Many people believed that Radical Entertainment would have to pull out all the stops to make sure that Scarface: The World is Yours lived up to the classic movie. After the failure of another recent gangster videogame tie-in, EA’s The Godfather, the pressure was really on.
Here’s the news: we at SPOnG think Radical has achieved one of the best movie/videogame tie-ins ever to grace the PS2; and here’s why…
The game starts where the film ends, which is a brave move to say the least, as many developers would have chosen to make a game that simply retells the story of the movie. Naturally, you assume the role of Tony Montana.
Just so you don’t totally forget the movie, the opening mission reprises the last scene as Tony’s mansion is being invaded by scores of Sosa’s men. After Tony steps onto the balcony and utters the immortal line: "Say hello to my little friend", you're put in control of the hot-headed little Cuban. Instead of being shot in the back (a la the movie’s depressing, yet morally ‘correct’ denouement), you (as Montana) escape to a waiting car.
Unfortunately, for even if you win the battle, you have to start from scratch as you rebuild your empire and exact revenge on Sosa.
Sounds simple enough, eh? Think again as you battle your way through the hordes of Colombians with AK-47s baying for Tony’s blood. On the subject of blood, Scarface is not for the squeamish. Expect to see more gore and guts than on an episode of Casualty. Arms, legs, heads and, well, just about every part of the human body can be blown to bits.
Only when you have killed sufficient men (and it is only men that are eviscerated by psycho-gallant, Montana – SPOnG refers you to Freud on this one), and escaped the mansion in the waiting car does the game begin properly.
In the Story Mode you have to piece Tony’s empire back together by taking control of Miami’s four turfs one-by-one: Little Havana, Downtown, South Beach and North Beach. At the beginning Tony has no reputation, so very few characters will take him seriously. Therefore, you have to pressure people into respecting him. This is done in the form of a mini-game, where an intimidation bar appears at the bottom of the screen. You must time the moving bar correctly – think golf games. If you are successful you gain respect points which will increase your reputation.
Starting in Little Havana, you have to drive over to your old friend, Felix, who is extremely well-connected and is also - you guessed it - a cocaine dealer. Felix gives you various missions throughout the game. These range from making a simple ‘delivery’ to murdering a whole gang with a chainsaw (worryingly, most SPOnG staffers returned again and again to this section).
Once you’ve complete these missions, you are rewarded with either money or cocaine. When you get sufficient funds, you are prompted to buy local businesses, such as pawn shops, tobacconists, strip joints and record stores, using them as fronts to supply yet more charlie. When all the fronts in each particular turf are purchased, you have to buy a storehouse – thus enabling your empire to reap greater profits. When you have more than $500,000 in the bank, you must hire various henchmen (including a driver, an enforcer and an assassin) who will be more than happy to do your dirty work for you.
You need to buy numerous types of high performance sports car and speed boat, which prove invaluable when trying to escape from the cops. Another feature is the ability to buy furniture and accessories for your mansion. These can range from items as bizarre as your old friend Manny’s ashes to a gold gun cabinet. Each purchase – no matter how bizarre – increases your reputation. This consumerist sub-plot is great fun and adds a completely new dimension to the game.
Once a turf is yours, you must do battle with its gang leader. This could entail chasing him around Miami in a speedboat or taking out his helicopter with a rocket launcher. All the boss battles are well-constructed and should test even the most experienced of gamer. Only when you control all four turfs are you able to plan and execute your hideously violent and ultra-satisfying revenge over that rat-bastard, Alejandro Sosa.