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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is an action-adventure game developed in a collaboration between Rockstar Leeds and Rockstar North, and published by Rockstar Games. The tenth instalment in the Grand Theft Auto series, the game was initially released as a PlayStation Portable exclusive in October 2006. A PlayStation 2 port was released in March 2007. Set within the fictional Vice City (based on Miami) in 1984, the game is a prequel to 2002’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (set in 1986) and follows the exploits of ex-soldier Victor “Vic” Vance, a minor character originally featured in said game.[a] The story centres around Vic’s attempts to build up a criminal empire alongside his brother Lance, coming into conflict with rival gangs, drug lords and other enemies.

In addition to the traditional gameplay elements and side missions of the series, the game features a unique empire building system, in which players must expand their criminal syndicate from the ground-up by taking over businesses from rival organizations, and completing missions specific for each of them to increase their income and unlock additional rewards. Like its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories, the PSP version of the game includes a multiplayer mode through a wireless ad hoc network, which allows up to six players to engage in several different game modes.

Vice City Stories received generally positive reviews from critics, and has sold over 4.5 million copies as of March 2008. It was followed by Grand Theft Auto IV in April 2008.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is an action-adventure game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective, structured similarly to other releases from the Grand Theft Auto series. The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large environment in which to move around. On foot, the player’s character is capable of walking, running, swimming, jumping, as well as using weapons and basic hand-to-hand combat. The player can drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, planes, helicopters, jet-skis and motorcycles.

One of the key gameplay elements in Vice City Stories is “empire-building”. New to the Grand Theft Auto series, it borrows a few ideas from Vice City’s “properties” and San Andreas’ “gang wars” systems. To make money, the player must open and operate various businesses on property taken over from enemy gangs – these can range from protection rackets to brothels or smuggling compounds. Once a player removes a gang from a specific business, it becomes available for purchase. There are several different types of business, and each comes in different sizes, which can later be changed to adapt to the player’s needs. Each business comes with unique missions which, upon completion, reward the player with various bonuses, as well as an increased income for said business. The player will occasionally have to defend their owned businesses from attacks by gangs looking to take them back, until all businesses in the city have been acquired, at which point the attacks will cease.

The standard hidden package system from previous Grand Theft Auto games returns in the form of 99 red balloons scattered around the city.[2] This is a reference to Nena’s 1984 hit “99 Luftballons”, which was featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Improvements to the graphics since the release of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories include new animations, faster load times, a longer draw distance, reductions in clumping of pedestrians and vehicles, more complex explosions, and increases in the density of objects, vehicles, and NPCs.

Like its predecessor, the PSP version of Vice City Stories features a multiplayer mode, for up to 6 players through WiFi ad-hoc mode (local area). The game features 10 different modes of wireless multiplayer gaming, which incorporate the use of automobiles, aircraft, and water-based vehicles. Various pedestrian and character models from the single-player mode are available as player avatars. These multiplayer modes are not included in the PS2 version.