LEARNING THE ROPES
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
The eastern half of Vice City spreads out before you, from the scenic Ocean Beach to the swanky Vice Point. But before you begin, there are a few things you should know.
- Keep multiple save files. If you really enjoy a mission, save on a different slot when you complete it, and keep your last save for future enjoyment. There are also other reasons you may want to keep multiple save files, which will be addressed in the following points.
- Never save or reset with a cheat activated. The only way to disable a cheat is to load a previously saved game. If you get stuck with pink aggressive cars and a riot where the pedestrians are all out for your blood, you may have problems furthering your career.
- When you're able to buy properties, do not save your game at the Cherry Popper Ice Cream Factory. There's a reasonable chance that your saved game will be permanently corrupted and will not load.
- Play the game the way you want to. Feel free to play the game any way you want to. Anything and everything is completely optional. If you simply want to finish the story, complete the core missions and follow the additional instructions to reach the finale.
GETTING AROUND IN THE '80s
MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION
Each vehicle has its own characteristics: speed, acceleration, handling, weight, center of mass, braking ability, and so on. Helicopters and planes also have unique characteristics. As you spend more time in the game, you'll learn which vehicles you enjoy driving most, which are the most durable, and how to match the right vehicle to the right mission. And remember, let other drivers know what you think of them by pressing L3 (the left analog stick) to sound your horn. Hit select to change the view in any vehicle.
Wherever you are, remember that you can check a detailed map simply by pausing the game. You'll see roads, important places, and the exact locations of any destinations or targets. It's a great feature that wasn't in the last Grand Theft Auto, so use it well.
When you begin the game, Tommy is a bit out of shape. You'll be able to sprint only short distances before needing to take a breather. However, if you can stick to a rigorous exercise program, your endurance will improve and you'll be running for blocks before fatigue kicks in. Jump by hitting the square button, and look behind you by pressing down R3 (the right analog stick). Use the circle button to attack with your equipped weapon.
To get into a car, simply press the triangle button. If there's nobody inside, you'll slip right in. If there's someone behind the door, you'll toss him out. Very few vehicles in the game will be locked--manned police cars being the most notable exception. You can only jack a vehicle that is stopped or moving slowly, making stoplights a great place to snag a set of wheels. Blocking a car's path with your body or another vehicle will usually stop traffic as well.
Violence is another alternative. Bashing on a van with a melee weapon or putting a few bullets into a sedan will often cause drivers to vacate their vehicles, although they may instead opt to speed away. Killing the driver is a surefire option as well, but you should realize that any of these methods can attract police attention if an officer is in the area.
Automobiles are the standard mode of transportation and the way you'll do most of your getting around. There are amazing vehicles out there, but there are also some real lemons. The most important thing to consider is which vehicles you're comfortable driving. A Phoenix may be fast, but if you can't control the vehicle at high speeds, then it's much less useful to you. You immediately have access to the best cars; it's simply a matter of locating and stealing them. The following are a few things to consider.
- Drive aggressively but not recklessly. This only applies during missions, since you're free to obey traffic laws or to slam into everything in sight when you've got no reason to get somewhere fast. Reckless driving can ruin your chances of completing a mission or winning a race. If you pull far ahead in a race, drive carefully. One mistake is all it takes to blow your lead. Likewise, you may never take the lead in the first place if you slam into a wall on the first turn.
- Make an effort to familiarize yourself with different vehicles. If you do so, not only will you learn which vehicles are best suited to different tasks, but you'll also have less of a problem finding specific cars when and if you purchase Sunshine Autos.
- Hit the two-wheel motion. If you hit a ramp with one side of your car or pull a sharp turn on a hill, you can set your car on two wheels. You'll get a bonus and a record of stunt if you can maintain this for two seconds or more, though there's no real practical usage.
Bail--Hit the triangle button when you're traveling at a decent speed, and you'll bail out of the car, sustaining a small amount of damage. The car will continue flying ahead until it hits something. If you're pushing 80mph in a flaming car, this will be your best option.
Powerslide--To perform this technique, approach a turn at high speed, then slam on the R1 button until the car skids, and then let up and floor the gas. You can make drastic changes in direction this way, although it's hard to control.
Drive-by--L2 will let you look to your left, and R2 will let you look to the right. You can fire from your window with a submachine gun while pressing either of these buttons.