Scarface: The World is Yours
September 26, 2006
Brian De Palma released a cult-classic movie in 1983, going by the name of Scarface. The movie starred Academy Award Winner Al Pacino as the pop-culture icon, Tony Montana. Scarface, written by famed writer/director Oliver Stone, portrayed the life and death of a Cuban thug turned into a feared crime lord. For those that didn’t know, the movie was originally on the verge of receiving the ‘X’ rating twice. When the MPAA had to view the revised version of the movie for the third time, they were convinced by police officers and DEA members that the real life drug trade was really that violent. Furthermore, the officers/DEA convinced the board that the film was an informative piece, showcasing the dangers of a lifestyle in the world of the drug trade. Hence, the movie was finally released with an ‘R’ rating that still took movie goers by storm. However, the ‘X’-rated violence, foul mouths and curvaceous women provided a boat-load of content for Vivendi studios and Radical Entertainment to use in their upcoming game.
Say hello to...Tony Montana
Fans of the movie will automatically ask the one question that strikes anyone who’s seen the movie: “I thought Tony died?” Well, that was in the movie; the game actually starts during the shoot-out at the end of the movie, in Tony’s mansion. Unlike the movie, though, players must try to survive the shoot-out in order to start playing the real game. While this take on the movie’s story might seem odd, it almost makes sense, as Tony flees Miami and lays low until the heat is off him. Meanwhile, Mr. Sosa takes over Tony’s empire...making sure to ruin Montana’s reputation and bury everything he owned.
The real game takes place three months after the mansion shoot-out, and Tony Montana is now back to reclaim his reputation, re-pocket his money, exact revenge and get some girls. It may sound like the typical story in which ALL Grand Theft Auto games place gamers. However, things in this game are handled much differently than the standard GTA clone. For starters, the developers, Radical Entertainment, wanted to ensure that gamers felt the personality of Tony shine through on every aspect of the game: from his arrogant taunting, to his ethics on violence (which were few). Everything that made Montana what he was in the movie is the driving force behind the character in the game. For instance, shooting innocent civilians on the street is not part of Tony’s repertoire; women and children are off-limits for him to murder recklessly.
Stepping on cock-a-roaches
For gamers who would rather run rampant through the streets of Miami and killing everything in sight, there are other characters which gamers can play as to do this. After attaining a certain reputation, players can hire assassins, enforcers, and goons. Each of them can be played, carrying out whatever task they were hired to do, in whatever way players choose to carry it out. But in order to hire anyone, players first have to achieve a certain kind of reputation after making enough money. To make the big bucks, though, you must make deals, run shady businesses, and squash plenty of cock-a-roaches.
Shipping “goods” and making deals is rather interesting, more-so that players actually have to deliver a customer’s “product” to them via truck/boat/plane. During the shipment process, rival gangs will be on the lookout to hi-jack your stash. Cops will also be ready to bust you if they find out about the cargo you’re carrying. The higher your rep, though, the less likely some gangs and cops are to mess with you.
However, moving up in the ladder of underworld crime requires that players start off small. Tony won’t be taking his place at the top of the crop right away. Cops, gangs and rival drug traffickers won’t have an ounce of fear in them while you’re a small-timer. Tony has to deconstruct Sosa’s success by re-establishing his own foothold in Miami. Intimidating thugs, drug dealers, and business owners is just part of the measures Tony must take to run his empire, again. However, unlike GTA, this game has a different take on earning cash, spending cash, and owning the world. In GTA whatever you stole you kept, you spent, and that was it.
In Scarface: The World is Yours, money that’s stolen is flagged as dirty, and to use it without being busted, storefronts and banks must be used to stash or launder the money. Otherwise, dirty money could have the police on your case real fast. This adds an extra element of strategy to the gameplay, allowing players to use a greater range of tactics for obtaining and spending money. Storefronts, though, come in a variety of places ranging from simple restaurants or record stores, to banks or warehouse storage facilities. Your territory can even come under fire, requiring either Tony or his henchmen to fight off rival gangs or police enforcers.
