Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective. The player controls criminal Tommy Vercetti and completes missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story. It is possible to have several active missions running at one time, as some missions require the player to wait for further instructions or events. Outside of missions, the player can freely roam the game’s open world and has the ability to complete optional side missions.Composed of two main islands and several smaller areas, the world is much larger in area than earlier entries in the series.The islands are unlocked for the player as the story progresses.
The player may run, jump, or drive vehicles to navigate the game’s world. The player uses melee attacks, firearms and explosives to fight enemies. The firearms include weapons such as the Colt Python, an M60 machine gun and a Minigun.The game’s three-dimension environment allows a first-person view while aiming with the sniper rifle and rocket launcher. In addition, the game’s combat allows the player to commit drive-by shootings by facing sideways in a vehicle.The game provides the player a wide variety of weapon options—they can be purchased from local firearms dealers, found on the ground, retrieved from dead enemies, or found around the city.
In combat, auto-aim can be used as assistance against enemies.Should the player take damage, their health meter can be fully regenerated through the use of health pick-ups.Body armour can be used to absorb gunshots and explosive damage, but is used up in the process.When health is entirely depleted, gameplay stops and the player respawn at the nearest hospital while losing all weapons and armour and some of their money.If the player commits crimes while playing, the game’s law enforcement agencies may respond as indicated by a “wanted” meter in the head-up display (HUD), which increases as the player commits more crimes. On the meter, the displayed stars indicate the current wanted level, and the higher the level, the greater the response for law enforcement(for example, at the maximum six-star level, police helicopters and military swarm to lethally dispatch players).