Scarface: The World Is Yours
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
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Generally games based on popular films end up an unfinished pile of mainstream averageness, but as Scarface was one of the main influences on GTA III & Vice City I had high hopes for this one…

The game strangely doesn’t follow the plot of the movie storyline; you start at the final shootout at Tony Montana’s mansion and escape rather than go out in a hail of bullets and F-words. The game then carves out a totally different story as you start from the bottom again, re-taking Miami back, turf by turf and business by business. The main characters from the film are around for you to take sweet bloody revenge upon and the more prominent locales are also available for you to take a peek around.

One thing that stands out above most games (especially movie tie-ins) is the quality of the voice acting. There are way too many celebrity names to list (even better than the GTA games) and although Tony Montana isn’t voiced by Al Pacino himself, but Andre Sogliuzzo does a bloody good likeness to the character, right up to his annunciation of the swearwords. Tony’s character in general has been really well written and acted out, the most noticeable being his gratuitous use of the F-word, spouting off such classics as “ F*&K you, you F$£?ING F@$K!”! – You really don’t want to play this game with Gran around.

The soundtrack is also top-notch ‘80s and feels like a b-side to the Vice city album. As well as featuring the entire Scarface soundtrack (which will sound familiar because much of which was used in GTA III and Vice City) it also has classics like: “Breakin’ The Law” by Judas Priest, “Don’t Believe The Hype” by Public Enemy and “Super Freak” by Rick James. There’s a pretty big library of tracks and with the option to create your own playlist there should be enough to keep any fan of eighties cheese happy!

The game naturally feels like GTA at the beginning but as you play through the game there are loads of gameplay tweaks that make the game feel a little more immersed in the specifics of Scarface (killing, drug-dealing, general mischief) rather than the multi-purpose world that GTA caters for. Driving around is sluggish at first but sits comfortably between the arcadey and varied GTA and heavily twitchy Just Cause controls. Vehicle handling and physics are a little basic compared to GTA, and feel a bit like all the vehicles’ brakes are jammed on - driving a boat feels just like driving a van with sloppy steering and there are not water physics to speak of. If you don’t want to get out of your car and fight you can just tap the d-pad left or right and pull out a gun to fire at on-foot and vehicular enemies alike, which is a distinct improvement on GTA’s annoying drive-by only vehicle shootings.

On-foot the combat is a lot less complicated than GTA and a lot more fun! The biggest new thing for Scarface is the “Balls-meter”: this fills when you perform acts that Tony Montana would have the balls to do. This could be powersliding, shouting at other drivers, intimidating drug dealers/hookers or just killing loads of bad guys. When your “balls-meter” is full you can hold the ‘B’ button down and go on a first-person rampage! You’re invincible and for the time all of the enemies are automatically locked on, giving you health back for every enemy you kill. This makes it a vital element in surviving the tougher missions and it’s also fun to hear Tony rant and rave in the background while he’s on a rampage!

The auto-aim is mapped to the left trigger, which gets an enemy in your sights. You can them make subtle adjustments with the right analogue stick and each hit is recorded, with the location (head, arm, hip and even left nut!) coming up on-screen! You’ll get more balls for cooler kills and if you tap ‘B’ after killing someone you can taunt them with a barrage of swearwords for more balls!

Most of the action takes place on-foot and the missions involve buying properties for your front, with some story missions in-between. After you’ve acquired storefronts and a warehouse you can undertake the drug smuggling missions! You firstly have to complete an easy mission to get access to the contact and then negotiate the sale of coke from the supplier. This can range from 1kg to huge 20kg deals in “the islands”! You can also do smaller drug deals which you sell to dealers personally rather than distribute among your businesses.

One thing (which is split into two) which affects how you play the game is your “heat”. Your heat is split into gang and cop heat. By committing hit and runs, killing cops and generally breaking the law your cop heat will go up. By doing mass drug deals and killing gang members your gang heat will go up. Both can be paid off with bribes to get heat down, but too much cop heat and you’ll be followed all across Miami; too much gang heat and dealers will want nothing to do with you.

By accident once I didn’t reduce my gang heat and went to do a drug deal that normally gave me 3kg. This time I first had to lose a tail before I could meet with the dealer. When I met with the dealer I was only offered 1kg for an inflated price and instead of getting it straight after the deal I had to drive across town and collect it from a car in a parking lot! This is what elevated the little touches in Scarface from more than just gimmicks: they actually had an effect on the missions that I did!

Any money you get from drug deals or make from missions is carried on you as “dirty money”, which will disappear if you die. In Scarface you have to go to the bank and “launder” your money, which is something that should be in every gangster game but isn’t! There are so many little touches like this in Scarface that to explain them all would take just as long as listing the cars in Gran Turismo 4!

Unfortunately it’s not all Hawaiian shirts and big fountains. The coke missions are something completely new and the front missions are pretty fun but after a while all of the missions descend into similarity. The coke deals/intimidation/ fast-talking the cops and money laundering all is dealt with the same “press ‘B’ to start a bar and press ‘B’ again just before the end” with the only variation being the speed of the bar and the margins for error – a little variation would have been nice!

Nevertheless I don’t think I’ve laughed so much running through a crowd of gangsters with a chainsaw, screaming “I KILL ALL YOU COCK-A-ROACHES!” with DECAPITATE! Flashing on the screen. And getting 1000 balls for doing so!

Scarface: The World Is Yours is my guilty pleasure. Although it’s a little rough around the edges (the Xbox version looks minimally better than the PS2 game) and the missions eventually tend to meld into each other I’ve not had as much fun playing a game in a long time. There’s definitely enough innovation and Scarface “class” to make this a worthy purchase, even if you’ve completed Vice City five times… “JUST F*&$ING BUY IT YOU DIRTY F£$KS!”

PS: This game isn’t suitable for kids, grandmothers with heart conditions or if the inlaws are coming round for a visit.

Best Bits

- Great Scarface feel
- Top-notch voice acting
- Smooth controls
- Good soundtrack
- You can intimidate prostitutes!
Worst Bits

- Your friends won’t like your new “vocabulary”…
- Side-games and missions get too similar after a while

by: Crazypunk

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