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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

This is one of the best computer games of this generation.

If Pac-Man ruled the eighties, and Street Fighter ruled the nineties, then I would say the millennium belongs to Grand Theft Auto. And we have Rockstar Games to thank for that.

Vice City is sort of like an improvement of its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto III, which was also a 3-D improvement of its two-dimensional bird's eye-view predecessor, the original Grand Theft Auto game. In GTA III, you play an escaped convict, and you have to complete missions which involve driving cars. And you aren't provided with a car of your own---you have to steal one. Once inside a vehicle, radio music starts playing, and you can even change stations. The beauty of this is that when you get down from your vehicle, hit someone on the head with a lead pipe, and then get back on the driver's seat, the radio song will still be playing, like it was a real radio song.

Vice City takes GTA III one step further because while GTA III uses original music by unknown artists, Vice City gives you a blast from the past---all eighties music. Imagine driving around town with Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" blasting from the car stereo. That's because the game is set in 1986, in a city heavily inspired by Miami Vice, where the lead character Tommy Vercetti (voiced by Ray Liotta---yes, the Hollywood actor) is just one of the many colorful yet shady characters in the Florida underworld.

Vice City has set the standard for the soundtrack possibilities in video gaming, and its sequel Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas fast forwards a decade into the future, with nineties rock on the soundtrack this time. Playing video games has never been this fun, and sometimes you'd just find yourself sitting inside the car, waiting for the song "Africa" by Toto to finish.

Rating: Masterpiece.


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