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Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.






Just doing an LP of Red Dead Redemption and updating that roughly once a month simply wasn't enough Rockstar content for me, so I decided to finally return to the Grand Theft Auto series (having LP'd GTA IV back in 2016).

GTA III and GTA: Vice City by Rockstar North (formerly known as DMA Design, creators of Lemmings among other titles) need no introduction. You all know what these games are all about. You know these are perhaps THE most influential video games of their generation, their respective 2001 and 2002 releases basically kicking off the entire open world action game genre that is still going on strong today (and growing increasingly tired due to the sheer number of open world games out there). Remember when open world games were called GTA clones? Good times.

When I was a teenager, GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas (which won't be played in this thread) were the poo poo. Everyone owned a copy of at least one of these games, everyone would talk about the crazy stuff they did in the games... or exchange tips on finding the many collectibles... or talk about which radio station was the best... the list goes on. The humor and gameplay of these games might not have aged too gracefully, but the fact remains that the PS2-era GTA games were a big part of my video gaming life (and life in general, as they and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater heavily influenced my musical tastes by introducing me to some of my favorite artists and songs) back in those days.

As I said, no introduction is needed for these games because everyone knows them. Right? Well, with me on this journey through the underworlds of Liberty and Vice City is ChaosArgate, who has never played any of the PS2-era GTA titles due to the fact he was a small child when those games came out, and knows only the bare minimum about them. Not only does this make me feel incredibly old, but it also offers me a chance to basically experience these games again through a fresh pair of eyes. I was going to do this LP regardless, but I feel getting ChaosArgate on board better justifies the LP's existence because otherwise it might've been a bit... well, boring.

I am playing both games - starting with GTA III and moving on to Vice City after III is done - on the original Xbox because I thought people would be less familiar with these particular ports. The changes implemented by Rockstar Vienna for the 2003 Double Pack release on the Xbox are mostly cosmetic, so if you're familiar with the other versions you'll feel right at home here as well. While the playthroughs are largely story-focused, I will also be doing some of the side content in both GTA III and VC. All the hidden packages will be collected and all proper missions (the ones with actual briefings) will be completed, but I'm not going to mess around with rampages, stunt jumps, optional street races or anything like that.

------



"LIBERTY CITY, USA. The Worst Place in America.

You've been betrayed and left for dead. Now you're taking revenge, unless the city gets you first. Mob bosses need a favor, crooked cops need help and street gangs want you dead. You'll have to rob, steal and kill just to stay out of serious trouble. Anything can happen out here."


[YouTube playlist]

Episode 1: Give Me Liberty
Episode 2: Eat 'til You Explode
Episode 3: The Crook, The Thieves, The Wife, Her Lover, and The Donkey
Episode 4: Salvatore's Called A Meeting
Episode 5: Last Requests
Episode 6: Like A Dragon
Episode 7: The Lesser Yakuza
Episode 8: Kingdom Come
Episode 9: Marked Man
Episode 10: Grand Theft Aero
Episode 11: Rumble in Shoreside
Episode 12: The Exchange (FINAL)
Bonus: The Dodo & The Rhino

------



"Welcome to Vice City. Welcome to the 1980s.

Having just made it back onto the streets of Liberty City after a long stretch in maximum security prison, Tommy Vercetti is sent to Vice City by his old boss, Sonny Forelli. They were understandably nervous about his reappearance in Liberty City, so a trip down south seemed like a good idea. But all does not go smoothly upon his arrival in the glamorous, hedonistic metropolis of Vice City. He's set up and is left with no money and no merchandise. Sonny wants his money back, but the biker gangs, Cuban gangsters, and corrupt politicians stand in his way. Most if not all of Vice City seems to want Tommy dead. His only answer is to fight back and take over the city himself."


[YouTube playlist]

Episode 1: Welcome to 1986
Episode 2: Demolition Man
Episode 3: Guardian Angels
Episode 4: Little Havana
Episode 5: Turf Wars
Episode 6: Death Row
Episode 7: Push It To The Limit
Episode 8: Mr. Vercetti
Episode 9: Fist Fury
Episode 10: The Driver
Episode 11: Inter Global Films
Episode 12: Taxi Drivers Must Die!
Episode 13: I Ran
Episode 14 (FINAL): The World Is Yours

------

Doc M fucked around with this message at 10:51 on Apr 9, 2020

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Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.






