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Initially sceptical when I first picked up Scarface: The World is Yours for Playstation 2, I was preparing myself for some nonsense developers were trying to pass for a game. Movie licensed games have a bad history, and I was wary that this latest incarnation was going to destroy my memory of a fantastic movie. The game was a pleasant surprise, though, sporting decent graphics, solid gameplay, and excellent voice acting. I believe this title is going to be a desired addition to most retro gamers' collections as it is testimony to the quality of the Playstation 2. For those who have not seen the film, you play as Tony Montana, a Cuban convict turned drug lord who has been sent on a boat from Cuban to the United States. The events of the game take place after the film, you get to play through the film's ending to change what originally happened. This initial level is pretty awesome, Tony's mansion is just like it is in the film and to play through this scene is truly epic. For those who have not seen the end of the movie, Tony is being attack by an army of Colombian gangsters at his Miami mansion. Armed with a machine gun and explosives, Tony goes a coke fuelled rampage from the vantage point of his office.
Every dog has his day...
You are basically reenacting the end of the movie, but this time, you are in control. Completing this tutorial level, the game then goes 'open world' as the player then has to rebuild Montana's wealth by completing a huge number of missions. The section of 'Miami' the player has to explore is vast and split off into various areas. There's a downtown area, a seafront, an industrial estate, and a sort of redneck caravan site to name a few of them. Locations have been taken from the movie to give long time fans a nostalgic feel These include internal environments as well, Tony can walk into the hotel where one of his friends met his end by chainsaw and the Babylon Club is free for the player to explore. There are also additional environments — for example a Cigar Store, a few bars and a drive in movie theatre to name a few; players will enjoy exploring Miami and finding what is there for themselves. Gamers can also interact with the civilians within the environment and will really feel like they are Tony Montana. If you go up to anybody on the street and press circle, Tony will start talking to them, the game also keeps track of your conversations so you don't hear the same one again. Currently I am up to 76, so the voice acting is pretty extensive; I didn't find myself getting tired of it.
'You like a tiger, you know...'
The weather and time of day also change, which players seem to have become accustomed to in this type of game, but I found it to be good attention to detail on a game which obviously took a lot of money to make.
Al Pacino does not do the voice acting unfortunately; but did take part in picking an ideal person for the role. The reason they did not use Al Pacino is there were concerned his voice had changed with age. The game takes place straight after the events of the film so I believe the developers and Pacino made the right move to choose someone younger for the role. No disrespect to Al Pacino, who is an incredible actor, but it was good to hear he still cared enough about the character to take part in the development of the game.
Tony Montana is voiced by Andre Sugliuzzo, and I honestly could not tell the difference it was done that well. The game plays a lot like Grand Theft Auto but with a few differences and twerks on the Tony Montana character. Players expecting to mow down everything that moves with a machine gun and be chased by the police will be sorely disappointed. The game encourages a low profile, if the player decides to point a gun at a civilian and press fire, Montana himself stops you and states, "he ain't no worm."
"You like that!"
Players may be disappointed that the game restricts that kind of freedom but I think Scarface fans will appreciate the fact that the game is true to the character. The story is driven forward by certain missions as Tony tries to rebuild his cocaine empire. These missions usually end up with a gun fight and as you progress, the quality of weapons is upgraded. These include some signature Scarface weapons, like the chainsaw, your standard silenced pistol, uzi, and AK 47. You can free aim with the weapons but there is also an assisted aim which you can adjust for a crucial head shot. Combat is fun but as the game progresses it can become difficult. The player needs to utilise duck and cover tactics to continue to progress yet enemies can 'spawn' from all over the place which can be frustrating at times.
"First you get the money..."
Radical Entertainment included a taunt feature which allows Tony to shout profanity at his victims as he shoots them. This in turn fills up his 'Balls meter,' which allows Tony to unleash 'the rage'; when this happens the game changes to a first person perspective, you become invulnerable for an allotted time. As you take down enemies, Tony's health will slowly regenerate, a nice gimmick and a nostalgic nod to the film. The 'Balls meter' also transfers to Tony honking his horn when a car hits him, which is both amusing and helpful. The melee combat is pretty basic and is just a case of the player hitting the fire button while unarmed. It's a good variation on the combat and feels realistic when Tony needs to rough somebody up. Nicely done and not too complex, but adds realism to the criminal world as they don't always use guns.
