Youtuber Skvala Gaming put together a montage of overlooked details from 2002’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and while some are, to be honest, really commonly known, there are others in here that I didn’t pick up, even as I played the hell out of it 15 years ago on my Xbox.
I didn’t know you could get money out of the parking meters, for example. Or that wheelies were only possible when driving south. Or that I could sneak into Fort Baxter wearing the cop uniform.
That would have made things soooooooo much easier ... because around this time, in 2004, I had picked up the Grand Theft Auto Double Pack at the Walmart in Morganton, N.C. (the bundle had launched for Xbox the previous July). It was a rough time for me. I had quit my job in Denver (where I met Brian Crecente) and moved back home, ostensibly to write a book (which ended up becoming this Sports Illustrated feature, in a collaboration with a good friend). But mostly I was sitting alone in the bottom of a log cabin home (no, really) playing my Xbox, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was an obsession, as soon as I hit my first unique stunt jump and nearly laughed myself into hyperventilating.
Anyway, I got stuck on the side mission “Messing with the Man,” part of the Bikers arc. That’s where Mitch Baker (Lee Majors) tasks Tommy Vercetti (Ray Liotta! The star power in this game blew me away) with going out and just ... fucking shit up. You had to fill a “chaos meter” — crashing cars and killing people, basically — within a certain amount of time and I just could not do it.
I needed the tank from Fort Baxter, since anything that collides with it explodes. But when I would break into Fort Baxter, of course the soldiers would open fire immediately and waste me before I got to the Rhino’s door. I ended up spawning a tank with a cheat code, which dropped my criminal rating back to “SA Goon.” But by this point I was determined to 100 percent the game.
Man ... where was I? OK, so, this video may not actually tell you anything new about Vice City. But it might bring back a reverie or two, like stealing the bus and trying to stunt jump it onto a building in Washington Beach. Or figuring out, after 99 restarts, that the easiest way to beat “Death Row” was simply to hop in one of the garbage trucks and drive Lance to the hospital as the idiot hitmen, in their rubber-banding, indestructible Admirals, bounced off you. Share your nostalgia with us below.