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Video Game / Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

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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.

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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.


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Distinct tropes of this game:

  • Abusive Parents: Marty, in addition to be being a domestic abuser to his wife Louise, at one point even threatens to beat down on their infant daughter for crying too much!
    • Vic and Lance’s mother, Janet, is a crackhead who neglected her children, which eventually led to them living with their Aunt Enid. After briefly reuniting with the brothers she eventually steals all of their drugs and disappears.
  • Almighty Janitor: The Big Bad Jerry Martinez is officially only a sergeant in the army but is effectively one of the major crime lords of Vice City.
  • Anti-Hero: Victor Vance is one even more so than CJ from San Andreas. He doesn’t even want to be part of the criminal world at first, instead earning money legitimately by enlisting in the army, and only gets roped into it after being manipulated and betrayed by Martinez. One of his primary motivations is to get money to provide for his sick brother Pete.
  • As Himself: Phil Collins appears in a few missions, complete with an in-game performance of “In The Air Tonight”.
  • Bald of Awesome: Vic has a shaved head. Depending on how you play, this can also be Bald of Evil.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Jerry Martinez and the Mendez Brothers.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Vic manages to get his revenge and kill both Martinez and the Mendez brothers but not only he lost the one he cares so much, but his entire business as well due to being forced to lay low.
  • Bookends: The penultimate mission has you break into the same army base where you were stationed at the very beginning of the game to steal a Hunter military helicopter.
  • 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 of the map.
  • Camp Gay:
    • Reni Wassulmaier. At least until he becomes a she.
    • The White Stallionz, despite being a white supremacist group, has shades of this. In the mission where they are introduced, two members are dancing together to 70s disco.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Phil Cassidy was shown in GTA Vice City as a level-headed person, although he become hilariously Too Dumb to Live when he drunk. Turns out that in Vice City Stories, it is shown that he lost his sister, turning him into a drunk at times.
  • 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.
  • Conflict Killer: Sgt. Martinez is an annoying example, where he interrupts the plot near the end, thinking that the player is the same nobody he pushed around in the beginning, despite the player at this point having taken out Martinez's bosses, and can buy and sell his entire racket millions of times over..
  • Crapsaccharine World: Vice City is this once again.
  • Darker and Edgier: The game kept its pastel tone and bright lights of the night-time like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Unlike said game, which chronologically set two years after this game, Mood Dissonance and Vile Villain, Saccharine Show are in full effect. Vic starts the game being betrayed by his corrupt higher-up in the military, gradually introduced with peoples he genuinely cared off (and lost most, if not all of them), and despite building an underworld "empire" in the name of vengeance, is forced to leave them all in the end to erase all his (along with his brother's) criminal traces in Vice City.
  • 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 and Lance end up destroying 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.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Marty Jay Williams the leader of the Trailer Park Mafia. Killing him is what unlocks the Empire Building mechanics for the game.
  • The Ditz: Lance, which, of course, isn't helped by the fact that he constantly puts Vic through hell throughout the story due to his incompetence.
  • Doomed by Canon: Vic is the first playable protagonist in the series to die, which comes during the intro of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
  • Dual Boss: Sgt. Martinez and Diego Mendez are both fought alongside each other for the final fight.
  • Easy Sex Change: Reni, the German film director who has had three sex changes in the past. And eventually has a fourth during his/her final mission.
  • The '80s: 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.
  • Escort Mission: Several characters, from Phil, to Louise, to Reni.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: The mission "Brawn of the Dead", which has you acting as a stuntman in a zombie movie that is an obvious Shout-Out to Dawn of the Dead (1978).
  • Fallen Hero: By game's end, Vic is a far cry from the straight-laced soldier he was at the beginning of the story.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Jerry Martinez and Armando Mendez both act in a overly friendly manner towards Victor even as they are blatantly manipulating him for their own ends and both eventually decide to discard of Victor when they have no further use for him.
  • Flanderization: Lance is much more immature, whiny, self-centered and irrational. Not to mention he is an even bigger attention hog than he was in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and that's saying something.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Vic is the level-headed responsible brother while Lance is the coked-up foolish one who is constantly getting the pair of them into trouble.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Vic starts out as a newly enlisted ensign in the army. After he is set up for a number of infractions by his CO and discharged, he turns to crime to support his family and ends up running a major criminal empire with his brother.
