E3 06: Scarface: The World Is Yours Preshow Hands-On

We went hands-on with the upcoming crime epic at a recent Vivendi Universal press event.

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Scarface: The World Is Yours
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Scarface ends with one of the most recognizable and oft-quoted scenes in movie history. The coked-up Tony Montana sits behind a desk with a ridiculously large mound of blow and enough firepower to make an action hero jealous. When his mansion is stormed by an army of thugs, Montana defiantly blasts away at his pursuers and completely destroys his lavish estate in the process. In the film, Tony takes a shotgun blast to the back and dramatically falls from the top of a staircase into an ornate fountain. In the game, though, the drug lord turns on the gunman in time to thwart the assassination attempt, and then manages to escape. This sets up a whole new story where you must rebuild Tony's empire and take revenge on rival drug lord Alejandro Sosa.

To rebuild your empire, you begin by taking over businesses to act as fronts for your criminal operations. By completing these front missions, you earn wealth and work your way up to storage missions, and by completing those missions, you take control of territory, which brings you two of Tony's favorite things: money and power. According to the film, you have to first get the money, then the power, and finally the women. Here it works similarly, except instead of women, you get to go to Bolivia to confront your bitter enemy and rival kingpin, Sosa. It might not sound like a fair trade, but changes had to be made to make the story and characters fit into a game that is both true to the license and fun to play.

We saw one mission in particular that involved distracting police officers from the Angel Dust Donut Shop. To do so, Tony had to steal a police car and lead the cops on a chase throughout the city. The city of Miami isn't accurately modeled down to every last bit of neon and stucco, but it looks authentic enough. When driving around in this particular mission, you need to pass near glowing red checkpoints, but the game is pretty forgiving, so it doesn't feel like you're limited to a strict A-to-B course. In addition to these business missions, there are story missions that you can expect to be just as brash and over the top as all of Tony Montana's exploits were in the film.

The level we were able to play was the opening scene of the game, where Tony is trying to escape from his mansion. The entire mansion is modeled after the movie, and most of it is destructible. We blasted a chandelier, shot grenades at approaching enemies, and worked our way through the mansion and out onto the grounds as we tried to reach the limo.

The combat in the game is similar to that of your standard third-person shooter. You can move with the left analog stick and aim with the right. However, there's also an optional lock-on mechanic that you can use by holding down a button to target specific enemies. Once you've targeted an enemy, you can flick the right analog stick in any direction to target specific body parts. You can target everything from legs and arms to kidneys and groins, and the enemies, of course, react differently depending on where you shoot them.

By shooting specific body parts and killing enemies in particularly gruesome ways, you can fill up your "balls" meter. This meter is filled by doing anything and everything that fits with Tony's overtly defiant attitude. Everything from driving on the wrong side of the street to taunting your dying enemies increases your balls meter. Once full, you can press a button to enter a blind-rage mode, which switches the perspective from third-person to first-person and makes you temporarily invincible. In addition, you regenerate lost health while in a blind rage. You can activate this mode for as long or as short as you like, so you can save some of your balls for later if you just want to go into blind-rage mode for a quick pick-me-up to top off your health or waste a particularly imposing group of enemies.

Once we blasted our way out of the mansion, we simply followed the icon on the handy minimap displayed in the bottom corner of the screen. We had a helper following along to provide back-up firepower, but he was eventually capped and we had to carry on solo. At one point, Tony's pet tiger came in to maul an enemy and get us out of a bind, which was convenient, but the tiger was killed in the process. Luckily, you can purchase new animals and henchmen--as well as décor and furnishings for your mansion--once you start trafficking some drugs and get back on your feet.

The mission was short and straightforward, but it gave us a good idea of what to expect from the combat and general tone of the game. That is, we blasted a ton of enemies and heard a lot of very colorful commentary from Tony Montana. We're looking forward to seeing more of the game, so be sure to check back for details before the game ships this fall on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC.

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