What if Tony Montana had survived the shootout at his mansion at the end of the film Scarface? What if Tony hadn't been killed by one of Sosa's assassins? What might have happened next? That's the scenario Radical Entertainment presents in their Scarface: The World is Yours video game, an alternate ending in which the infamous Cuban drug lord lives to fight another day. Now it's up to you, as Tony Montana, to reclaim your turf, rebuild your empire and ultimately get your revenge on that cock-a-roach Sosa, all in the open worlds of Miami and the Islands.
"In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women."
When Tony re-enters society three months after surviving the assault on his mansion, he's left with nothing but the clothes on his back, his QM convertible and his friend Felix to acquire leads from. After a few story-progressing missions, your quest to climb back to the top begins with the objective of making money. At first you'll have to do all the dirty work yourself. This means completing tasks so you can gain the trust of small suppliers who will then sell you grams of cocaine that you can sell back on the street for a profit. Once you've accumulated enough cash, you can start to approach storefronts and other businesses to join your budding cocaine empire. Once you've purchased a storefront, you can then sell your cocaine to the manager for distribution. The reward isn't as high, but neither is the risk of a gunfight that can ensue if you fail to properly make a face-to-face deal with either the supplier or the drug dealer.
Miami is broken down into four turfs: Little Havana, Downtown, South and North Beach. You'll begin the game in Little Havana but as an open world environment, you can travel throughout Miami wherever and whenever you want. With that said, you may only conduct business in Little Havana until you've purchased all the store fronts within that area. Once you've done that, it's on to the business of securing that area's storehouse, a warehouse teeming with thugs. While difficult to overrun, the reward is a facility where you can smuggle larger quantities of cocaine from suppliers for distribution to your storefronts. Distribution missions involve driving from your warehouse to each of your storefronts to meet their demand. Complete these successfully and you'll be making some real money. Of course, what would all this be without a little competition?
While Tony was mending his wounds and regrouping from his near death mansion experience, drug lords Nacho, Gaspar and the Diaz Brothers moved in on his turf with their respective gangs. Each time you successfully meet with a supplier, buy a storefront or kill a rival gang member, your gang heat meter fills up, making rival gang members more aggressive at the sight of Tony on the street. Sometimes this can result in a confrontation if you happen upon an active gang area, and most often it'll come into play when you're on distribution missions. Rival gangs will attack your storefronts while you're driving around distributing your supply of cocaine. It makes these missions really intense as you juggle between completing your run and protecting your storefronts. Then you also have to take into account the Miami police and their heat, a meter that fills up each time you run over a pedestrian with your vehicle or get into a firefight on the street in broad daylight. You can pay off Vice to reduce both the cop and gang heat meters to help make your drug efforts a little more effortless.
After you start to make money, power is next to follow. Power is represented in Scarface by your reputation score. Your reputation increases after various events, whether a successful drug deal or the completion of a story-progressing mission, but you can also earn reputation by buying it. It won't be but a couple of missions before you re-acquire your mansion from Vice for $10,000, after which you can furnish it with unique collectibles, furniture and various decors. Each purchase you make will increase your reputation. You can also purchase various vehicles, from fast cars and heavy-duty trucks to numerous boats. You can also purchase henchmen such as a driver to instantly bring you your car wherever you are in the city, a boat driver to do the same for your boat, an arms dealer that will deliver guns to you via the trunks of cars, and even an assassin that you can control during side missions. You can also buy investments. While some are very expensive, these investments can help you in various fields, such as security and banking. Think of reputation points as experience points. You can't unlock the next turf or the next set of story-progressing missions without reaching a certain level of reputation.
Speaking of banking, banks are where you'll be able to save your game, not to mention launder your dirty money. Each time you make a drug deal, you'll get paid in dirty money. You have to visit a bank in order to launder that money and make it clean. The bank will take a percentage of your dirty money as a fee, anywhere from 1% or more depending how well you intimidate the teller. If, however, you're killed on the street before you visit a bank, you'll lose any drugs that you haven't sold or stored in your warehouse and any dirty cash that you failed to launder.
