Previews

Scarface: The World is Yours

Say hello to our leeettle preview! The Wii comes of age as Tony Montana ushers in Nintendo's sweariest kill-fest ever

Warning. The following preview contains chainsaw beheadings, women pushed around, Canadians insulted, a shotgun blast to the nuts, more gauche '80s excess than you could shake a Phil Collins-shaped stick at, and language rude enough to make Ozzy Osbourne blush.

What's wrong with the previous paragraph - other than the notion of a Phil Collins-shaped stick? Swearing. Killing. Malice. It's a brand of anti-whimsy that might upset readers of a Nintendo disposition. Scarface's appearance on the Wii is akin to a particularly foul-mouthed tramp lurching into a children's birthday party, roaring obscenities whilst pawing at his groin with macho efficiency. But instead of dialling 999 or hitting him with a broom we would beseech readers to spend some time with this intruder, to get to understand just what Tony Montana means for the Wii and what the Wii means for Tony Montana.

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Released in cinemas in 1983, Scarface was a cocaine-spliced reworking of the Icarus tale - with the white stuff substituting wax wings and Tony's greedy power-grabbing ending with too many bullets left in places where not even one would be welcome. A bloated corpse does not a good game make, and so developers Radical rewrite Tony's final moments, saving his skin and beginning his climb to power afresh.

Navigating the sandbox-style city of Miami, the game has a distinct step-by-step structure that nicely mimics Montana's iconic 'money = power = women' mantra. Business is a methodological process; charm the sellers, buy the product, sell the product - going from one to the next involves a lot of footwork, but every aspiring drug overlord has to start somewhere. This back and forth is broken up with story progressing tasks. Escaping a nightclub ambush, killing a gang terrorising a drive-in cinema, chasing down crooked accountants trying to leg it in a speedboat; it really plays like Grand Theft Auto, right down to the colour beacons that mark objectives.

In fact, it's tempting to affix 'Grand Theft Auto-ish' to most of Scarface's features. Wide open city, car nicking, gun buying, rozzer dodging and an official soundtrack of over 100 songs; it's been done before, albeit never on a Nintendo console. However, this comparison isn't to suggest that we can only appreciate Scarface in the absence of a GTA Wii instalment; it's very much its own game thanks to Montana's hulking performance.

First you get the console
Just as memories of the film revolve around Al Pacino's sneering caricature, the universe of the game gravitates around the sweary sun that is digitised Pacino. Radical don't actually claim to have made a GTA rivalling pedestrian-hurt-'em-up - Scarface is more akin to a Montana-sim, allowing gamers to see life through the eyes of a shameless man, but a man not without his own moral code. With such a bravado-fuelled central performance it seems insane to have ever mapped this brand of testosterone-dripping action on to button presses, as in 2006's PS2/Xbox versions. Tony's histrionics demand more than tapping plastic. Full-bodied behaviour calls for a literal full-bodied control scheme. Enter the Wii remote.

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As a physical being Tony is all about a triumvirate of macho ideals: getting his hands dirty, shouting his mouth off and obsessing over his balls. It's no surprise then that his dullest attribute, his general movement and walking around, should be mapped to the dullest part of the control set-up: the analogue stick. Which leaves the remote waving freed up for some creative theatrics.

Shooting - a key part in most missions - is mapped on to the remote pointer, with players able to direct the aiming reticule around the screen, leaving a trail of Miami dead in its path. Moving your hand to direct Tony's gun while your body remains still captures Montana's steadfast mentality perfectly, that stubborn determination to stand his ground - an anchor with an AK. Montana's mindset is one of such single-mindedness that only a mind-focusing device such as player controlled remote aiming could do it any justice.

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