Ever since the first GTA game, the soundtrack has been a core part of the experience. GTA III is no exception, as the game contains eight music stations spanning a variety of genres, along with the Chatterbox talk radio station. For the first time in the series, the OST was not produced entirely in-house by Rockstar's audio department - while there are still two stations that play nothing but original songs attributed to fictional artists, most of the music in the game is licensed. This being GTA III, the budget for a massive selection of popular songs by famous artists was not there yet, so the tracks you're most likely to be familiar with are cuts from the Scarface film soundtrack by Giorgio Moroder.

Head Radio - Pop, adult contemporary

DJ: Michael Hunt (you can call him Mike)

Head Radio returns from GTA 1 and 2, and plays a selection of original pop songs created by Rockstar. I'm honestly not a big fan of this station in general, but the electronic songs by "Craig Grey" and "Scatwerk" are pretty nice.

Double Clef FM - Classical

DJ: Morgan Merryweather

Music from various operas.

K-JAH - Dub

DJ: Horace "Pacifist" Walsh

One of my personal favorite stations in the game, K-JAH exclusively plays songs from Scientist's 1981 album "Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires".

Rise FM - Trance, House

DJ: Andre the Accelerator



Lips 106 - Pop

DJ: Andee

Another station that plays original songs created by Rockstar, including "Joyride" from GTA 1 which honestly doesn't fit the station's aesthetic all that well. "Joyride" is probably the highlight here, although I also really enjoy "Forever" by "Lucy". Andee, the DJ on Lips 106, would make a couple of reappearances in later games, as she co-hosts the Liberty City Stories iteration of Lips 106 alongside a creepy and gross male host named Cliff and then returns in GTA V where she and Cliff (who is now less gross and creepy) co-host the Self Radio custom station where the player can add their own music.

Game Radio FM - Gangsta rap, underground hip hop

DJ: Stretch Armstrong

I don't know a whole lot about east coast rap from the turn of the millennium, so I'm only vaguely familiar with names such as Royce da 5'9". That being said, there's a lot of good stuff on here and I should give it a proper listen at some point. Back in the day, I didn't care for rap at all so I completely ignored this station, and during the recording of the GTA III portion of the LP I was still a bit wary about copyright issues on YouTube so I tried to avoid the licensed music for the most part.

MSX FM - Jungle, Drum & Bass

Host: MC Codebreaker

No, this station does not play music from old MSX games. Instead, it's a continuous mix of jungle/drum & bass tracks from DJ Timecode, with MC Codebreaker providing his own vocals into the mix. MSX is probably the station I've listened to the least, because I'm just not a big fan of Codebreaker's emceeing and would prefer to hear the instrumentals.

Flashback 95.6 - 80s Pop, Disco, Electro, New Wave

DJ: Toni

Hell yeah, now we're talking. Every song on Flashback is from Giorgio Moroder's Scarface soundtrack, as mentioned earlier, and that means Flashback is one of the best radio stations in the entire series. If I had to complain about something, it'd be the fact there are only five songs on the station and my favorite song from Scarface, "Turn Out the Light" (or "Turn Out the Night"; no one seems to know what this song is actually called because I've seen both names used in various track listings. The actual lyrics do say "night"), is omitted. So is "Dance Dance Dance", for that matter. Honestly, Rockstar should've licensed all of these songs for Vice City as well because they would've been even more appropriate in that game.

Chatterbox FM - Talk Radio

Host: Lazlow

Lazlow Jones is a real-life radio host who helped Rockstar with the production of the radio station content in GTA III, and he also got his very own station in the game. Chatterbox FM, "where your opinion matters or at least we say it does" is a call-in talk radio show, which are often ridiculous and insane in real life so you can just about imagine what a GTA III version of a show like this would sound like. Indeed, Lazlow gets to play the straight man to a cavalcade of complete weirdos, not just callers but studio guests as well. Lazlow has worked on Rockstar's games ever since, and most recently was the audio director on Red Dead Redemption II. His character in the GTA games has also changed drastically over the years, as he's basically become one of those sketchy weirdos he used to make fun of in GTA III. I think they got it right the first time.

Doc M fucked around with this message at 09:18 on Dec 31, 2019

Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.






