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Retro Friday: GTA Vice City 10th Anniversary

by Zaid Kriel (Zaid)  Posted Friday, November 30, 2012 8:50:00 AM

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Grand Theft Auto III was an exceptional game for many reasons, but its chief influence on gaming was exemplified in the trend of having the a game's main character not be a hero. Nowhere was this more apparent than in that games sequel Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.  Vice City, starred Tommy Vercetti, a lead character of an indisputably questionable nature. Vice City is firstly the story of Tommy's betrayal and his rise as a criminal Don in his own right.   

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Unlike GTA III's Claude Speed, Tommy was a much more fleshed out character. A seasoned mob hit man, who was imprisoned for the murder of eleven men when he was ambushed during a hit. Convicted and placed on death row for this action, Tommy managed to avoid the death penalty thanks to his mob family's influence, ultimately only serving 15 years. Then in 1986 Tommy is sent to Vice City to broker a drug, which goes completely wrong and marks the first step in his rise to Kingpin of Vice City.

What separated Tommy from all the other lead characters in gaming at the time, was that he was an incredibly likable and charming character, yet there was never any doubt, that he was also a terrible person.

A hardened and remorseless criminal, Tommy was a something that games had never encountered before. Video game characters were, with few exceptions, typically very binary. They were either wholly evil or wholly good. Not Tommy Vercetti. 

Despite the fact that it's clearly obvious that by playing the game and pushing the plot forward the player is building a criminal empire, it never once feel like you're any thing other than the good guy. A lot of that rested on Ray Liotta's superlative performance as Tommy, a nice guy who was very prepared to do not nice things.

With the games tenth anniversary imminent, Rockstar will be re-releasing it on select iOS and Android devices on 6th December. Now, a new generation of gamers will get to experience what I feel is still one of the best, if not the best, open world sand box games ever made. 

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