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->''"At least it's not hard to find criminals here. All I have to do is point my gun and shoot."''
-->-- '''Garrus Vakarian''', ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''

Vice City is a sprawling urban town, [[WretchedHive infested with crime]]. You can find every bad example of humanity here -- thieves, carjackers, gangsters, assassins, drug rings, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking arsonists, murderers, jaywalkers]] -- and will probably get the chance to partake in all of it yourself.

Here, there is law, but it bends to the wallets of the powerful criminals, or the temptations of the law enforcers. Much less chaotic than some {{Wretched Hive}}s as the vice in the city is caused by [[VillainWorld organized corruption]] rather than greed induced every-man-for-himself-ism. [[PoliceAreUseless The police are often noticeably ineffective]] in Vice City, [[OptionalTrafficLaws only getting off their asses to stop a criminal who is running over little old ladies]] ''repeatedly'' in the middle of the street. [[CardboardPrison They'll only incarcerate the offender for a few seconds]], too. Except, of course, our heroes, especially if they take effectual actions against crime.

The setting used in most WideOpenSandbox games, particularly the "true crime" ones of the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' variety ([[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity one of which]] is the {{Trope Namer|s}}). The city may be based on a real one, such as the ones seen in the ''Spider-Man'' games, but mostly it will be a [[NoCommunitiesWereHarmed loose amalgamation of various cities]], so the designers don't have to worry about adhering to the laws of geography.

[[HideYourChildren There will almost never be anyone under the age of 18 in Vice City.]] Presumably, children are shipped away from their parents to a certain boarding school or [[VideoGame/{{Bully}} somesuch]], and only allowed to move in once they hit the age of 18. It could possibly be a ChildlessDystopia.

Some of these cities are so bad they can bring about FridgeLogic when there are MoreCriminalsThanTargets. Occasionally, there is a CloseKnitCommunity in one (appallingly poor) neighborhood, which tends to be desperate for any help it can get. Naturally lends itself to TheCityVsTheCountry.

Compare CityNoir and CrapsaccharineWorld. For more general crime infested areas see parent trope WretchedHive.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Neo-Tokyo in ''Manga/{{Akira}}''.
* Roanapur in ''Manga/BlackLagoon''.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}'', the Tokyo entertainment and commercial neighborhood of Ikebukuro blends this trope with the CityOfAdventure, with a bunch of gangs around, people cutting each other with knifes, Shizuo throwing random vending machines at Izaya everywhere around the city, and a headless motorcycle rider going around, freaking people out and stuff. While it ''does'' have somewhat "noisy" reputation in RealLife, its "Vice" aspects in both the books and their anime adaptation were heavily overplayed due to RuleOfCool.
* ''Anime/{{Texhnolyze}}'' features Lux, possibly the bleakest example of this trope.
* Tokyo in ''Manga/TokyoCrazyParadise,'' where robbery and murder in broad daylight is considered just a normal day.
* ''Manga/BlackJoke'': Japan has been made the 51st state of the United States and prostitution has been banned in Tokyo. An artificial island, the Neon Island, has been built in Tokyo Bay for gambling and prostitution. It is a place swarming with organized crime.
* In ''Manga/CityHunter'' Shinjuku [[SubvertedTrope often appears like this]]. While it's not completely in the hands of its criminal elements, there's a number of crimes that the police can't or won't deal with (such as a serial killer who raped his victims-as he kidnapped them in or close to the pleasure neighbourhood of Kabukicho, the police simply blamed them for supposedly being loose women), [[WeHelpTheHelpless crimes that City Hunter deals with once the victims or their relatives ask for his help]] (the serial killer above, for example, was dealt with when the sister of one of his victims, who was waiting for her when kidnapped, hired City Hunter to do the police's job).

