GTA Vice City in the test - Grand Theft Auto time travel to the 80s
We are cool like a piña colada. Sirens howl behind us, the police helicopter roars above us - it doesn't matter, the car radio first searches for suitable music. Finally, "Kids in America" by Kim Wilde. With squeaky tires we turn onto the beach promenade. We break through a police barrier between palm trees and colorful house facades. But suddenly it gets tight, civil FBI sports cars stick to our bumper. But a few boards already solve the problem directly in the direction of travel: At full throttle we dash towards the hill in GTA Vice City, jump over the river. Done, the pursuers have been left behind. Time to change channels, now we need hard rock! A little later we roll out of a workshop where our red vehicle has been given a green tin dress. The cops drive past us unsuspectingly - job done.
Sun instead of jail
Such breakneck missions are part of everyday life at GTA Vice City. The action game from Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) in Edinburgh, Scotland, takes you to the city of Vice City as a small-time govemante Tommy Vercetti.
It is reminiscent of the Miami from the 80s detective series Miami Vice. Colorful buildings line up on the beach promenade. Sporty sports cars cruise under palm trees, lightly dressed girls roller-skate on the sidewalk. Golf course and park invite you to linger. Vercetti has no time for that. Fresh out of jail, he gets ambushed at a drug store. After that, Tommy stands there with empty pockets and has to fear for his life if he owes the money. So he dives into the local gangster scene to find out who got the plasticine under the nail.
The game has been available for Playstation 2 for a long time and is one of the great successes there. Now it finally appears for the PC in a graphically pimped version. The textures in particular look nicer, but the higher resolutions also look great. Technically, nothing fundamental has changed compared to its predecessor, the GTA 3, but much more farsightedness is now possible on strong computers - even more distant skyscrapers can still be seen.
City of Sin
It is around six kilometers from Ocean Beach in the far southeast of Vice City to the skyscrapers in downtown in the far northwest. In this sports car, you need a good three and a half minutes for this route - at full throttle, regardless of traffic rules. There would be a lot to discover along the way: for example the island of Starfish Island, where the most exclusive villas are located, or the marina with its expensive boats. In the very southwest of the city are the run-down Little Havana and Prawn Island, where film companies are based.
The city consists of two large, opposite islands. Start your career on the eastern one. Only after ten mandatory missions does the program remove roadblocks on the bridges and give you access to the entire site. Then you can also explore the airport grounds or race in the Hyman Memorial Stadium.
Rain and showers
The sun actually rises in the morning: The game world of Vice City is subject to day and night changes. In the evening, street and shop window lights come on gradually; 24 hours of gameplay corresponds to approximately 24 minutes of real time. The weather is also constantly changing. Where the blue sky shines, a violent thunderstorm can rage only a short time later; sometimes you can even see a rainbow. The times of day and the weather have little impact on play, for example, rain does not make the surface slippery. However, there are hardly any vehicles in the middle of the night - if your vehicle goes up in flames, it will take a little longer to procure new ones.
How does a gangster get a new car? Right - he steals it. Just like in the predecessor or in Mafia, you can get into almost any parked vehicle. Or you stand on the street and wait until one stops in front of you, tear the driver out and dash off - the cart is yours.
You can take the wheel in 74 cars and trucks. The palette ranges from family carriages to sports cars, from convertibles to garbage trucks, from taxis to tanks. Everyone drives differently - the slow stretch limousine barely bends around the corner, with the racing car you wind your way more skillfully than Schumi even at top speed.
If the frenzy goes wrong, your vehicle is visibly damaged: the windshield breaks, bumpers or doors fly away, and the engine smokes. However, such damage has no effect on driving behavior - only the cart will explode at some point. Only shot tires make it difficult to keep on track. There are no licensed vehicles in GTA Vice City. However, the models are based on well-known models: what looks like a Ferrari Testarossa is called »Cheetah« in the game.
Helis and planes
Unlike in GTA 3, Tommy is not limited to four-wheel vehicles. He can also mop motorcycles in Vice City.
Five models are available, from the Vespa to the Enduro to the chopper. The planes steer just like cars and are sometimes faster, but more sensitive. Especially in bends or in collisions with parking meters (which every car can handle), you easily land with your nose on the asphalt. The five helicopters are also new, one of them even with on-board weapons. The helicopters help in some missions where the police and FBI would cause you too much trouble on the ground - the airway is usually safe. However, the controls failed, and you had to laboriously pilot them over the city with eight buttons. You mainly need the nine boats in some special missions, the small plane only in two missions.