Miami Vice: The Game
Filling the seedy underbelly of South Beach with bullet holes is fun.
Published: August 9, 2006
Weed, meth and coke barons can be negotiated with if your reputation is high enough, which kicks off a simple mini-game in two stages where you have to keep a constantly-shifting cursor in sweet spot on a meter. As the meter builds or shrinks, you'll actually see the conversations and pat-down get increasingly easier or starting to sour. To make things harder or easier, you can, at certain points during the conversation, choose to be aggressive or diplomatic, which will make the meter slide around more or less.
Make it through this mini-game and you'll pocket two things: money and respect. The former is used to buy more drugs and purchase upgrades for your weapons (or the weapons themselves), and outfits that give you either more protection or more respect. That respect system is supposed to be your key to getting in to speak with the drug barons, but it's flawed; respect is far too easy to come by. If you push hard during baron meetings, you'll actually come out with more respect, and so long as you aren't firing a hundred shots for every one you connect with, you're going to end up with bonus cred at the end of every mission (using under-powered or low accuracy weapons for kills in missions next you more respect, but it's not really necessary).
By the halfway point in the game, I'd maxed out my respect at 320 and basically finished off the missions with extra armor rather and went in guns blazing with my most powerful weapons. By the end of the game, I had about a million bucks -- and that was after I'd bought the cheat suit that gave me unlimited ammo, a one-hit-kill melee attack, ultra-powerful weapons and invulnerability. At no point did the two week or so limit on time become a factor (you're docked a day for every visit to a dealer), so it never felt like there was a time crunch.
Of course to really use the normal weapons or even talk to the barons, you have to unlock them first, and this is done with FlashRAM hacks down at the police station (which, conveniently, also stores excess drugs for big trades with the barons). Playing like a simpler version of Geometry Wars, or perhaps more accurately Every Extend, you pilot a little arrow ship with but one attack: a charged-up explosion. You'll have to use this against little squares (the game calls them firewalls) that in later challenges fire off shots (data spikes) that can rob you of the valuable data packets you pick up after blowing up the firewalls.
The hacking mini-game, like the rest of the game, is sadly a little too short, and while it starts out challenging enough, the latter challenges were fairly easy once I'd learned the system. Instead of avoiding shots, you actually want to detonate them, since anything destroyed explodes with a shockwave that can cause chain reactions to the spike trails all the way back to the firewalls. Unleashing a huge burst that sends a snake of explosions back at four or five squares at once, which in turn explode to take out more squares, is incredibly fun, and I just wish there was more of it in the game.
In fact, I just wish there was more game. The missions are the same whether you play as Crockett or Tubbs, and though there is an option for Ad Hoc co-op through those missions, the game on the default difficulty is fairly easy. I think I died once the whole game, and that was on the first level while I figured out that cover is a guarantee that you won't get shot if you lean out for too long. There are multiple difficulty levels, but there's not really any incentive to play through the game again once you've beaten it (though you can replay any missions you feel like).