  • 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).
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Vic has military training and is easily among the most powerful of the GTA protagonists in a fistfight. He can also sprint while holding a rifle.
  • Grand Finale: Of the 3D era. While San Andreas was the final major GTA in the 3D era, this one is the last one period. Which is funny, since it's the first one in a chronological sense.
  • Hello, Sailor!: While giving a big speech on having balls, Umberto tells Vic to show the other cubans his balls. Vic replies "I was in the army, not the navy."
  • Hide Your Children: Averted for the first time in the series with Mary-Beth, Louise's baby, who appears in several cutscenes.
  • Incompatible Orientation: In one humorous cutscene Umberto repeatedly tries to flirt with a female welfare collector who dryly tells him that she’s a lesbian in a committed relationship.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Vic can't climb (unless it's up to shore out of water), even after San Andreas averted this.
  • Jerkass: Marty Jay Williams is a racist and misogynistic asshole who is also verbally and physically abusive to his wife Louise.
    • Martinez, a buffoonish clown who repeatedly mocks and insults Victor while sending him to do his dirty work before eventually betraying him twice
    • The Mendez Brothers as well, especially Armando who makes a big show of acting friendly, in a very smug, passive-aggressive manner towards Vic in almost conversation with him.
  • MacGuffin Escort Mission: Don't let them "Kill Phil"!
  • The Millstone: A lot of Victor's problems are due to Lance's screw ups.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Just not as much as Liberty City Stories.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Vic briefly thinks that Louise and Lance are having an affair after he catches them alone together at Lance’s apartment. They were actually both getting high off the Mendez’s supply of coke. Vic thinks this is even worse.
  • 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 GTA III, which is the last game in the series in terms of chronology.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • The White Stallionz, an all-gay, white supremacist biker gang that tries to rape and kill the dark skinned Vance brothers.
    • Marty Jay Williams is a misogynist hick who almost made his own wife one of his prostitutes.
  • Profane Last Words: During the final mission, Diego Mendez tells Martinez "Vete a la mierda", which literally means in Spanish "go to the shit". Since Victor kills both of them immediately afterwards without a chance to say anything else, those end up being Mendez's last words.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Lance Vance. Despite being a grown man, he's terribly immature, is as insecure as a teenager, and is prone to take vengeance on any slight he suffers.
  • Rags to Riches: After getting kicked out of the army, Vic is virtually broke, and only has a place to stay because he helped Phil Cassidy clear out Phil's old place of gang members.
    • At the end of the game, Vic is the leader of a massive criminal empire with countless operations all over Vice City, not to mention some pretty sweet living spaces.
  • Rape as Drama: What Martinez does to Louise.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: During the final mission, Vic assaults the Mendez building with a Hunter helicopter and murders both Diego and Martinez in revenge for Louise’s death at Armando’s hands.
  • Running Gag: Some missions involving Lance usually end with Lance riding a vehicle alone and without even bothering 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.
  • Scenery Porn: Vice City at dusk. The neon is all lit up, and the sky is painted in glorious shades of orange and red.
  • Shout-Out: All on this page.
  • 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.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Towards the end of the game Louise is kidnapped and brutally murdered by Armando Mendez, prompting Vic to go on a massive Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • The Cameo: Phil Collins appears as a supporting character in some missions given by Reni Wassulmaier. Collins was the first real life celebrity to appear as a character in the Grand Theft Auto franchise.
  • The Load: Lance... even moreso than he was in Vice City. See The Millstone as well.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Completing 15 firefighter levels will make Vic completely immune to fire. Not a single enemy throughout the game, be they naturally spawning or scripted for a mission, attacks you with fire... except Armando Mendez, who will attack you with a flamethrower, does not switch weapons, and has no other enemies around him. This means that it's impossible to die unless you kill yourself on purpose with a grenade, turning this into a Curb-Stomp Battle. You can just walk through the onslaught of flames and beat him with your bare fists if you so desire.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Lance, good God, Lance! If you felt bad about killing him in Vice City, this game will rapidly change your mind.
  • Vice City: Of course.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Vice City is by no means a pleasant place despite its colorful exterior, but Sgt. Martinez and the Mendez Brothers are some of the most-menacing antagonists in the story, let alone the franchise.
  • We All Live in America: During one of Phil Cassidy's missions, you have to track down some Cholos so Phil can do a drive by on them. After failing to find any, Phil remarks that it could take awhile and it's "Good job I brought something to drink." "Good job" is exclusively a British phrase, and one someone as redneck as Phil would never say.
  • 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. Although once you take over every single Empire Building in the town, the gang attacks will stop and you can explore the city without worrying about the other gangs.

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