Saturday, 13 September 2008

Retrospective - Scarface: The World is Yours

  • Game: Scarface: The World is Yours
  • Console: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, Wii
  • Developer: Radical Entertainment
  • Publisher: Sierra Entertainment
  • Released: 2006
One of the best things about never selling your games on, and keeping them in pristine condition, is that every now and then, you'll go through your collection and stumble upon a couple of hidden gems that not only get pushed to the back of your wall unit (or wherever you keep your games) but also to the back of your mind. Most notable are the games you've never completed. So, when you do get the chance to do this (usually in the summer months when games worth getting are very few and very far between) it can be quite a cathartic process, especially when the games are just as good as you remember them to be.

One of these games I found was Scarface: The World is Yours on the PS2. I remember playing it last year and getting quite a bit of enjoyment out of it, but for some reason I stopped playing it. I think it might have been because it really was quite hard, or I wasn't playing it properly. So, I popped it back into my PS2 and remembered straight away that the opening montage depicting some of the main events of the film was rather awesome and seeing all the recognisable names pop up in its credits; the likes of Ricky Gervais, Bam Margera, Jason Mewes et al. From this point onwards, I was hooked. It does really set the scene rather well.

Scenes like this are commonplace in the game.

Scarface: The World is Yours
is the game of the film, but not really: it's the sequel. I know, Tony Montana died at the end of the movie, but the game starts with you playing through the end of the movie as you help Tony successfully escape his under siege mansion. You kill most of Sosa's men, and escape just as the Police arrive. Yes, it's quite strange to have a movie ending turned on it's head like this, especially for a game, but what this allows the game to do, though, is to carry on the legend of Montana when he's pushed back to the bottom of Miami's crime-ladder instead of merely playing through the set-pieces of the actual film.

The game is pretty much identical to GTA: Vice City (remember, however, that Vice City used the film Scarface as its main inspiration in the first place), only slightly more complex. Tony has to restart his empire from the ground up, starting with buying his mansion back off the Vice Squad. You can then buy businesses and use these as fronts for your drug dealing ways. To get Tony's hands on the narcotics, you have to set up deals with local druglords and bargain with them in a quick mini-game that, with good timing, can end up with you scamming the dealer out of pocket. Get it wrong, though, and you'll anger him, leading to a gun-fight with Tony vastly outnumbered.

However, the only things Tony has in this world are his balls and his word, and he don't break them for no one. What he does do, however, is use his balls as an 'overdrive' meter of sorts, which, when filled, makes Tony fly into a blind rage, granting him temporary invincibility, one shot kills and auto-aim, with each kill filling up his health-bar a little, which is a great way to turn the tide of a gun-fight. To fill up the balls meter, kill someone, then press the circle button to taunt them. It really is rather an inspired addition to what would have been a rather ordinary combat system. You can also talk to every NPC in the game-world, and completing the myriad conversations you have with people (like, say, flirting with a girl at the Babylon Club) will add to your balls meter.
Definitely, one of the best things about this game, though, is that they've got the voice of Tony Montana spot on. It's not Al Pacino, he only gives his likeness to the game, but a very good impressionist and he never really shuts up, so it's lucky he actually sounds like Tony Montana.

Tony Montana: he don't give a chit.

Scarface: The World is Yours is an incredibly solid game and to call it a GTA clone would be doing it a disservice. At first glance, it is just that, though. A free-roaming, crime-based 3rd person shooter where you can steal cars and cause mayhem, normally ending up with you being chased by cops. But it's the less mission-based gameplay that leads the game away from GTA territory. Tony doesn't start at the bottom to work his way up, he's already been to the top and is trying to reclaim his throne as the Drug-King of Miami, so all that Tony does in the game, he does for himself and his 'business'. He doesn't do errands for people, he buys drugs and distributes them. In this respect, it's almost a real-time strategy game. More likely, though, is that it's a drug dealing simulation, albeit a self-righteous one; you can't go around and kill anyone. Tony has a code - he's never fucked anybody over in his life who didn't have it coming to them. Try and kill a passer-by and he won't let you. He's true to his word and so is this game. If you get a chance, buy it, as it won't fuck you over, either.

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