Scarface: The World Is Yours

18Considering the success of the Grand Theft Auto series, it shouldn’t be too surprising to see a number of games that clone its style of gameplay. Sierra’s Scarface: The World Is Yours follows a simple formula: You take on a series of missions that involve lots of shooting and driving. Or shooting while driving. Or shooting at people as they drive. It’s a console port that is similar to Just Cause or Godfather, using many of the same conventions, like auto-aiming, save areas, and slightly dodgy controls ripped outta console land.

The storyline in Scarface is wonderfully dumb. It starts where the movie ends, only instead of Tony Montana’s being gunned down by thugs in the most over-the-top shootout in movie history, he survives to rebuild his empire. He still has his leisure suits and a swanky car, but apparently didn’t put any money away for a rainy day. So it’s back to the day-to-day grind of being a cocaine dealer in his quest to kill Sosa.

Though storylines serve the basic purpose of giving you a reason to play, the most important character in every Grand Theft Auto game is the city itself. Liberty City, Vice City, and the areas that make up San Andreas are packed full of places to go and things to see, and they are virtual wonderlands compared with the dull, flavorless worlds of Scarface. There’s no comparison between Scarface’s more realistic Miami and the pseudo-version from Vice City. The world of Scarface feels closer to True Crime, which isn’t a compliment.

Gunplay isn’t a strength of GTA, nor is it of Scarface. There’s something that feels slightly off about the controls, possibly due to an over-reliance on console-style auto-aiming. It’s like the hand of God—or a designer—is guiding your bullets. Even so, the combat here is much more visceral than in any GTA game. People’s heads fly off. It lets you know when you shoot someone in the knee or the groin. You literally have a “Balls†meter that fills as you brutally kill (and taunt) people, and once it’s full you release it in a hail of invulnerable, slow-motion bullets.

20Where Just Cause does little but replicate the basic GTA gameplay, Scarface has an ambitious metagame where you run your cocaine empire and manage it from the ground up. You control territories: It’s like a much more fleshed-out version of the gang warfare in San Andreas. Though it makes you get a bit too hands-on with your empire—aren’t you too high up in the food chain to be selling baggies to dealers? In any case, Scarface does a good job of living up to its superfluous “The World Is Yours†subtitle.

In addition to completing missions in each territory to advance your empire, you can buy stores to serve as fronts for your coke business, set up surveillance, and hire thugs to battle competing gangs and boost your reputation. You get a real feeling of empire building. Though the brilliant San Andreas towers over its lowly pretenders, Scarface does offer something that makes them worth a look. It starts over the top and can’t go anywhere but down from there (though, God help it, it tries its best to be even more violent and vulgar). Still, it’s the best kind of guilty pleasure. Just like the movie.

System Requirements: Pentium IV 2 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 64 MB Video, WinXP

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