Like Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, this game took a new plot to the same setting as a previous Grand Theft Auto game. But it avoids being a Mission Pack Sequel to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City by including a lot of its own elements, such as improved gameplay, mission elements and the ability to swim. Some of the side missions now have continue points, for one. Like LCS, it was originally a PSP exclusive, but was later ported to PS2. A fan-made PC version is being developed by doing a total conversion of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.The plot is stocked with a lot of Dramatic Irony, as the game is both chronologically the earliest in the GTA 3D era as well as the last entry in that continuity, meaning that it is loaded to the brim with Call Forwards and Continuity Nods to the other games in the 3D era.This game is set in 1984, two years before Vice City, and follows Victor "Vic" Vance, a former soldier who is dishonorably discharged after his corrupt commanding officer, Sgt. Jerry Martinez, pays him to shelter drugs and a prostitute on base — both of which are discovered. The rest of the game is about him getting revenge on Martinez, who is part of a powerful drug cartel, as well as (reluctantly) building a criminal empire with his brother Lance.Distinct tropes of this game:
Broken Bridge: As in Vice City, the bridges are closed at the start due to a hurricane warning, although this time you start from the opposite side.
Camp Gay: Reni Wassulmaier. At least until he becomes a she.
Collection Sidequest: There are 99 red balloons scattered around Vice City. Some of them are hard to miss, but quite a few of them are up high and require a sniper rifle (and in a few cases, a helicopter) to reach. It's well worth popping them all, as you gradually unlock valuable weapons and equipment at Vic's safehouses - having this gear available for free saves you thousands of dollars.
Darker and Edgier: More or less, at least compared to its previous predecessors. Several moments in the game are played by the drama, including: Marty's cruel treatment of his wife, the kidnapping and rape of Louise by Jerry Martinez and the subsequent kidnapping (and alleged rape and torture) and murder of Louise for Armando Mendez. And unlike their predecessors of the same era, this was the first to have a Bittersweet Ending and not very nice. In fact, this sequel was an early indication of some of the things the series would do in later years.
Deep South: Marty Jay Williams and his Trailer Park Mafia personify this trope.
Depraved Homosexual: The game briefly features a small biker gang called the White Stallionz that is composed of gay white supremacists. Vic destroys the entire gang.
Dirty Cop: Bryan Forbes, who is so bent that it would be more accurate to say he's a criminal who goes undercover as a cop.
The Eighties: Much like the original Vice City, the Eighties setting is a huge part of the appeal.
'80s Hair: Louise, which is even more clearly this in the art work.
An Entrepreneur Is You: The normal business missions have been expanded to the "Empire Building" feature: You attack rival businesses, take them over, choose what type of business you want to set up (drugs, prostitution, etc.), and choose the size of the building (the bigger, the better). You can then take missions from these buildings to improve your reputation.
Fur and Loathing / Pretty in Mink: Louise buys herself a pink fur jacket in the second half of the game (that can also be seen in the opening and one of the Loading Screens). But before then, she was a good girl, just in over her head. After that, she was all coked-up and ditzy (just not to anywhere near the degree of the Vance boys' mother).
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Umberto Robina helps you to defend your businesses from the Mendez brothers in "Blitzkrieg Strikes Again". In person. Too bad both of you are assigned different businesses to defend and you don't actually see him fighting.
Pink Means Feminine: Louise's fur coat is pink, and before that, her exercise clothes were part pink.
Prequel Not only is this a prequel to Vice City, it's chronologically the first game in the Grand Theft Auto III continuity. It takes place 17 years prior to the events of the original GTAIII, which is the last game in the series in terms of chronology.
Psychopathic Man Child: Lance Vance. He is an adult and a drug dealer, and is probably the only character in the entire series, at least in this sequel, acting childish, but nevertheless, is a sadistic murderer.
Running Gag: Some missions involving Lance usually end with Lance riding a vehicle alone and without even bother to offer Vic to ride with him, much to the latter's chagrin. This is Played for Laughs, because most of these usually happen right before the "Mission Passed" screen appear.
Show Within a Show: By this point, the idea of the game featuring an extensive array of in-game radio stations playing licensed and original music was old hat, so the programmers upped the ante by introducing several old-style dramatic radio programs into the mix, specially written for the game.
Wide Open Sandbox: Not to the same degree as GTA: San Andreas or GTA IV, in part due to the somewhat restricted geography of Vice City, but also because once you start "Empire building" you will constantly have to deal with gangs trying to take over your turf, reducing the opportunity to explore and do stuff on your own.