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Scarface: The World is Yours Review

publisher: Vivendi Games
developer: Radical Entertainment
genre: Action

PIV 2800, 512MB RAM, 5GB HDD, 128MB video card
ESRB rating: M

release date: Oct 08, 06
» All About Scarface: The World is Yours on ActionTrip

The 1983 cult movie 'Scarface' essentially served as a hub for enormous film talent. With guys like Brian DePalma (director), Oliver Stone (screen writer) and Al Pacino (lead role) getting together to make a movie, it was not only a box office hit, it inspired people from all walks of life - aspiring movie directors and wannabe gangsters alike.

The movie tells a tale of a Cuban immigrant, Tony Montana, in his struggle to become the drug baron of Miami.

Now if there is one thing I learned from this movie (seeing it as an 8-year-old kid for the first time) is that chainsaws are not only used for cutting tree logs and that enormous amounts of powdered sugar make you do crazy things like refer to assault rifles as 'little friends.' (From that point on, I'd always blow the powdered sugar off my cakes.)

As I grew older (and not much wiser), I sort of understood the real message of the movie: 'You live by the sword, you die by the sword,' the saying goes.

Turns out I got that all wrong.

In the 2006 video game adaptation of the classic silver screen hit, 'Scarface: The World is Yours,' 'You live by the sword, and others die by your sword. Period.'

The final scenes in the movie where Tony (who shoots more smack than the entire art establishment of New York City) storms out of his study room and gets riddled by a hail of bullets, does in fact give certain closure to the life of violence that he led. It shows him as being powerless and weak. The criminal masterminds remain hidden in the shadows while he is left exposed and yelling like an idiot.

In the game, the players are required to take a giant leap of faith as Tony successfully escapes the death trap of doom and starts out fresh in Miami from scratch. He loses all of his reputation, all of his balls (you get to have thousands of balls in this game) and all of his money... along with the exotic stuff like pet tigers and pet women.

Your task as a player is to rebuild his empire and help Tony regain his position in the city of Miami.

I can understand how the designers wanted to avoid literally remaking the movie in video game form, but I still somehow believe that would have been better than the extremely flakey and far fetched idea of Tony actually being able to work in the city again after an army of mercenaries stormed his stronghold with automatic rifles. His friend may be little and pack a helluva punch, but he's not Kim Jong-il for crying out loud.

In terms of how the game is played, Scarface is very much a clone of the Grand Theft Auto games. Gamers are presented with an entire city to conquer. You can go where you like pretty much, and car jack anyone that you feel like, just as long as you keep your cop heat and your gang heat sufficiently low (otherwise, it will be pretty hard to stay alive by simply going from one end of the city to another).

In Scarface, however, the mission structures, as well as its main goal, are devised differently. The main goal would be to restore your shattered drug empire, and in order to do that, you will be required to partake in a management game of sorts (dealing as much coke as you can, and getting rid of the rival gangs). As you buy more assets and gain more reputation, more gangster lifestyle accessories will become available. The story sort of takes a back seat to this, which is very different from a game like GTA: Vice City. And this is where Scarface the game fails.

Simply put, the random missions are repetitive and they soon get very boring. There are a number of good missions too, but they are too far and in between to truly make a difference. Ultimately, restoring your empire is a tedious practice in random violence and reckless driving, which can keep the player occupied for only so long.

The action itself is decent enough with a great implementation of sound and visual effects (Tony Montana is voiced by a relatively unknown actor who does a good job overall), but the PC version clearly suffers from the dreaded porting effect. The controls are very sluggish and just feel disjointed in the PC version. 'Scarface: The World is Yours' works better on the consoles. That only adds to the often frustrating mission design. Consequently, the fun factor in the PC version of Scarface has a rather limited reach.

The level of gore in the game is pretty high, and that is mostly understandable; 'The World is Yours' strives to retain the ruthless atmosphere of the movie. Tony can execute enemies from point blank range (in a pretty gruesome fashion) and go into berserker mode of sorts (reminiscent of the final scenes in the movie). Somewhere along the way, the gore transforms into cheesy comedy, however, as Tony's constant smartass remarks make him appear far more cartoonish than anything else. In the game, Tony often sounds like a failed stand-up comedian on smack.

Still, 'Scarface: The World is Yours' is a full featured game in a sense, and if you are not that particular about the consistency of the Scarface story or its characters in general, there will be a number of missions for you to enjoy. Again, I simply got bored with the rather generic nature of the gameplay after a while (especially because it wasn't backed up with a more interesting story), but that may well be due to the fact that I am jaded.

Regardless of that fact, the GTA-style games are like good humor - those who don't have a knack for it usually don't register when they've crossed that fine line. They try too hard and ultimately fail. Come to think about it, it would be great if the fine line was on the edge of a mine field; that would get their attention eventually, but that's another story altogether.

The whole 'thing' about 'Scarface: The World of Yours' may appeal to some gamers (teenagers mostly [ironically]), and the action can get pretty fun at times. On the other hand, the downsides become increasingly apparent as you play on, and are likely to turn away those of you who don't measure the maturity of your games by the amount of gore and macho bullshit contained in them. And, also, those of you who are looking for a bit more creativity in the design department.


6.5   Above Average 

Some fun action parts, a few nice Scarface moments, great sound effects;

Missions mostly boring and repetitive, controls, cheesy.



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