• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

A year after Grand Theft Auto III tore up the gaming world, Rockstar topped it with the sequel, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Unlike its predecessor, Vice City features a full-fledged protagonist in Tommy Vercetti; Tommy is a Mook who was too hot for Liberty City, having spent fifteen years in jail for killing eleven people during a job to assassinate one man in the neighborhood of Harwood (earning him the nickname "The Harwood Butcher"). The Forelli family knows he'll make trouble again if he's allowed to roam Liberty City unchecked, so they send him down to Florida's Vice City to keep him out of the way — and to get into the new "businesses" growing there.

Things don't turn out well on Tommy's first job. He's betrayed by one of the Vice City bosses; left without any money (or the cocaine that he had been sent to purchase), and has Sonny Forelli breathing down his neck for the failure. Tommy's new mission is to get even with those who set him up...and possibly carve out a criminal empire of his own.

Vice City takes place in 1986, and Rockstar did its best to capture the look and feel of that time — or at least how it looked in Miami Vice. (It helps that the game had a killer '80s soundtrack to go with it.)

Distinct tropes of this game:

  • Abandon Ship: The first Grand Theft Auto game to feature the ability to leap out of a moving vehicle. Especially useful when heading into a crowd of enemies, nearing a body of water, or escaping from a burning car.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Big Mitch Baker and his gang, whose trust you have to earn in order to employ him and his gang as security at a Love Fist concert.
  • Ambulance Chaser: Rosenburg qualifies, and is described as such by Kent Paul. He's shown not to be a particularly good lawyer or mobster. Yet he remains loyal to you and is still alive at the end of the game. Getting busted at any point during the game nets you a randomised soundbite of Rosenburg defending Tommy against the police. It seems that befriending a lawyer when in Vice City is a most wise course of action.
  • Author Existence Failure: The voice actor of Pastor Richards, who has a short cameo in one cutscene and is featured on the radio, passed away during development. He was intended to have a larger role in the game.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: The minigun, especially on the PC. With its vast ammo reserves and obscene damage, it's the only gun you will ever need after unlocking it. You might want the rifle to pop drivers in the head without breaking the car, but that's it.
  • Bank Robbery: The focus of the Malibu Club missions is to recruit a safecracker, marksman, and getaway driver, who are each a little... eccentric, in order to pull a heist on a local bank. They contribute absolutely squat to the actual heist.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: After Tommy decides to set up a lucrative business relationship with the Cuban gang, Auntie Poulet; a matriarch of the Haitian gang (which is at war with the Cubans) manages to get a hold of him, drugs him with some strange voodoo potions and has him perform hits on the Cubans against his will.
  • Broken Bridge: The bridges are closed at the beginning of the game due to a hurricane warning.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Where Tommy is from.
  • The Butcher: Tommy.
  • The Cameo: Donald Love, the media-kingpin from III appears in Vice City as a toadying businessman for Texas real estate baron Avery Carrington. He has no actual speaking lines. As a Call Forward, Avery uses several lines that Love uses in III. Guess that's where he learned them.
  • Chainsaw Good: Debuts in this game. It can be used as an effective way to mow down pedestrians in seconds (and squirts blood on the screen).
  • Child-Hater: The owner of the ice cream factory. Which is funny considering the lack of children in any GTA game.
  • Cool Bike : The very first GTA III-era game to feature them. [1]
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tommy, who sometimes has a few things to say about his employers, and lets the player in on his thoughts.
    • Also Maurice Chavez, host of the "Pressing Issues" show on VCPR, given that he's the Only Sane Man, relatively speaking, compared to all the guests on his show.
  • Did Not Do the Research: In-Universe and Played for Laughs. Radio commercials for the Ammu-Nation gun stores refer to Red Dawn as a documentary.
  • Doing It for the Art: Steve Scott, a porn director.
  • Drunk Driver: One mission has Tommy driving Phil Cassidy to the hospital after a boomshine explosion. Problem is, Tommy is drunk as a result of merely smelling the boomshine, and the cops notice. The screen gets blurry and the car starts swerving. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to adapt to.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The party on Cortez's yacht serves to introduce a plethora of minor characters, all of whom play bigger roles later down the line (with the exception of Pastor Richards; see Author Existence Failure above.)
