Scarface: The World is Yours
25th Sep 2006 | 10:34
TONY MONTANA is the f***ing man. He is the ultimate gangster. Everyone who's seen the film (which should be everyone) knows that. He's greedy, arrogant and has mental issues (to say the least). We know he's an unpleasant chap but yet we can't help but like him. That's why this game will succeed.
You don't control a videogame character that physically resembles Montana. In this game you ARE Montana. It recreates the character perfectly in so many ways - the whole Montana persona. What if Tony Montana had survived the shoot out at the end of the film? He'd be pretty pissed, right? That's what this game supposes. He's one angry mofo and he wants everything he had back... NOW. This is one no-messing game and most certainly not for the kids. If you thought GTA was gaming for grown ups, wait until you get out on the streets with Our Tony.
That polygonal man on the screen behaves like Montana, not just in cut scenes but in every situation - even in hectic shoot-outs. A gang of men come running at you with guns. You yank the trigger and Tony leans back arrogantly as he takes aim and blasts a few dozen hot bullets into the delicate flesh of the hostiles. The blood flies and bodies fall like dead flies, then you slam the B button to prompt Tony to shout a taunt: How do you like that, huh? You f***ing cock-a-roaches'. It's brutal, it's foul-mouthed, and it's morally incorrect on so many levels, but it's just so darn good. You've blasted enemies to death in plenty of other games (if you're a proper Xbox gamer), and it was fun, but you didn't have the voice of Tony Montana (or a voice that sounds EXACTLY like him) shouting the F-word for you after the frag. Trust us, it makes all the difference.
But you're not restricted to using the Taunt feature to post-kill situations. You can press the button at any time and Tony will have something to say, and its context sensitivity is surprisingly well done. If you're walking in the road and a car whizzes past, bumping Tony on the way, you can tap the B and Tony will direct his flame-talk at the driver. If some dude's giving you eye as you stroll around, hit B and Tony will tell him where to go.
Maybe nothing in particular is going on but you just want to hear Tony say some bad words - a tap of the button will have him ranting on about Sosa (the drug lord who ordered the attack on Tony's mansion, as you already know, right?). You can even have full-blown conversations with the Miami hotties, as Tony cracks some of the most unsubtle chat-up lines we've ever heard. We know what you might be thinking - games with film-influenced soundbites get tedious as they start to repeat. This doesn't. To start with, there is an astonishing amount of speech in this game. The DVD it's stored on must be packed with vocal filth. And secondly, c'mon guys, it's Tony Montana swearing in his Cuban ascent. The boy in you ensures that never gets boring.
Brilliantly though, you don't feel like a child for pressing the 'Swear like a street drinker' button at every given opportunity because there are actual gameplay merits to it in the form of Balls points. Every time Tony gives it all the mouth he is awarded Balls points, which fill a meter on the bottom-right of the screen. When it's full Tony can go into Blind Rage mode and boy, if you think Tony is pretty pissed at the best of times, you haven't seen anything yet.
Blind Rage is a move you'll be using at times of desperation - your health is low and goons have you surrounded. In most games, this would be a good time to run. But this is Tony F***ing Montana we're talking about. He runs from NOBODY. You activate Blind Rage and for a few seconds the game switches to a first-person view. Suddenly you're invincible, and with infinite ammo you can go berserk, blasting holes into everyone around you while Tony automatically shouts a constant barrageof swear words and profound insults. You will frown and squeeze the trigger harder because it gets you that pumped. The visceral feel you get from it is awesome. You feel like Tony F***ing Montana, with all the laid back arrogance and sense of invincibility, and like you're better than everyone else and they should respect you.
This game is all about respect. You'll stumble across other gangsters on the street that will often tell you to eff off if you're in their territory. The extra confident ones will come over to confront you. If you hit B at this moment you'll enter an 'Intimidate' mode, which tasks you to stop a raising power bar at the right moment, like a power bar in a golf game. Stop it too low or too high and Tony will stumble, then the dude and his mates will start shooting you. But hit the sweet spot and Tony will see the guy off with words in a way only Tony Montana could - with lots of F words and crude alternative names for human genitalia. It's highly amusing.
Of course, you're Tony Montana - you could have just blasted a hole in the mouthy git the moment he stepped up to you. But such actions against other gang members will raise a little thing called Gang Heat, which is like a police wanted mechanic, only instead of the boys in blue chasing you, it'll be boys in bandanas or balaclavas. A few punks with guns doesn't scare Tony Montana, but it does make business hard considering that if you piss off all the gangs in the town you'll have no one to sell drugs to, so you have to keep them sweet.
