Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Gtavc cover art
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Engine: RenderWare
Release Dates: PS2
Us flag 1Canada flag 1 27 October 2002
Uk flag 1EU 8 November 2002
Australia flag 1New zealand flag 1 8 November 2002
Japan flag 1 20 May 2004
Platforms: Playstation 2
Ratings: ESRB: M
BBFC: 18
OFLC: MA 15+
OFLC (NZ): R18
USK: 16+
aDeSe: +18
VET/SFB: 18 (square)
Protagonist: Tommy Vercetti
Setting: Vice City
Year: 1986

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (also refered to as GTA: Vice City, Vice City and GTAVC) is a sandbox-style action-adventure computer and videogame designed in Scotland by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the second 3D game in the GTA III Era and the sixth original title in the franchise.

GTA Vice City is set in fictional Vice City, Florida (USA) in 1986. The game centers around protagonist Tommy Vercetti as he rises to become Vice City's major criminal power. The events of the game follow on from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, which took place two years earlier.

It debuted in North America on October 1, 2002 for the Playstation 2 and was later ported for the X-Box and Microsoft Windows in 2003. It was made available on Steam on January 4, 2008, and on the Mac App Store on August 25, 2011. Vice City was preceded by Grand Theft Auto III and followed by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.


Tommy vercetti

Tommy Vercetti, the games protagonist

The player takes on the role of Tommy Vercetti, a member of a Liberty City mafia who has just been released from prison in 1986 after serving 15 years for killing eleven men. Tommy's old boss, Sonny Forelli, fears that Tommy's presence in Liberty City will heighten tensions and bring unwanted attention to his organization's criminal activities. To prevent this, Sonny ostensibly "promotes" Tommy and sends him to Vice City under the guardianship of mafia lawyer Ken Rosenberg to act as their buyer for a series of cocain deals. During Tommy's first meeting with the drug dealers, an ambush by an unknown party results in the death of Tommy's bodyguards, Harry and Lee, and the cocaine dealer, Victor Vance. Tommy narrowly escapes with his life, but he loses both Forelli's money and the cocaine.

Tommy returns to his hotel room and phones Sonny to inform him of the outcome of the deal. Sonny, furious at the news, threatens Tommy about the consequences of messing with his organization. Tommy promises to retrieve the money and the cocaine and kill whoever was responsible for the ambush. Towards this end, Tommy meets up again with Forelli's lawyer Ken Rosenberg, who leads Tommy to contact a mid-level drug dealer and ex-military Colonel named Juan Garcia Cortez. Cortez expresses regret about Tommy's bad deal and promises that his own lines of inquiry are being made. Tommy also meets Cortez's daughter Mercedes, who becomes Tommy's girlfriend shortly thereafter.

While Tommy waits for the outcome of Cortez's investigation he meets British record producer Kent Paul, real estate mogul Avery Carrington and local free-lance criminal Lance Vance. Lance is eventually revealed to be helping Tommy because his brother and business partner was the dealer who was killed in the ambush, and he too is seeking revenge.

As time passes, Tommy befriends Colonel Cortez and begins to do regular work for him as an errand boy and hitman. One of his jobs for Cortez is to provide protection for a drug lord Ricardo Diaz during a deal with the Cuban gang Los Cabrones, which is ambushed by a gang of Haitians. Tommy does his job and saves Diaz's life, leading Diaz to hire Tommy for his own agenda. Tommy takes this work because it pays well, in spite of his distaste for Diaz's character.

Tommy learns from Cortez that Cortez's own lieutenant, Gonzalez, was partially responsible for the ambush on Tommy's cocaine deal, and asks Tommy to kill Gonzalez with a chainsaw as a favour. Afterwards Cortez lays suspicion for the ambush on Diaz. Tommy initially plans to continue the status quo to prepare for his own attack, but his hand is forced when Lance Vance attempts to take revenge on Diaz by himself and fails. Lance is captured and taken to a junkyard to be tortured. Tommy rushes across the city and rescues him. With the die cast, the two move quickly to raid Diaz's Mansion with assult rifles provided by Lance. They wound and then execute Diaz outside his office. With Diaz dead, and Colonel Cortez fleeing the country on his boat to escape arrest, the established drug empires in Vice City quickly crumble and Tommy and Lance personally take over, becoming Vice City's cocaine kingpins.