  • The Eighties: Hawaiian shirts, sports blazers, neon everywhere, pastels, polyester, Michael Jackson and Hall and Oates on the radio, and Eighties Hair, among other things. This game is pure Eighties distilled into one package.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: Probably the first game in the series to use this trope.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The opening of the game.
  • Exotic Entree: The colonel from the nameless South American country is seen to dine on tapir snout.
  • Expy:
    • Tommy could be seen as one for Tony Montana from Scarface — not just the mansion art but the whole story arc and character mentality.
    • Ken Rosenberg is an obvious Expy of David Kleinfeld.
  • Face Heel Turn: In the final mission, Lance sells Tommy out to Sonny Forelli, his reasons being that he was sick of "being treated like a little kid" and wanting a bigger slice of the action. Tommy wastes no time chasing Lance up to the roof of the mansion and killing him.
  • Fake Band: Love Fist.
  • Flag Bikini: Candy Suxxx wears a US flag bikini.
  • Flashback to Catchphrase: We learn the origin of Donald Love's "Nothing brings down real easte prices like an old-fashioned gang war" koan.
  • Gatling Good: The most powerful weapon in the game is the minigun. It can blow up anything short of a tank in seconds, and mows down crowds like dominoes.
  • Get Back Here Boss: Lance does this in the final mission. It can be subverted if you have a minigun, which can kill him before he has the chance to start running.
  • Gotta Catch Em All: The Hidden Packages (which resemble the Maltese Falcon) scattered around the city, which unlock increasingly awesome and deadly things.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Pepe, the DJ from Espantoso, speaks almost exclusively in Spanish. The Cuban gang members also use random Spanish words.
  • Hand Cannon and Revolvers Are Just Better: The third most powerful gun by far is the Colt Python revolver, which can kill regular enemies with one shot and armored enemies with two. However, it also has a low ammo capacity and slow fire rate compared to the regular pistol, and a shorter range than the assault rifles and sub-machine guns, which balances it out.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Tommy Vercetti's default outfit consists of acid-washed jeans and a jaunty blue Hawaiian shirt.
  • Helicopter Blender: Any helicopter can do this, even the little RC helicopters. The bigger ones have a harder time with it, naturally.
  • Let's Play: Done by your friendly neighborhood Freelance Astronauts.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The first GTA game to avert this. The game had pick-up icons that spawned at fixed locations which changed Tommy's default outfit to a different, pre-set costume. While it lacked the numerous customization options seen in later titles, the Clothing pick-ups were very handy for, among other things, quickly erasing a two-star wanted rating. Some notable examples listed below:
  • Living Legend: Tommy Vercetti was sent to Vice City because, as "The Harwood Butcher", he was too hot for Liberty City.
  • The Load: Lance.
  • The Mafia
  • Military Moonshiner: This is how Phil Cassidy initially presents himself when he's not out gunrunning. His liquor is so high-proof that it's seen being used in some missions as a makeshift explosive.
  • Mugged for Disguise: One mission has Tommy and Lance knock out some police officers and take their uniforms. As is common with this trope, the officers are left Bound and Gagged (though not seen as such) and never mentioned after this.
  • The Napoleon: Ricardo Diaz. Seeing as he's also Vice City's most prolific drug lord, (before Tommy kills him, that is) this also overlaps with Mister Big.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Unfortunately for Tommy he believes the family to firmly adhere to the principle of Honor Among Thieves. This makes him somewhat naive in his dealings with fellow Mafia members. When Sonny proves this is not the case its seems Tommy is equally upset over the betrayal of this principle (if not more so) than the personal slights against him.
  • Noodle Incident: Tommy's 'Harwood Butcher' incident.
  • Phony Veteran: It's in this game wherein Phil Cassidy's military past (among other things, like his tax returns) is revealed to be a fraud.
  • Punched Across the Room: If you take the steroid powerup, Tommy can punch people ridiculous distances and run much faster. Unfortunately, so much as hitting a slight bump while running can kill you.
  • Retcon: Phil Cassidy loses his arm in a different way than he said he lost it in III, and he couldn't have been that drunk. Not a "hard" Ret Con since Cassidy is shown as being a military fanatic who turned an embarrassing story into another aspect of his fantasy.
  • Scenery Porn: Despite the dated graphics, Vice City can be quite gorgeous, especially at dawn and dusk.
  • Shout-Out: The game's chock full of them. Here are a few:
    • The game's biggest reference to Scarface aside from Expy Tommy Vercetti has got to be the lavish Diaz Mansion/ Vercetti Estate, mirroring Tony's mansion in the film. The final mission, a shootout that takes place in it is pretty much a reenactment of the film's finale, except Tommy doesn't die.