That's right, you have to sell the 'yeyo'. Loads of it. We know - the PC-conscious reading this will probably be thinking this game couldn't go any lower, but it's a SCARFACE game, guys. Scarface without drugs would be like Halo without sticky grenades - just plain wrong. You've got to build yourself back up to being the crime lord of the city. That takes much more than just nicking a few cars and doing some drive-bys like in GTA. The game gets you thinking about reputation, business and power. After the crazy shoot out you start the rebuilding process by getting in touch with a few of your main contacts, and swearing with them a bit.
Your first mission on the street has you pulling off a massive heist, taking on an entire building full of gun-wielding gangsters, and a helicopter with guns - alone. What? That's no problem for Tony. You need a f***ing army to kill Tony Montana, as fans of the film will know. Once you've got the cash and you purchase your mansion back from the Vice (dodgy cops), you've got to start sorting out business on the streets.
You purchase a bulk of drugs, then proceed to roam the streets, selling drugs to small-time dealers who pay far more for the yeyo than you did. Soon you make massive profits. As your bank balance grows, you can deal in larger amounts of drugs and deal with some more serious drug-pushers. There's quite a lot of hard graft involved but it all pays off when you start to see six-figure bank balances and can start thinking about splashing the cash. Now you can buy shops and other small businesses around town, slowly taking Miami territory back as your own. This is also when you really start being Tony Montana - doing things for the status, and the reputation.
Reputation plays a massive part in the game. The game quantifies your reputation with points that you're awarded for your achievements in the underworld business, like buying a new section of turf or taking a rival gang to war and winning. But the game also uses these points to emphasize the Montana way of thinking. People respecta man with a flash car, a boathouse, a giant cigar cupboard in his office and a tiger roaming his back yard.
You can also blow cash on recruiting henchmen to perform certain jobs for you, which really makes you feel like the boss. Hire a driver and you can get Tony at any time to whip out his mobile phone and call the driver to demand he delivers the car to your right f***king now, mayn'. A few seconds after the call, the driver appears in the car - there's no running around the streets looking for a decent car to nick in this game, because you're Tony Montana.You can hire a similar guy to deliver your boat for you when you're down at the pier, too. Now that's power.
Also among the selection of henchmen is an assassin, who you will need to perform certain jobs. You know Tony has a strict moral code against hurting innocent people (point your gun at an innocent person in the game and he'll automatically stop shooting and verbally refuse to kill them). So if Tony needs something doing that might get a bit messy, he can hire an assassin to do it for him. After you make the call, you control the assassin and perform your duties without moral restrictions.
But whether you're playing as Tony or the assassin, if you cause a ruckus on the streets you'll draw the attention of the police and that's bad. Each time you do something illegal, from stealing a car to shooting or running people over, your Cop Heat will rise. When police catch up with you, the amount of pressure they'll put on you will depend on your Cop Heat. If your Cop Heat is fairly low, a patrol unit won't shoot at you but will simply give chase and ask you to pull over. Do so and he'll walk up to the side of your car demanding you get out.
But don't forget you're Tony Montana, so you have a choice here. You can floor it and run, but that will raise your Heat further. Or you can get out, have a quiet word with the cop and cool him down with a small bribe. The risk there is that if you fail the bribe (represented by the same power bar-stopping challenge used for intimidating gangsters), you're getting banged up instantly, which loses the money and drugs you have on your person. Succeed and the cop will let you walk away from the scene. But if you've really angered the Feds and your Cop Heat gets too high, you're not given this option. Cops will shoot at you on sight and multiple patrol cars will chase you relentlessly, which inevitably leads to you seeing the, You F*****d Up message in the game over screen. To avoid this situation you have to make sure you pay the Vice to lower your Cop Heat whenever it gets too high - expensive but essential. That's what makes Scarface cool - there are so many different strands to it that all come together to make you feel like you're living the lifestyle of Tony Montana.
Things like Cop and Gang Heat, to reputation and Balls points work to complete the gangster experience and are original to this game - unlike these GTA clones that basically do nothing new. Yes, this is a city-roaming gangster game but it goes to great lengths to take you much deeper into the underworld lifestyle than giving you a gun and letting you kill people and steal stuff.
What we've seen of Scarface so far has been fun and missions have been varied. It's crucial that the later half of the game maintains the fresh feel and doesn't get too repetitive. All will be known when we get our hands on the full game for review.