Episode 1: Give Me Liberty

After getting shot by his girlfriend during a bank robbery, our mute main character Claude is sent to prison but breaks free when the police convoy is attacked and the assailants capture one of the other prisoners being transported. Claude and fellow escaped convict 8-Ball find a place in the Red Light District where they can lay low, and we start the game off with a series of rather simple tutorial missions from local pimp nightclub owner Luigi Goterelli. We also roll an ambulance, just like everyone who ever attempted GTA3's Paramedic side mission has at some point.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



I spent many a night as a 10-year-old playing GTA III. It's still impossible to overstate just how big of a thing Vice City was; GTA III is the one that gets brought up as a game changer for the industry, but Vice City is what really brought Rockstar into what it is today. There was so much attention in the gaming mags and websites over their voice casting: not only is the protagonist talking now, but Ray Liotta is doing it?! They really built up the idea of the game basically being a gangster movie down to the casting. It doesn't really fit the "playable movie" style when you actually try playing it, but marketing has always been one of Rockstar's biggest weapons on the market.

That said, it's surprising that the games have been so well-received even retroactively when they're undeniably primitive compared to their contemporaries. The driving has always been good and they play a lot off the open world experience, characters, and story, but the on-foot segments are shockingly bad in how they control and there's so many cutscenes using the stiff in-engine animation. Remember that this game is contemporary with Metal Gear Solid 2! It extends to some more basic mechanics as well: there's no autosave or cover system until 2008 and virtually no mid-mission checkpoints until 2013, long after most of the industry had implemented them.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Doc, do you plan on covering any of the stuff with beta changes and other trivia for the series? The GTA games are interesting in that they have a ton of marketing, previews, and data mining that gets done on them so there's an unusually large amount of information about cut content and early versions of the games. If you aren't talking about them in the videos I can bring up some of them.

We actually have changes already visible in the first video! 8-Ball and Misty are both visible on the loading screen in radically different forms; Misty is the girl with the pistol and Dreamworks smirk and 8-Ball is in a different outfit and doesn't have bandaged hands.

The other big change has to do with the year this game was released:



Originally the cop cars were designed almost identically to real NYPD cop cars of the time period. And then 9/11 happened and Rockstar suddenly realized they were releasing a game in a month that had you blowing up NYPD cop cars. They very quickly switched to a more generic design.

Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.




I'll be covering a bunch of the changes, yeah. So far in our recordings, we've talked about the changes brought on by 9/11 (and the rumors surrounding those changes, although I didn't go to specifics because some of it is related to late-game content), and briefly touched upon Darkel and a mission of his that got re-purposed for another mission giver NPC.

Feel free to point out anything I might miss, though!

ChaosArgate
Oct 10, 2012

Why does everyone think I'm going to get in trouble?



I may have no interest in playing GTA3 for myself in this day and age, but I'm still fascinated by it for how much of a landmark title it was for gaming as a medium and how it shaped the 6th gen of games onward, so I'm so down for this.

Scalding Coffee
Jun 26, 2006

You're already dead


The old games are way too dated and not the fun kind of janky to play anymore, but it was the best of its genre until Saints Row 2 came out.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



So Sideshow Collectibles did a 1:6 scale action figure of Claude for the 10th anniversary of the game.

Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


Vice City is STILL my favorite GTA. And my second favorite in that style of game

Thesaya
May 17, 2011

I am a Plant.


I remember failing that mission over and over because I kept accidentally running over the girls...

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



So one weird thing about the opening mission: that Kuruma you start in? No other Kuruma in the game has that color. For some reason it's the only teal one in the entire game. If you don't park it in your safehouse, it's gone for good.

Alpha3KV
Mar 30, 2011

Quex Chest


There's a bus depot not far from where the ball is being held. An alternate strategy is to take one of those and pick up every girl on the map in a single trip, and finish the mission with just one stop at the destination. I think that's the only time in the whole game the capacity of a bus can come into play, since you otherwise never even have more than 3 passengers to carry.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Also, I forgot just how fast you can blaze through this game. Just emptying out the entire opening mission strand in less than half an hour of actual gameplay.

Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.




Alpha3KV posted:

There's a bus depot not far from where the ball is being held. An alternate strategy is to take one of those and pick up every girl on the map in a single trip, and finish the mission with just one stop at the destination. I think that's the only time in the whole game the capacity of a bus can come into play, since you otherwise never even have more than 3 passengers to carry.
I genuinely had no idea that was possible! One thing I really like about GTA3 is the fact many missions allow you to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions like that, which is something that's sadly been missing from Rockstar's games since San Andreas.