Tommy becomes the head of his own organization, the Vercetti Gang, and the more powerful and rich Tommy becomes, the more Lance begins to exhibit paranoid and sociopathic behaviors, to the point that he begins to abuse his own bodyguards and constantly calls Tommy in states of hysteria.

Tommy also makes alliance with Umberto Robina's Los Cabrones against Auntie Poulet's Haitians, even though he is at the same time hypnotized by Poulet's voodoo into helping the Haitians. Tommy and Poulet part ways after he helps fight off a Cuban assult on Haitian turf, after which he becomes unwelcome near their neighborhoods. In the end though, Tommy and the Cubans sneak explosives into the Haitian Drug Factory disguised in Haitian gang cars and blow it up, effectively ending the Haitian gang's power.

As his drug business expands, Tommy buys assests in nearly bankrupt companies such as a car lot, a cab depot, a strip club, a night club, a boathouse, a print shop for counterfeit money, an ice-cream company that is revealed to be a front for drugs, and an adult film company, all of which he turns back into competitive businesses. He also becomes a personal bodyguard for a rock band, an honorary member of a biker gang, and pulls off a major bank heist.

Eventually the Forelli family discovers that Tommy has taken over much of the action in Vice City without sending a cut to Sonny as required. Sonny sends collectors to force money out of Tommy's assets, but Tommy disposes of them. An angered Sonny Forelli arrives in Vice City with a small army of mafiosi, intent on taking their tribute by force. When Sonny and his henchmen arrive at the Vercetti Estate, Tommy attempts to give them their tribute in counterfeit money, and confronts Sonny over the hit he was supposed to pull on one man that turned into an eleven-man killing spree. However, Lance, having come to resent Tommy's substantial share of their profits, reveals to Tommy that he made a back-room deal with the Forelli's to topple the Vercetti family, and informs Sonny that the tribute money is counterfeit. In the game's climax, Tommy stands alone as Lance, Sonny, and Sonny's henchmen raid Tommy's mansion.

Tommy first chases, ridicules, and finally kills Lance on the rooftop helipad, then storms downstairs where he faces off with Sonny. During the gunfight, Sonny reveals he is the one who set Tommy up fifteen years before, sending him to kill the eleven men who were expecting him. Tommy eventually kills Sonny in the main hall of his estate. With his enemies vanquished, Tommy establishes himself as the undisputed crime kingpin of Vice City. Ken Rosenberg, who has worked with Tommy throughout the events of the game, becomes his right-hand man.


The game is set in fictional Vice City, which is based on Miami, Florida. The game's look, particularly the clothing and vehicles, reflect (and sometimes parody) its 1980s setting. Many themes are borrowed from the major films Scarface, Pulp Fiction and Carlito's Way, along with the hit 1980s television series Miami Vice. Vice City also parodies and pays tribute to much of 1980s culture in the cars, music, fashion, landmarks, and characters featured in the game.

Ricardo Diaz's opulent mansion and the climactic battle which takes place in it at the story's end, are very similar to their counterparts in Scarface. Another reference is the game's overall storyline, as it is highly similar to the film, as is the design of the final mission. There are also more subtle references, such as an apartment hidden within the game with blood on the bathroom walls and a chainsaw (in a nod to the film's "chainsaw torture" scene).


Bf injection shot

BF Injection being driven on the beach.

Because Vice City was built upon Grand Theft Auto III, the game follows a largely similar gameplay design and interface with GTA III with several tweaks and improvements over its predecessor. The gameplay is very open-ended, a characteristic of the Grand Theft Auto franchise; although missions must be completed to complete the storyline and unlock new areas of the city. The player is able to drive around and visit different parts of the city at his/her leisure and otherwise, do whatever they wish if not currently in the middle of a mission. Various items such as hidden weapons and packages are also scattered throughout the landscape.

Law Enforcement

Players can steal vehicles such as cars, boats, motorcycles, and even helicopters, partake in drive-by shootings, robberies, and generally create chaos. However, doing so tends to generate unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the police (or, in extreme cases, the FBI and even the National Guard). Police behavior is mostly similar to Grand Theft Auto III, although police units will now wield nightsticks, deploy spike strips to puncture the tires of the player's car, as well as SWAT teams from flying police mavericks and the aforementioned undercover police units. Police attention can be neutralized in a variety of ways such at respraying your vehicle at a Pay 'n' Spray or picking up police bribes.

