Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto Vice City cover.jpg
Release date: October 27, 2002
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Series: Grand Theft Auto Series
Platforms: Windows, Xbox, PlayStation 2
Technology: RenderWare
Media: CD-ROM


Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a sandbox-style action-adventure computer and video game designed by Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) and published by Rockstar Games. It is the second 3D game in the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise and fourth original title overall. It debuted in North America on October 27, 2002, for the PlayStation 2 and quickly became the best-selling video game for that year. As of July 2006, Vice City was, in the American market, the best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. Vice City also appeared on Japanese magazine Famitsu's readers' list of all-time favorite 100 videogames in 2006. Following this success, Vice City saw releases in Europe, Australia and Japan, and became available on the PC. Rockstar Vienna also packaged the game with its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto III, and sold it as Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack for the Xbox. Vice City was succeeded by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and preceded by Grand Theft Auto III.

Vice City draws much of its inspiration from 1980s American culture. Set in 1986, the story revolves around Mafia member Tommy Vercetti, who was recently released from prison. After being involved in a drug deal gone wrong, Tommy is forced to seek out those responsible. Throughout the game, Tommy forges out a criminal empire in Vice City, gradually obtaining contacts, running businesses and seizing power from the other criminal organizations present in the city.

The game uses a tweaked version of the game engine used in Grand Theft Auto III and similarly presents a huge cityscape, fully populated with buildings (from hotels to skyscrapers), vehicles (cars, motorcycles, boats, helicopters) and people to explore.

Vice City's setting is also revisited in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, which serves as a prequel to events in Vice City.


The player takes on the role of Tommy Vercetti, a Mafia hitman who has recently been released from prison in Liberty City after serving a 15 year prison sentence in connection with eleven contract killings. The Mafia family for whom he used to work, the Forellis, fearful that Tommy's presence in the neighborhood will heighten tensions and bring unwanted attention upon their criminal activities, ostensibly "promote" Tommy and send him to the titular Vice City to act as their buyer for a series of cocaine deals. During Tommy's first meeting with the drug dealers, they are ambushed by a group of machine gun wielding Colombians, resulting in the death of Tommy's body guards and one of the cocaine dealers, Victor Vance. Tommy narrowly escapes with his life, though in the process of escaping, he loses both the Forelli's drug money and the cocaine.

Tasked by Sonny Forelli with retrieving the money and cocaine and killing whoever was responsible for the ambush, Tommy sets up permanent residence in a beach front hotel. He makes contact with the Forellis only other connection in Vice City, a corrupt, coke-addict lawyer named Ken Rosenberg, who, upon hearing of the ambush, has holed himself up in his office and begun popping stimulants for fear of being killed in his sleep. Rosenberg nonetheless proves to be a vital connection, and through him, Tommy starts working with Colonel Cortez who in exchange for his services will find who organized the ambush. While working for Cortez, Tommy meets Lance Vance and forms a partnership with him and Ricardo Diaz, a Cuban crime lord and Vice City's most powerful mobster. After working with Diaz in certain assignments, Cortez informs Tommy that he has learned Diaz was the one who organized the ambush. Tommy and Lance plan to take Diaz out together.

However, Lance tries to do the job himself. He is captured and tortured by Diaz, but rescued by Tommy. After helping Cortez escape from the French government, Lance and Tommy set off to kill Diaz. Tommy and Lance storm Diaz's mansion, take out his men, and kill him in his office.

With Diaz dead, his empire quickly crumbles. Tommy and Lance personally take over all of Diaz's old businesses, not only becoming Vice City's cocaine kingpins, but also seizing the assets of several near-bankrupted companies. Among those businesses are the Interglobal Films Studio run by Steve Scott, Kent Paul's Malibu Club, Vice City Print Works, Kaufman Cabs Agency, Vice City Harbor, and Maude Hanson's Cherry Popper Ice Cream Factory. They also gain favor from heavy metal band Love Fist, the Cuban and Biker gangs, and Avery Carrington's real estate enterprise.

All of these properties and businesses are acquired with no assistance from the Forelli family. Instead, Tommy becomes the head of his own organization, the Vercetti Gang. The more powerful and rich Tommy and Lance become, however, the more Lance begins to exhibit paranoid and sociopathic behaviors, to the point that he begins to physically abuse his own bodyguards and constantly calls Tommy in states of hysteria.