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Gotham City, mostly ''since'' Franchise/{{Batman}}, now. Except the GCPD is full of honest, hard-working people ([[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and Harvey Bullock]]), and organized crime isn't nearly so big as chaotic, supervillain crime.
** Or at least it is now. ''[[ComicBook/BatmanYearOne Year One]]'' and ''ComicBook/TheLongHalloween'' show that organized crime and police corruption were prevalent, and, after TheMafia was taken down, the "freaks" took over.
** And its neighbor, Bludhaven, where Batman's former sidekick ComicBook/{{Nightwing}} set up shop in his solo book (later to be supplanted by the current Robin and Batgirl in their solo books). Of course, that was before it became a DoomedHometown....
* ''Comicbook/SinCity''
* Hub City in Franchise/TheDCU, from ''ComicBook/TheQuestion'' comics, was specifically written to be the most corrupt city in the U.S. Less than ten police officers were considered honest and the firefighters went out armed.
* Maranatha, Florida in the titular unfinished web novel ''Maranatha'' and the on-going graphic novel series ''ComicBook/HeathenCity'', both by Alex Vance.
* Bete Noire, the setting of Creator/PeterDavid's ''Comicbook/FallenAngel''.
* New Port City in ''ComicBook/BombQueen'', to a parodic degree.
* Madripoor in the Franchise/MarvelUniverse is a dystopian, crime-ridden and utterly corrupt version of Singapore. Like the Philippines!
* Mega-City One from ''ComicBook/TwoThousandAD'' flagship title ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'' certainly qualifies, and the Angeltown district from its SpinOff ''ComicBook/TheSimpingDetective'' is depicted as being worse than the city as a whole.
* Downlode in ''ComicBook/SinisterDexter'' is a massive city run entirely by gangsters.
* In ''ComicBook/GarfieldHis9Lives'' St. Paul, Minnesota is described this way.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The city in ''Film/Se7en''. The [[GrayRainOfDepression constant rain]] gives the city a run down, depressed feel, and the fact that it is never specifically named (characters only ever refer to it as "this city" or "this place") makes it feel like it could be any large metropolis, though it is very clearly inspired by [[TheBigRottenApple New York City]] more than any other.
* UsefulNotes/HongKong, as depicted in many, many movies, is populated by nothing but gangsters, dragon ladies, foreigners looking for a quick buck or an easy lay, and rogue cops.
* Mexico City as portrayed in ''Film/ManOnFire''.
* Detroit as portrayed in ''Film/TheCrow''.
** And ''Franchise/{{Robocop}}''
* ''Cidade de Deus'' (City of God) as presented in the [[Film/CityOfGod 2002 film of the same name]] -- it is a part of the Favelas, and thus a case of TruthInTelevision. Notably, none of the scenes of the film were shot within the City of God itself, because the location was too dangerous to film in.
* ''Film/StreetsOfFire'''s unnamed city is an example.
* The song "No Place Like London" during the 2007 film adaption of ''Film/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'' pretty much summed up London as this.
* "New Angeles" in ''Film/DoubleDragon''.
* Rio de Janeiro as portrayed in ''Film/TheEliteSquad'' is this. Drug dealers rule the favelas, brutally murdering those who "offend" them. The normal police are corrupt and firmly in their pocket. Rich, ignorant students fund the drug dealers and misguidedly rail against the police. The closest thing to a beacon of light in this darkness is the fascist, torturing BOPE, who would be villains in a less cynical work. The sequel adds LawmanGoneBad militia who violently feud with the dealers and the corrupt politicians aiding them.
* Hill Valley in the alternate 1985 in ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'' was turned into this by a super-rich and corrupt Biff.

* The last four circles of ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'''s Inferno are contained beyond the city of Dis. Guarded by harpies, within the walls of the cities are graves of fire, literal blood baths, the forest of suicides, and a desert where fire rains. Past that, there's a deep drop into the Malebolge (Evil Ditch) that leads even further down into Cocytus, a frozen lake made from all the evil rivers of Hell.
* In Creator/GeneStrattonPorter's ''Literature/{{Freckles}}'', Angel argues that Freckles's parents and relatives did not have to have neglected and abandoned him.
-->''Chicago is a big, wicked city, and grown people could disappear in many ways, and who would there ever be to find to whom their little children belonged?'’
* New Crobuzon from China Miéville's ''Literature/PerdidoStreetStation'' certainly is this. Even the government itself is involved in criminal activities that are hardly petty. There are thieves, spies, drug dealers, religious extremists and underground activists on every corner, as well as [[BodyHorror the god-damn most creepy prostitutes in the history of literature]], the people who are not involved in any sort of crime are likely to be the first ones to die [[FateWorseThanDeath or worse]] or alternatively perform things that are not illegal in New Crobuzon itself, but morally inexcusable to the modern western reader.
* [[PunnyName Pair-O-Dice]][[note]]”Paradise” – yes, IronicName[[/note]] in Francine Rivers’ ''Literature/RedeemingLove'' is a shabby, makeshift town whose primary population appears to consist mainly of backwash miscreants delirious with GoldFever, and prostitutes. Lots of prostitutes.
* Han Dold City in ''Literature/SoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish''. The only mention of law enforcement comes when one police gang sets off some alarms to lure a rival police gang into a trap.
* The Star Wars Expanded Universe brings us Nar Shaddaa, this trope in planet form, it's essentialy a dark version of Coruscant.
** Coruscant itself has aspects of this, though mostly on the cities lower levels