"I ain't no worm..."
The police chasing you is very different than the likes of Grand Theft Auto and you will find this in various missions. You get a certain amount of time to evade the police; if you fail, it's game over, any illicit cash or drugs you had will be seized after the police have shot you. In between the story missions is the drug dealing missions, which is a huge part of the game. You will do a favor for your contact, Felix; this can be as complex as defending an ally or as easy as assassinating a target or making a delivery. Once the mission has been completed, your contact will then give you a deal which you need to turn up at. These are very fun as you will buy cocaine from a supplier and then you need to distribute it to various dealers. As you turn up to the deal you will see various heavies, one may try to intimidate you which brings up a mini game. A circular bar appears and you need to make it stop in the right position, get it wrong and the guards will shoot you, get it right and you are free to do your deal. The deal works on the same premise, if it goes wrong be prepared for a shoot out. This game can get repetitive at times especially as the difficulty increases throughout. As you advance you will move to an area called the islands which will have you doing deals by boat. The game cleverly implements elements to keep the player motivated, Tony the character is obsessed with expensive items and these can be bought in the exotics menu. From here you are able to upgrade your mansion as well as buy signature vehicles from the game. Fans also have the option to customise Tony's mansion, placing various baubles, statues and souvenirs round his huge house. It makes for a welcome distraction and a nice variation on the gameplay.
The city of Miami is very much living and breathing; the gangs will respond to Tony's presence and it's up to the player how they respond. Your response will affect the heat you get from the police and the various criminal gangs. You have the option to bribe both parties but you can also attack gang territories; yet this makes the city pretty hostile. The cocaine distribution gameplay also changes as you advance through the story allowing for bigger takings and more exotics. The player is also able to purchase additional characters, such as a driver, an enforcer and a female assassin. This adds variety and it makes sense that Tony would not do all his own 'dirty work.' These characters come with their own special missions and their addition is alternative way to make money in the Scarface world.
"I am a political prisoner from Cuba!"
Scarface adopts a gameplay element from 'San Andreas' where you can attack rival gang territories. These give you huge payouts and adds to the players wealth and what he can buy from the Exotics menu. I think Radical Entertainment really knew what they were doing as they have created a 'Drug Lord sim' type game which you can differentiate from crime titles which have came before it. If the player chooses, he can bump off local dealers, take their earnings, cocaine and make a profit with other dealers. Alternatively, you can make larger deals and use these small dealers to distribute and take a bigger profit with less violence and less heat. At one point I was driving a boat loaded with cocaine from 'the islands' to Miami while getting shot by pirates and I thought to myself, 'this is awesome.'
"I never lied to you, Frank..."
The game looks to have had some support from Bodog, as millionaire Calvin Ayre's stamp is all over Miami from roadside billboards to a ship casino dedicated to his business. Here, you can make extra money gambling on fights or playing blackjack which is a nice diversion and adds to that 'drug baron' feel.
The driving mechanics to the game are pretty similar to the likes of Grand Theft Auto and True Crime except Tony can order pre-purchased vehicles from his mansion. This also includes boats but no planes, this is understandable as the game is pretty vast and to include this obviously didn't meet the budget. The cars are pretty glamorous and at your disposal, you will have access to Ferrari like cars, soft top vehicles to military vans and muscle cars. Players will be glad to know though that Tony can still jack a car; this is especially useful if you are trying to evade the police or a gang hit.
On the water you will have access to speed boats and gun boats which are good if you are being pursued by the law or pirates. Tony can shoot weapons from all vehicles and the henchman who delivers them stays with you to act as backup which is a nice little gimmick for the game. Radical Entertainment really did cover all areas with this game as they even managed a 80s music soundtrack. I certainly appreciated driving round to a 'hit' from to Iggy Pop. When you are getting ready to do a large distribution, Cypress Hill's 'Dr Greenthumb' starts playing. This is timed perfectly to the beginning of the mission; it just gives it that gangster feel.
Fantastic game, great visual, great gameplay, if a bit frustratingly hard at times.