck full of moonshine and with every successfully load a part of the warehouse would collapse making me find alternate routes. Now at first I liked the idea, but it was quickly becoming a problem since everything was so dark, I basically had to brighten my screen up all the way to see the routes. Another of Phils involved him running from gang members while I was following from behind to distract them from him, but the A.I. was so idiotic it seemed like it was intentionally running into burning cars, deliberately trying to catch fire to end any chance I had to complete the mission. It took me a few tries and I barely made it since the A.I. stopped in the middle of the road and let two burning cars surround it and blow up beside it, limping its way back to the garage hitting everything in site.

And if those two missions weren't enough, one mission involved me picking up hookers and delivering them back to a waiting brothel...sounds easy right?...wrong! To compound problems they were involved in some heavy fire fights with local gangs in which I had to kill the rival gang members, pick up the hooker and try to avoid about a dozen cars that could flip my car on its hood on one shot. Things like this makes me wonder if they developers intentionally wanted to make the player suffer. Oh and not to mention some of the longest saving times I have ever seen, I actually kept track one time and it took it almost three minutes to save my progress. Something like this keeps me from coming back to the game.

One final problem I have and that is the voice acting is horrendous, including the main character Vic Vance. For some reason Vic reminds me of Carl Johnson (of San Andreas) only 20 years older and a softer personality, which doesn't fit the long line of characters from previous and future incarnations. Claude was a bank robber betrayed, Vercetti was a member of the mafia, Johnson was a former gang member brought back in. Vic on the other hand was just a guy caught in a bad situation so it wouldn't make since for him just to ruthlessly kill masses of people for no reason.

While I do like the idea of basically a good guy doing bad things when he doesn't want to in order to survive, it just wasn't pulled off (that is not the case with GTA IV, however). Busey's acting bothered me too, slurred at times, it makes me wonder if he was high or drunk or both when he did the acting which was disappointing. I was hoping to hear the crazy, energetic and enigmatic ramblings of Gary Busey, instead I get the feeling of someone who was basically there only for the money. And I do realize that this was basically a take of Miami in the 80's and that racism was rampant at that time, but come on, every time I turn around and another slur blurts out. I get so tired of hearing "boy" all the time not including other ones including Asian slurs (most specifically towards Koreans).

The Bottom Line
Sadly, this game seems like a step back for the franchise. While this game does work great on a PSP, converting it to a low budget PS2 title basically killed it off. The muddled graphics, lousy voice acting, terrible animation and screwed up physics really off set the overall fun you can have and makes you even wonder if you are actually playing a GTA game. Now I know Rockstar wanted to give GTA fans a retro feel, but still you don't go from something advanced like San Andreas and go back towards this mess. Even for hardcore fans, I would only recommend a rental, but if you have a PS3 or 360, skip this entirely and go for the more advanced titles (like GTA IV or Red Faction: Guerrilla).

PlayStation 2 · by Big John WV (26941) · 2009

GTA in your hands

The Good
The game retains the same great open-ended gameplay with the radio stations, cool sports cars and motorbikes and the awesome revision of the 1980's decade, with a different well-written deep story into the other characters in Vice City and Liberty City, more great 1980's music from artists from the original "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" with all my favorites include Flock of Seagulls, Blondie, Frankie goes to Hollywood, Hail & Oates, INXS, ABC, Human League, and Wang Chung. New artists include New Order, Yazoo, Heaven 17, Talk Talk, Missing Persons, Kajagoogoo, Thompson Twins, Berlin, Depeche Mode, and The Cure. The empire system brings new replay value for the game and save your progress easier. Target system and driving works well as the other games. You can pay fee to bring back your weapons when you die or busted by the cops making it easier to return to a mission you failed at.

The Bad
Draw distance issues occur when driving fast in the city, slow frame rate issues happen when too many people and objects on screen, but anyone can get used to it. Controls take time to get used to. Loading times between areas, missions or cutscenes may slow down your time. The graphics aren't much details to whole game. Open-ended gameplay hasn't changed since the 2001 release of "GTA III". Music can freeze only 1/2 seconds. Earning cash from the missions aren't really rewarding as the other games, which makes it harder to buy weapons or spary your car. Some of these flaws maybe occur and make changes to make this to the PSP.

The Bottom Line
This game is enjoyable on the run, even though there are some issues. It's Vice City repackage with new music, story, missions on the PSP. If you enjoy the other games, the entertaining story, non-stop variety of music and gameplay makes this a must have on the PSP.

PSP · by Mario Duenaz (19) · 2011

Trivia

German version

In the German version there are a number of changes: * People on the ground can't be hurt with melee weapons * All blood effects and decapitations were removed * There are no bloody tire tracks when driving over a corpse * Killed people don't leave money behind * The two body count and the special attacks statistics were removed.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2006 – #3 Best PSP Game of the Year
    • 2006 – #2 Best Licensed Soundtrack of the Year
  • Golden Joystick Awards
    • 2007 - Handheld Game of the Year

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by TigerFury007.

PlayStation 3 added by Fred VT. PlayStation 2 added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: DreinIX, coenak, Patrick Bregger, piltdown_man, Victor Vance, 一旁冷笑.

Game added January 2nd, 2007. Last modified October 15th, 2023.