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Discussed in ''Series/{{Treme}}'', New Orleans is considered a risque but harmless, fun and friendly "vice city" that may be devolving into a "sin city" because crime is in the rise and [[BadCopIncompetentCop the police and the authorities are worse than useless]] in the aftermath of Katrina.
* In ''{{Series/Arrow}}'', Starling City is ridiculously corrupt. The cops and judges are mostly on the pad, the administrators of the local mental hospital exploit their patients for profit, the leading candidate for mayor is secretly a costumed supervillain, and the city's wealthy elite are [[spoiler:plotting to destroy the TheCityNarrows with an earthquake machine]].
* ''{{Series/Gotham}}'', of course, definitely verging on MoreCriminalsThanTargets levels. And its status as a {{prequel}} [[ForegoneConclusion means]] until a millionaire socialite and his young ward take up the fight, it won't be improving in a significant fashion any time during the course of the series.

* {{Music/Halsey}}: the Badlands are depicted this way, a dangerous urban sprawl full of dead-eyed kids and neon nights, reminiscent of UsefulNotes/LasVegas.

* Mega-City One in the ''Pinball/JudgeDredd'' pinball; the main purpose of the game is to visit various Crime Scenes and put away lawbreakers.

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* These occur on planetary scales in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''. The entire Dark Eldar race lives in an extradimensional, planet-sized Vice City, for one, and these are people who quite literally ''survive'' by crossing the MoralEventHorizon every day, if not every hour.
* In most {{Cyberpunk}} games, the background setting is one of these. Night City, in {{Cyberpunk 2025}}, is one prime example.
* The Edge, capital city of [[WretchedHive Al Amarja]], in ''TabletopGame/OverTheEdge''. All the normal laws against drugs, violence, fraud, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking trademark infringement]], and the like exist, but are only enforced if you piss off the government. In the event that you ''are'' arrested for something, bribing the local magistrate to let you off is not only legal, it's actually a major source of income for the state.
* In ''TabletopGame/BladesInTheDark'' Duskwall is a cramped city living off its leviathan blood exports, and the only people who seem to truly uphold the imperial law in it are the Inspectors, who are foreigners and thus don't have any local ties.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* In the original ''VideoGame/BioShock1'', the underwater metropolis of Rapture was founded precisely to ''escape'' urban decay. Unfortunately, the discovery of a PsychoSerum on the sea floor created a drug market, which the Mayor refused to police. The drug eventually became the biggest economic force in the city, as every citizen was now hooked on it.
* The {{Trope Namer|s}} is ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity''. ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' expands this into a Vice ''State''.
** Pretty much ''every city'' in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' counts. This even includes [[Videogame/{{Manhunt}} Carcer City]], which is populated by various gangs who are (unknowingly) part of a SnuffFilm empire.
* Paragon City in ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' is a far more idealistic version, with clear lines drawn between good and evil. The upshot of this is, even though there's just as much crime going on, you don't get to partake in any of it. You're a superhero, after all. The Rogue Isles in ''City of Villains'' are closer to this, though with their own twists. (For one thing, the "police" will attack you even though you technically work for them.)
** Not so much 'work for' as [[spoiler:'are mercifully allowed to live and roam free in case you are the one destined to become strong enough to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt']].
* Pacific City in ''VideoGame/{{Crackdown}}''.
* Antiva is a small country that so far has never been visited in the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' games, but gets mentioned a lot.
** Zevran grew up in an Antivan brothel and some time after his mother had died he was bought by the local Assassins Guild [[TykeBomb to be trained]], which he says was a lot better than being a street urchin once he survived the first years. He has a lot of stories to share about political assassinations and mentions a particularly funny one which ended in one of the assassins almost becoming king.
** While being originally from the neighboring Rivain, Isabela had often been there as a pirate and a few stories of her own.
--> '''Isabela:''' ''"I had a husband. He didn't beat me, that's the best I can say about him."''
--> '''Bethany:''' ''"So you left him?"''
--> '''Isabela:''' ''"He was murdered. By my lover... It was all very... 'Antivan'."''
