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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

Back to the glorious 80's for more sun, sand and shotgun blasts.

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But Vice City was a character in itself, so how has it changed since we were last there? Well, not much to be honest. The main structures are still in place. A good example is Sunshine Autos - in VC it's glass-walled and ultra-modern, but in VCS it's a shady little lot with an 'under renovation' sign perched beside it. There's also a new restaurant boat docked near the bridge to Starfish Island, a trailer park which plays host to several missions and a fun fair on the Eastern Island with the pleasantly-named 'Chunder Wheel' dominating the skyline.

You can swim now too, but the problem is there don't seem to be many places to get back ashore. This means that if you topple off a bridge you can't just swim to safety - you have to go on a lengthy trip around the island looking for a shallow enough beach, by which time you've usually died because Vic can't stay in the water for too long before his lungs burst. Our advice is to avoid water at all costs unless a beach is nearby, OK? The new jet-skis are an absurd amount of fun, though, and thrashing along the water at breakneck speeds feels great. Vice City simply wouldn't be Vice City without being able to take to its sparkling waters.

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Song stars
Fortunately, the radio stations haven't changed - they're just as fantastic as ever. There's Wave 103 and Flash FM for new wave pop fans - songs now include Japan's 'Quiet Life' and 'Love Action' by the Human League - then there's Emotion 98.3 for folk who like to cruise the rainy streets at night looking pensive. Emotion plays host to the, erm, heartbreaking. 'I Want To Know What Love Is' by Foreigner. Rock fans are catered for by Vrock, talk fans by current affairs station VCPR. It's worth listening out for the spoof 50s serial drama about a time-travelling super hero who creates 'time bubbles' by, er, masturbating. It's one of the best GTA soundtracks yet and, as always, the songs boost the game's superlative atmosphere.

But the fact that remains that while ViceCity Stories is just as important a chapter in the Grand Theft Auto saga as any, it's another re-tread of the ageing GTA3 game engine. The missions feel familiar and so do the driving and the save system - they're remnants of a six-year-old game, after all. Upstart Scarface feels fresher, but the miracle of playing such a big game on PSP makes VCS something special. If you're wanting more of what you already love then this is PSP's best yet.

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The verdict

One of the best games on PSP. The game engine may be showing its age but this is top-drawer entertainment.

  • Bombing around on jet-skies
  • The most bizarre (secret) celebrity cameo ever!
  • Brilliant music
9.1
Format
PlayStation Portable
Developer
Rockstar
Publisher
Rockstar
Genre
Action, Racing / Driving

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