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    Vice City turns 20 on PC—here’s our original 93% review from 2003

    In 2003, I didn’t appreciate how good Ray Liotta was in the role of Tommy Vercetti, Vice City’s loudmouth protagonist. I did think he was hilarious, but only looking back do I realize how different, and how natural, his performance was compared to the Command & Conquer cutscenes I grew up on. Even 20 years later, Liotta’s performance runs circles around the likes of Crime Boss: Rockay City.

    Former PC Gamer reviewer Alec Meer didn’t quite agree with me, calling Liotta a “so-so” actor (Goodfellas, Alec!? Cop Land?? C’mon!). But context is key. In the early 2000s Liotta was certainly on a streak of so-so movies, and it was really his stand-out performance in 2019’s Marriage Story that reinvigorated his career. Meer goes on to highlight the “legendary” Dennis Hopper, also in Vice City, and I think it’s safe to say Liotta has since entered that canon, too.

    Liotta will always be best-known for Goodfellas, except among a very specific audience—teenagers who played videogames in the early 2000s. Even if Vice City is an unabashed knock-off of Scarface, it was the clear start of Rockstar’s ambition to tell Hollywood-caliber mobster stories using real Hollywood actors. No wonder it scored a rare 93% in PC Gamer.

    Here’s our original review, published in the July 2003 UK issue of PC Gamer magazine.

    Need to know

    Publisher Rockstar Games
    Developer Rockstar North
    Price £35
    Minimum system PIII 800, 128Mb RAM, 32Mb 3D card
    Recommended P4 1.6GHz, 256Mb RAM, 64Mb 3D card
    Multiplayer None
    Web address (opens in new tab)
    Release Date Out now

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    I’ve been naughty. I’ve been bad. I’ve even been evil. I’ve lied to parents and I’ve lied to girlfriends. I’ve stolen, I’ve threatened, I’ve cheated. I even once tried to beat up the one boy in the school (probably the nation) smaller and weaker than me with a Tupperware lunchbox full of Dairylea sandwiches.

    Now I regret everything and nothing. But in Vice City, at least I have an excuse for being a terrible, horrible person. I see a yellow car—surely the rarest, and in my needy, materialistic world view, therefore the most coveted automobile colour—and I can’t help but lightly brush against the door handle as I pass, testing it gently with tremulous, questing fingers, smiling slightly and just… wondering. And I know why. Why I feel the urge to impassively beat to a pulp with her own handbag the woman with the pushchair impeding my progress through WH Smith. And. I. Feel. Good. Because not only can I mercifully go home and safely live out every single violent fantasy that my head has space for on my PC, but now I can do it while hollering in baritone insanity, “THERE’S NOTHING THAT A HUNDRED MEN OR MORE COULD EVER DO. I BLESS THE RAINS DOWN IN AFRICA, GONNA TAKE SOME TIME TO DO THE THINGS WE NEVER HAD.”

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