* The city of New Radius in Mark Ecko's ''Getting Up''.
** Arguably an inversion, as the conflict in the game is based around fighting a totalitarian (though admittedly still corrupt) local government and police force.
* New York in the ''Franchise/SpiderMan'' videogames -- particularly ''Spider-Man 2'' and ''Spider-Man 3''.
** Even more so in ''VideoGame/MaxPayne''.
* To a lesser extent, Tokyoto from the ''VideoGame/JetSetRadio'' franchise.
* Haven City in ''[[VideoGame/JakAndDaxter Jak II]]''; Spargas City in ''Jak 3'' is like this, but much more orderly, considering ''everyone'' is armed, and are likely to shoot you if you try anything funny with them.
* Rogueport in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' is a parody of this setting.
* In the ''VideoGame/SaintsRow'' series, the first two games have Stilwater, while the third and fourth have Steelport. They range between Vice City and WretchedHive.
* ''VideoGame/ScarfaceTheWorldIsYours'' makes Miami one of these, albeit not to as large an extent as most.
* Let's not forget the grittily overblown "gangs control the city" version of this that primarily crops up in [[BeatEmUp Beat 'Em Ups]]:
** ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage''
** ''VideoGame/FinalFight''/''Franchise/StreetFighter''
** ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon''
** ''Film/TheWarriors''
** ''ChaosOverlords''
* Santa Destroy in ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' definitely fits this trope, with street thugs in bondage gear armed to the teeth and out for the player's blood, to the point where pretty much no-one actually stays in the city willingly and desperately wants to take the first bus out of town. [[spoiler:The ending of the sequel implies that with the UAA destroyed, Travis and Sylvia are going to fix it up.]]
* In a bizarre example, the little town of Goldshire in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' has become a Vice City of sorts, at least on RP servers. It's filled with strippers (13 year olds watching their naked female characters dance), prostitutes (13 year olds cybering), and criminals (13 year olds powergaming.) Goldshire is so well known for this that among the fanbase it is also known as Whoreshire.
** It's also filled with a bunch of people who are desperately trying to ignore the aforementioned children. It's a pretty common gathering spot all-around, especially for big groups of friends, as it's obviously rather easy to reach.
* The Den in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}'' is referred to as a WretchedHive, as a blatant ''Franchise/StarWars'' ShoutOut, although it's rather tame compared to New Reno, the true ViceCity of the franchise.
* ''VideoGame/WildArms3'' has Little Twister, a Wild West town of outlaws. The various arena towns in the ''VideoGame/WildArms'' series may also apply, though they aren't really towns per se.
* Zozo in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI''. Everybody's a thief and a liar, and unlike most towns, you'll hit random encounters while exploring.
* ''VideoGame/CondemnedCriminalOrigins'' {{deconstruct|ion}}s this concept by showing how scary such a setting would be. All the crime ridden buildings in Metro City that the main character has to crawl through (and there are a lot of them) are filled with nothing but junkies and crazy homeless people.
* ''VideoGame/TrueCrimeStreetsOfLA'' and ''[[VideoGame/TrueCrimeNewYorkCity New York City]]'' took this to a unique level by having the featured cities replicated, or at least with an accurate street and landmark layout. One review for the first game claimed that " residents of LA could use any shortcuts they know in RealLife in game.
* Omega, the unofficial capital of the lawless Terminus Systems in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' fits in the trope quite well. More subtly all the basic elements of the trope also fit to Illium, an asari colony world where everything is legal as long as there is a contract for it, and criminal organizations and ruthless [=CEO=]s struggle for power behind the serene image presented for tourists.
* ''VideoGame/TheGodfather: The Game'' presents NYC this way: You can't go far without running into [[LegitimateBusinessmensSocialClub a business controlled by]] TheMafia, {{Dirty Cop}}s are a dime a dozen, and even staying away from known Mafia fronts doesn't guarantee your safety from running gunfights in the streets.
* [[VideoGame/PokemonColosseum Pyrite Town]]. Even for a LighterAndSofter work like ''Pokemon'', Pyrite is a Vice City within a WretchedHive - it's the only city with police officers in all of Orre, and despite them the hoods freely roam the streets! Let's not forget that this is a city [[EnsembleDarkhorse Miror B.]] ruled over during his days as a Cipher Admin...
* In ''VideoGame/AllPointsBulletin'', San Paro has some of the things mentioned, minus the prostitution, but it does have drug rings, assassins, and carjackings. As a side note, you have the choice of playing a criminal or a cop.