Business Assets

A new addition in the game is the ability of the player to purchase a number of properties distributed across the city. Some of these are additional hideouts. There are also a variety of businesses called "assets" which the player can buy. These include a film studio, a dance club, a strip club, a taxi company, an "ice-cream delivery business" (acting as a front company), a boatyard, a printing works, and a car showroom. Each commercial property has a number of missions attached to it, such as eliminating the competition or stealing equipment. Once all the missions for a given property are complete, the property will begin to generate an ongoing income, which the increasingly prosperous Vercetti may periodically collect.


Various gangs make frequent appearances in the game, some of whom are integral to story events. These gangs typically have a positive or negative opinion of the player and act accordingly by following the player or shooting at him. Shootouts between members of rival gangs can occur spontaneously and several missions involve organized fights between opposing gangs.

Side missions

Tommy delivering pizza

A screen shot of the Pizza Boy Side-mission

Optional side-missions are once again included, giving the player the opportunity to make pizza deliveries, drive injured people to a hospital with an ambulance, extinguish fires with a fire truck, deliver passengers in a taxi, be a vigilante, using a police vehicle to kill criminals, and the ability to drive a bus, transporting fare-paying passengers. Monetary rewards and occasional gameplay advantages (e.g. increased health and armor capacity and infinite sprinting) are awarded for completing different difficulty levels of these activities. Different sums of money are awarded for landing tricky jumps in motorcycles or fast cars depending on the number of flips and height achieved.


There are 114 vehicles on the game, ranging to cars, trucks, helicopters, and an airplane. To see a list of the vehicles that appear in the game, click here.


Like Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has been labeled as violent and explicit, and is considered highly controversial by many special interest groups, some of whom suggest that parental supervision is necessary when young people play this game, since children were never the game's intended audience. The ESRB rated this game "M" for Mature.

Gang war 1

A Haitian gang member fighting a Cuban in GTA VC. Both Haitian and Cuban-American groups targeted Rockstar Games because of the way the gangs acted towards each other.

In November 2003, Cuban and Haitian groups in Florida targeted the title. They accused the game of inviting people to harm immigrants from those two nations. The groups' claims of racism and incitement to genocide attracted a good deal of public attention towards Vice City. Rockstar Games issued a press release stating that they understood the concern of Cubans and Haitians, but also believed those groups were blowing the issue out of proportion. Under further pressure, including threats from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to "do everything we possibly can" if Rockstar did not comply, Take-Two did agree to remove several lines of dialogue. This seems to have largely satisfied the groups who raised the complaints, although the case was then referred to a state court, downgraded from the initial decision to refer the case to a federal court. In 2004, a new version of the game was released, removing and changing those lines of dialogue.

Other Releases

10th Anniversary Mobile Edition

In October 2012, Rockstar Games relased a mobile edition of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as part of the game's tenth aniversary, following the tenth aniversary relase of Grand Theft Auto III in December 2011. The game was released on iOS on December 6, 2012. The release of the Android version was delayed, and was released on December 12, 2012.

There are a few differences to the handheld versions to the console version, although the layout and gameplay remain the same. The handheld version includes updated graphics and character models, and custom controls with a fully customized layout. Some features exclusive to the iOS include the iCloud save support, and the ability for the player to create a personal playlist using music on his or her device. The mobile version, simply put, is just a port of the PC version. The game can be played with a keyboard, which allows the player to also use cheat codes.



  • GTA Vice City has more melee weapons than any other GTA game.
  • All license plates in the game are similar to Florida license plates, an orange logo resembling the state of Florida can be seen on them, some even having the Florida Gators logo on them.
  • GTA Vice City only took 9 months to make.
  • GTA Vice City is the only game to not feature the AK-47, although the weapon is seen in Phil Cassidy's artwork, who is holding one while guarding his fort.
  • The script for the game was over 1,000 pages long.
  • According to Lazlow Jones, Rockstar began working on GTA Vice City only one month after the release of Grand Theft Auto III.
  • The logo sequence for GTA Vice City is reminiscent of the Commodore 64 BASIC command prompt, which was common during the time that the game was set.
  • GTA Vice City is set in a fictional city that is based on Miami, Florida.
  • GTA Vice City is set two years after GTA Vice City Stories, which took place in 1984.