Finally, when you've made your money and gained some power, the women will follow. Femme Fatale missions occasionally pop up, though these are simply a matter of making conversion with the women in order to get them to come back to your mansion. Once there, the ladies are pretty useless other than to share the occasional humorous discussion.
"Say hello to my little friend."
Combat is handled very well in Scarface: The World is Yours. You'll get into all sorts of firefights throughout the game, be it defending a storefront, eliminating a rival gang or completing a story-progressing mission. There are several weapons at your disposal, all for a price, everything from the infamous chainsaw to a pistol, machine gun, and even a rocket launcher. Some of the weapons are upgradeable for stability and what not. When you enter a gunfight, a targeting system allows you to target certain body parts using the left trigger. You can target the right or left kidney, the head, and even the right and left testicle. On the topic of balls, every time you target an area or kill an enemy, your balls meter fills up. When full, you can activate Tony's Blind Rage mode where the action changes from third- to first-person perspective as Tony kills everyone he shoots with one shot while replenishing his health meter. The combat isn't without its issues, primarily the targeting system. If, for example, you want to target the guy with the chainsaw running at you, as opposed to the guy with the pistol, you may wind up losing a leg simply because you couldn't target the right character. It would have been nice if you could switch targets by pressing the left trigger, but it just seems like a random draw in the end.
You'll do a lot of driving in Scarface. The driving engine is such that it's not overly realistic, nor is it over the top. It's actually quite nice in terms of powersliding around corners and maneuvering through traffic. You'll be able to taunt other drivers and even shoot while you're driving if the need arises. Draw distance can sometimes be an issue when you're driving though, especially when you're in a fast car. Cruising down the street only to see a vehicle materialize a few feet in front of you is something you'll have to get used to dodging in the game. For those looking to test the boundaries of the game, you can run over pedestrians with your vehicle and even steal other people's cars, just don't expect to be able to shoot innocent bystanders. That act is against Tony's morals, as I'm sure you know if you've seen the movie.
When you take into account the open-ended gameplay, it's quite amazing how well the developers pull it all off. It's not without a few faults however. For example, you'll find some of the game's story-progressing missions to be quite long and it's both tedious and frustrating, when you die, to have to re-activate a hotspot, re-watch a cutscene, and replay entire missions because of the lack of a checkpoint. It can also get quite tedious doing drug smuggling runs. Once you get to a certain point in the game, you'll have to fly off to the islands to meet with larger suppliers. After you complete these offshore deals, you'll have to smuggle the drugs back on boat and in doing so, avoid pirates around the islands and the Vice around Miami. These trips can take several minutes to complete and while it's certainly exciting the first couple of times, once you've done them a dozen times over you'll wish you could fast forward through these segments. There are also some balancing issues in terms of some of the missions you partake in later in the game that are simply too easy, as well as a few missions that are entirely based on trial and error.
Rush, rush to the yeyo
For a current generation title, Scarface is a great looking game. The city of Miami is well realized and despite the size and scope of the city, the transition from outdoor to indoor environments is seamless. The opening cinematic is outstanding, recapping the events of the movie and re-introducing us to Tony Montana. Speaking of Tony, his character model is spot on, looking like Al Pacino did back in 1983. Unfortunately, while they weren't able to get Al Pacino to voice Tony in the video game, you wouldn't know it unless I told you. The voice actor in his place does a brilliant job, as do most of the other 50 or so actors who appear in the game; including James Woods, Steve Bauer, Michael Rappaport and Jay Mohr, among others. In fact, it's said you can have over 800 conversations with many of Miami's residents, some of which are very funny, and those conversations will change based on Tony's reputation level. The audio is rounded out by an amazing soundtrack that features not only Georgio Moroder's original Scarface soundtrack, but also dozens of tracks from the 80s in all sorts of musical genres.
"I always tell the truth. Even when I lie."
I was pleasantly surprised at how well Scarface the video game turned out. The open-ended gameplay is solid from start to finish, the production values are top notch for a current generation title, and the game just oozes charisma. You don't even have to be a fan of the Scarface film to enjoy Scarface the video game, just sit back and enjoy Tony Montana's brutal rise to glory.