Gambling away the world
Besides carrying out missions, delivering shipments to clients, or running a trafficking cartel with boats, planes, or trucks, players can also try their hand at the gambling tables. There's a stipulation to gambling though, the money that you can bet is limited to the status of your reputation. If you’re playing Tony and barely making any money, or still trying to get up his status quo, you won’t be able to bet much at the tables. But if you’re high-rolling with a big rep and a lot of cash under your belt, you can bet even more money at the tables. Earning tons more cash helps to keep your businesses running in top order. Some of the neat things you can purchase include new clothes, hiring extra workers, installing new security systems and buying lavish new items for your estate(s).
You can pimp-out your mansion with all sorts of cool and equally ridiculous items, ranging from Ming dynasty vases, traditional 6th century Chinese armor, a Golden tiger, pianos, a $1,000,000 Liberty Bell, and even a Mummy. As you move up in the ranks of syndicated crime, you can even hire drivers that will bring a car to your current location with a simple phone call. What’s better is that since Tony can only hold a limited amount of ammo, the driver can bring the car to you with a trunk full of weapons/ammo. So when you decide to drive to wherever you need to go, you can have whatever gun you need to boot. Once you run out of ammo, instead of having to run to a gun store or kill some poor sap for his sidearm, you can just run back to your vehicle. Once you’re at your car you can snag a weapon and some ammo from the car’s trunk.
Tony’s friends say “Hello”
While we’re on the subject of cars and weapons...Scarface has a vast selection of both. Vehicles can be used just like in GTA: you can steal cars, sell cars, perform stunts, partake in chases, destroy vehicles, or just leisurely drive them. Each vehicle will also handle according to some similarities of its real-life counterpart. Weight, handling, and speed will also play a part in how each vehicle handles, despite the game’s arcade-style driving mechanics.
One of the bigger differences between other open-ended games and Scarface, is that NPCs won’t be so quick to pass up their car. If your reputation isn’t so great, don’t expect a sports-car owner to let you take his ride without fight. Tony’s rep will actually determine what vehicles he can commandeer or how easily people will be willing to give them up. Another cool feature in Scarface is that while driving in vehicles, characters can shoot in multiple directions from within the vehicle. In Scarface, you aren’t limited to just looking out the driver or passenger side window. This game allows you to use a variety of weapons from the driver seat, in a variety of directions.
Some of the weapons in this game include pistols, SMGs, assault rifles, heavy assault rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers, chainsaws, knives, bats, and everything in between. The vast amount of armament will be sure to please gun-crazed gamers. In addition to the weapons, though, Tony will even have his signature movement and characteristics when handling the weapons. You can also use a lock-on target and shoot specific parts of the enemy’s body (they'll even react according to where they've been shot) to add points to Tony's “Balls” meter. Basically, "Balls" is where Tony performs gutsy, risky, over-the-top, intestinally fortuitous moves that allow him to go into a “Blind Rage.” The more Tony taunts downed foes, blows stuff up in wicked ways, or literally blows off his enemy’s testicles [LITERALLY], Tony’s “Balls” meter will fill up. If he has enough, Tony can then go into a “Blind Rage” which switches you from third-person to first-person, allowing you to blast down everything in sight to refill your health and dish out tons of extra damage to nearby enemies. “Blind Rage” sort of imitates Tony’s near-invincible stature when he was hocked up on coke, and was ready to take on the world.
Capturing Montana from Pacino
Capturing Tony’s personality and character wasn’t simply limited to his characteristics: foul-mouthing people, shooting recklessly, or high-rolling with pimped-out gear. The game will also feature a bevy selection of movie samples coming directly from Al Pacino. Considering that the game had so many samples of dialogue, though, Pacino didn’t actually do all of the voice-overs, instead another voice-actor took his place. Mr. Pacino did play a heavy part in picking the voice actor for the game, though.
Vivendi Universal even had multi-time Academy Award winner, Randy Thom, from Skywalker Sound [Lucasfilms] to work with them for the sound design, effects, and editing on the game. Radical Entertainment’s own Rob Bridgett worked with Thom in analyzing many video games, along with the classic 1983 Scarface movie to get every sound characteristic down to a science. Other members of the Skywalker Sound division even helped to generate and finalize certain sounds that would be used in the game. Everyone wanted to make sure that players experienced Miami, not only visually, but audibly from the standpoint of Tony Montana. Radical Entertainment is apparently looking to bring gamers the total immersion from the movie’s atmosphere, and everything in it. Interested? Well you can be sure to check out Scarface: The World is Yours for the Xbox, PS2, and PC when it hits store shelves on September 26, 2006.