Celebrating it’s tenth anniversary Rockstar Games brings back my favorite Grand Theft Auto game of all time. Vice City. In my opinion, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a mashup of Goodfellas meets Scarface. The other part that makes it so great is the fictitious Miami setting during the 1980s. I was hooked from the opening minutes as I just drove down the streets of a fictional neon lit South Beach to the club in the center of town. I even stole a police car, crashed vehicles, beat up a few bystanders, and created some random chaos and had a lot of fun doing it. I loved this game when i first played it on my Playstation 2, and now it’s on my iPad. Watch out Vice City because I’m back! Let me re-introduce you to Tommy Vercetti.

PROS:

The Story
Unlike Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City features a more fleshed out story featuring Tommy Vercetti (Ray Liotta) at the helm. The mafia hitman is sent to Vice City to get a slice in the cocaine business for Liberty City boss Sonny Forelli when all of a sudden everything goes wrong. Now without the money and the drugs Tommy needs to find a way to make things right, and maybe in the process pull a Tony Montana and run the town. I really love all the angles that are played out in this game from drug lords, club owners, and even various gangs controlling their own piece of the city. Tommy makes Claude (the main antagonist from GTA 3) look like a low level errand boy. I had Tommy rising in power and creating an empire as I took control of the city and even buying a mansion similar to what Tony Montana had in Scarface. The story is awesome even though it seems to have been played out in many movies.

Celebrating Everything ’80s
One thing that made Grand Theft Auto: Vice City so unique is the fact that throughout the game I was able to point out so many ’80s references. I grew up in the ’80s and seeing references to Scarface, Knight Rider, The A-Team, Miami Vice, Rambo, The Village People, and so much more was really cool. The city itself was a reflection of everything ’80s with all the neon lights all the way down to the random people on the street with how they dressed and acted. Cars reflected their ’80s style and when I jacked a car the music of that decade was blaring into my speakers. I absolutely loved it.

The Soundtrack
One of my fondest memories of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was when I was strolling through the streets and I came up to an unsuspecting cop, stabbed him, and then jacked a car. While getting chased by the police the radio played “Cum On Feel The Noize” from Quiet Riot. The song fit so right with the chase which was awesome. Throughout my experience with the game I would flip around the various radio stations jamming out to all the songs as well as the hilarious DJ chatter and commercials. Sometimes I would just sit around for an hour or two just to listen music and do nothing in the game. Maybe I should have bought the soundtrack CD instead. In my honest opinion, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’s ’80s soundtrack is my absolute favorite of the series.

Doing Whatever I Want
What makes the Grand Theft Auto games so much fun to play are the moments where I go off the beaten path of the main storyline. Driving around the city jamming to ’80s music, acquiring property, civil missions (fire, police, taxi), rampage missions, getting dances at the strip club, robbing stores, picking up prostitutes to regain health and then kill them to get my money back, beating up and killing random civilians, and wreaking havoc in the city are just a few of the things I did. Doing whatever I wanted in the streets of Vice City really adds to the awesomeness that this game is. Grand Theft Auto games were not made for me to follow a linear story arc. They’re meant for me to go hog wild in the big city and do all sorts of shit that I wouldn’t do in the real world and that’s fun.

CONS:

Touchscreen Controls
It took some time for me to get used to the touchscreen controls when I first started playing Grand Theft Auto 3 when it was released on the iPad. This game is no different. The touchscreen controls are the same layout as they were in GTA 3. Now I come from console gaming, and when I saw how many touchscreen buttons there were on the screen I was a little overwhelmed. There’s a button for everything. Running, jumping, shooting, and even jacking cars. Driving cars (which can be difficult) takes a little finesse, but once I got it down it was easy. Actually driving a car in Vice City is better than it was in GTA 3. My advice to everyone playing is take the time to get used to the touchscreen controls before diving deep into the game or else you might get really frustrated.

IN CONCLUSION

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is back, and it’s a welcome addition to the App Store. Sure it takes a little time to get used to the iPad controls, but once I was past that the memories came rushing back making my time with Tommy Vercetti fun once again. Wreaking havoc in the city, especially in a tank or attack helicopter, was awesome. Doing it while jamming to the ’80s soundtrack was even better. Nostalgia sure, but with this version I was creating all new memories to have for hers to come. GTA fans this is a must buy! The best part is that now I have this game on both my Xbox 360 console and mobile devices which will make it even harder for me to turn the fun off and go back to reality.

Developer: Rockstar Games
Platform: iPad, iPhone
Players: 1
Price: $4.99

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