Speaking of sad things, I looked up what became of Rockstar Vienna and discovered Take 2 shut down the studio in 2006 without any notice. The employees just came to work one morning, only to run into a bunch of security guards blocking the entrances. That's generally not how things are handled in Europe and is rightly considered incredibly rude, but... well,

Scalding Coffee
Jun 26, 2006

You're already dead


That's glorious :hammerandsickle: Europe for you. Surprised they didn't take it a step further.


I think these games also permit killing drivers in races without ending the race right there like killjoys.

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Alpha3KV posted:

There's a bus depot not far from where the ball is being held. An alternate strategy is to take one of those and pick up every girl on the map in a single trip, and finish the mission with just one stop at the destination. I think that's the only time in the whole game the capacity of a bus can come into play, since you otherwise never even have more than 3 passengers to carry.

It has to be a charter bus, IIRC. Last time I played through this, I tried to use a city bus like this and it only held 3 passengers.


There is one later mission where this could potentially matter.

inflatablefish
Oct 24, 2010


Ah, GTA III. I am so glad that I decided to start with this game rather than skip straight to Vice City - the quality of life upgrades make it really difficult to go back to a game that doesn't even show your hideouts on the minimap unless they're a mission target.

I trust you'll be acquiring a tank at the earliest opportunity?

Scalding Coffee
Jun 26, 2006

You're already dead


Going from 2 to 3, I really miss the way you can arm your cars and eventually cause enough explosions to cover the whole screen if you cause a traffic jam. Also the visible damage to those vehicles after running them over with a tank or rolling over parts of them and they didn't blow up from a tap.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



I loved using cheats to get the tank because I figured out pretty quick that you could use the cannon as a boost. And then turn on the flying cars cheat

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!

chitoryu12 posted:

I loved using cheats to get the tank because I figured out pretty quick that you could use the cannon as a boost. And then turn on the flying cars cheat

I remember doing that at least once as well.
Always prefered Vice City over the others. Last one I played was San Andreas and the writing and also the weird story/gameplay disconnects made me not really like it all that much.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



I also remember the scale of San Andreas being hyped so much in magazines. Obviously as a kid it's hard to really wrap your head around it realistically, but I think they did a fine job of meeting the hype...until you use mods on PC to turn the fog off and realize that you can see the equivalent of Vegas in the desert from the equivalent of the Hollywood Hills.

I still hold up Vice City as the benchmark for video game soundtracks. San Andreas was good, but no other GTA game or clone has had such an awesome radio selection.

Fabulousity
Dec 29, 2008

= (Displacement through a hetero medium) / Time


Nap Ghost

chitoryu12 posted:

I loved using cheats to get the tank because I figured out pretty quick that you could use the cannon as a boost. And then turn on the flying cars cheat

For some next level you edit handling.cfg to give, for example, a golf cart the mass of a neutron star and a top speed somewhere north of mach two. Now you can ramp across the city or, if you hit a vertical wall just right, the physics engine will vomit and toss you a few thousand feet straight up.

Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.




inflatablefish posted:

I trust you'll be acquiring a tank at the earliest opportunity?
Sadly, I'm forced to admit I did not obtain a tank in the main GTA3 playthrough (while it would've been pretty fun to take a tank into every mission and smash through everything, I wanted to complete the missions more or less properly without any more cheesing than I absolutely had to do), but I can still record a bonus video where I do Vigilante in the tank like God intended.

In Vice City, I do unlock the tank pretty much as soon as the second island opens, but Vice City has something infinitely better so I don't actually use the tank at any point.

achtungnight
Oct 4, 2014

Adequacy Achieved!

What could be infinitely better than a tank?

Fwoderwick
Jul 14, 2004



achtungnight posted:

What could be infinitely better than a tank?

If it's what I'm thinking of, I used it to add a full stop to my 100% run of VC by maxing out my money to $99999999. Not that that was a requirement but at the time I needed some sort of symbolic "gently caress you, I'm out".

I'm glad my desire for completionism has faded since then, 100% in VC was painful.

OutofSight
May 4, 2017


achtungnight posted:

What could be infinitely better than a tank?

Brown Thunder.


100% in VC is bearable, but in San Andreas it was really a chore. Screw those driving schools.

Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.




San Andreas is actually the one GTA game I did bother to get 100% on, and if I ever LP it I plan to do so again.

That said, the driving school can gently caress right off. In the mobile port of SA, they straight-up removed some of the challenges because they were impossible on a touch screen. That's one thing the mobile version and later ports of that version to various systems did right, the other things are nicer vehicle reflections and improved character models... and autosave... and I think they included mission checkpoints as well. Too bad the controls are terrible and Rockstar removed a lot of the graphical effects (even the ones that hadn't already been axed when the game was ported to PC) so it looks really flat.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Oh, you gonna introduce ChaosArgate to the great and powerful Lazlow?

achtungnight
Oct 4, 2014

Adequacy Achieved!

