Monday, 9 April 2012

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories - Empire Building Part 1

Song of the Day

How to be a Millionaire - ABC

A big part of Vice City Stories is the business side-missions. Although technically optional, by taking the time and effort to expand your 'empire' you can amass an insane amount of money in the early stages of the game. With this you can buy more businesses, to earn more money, to buy more businesses, to earn more money, to buy more businesses, to earn more money and etc.

By the end of the game, this looks like pocket change...

If you've played the original Vice City and San Andreas then it works like a mixture of the businesses in Vice City (you buy a business, do some missions for it and then it will make you money over time) and the gang wars in San Andreas (where you fight a gang for turf, whilst also defending your own areas. More turf for your gang = more money you can collect). 

However, most business sites are already occupied by other gangs. In the first island they are mainly occupied by Cholo's, who have been our biggest enemies in the first section of the game, and the Bikers, who we've barely seen. You can't just go in and buy a property, you must first forcibly evict the current occupants. You can tell who owns what in two ways; the first is by going to your map and seeing the colour of the property icon. If it's blue it yours, yellow means it's Cholo and black means the Bikers own it. Another way of telling is by the vehicle that's sitting outside it. Gang's have their own trademark vehicle. The Cholo have 'The Cholo Sabre' and the Biker's trademark is, unsurprisingly, a motorbike.

The Cholo Sabre
To initiate the attack on the property, you must first destroy the gang vehicle sitting outside. The easiest way is with a BOOM, but if you lack a BOOM-making device like a grenade then guns are adequate enough (though bikes are MUCH easier to destroy with a grenade). After that and a brief moment of loading, you will be attacked by a bunch of gang members. They can surround you so keep an eye on your radar. It's never a bad idea to invest in armour before taking on a business. Once all the gang members are dead, just walk on inside. Depending on how big the business is, as well as the type of business (more on that in part 2) you will have more gang members to kill inside, as well as a bunch of green arrows. These are to tell you "hey, destroy these!". Do so, and you've officially won. You get a reward but it's not quite over yet.

Before settling into your new premises, you have to actually buy it. Here you can choose the type of business as well as it's size. At this stage of the game only three types of businesses are available:

Protection Rackets (PR) - This is where shops pay you to protect them and their goods from gangsters. 
Loan Shark (LS) - If people don't pay back what they own, just take their car. Heck, even if they DO pay...
Prostitution (P) - Some people have needs and we're here to satisfy them. 

Three more will be unlocked later in the game. I'll go into more detail about the missions connected to each business in the next part.

Next you have to choose the size of the business. The bigger the business, the more it costs to build but it will earn more money. The three choices are:

Small-time: The smallest size, thus the cheapest but it makes the least money. Even by the time you unlock the empire building, you should have more than enough to always build bigger than this.
Costs: PR - $1,500, LS - $2,000, P - $3,000.

Medium-venture: This is the one you should be building early on, though you can still pretty much bypass this size immediately if you wish.
Costs: PR - $2,900, LS - $3,900, P - $5,900

High-Roller: The only one worth building, and it honestly doesn't cost that much, compared to the eventual reward at least. If money was more useful in this game it would honestly be game-breaking...if you don't consider being able to buy unlimited ammo and armour to not be "game-breaking". 
Costs - PR - $4,400, LS - $5.800. P - $8,800

There are 30 properties you can acquire overall, enough for five of each kind, though there's nothing stopping you from building 30 of the biggest money-maker by the end of the game. 

Coming up in Part 2: An closer look at each of the business types and their side-missions.

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