Eventually, the Forellis find out that Tommy has taken over crime in Vice City, cutting them out completely. The Forelli's send collectors to force money out of Tommy's assets, but Tommy murders them. An angered Sonny Forelli arrives in Vice City with a small army of Mafioso and street thugs, intent on wiping out Tommy once and for all. When Sonny and his henchmen arrive at Vercetti Estate, Tommy attempts to bribe them with counterfit money he made with Earnest Kelly. However, Lance, having come to resent Tommy's substantial share of their profits, betrays Tommy and allies himself with the Forellis. In the game's climax -- a pastiche on the end of the Brian De Palma film Scarface -- Lance, Sonny, and Sonny's henchmen raid Tommy's mansion. Tommy kills Lance in a firefight on the mansion's roof. Tommy then storms back downstairs where he faces off with Sonny. Sonny reveals he is the one who set Tommy up and had him kill the eleven men who were expecting him. Tommy faces off against Sonny, eventually killing him as well. His enemies vanquished, Tommy establishes himself as the undisputed crime kingpin of Vice City, with Ken Rosenberg as his right-hand-man.

Reception And Sales

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was released to extremely positive reviews from critics and fans alike. The game received ratings of 9.7/10 from IGN, 9.6/10 from GameSpot, 5/5 from GamePro, and 10/10 from Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. The game has a score of 95 out of 100 on the review compiling website Metacritic making Vice City the sixth highest rated PlayStation 2 game on the site. Most critics praised the game for its open-ended action and entertaining re-creation of 1980s culture.

As of September 25, 2007, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is the third best-selling video game in the United States,[14] ahead of its predecessor Grand Theft Auto III and behind its successor, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. As of September 26, 2007, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has sold 15 million units, with 6.8 million of those units being sold in the US. As of March 26, 2008, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has sold 17.5 million units according to Take-Two Interactive.

Although the Xbox version was released six months after the PlayStation 2 version, it nonetheless sold well as part of the Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack.


Like Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has been labeled as violent and sexually explicit by many special interest groups, and is considered highly controversial. Some suggest that parental supervision is necessary when young people play this game, since children were never the game's intended audience. The ESRB rated this game "M" for Mature. In Australia, it was slightly modified to comply with current Australian censorship laws; the ability to pick-up prostitutes was disabled, allowing the game to be given an MA15+ rating by the OFLC. In the UK, Vice City received an "18" certificate from the BBFC.

In November 2003, Cuban and Haitian groups in Florida targeted the title. They accused the game of inviting people to harm immigrants from those two nations. The groups' claims of racism and incitement to genocide attracted a good deal of public attention towards Vice City. Rockstar Games issued a press release stating that they understood the concern of Cubans and Haitians, but also believed those groups were blowing the issue out of proportion. Under further pressure, including threats from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to "do everything we possibly can" if Rockstar did not comply, Take-Two (the game's publisher) did agree to remove several lines of dialogue. This seems to have largely satisfied the groups who raised the complaints, although the case was then referred to a state court, downgraded from the initial decision to refer the case to a federal court. In 2004, a new version of the game was released, removing and changing those lines of dialogue.

In February 2005, a lawsuit was brought upon the makers and distributors of the Grand Theft Auto series claiming the games caused a teenager to shoot and kill three members of the Alabama police force. The shooting took place in June 2003 when Devin Moore, 17 years old at the time, was brought in for questioning to a Fayette police station regarding a stolen vehicle. Moore then grabbed a pistol from one of the police officers and shot and killed him along with another officer and dispatcher before fleeing in a police car. One of Moore's attorneys, Jack Thompson, claimed it was GTA's graphic nature - with his constant playing time - that caused Moore to commit the murders, and Moore's family agrees. Damages are being sought from the Jasper branches of GameStop and Wal-Mart, the stores from which GTA III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, respectively, were purchased and also from the games' publisher Take-Two Interactive, and the PlayStation 2 manufacturer Sony Computer Entertainment. The case is currently being heard by the same judge who presided over Moore's criminal trial, in which he was sentenced to death for his actions.

In September 2006, Jack Thompson brought another lawsuit, claiming that Cody Posey played the game obsessively before murdering his father, stepmother, and stepsister on a ranch in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The suit was filed on behalf of the victims' families. During the criminal trial, Posey's defense team argued he was abused by his father, and tormented by his stepmother. Posey was also taking Zoloft at the time of the killings. The suit alleged that were it not for his obsessive playing of Vice City, the murders would not have taken place. Named in the suit were Cody Posey, Rockstar Games, Take-Two Interactive, and Sony. The suit asked for US$600 million in damages.


Official Vice City Website

Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto 2, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto Advance, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, Grand Theft Auto V