Proud 100%er of GTA III, SA & Vice City here. After that Rockstar stopped putting effort into likeable protagonists, so Iíve quit the series. Not saying I wonít go back someday but itís going to take a lot of different characters than what theyíve been putting out lately. Iím more into Mafia and Saints Row these days. Theyíve kept their characters more likeable, mostly.

Brown Thunder- I should have guessed. Then again I was never really into helicopters in these games.

Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.




chitoryu12 posted:

Oh, you gonna introduce ChaosArgate to the great and powerful Lazlow?
Of course! Chatterbox was one of my main radio stations during this playthrough, alongside Head Radio and Lips 106. My actual favorite music station in GTA3 is Flashback (followed by K-JAH), but for a good chunk of the recorded playthrough I tried to avoid playing licensed music for Youtube-related reasons. Eventually I figured that it doesn't matter because I don't mind a few copyright claims, and just listened to whatever.

As for Vice City, the soundtrack is such an important part of the experience that the LP wouldn't be complete without it so the music stays in. That'll be a few more ContentID claims, but hopefully nothing gets muted or blocked (it shouldn't, there are a million uploads of these songs on Youtube and they just get basic ContentID claims for monetization) and if it does, I'll figure something out.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



When I was 11 years old, VCPR in Vice City was one of my main sources of video game entertainment. I would seriously leave it on to play the entire thing while reading a book. I could recite whole segments on this thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mn3YEJTSYs8

Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.






Episode 2: Eat 'til You Explode

Today, we're making our way through Joey Leone's mission chain, which ramps things up a bit from Luigi's stuff and introduces missions we can actually fail, but we are still very clearly in the tutorial phase of the game.

Doc M fucked around with this message at 16:02 on Nov 21, 2019

theenglishman
Jun 24, 2009


I gotta say, Doc M, your commentating style works really well when you have a co-commentator to banter with. You should do collaborations more often.

Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.




theenglishman posted:

I gotta say, Doc M, your commentating style works really well when you have a co-commentator to banter with. You should do collaborations more often.
Oh, thanks. I noticed you mentioned this on Discord earlier and meant to respond, but never got around to doing that.

I tend to prefer solo LPs just because there's less scheduling and audio editing involved (and for some games such as Red Dead, relatively sparse and low-key solo commentary just works better for the kind of LP I want to present), but I'll consider doing more co-commentary stuff later down the line because I'm having a blast with this LP. ChaosArgate has shown up in some of my videos before (a few times in the Yakuza LP and once in Resident Evil) and it's always been a good time, but this is the first time we're actually doing a full LP together.

Beartaco
Apr 10, 2007

I THINK BUDWEISER IS GOOD. PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO ME.

Strangely enough GTA3 is the only PS2 era GTA I really enjoyed, having played them years after the fact. I thought Vice City was okay, and I always found San Andreas to be tedious as hell. 3's the only one I go back to on a semi-semi-regular basis. Maybe it's the setting?

I also think GTA4 is a masterpiece so I have weird opinions on the series in general.

Triple A
Jul 14, 2010

Your sword, sahib.

Vice City is most certainly one of the major reasons why there's a whole subgenre of 80's A E S T H E T I C stuff out there.

Tenebrais
Sep 2, 2011



Triple A posted:

Vice City is most certainly one of the major reasons why there's a whole subgenre of 80's A E S T H E T I C stuff out there.

Isn't Vice City just pastiching the Scarface aesthetic though?

Scalding Coffee
Jun 26, 2006

You're already dead


Toni Cipriani was the main guy in LCS. He really let himself go.

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Doc M
Jan 6, 2011

I enjoy metal because of its dark, creepy, intense aesthetic.




Scalding Coffee posted:

Toni Cipriani was the main guy in LCS. He really let himself go.
Toni is only 33 years old in GTA III, so those last three years must have been pretty rough for him considering the fact he appears to be in his 40s or 50s.

Of course his age isn't established until Liberty City Stories, so obviously he was supposed to be much older in III but for some reason Rockstar decided he should be 30 in LCS. I'm not sure why they didn't just choose to make him a bit older in that game or just come up with a new protagonist, but LCS was a bit of a mess in terms of writing in general.

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