    • There's a room labelled "Apartment 3C" where one can find a bloody bathroom and a chainsaw pickup, another Scarface reference.
    • In Tommy's hotel room at the start of the game, there is a poster of Grand Theft Auto III protagonist Claude. When Tommy finally meets Candy Suxxx, teaser posters of her films are added to his room's wall, revealing them to be porn ripoffs of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
    • Triggering a Vigilante Mission inside a Hunter attack helicopter changes the text prompt informing you that you've started a Vigilante Mission to an announcement saying Brown Thunder!
    • The missions wherein you have to impress Mitch Baker's biker gang to obtain their services as a security detail for a Love Fist concert may be a reference to the real-life Altamont Free Concert Incident.
    • This is the only GTA game outside the original Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto II wherein the AK-47 is absent, with the Ruger Mini-14 serving as replacement. This may as well be a reference to The A-Team, wherein the Ruger was the team's signature weapon. It could also be seen as a nod to the Miami FBI bank heist shoot out, set in 1986 just like Vice City, wherein one of the two robbers used that rifle to kill two FBI agents.
    • One of the missions at the Vercetti Estate involves Tommy and Lance disguising themselves as cops and infiltrating a mall placed on lockdown by the police. The title of the mission? Cop Land. Doubles as Actor Allusion for Ray Liotta.
      • Another mission at the Club Malibu is named "No Escape," another Liotta flick.
    • While "Exploder" is nominally a Rambo parody, the "dying Ho Chi" scene is a nod to Strike Commando.
  • Society Is to Blame: When fighting someone, Tommy advises that they blame his mother. He does.
  • The Starscream: Tommy can be seen as one of these in relation to Ricardo Diaz and Sonny Forelli. In both cases, he succeeds in overthrowing them. This may overlap with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
  • Stripperiffic: It's harder to find hookers in this game than any other GTA. They're there, but since this is both the 80's and South Florida, every young woman walking the streets looks like she's... walking the streets.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Vice City, based off of Miami, is a very tropical place. So of course, it's surrounded by water. Not being able to swim really sucks. Especially since it gets in the way of being able to enjoy the ocean and the boats properly. The manual handwaves this as being the result of shark infestation, but this isn't shown in game.
  • Take That: One mission has Tommy being hired to kill a group of would-be bank robbers whose names resemble those of the protagonists from rival crime-sandbox games like True Crime: Streets of LA, The Getaway and the Driver series.
  • Tempting Fate: The city is actually named "Vice City". Were they expecting it to become a Utopia? According to one of the designers, the name came from the pronounciation vee-kay city, as in, victory city. The C just evolved into a soft C. It's also more funny this way.
  • Too Slow: If you're too leisurely in chasing Diaz's traitorous employee on the rooftop, the youth will shout, "Too slow, grandad!!" before leaping into his car.
  • Trunk Shot: As a Shout-Out to Pulp Fiction, in the opening cutscene to the mission wherein Tommy betrays and kills Ricardo Diaz then takes over his empire, Lance surprises Tommy with something in the trunk of his car: Tommy's first Colt M733 Carbine, with which to shoot all the goons up.
  • The Vamp: Not surprisingly, Candy Suxxx (voiced by famous porn star Jenna Jameson)
  • Van in Black: Starting with this game, once you reach five wanted stars, the FBI no longer chase you with flimsy, poorly-handling sedans, but with supercharged all-black Chevy Suburbans, which are as fast as they are durable and will easily rip you to shreds if you're cruising the streets in anything less than a tank. They have since only made a return in San Andreas and Chinatown Wars.
  • Vice City: The Trope Namer.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: On top of what you can normally do in the series, once you establish your big hideout by taking down Ricardo Diaz and taking his mansion for your own, you can have a Redshirt Army of mooks for yourself. Which you can kill for a quick cash boost and pistol ammo. The game will punish you if you kill enough of them by bumping up your wanted levels, just at a slower pace compared to other targets of your trigger happiness.
  • Word of God: Yes, that was Vic Vance, Lance's older brother and protagonist of Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories that got gunned down in the opening cutscene.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: So, you've taken down that sleazeball Ricardo Diaz, avenged Lance's brother, gotten Tommy's money back, and taken over Diaz's coke empire? Great! Now you're ready for the second half of Vice City.
  1. Also, the first to feature accessible helicopters, or indeed, any useful air transport, not counting the barely-airborne and aptly-named Dodo in Grand Theft Auto III.