* Midgar in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''. The Wall Market is a sleazy red-lights district owned by Don Corneo, wealthy pervert and Mafia crime boss, and muggers can be encountered as enemies in Sector 5, who may steal your items and run away from them, taking them forever if you fail to beat them in time. Corel also suffers from having thief enemies.
* ''VideoGame/MafiaII'' has [[BigApplesauce Empire Bay]], home to three Mafia Crime Families and several other organized crime rings such as [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triads]] and a local [[TheIrishMob Irish Mob]].
** ''VideoGame/MafiaIII'' has [[UsefulNotes/NewOrleans New Bordeaux]]. While publicly a pleasant place to go to and live, the reality has it being controlled by TheMafia and TheKlan, who use the city to illicit their illegal activities ranging from prostitution to drugs.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Greysky City from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' features the City of Thieves. The name isn't hyperbole - every resident is a thief, and staying in the city for too long causes outsiders to become thieves.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* As of early 2015, Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia probably fits. While the UN-backed government IS most active there, it's a severely troubled and violent city. Eyl, a coastal city, qualifies as well by virtue of all the pirates and how unsafe the ports are by extension.
* Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo qualify.
* Many areas of UsefulNotes/{{Detroit}} and UsefulNotes/LosAngeles may qualify.
* Many cities become this under weak or nonexistent central authority. Iraqi cities are the leading suppliers of child prostitutes in the world.
* Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II. The prophet Amos blasted it for its corruption, its decadence and its lack of concern for the poor.
* UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity until the mid-'90s, such that it is the subject of [[TheBigRottenApple an entire trope of its own]].
* [[BlatantLies Heroica]] Ciudad Juárez in Mexico is practically overrun by [[TheCartel drug cartels]], [[GangBangers street gangs]], {{serial killer}}s, [[AFateWorseThanDeath rapists]] and so on. Experiencing an average of eight homicides ''a day'', Juárez has been nicknamed "Killer City" ("''Ciudad Asesina''"). Some, like [[http://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/blogcritics/article/Book-Review-Murder-City-Ciudad-Juarez-and-the-890794.php Charles Bowden]], even allege the police and army are really fighting the cartels—and ''each other''—for control of the drug industry, not to restore order.
** Averted by El Paso, Texas right across the border, which is considered one of the safest cities in the United States.
* LasVegas during the 1950s came pretty close, being Mafia-controlled and all. The ''official'' crime rate was twice the national average in almost every category, and the amount of unreported crime was apparently greater.
** Its predecessor in Mafia control was Galveston, Texas, from 1920 to 1957.
* UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}} has always been notorious in the American and global imagination for [[CorruptPolitician rampant corruption]], [[GangBangers gang activity]], and prostitution. The peak was in TheRoaringTwenties, when the city was ruled by its openly criminal mayor "Big Bill" Thompson -- who [[TheBadGuyWins eventually got away with it all, scot-free]] -- while UsefulNotes/AlCapone rose to the top of the city's underworld. It's gained back its reputation in modern times as well, due to rising murder rates. A common moniker for the city, especially among its working-class black population, is "Chiraq", owing to [[http://content.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1645301,00.html a widely-repeated (if highly disputed) statistic]] alleging that the city's murder rate was higher than that of ''Baghdad during the Iraq War''. Most of it is still very nice, but the rougher areas are ''really'' rough, and Lord help you if you accidentally find yourself in [[TheCityNarrows Englewood]].
* Butte, Montana in the 1920s was a wide-open town which completely ignored Prohibition and got away with it, even while an FBI field office was located there. Organized crime from Chicago and other parts east made a few perfunctory attempts at taking over the town, and were politely but firmly informed by the locals of the dire consequences they would suffer if they kept up with it. They departed empty-handed.
* [[UsefulNotes/{{Cuba}} Havana]] under the reign of UsefulNotes/FulgencioBatista was full of casinos and prostitution as a precursor to LasVegas.
* Phenix City, Alabama was deemed "America's Wickedest City" during the 1940s until 1955.