Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Vol. 5: Wildstyle

As with everything involved with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, the game's soundtrack is epic in scope and incredibly detailed. Though countless games have offered soundtracks, GTA: Vice City offers a unique twist on the format: its soundtrack has seven volumes, one apiece for Vice City's radio stations. Though games such as Jet Grind Radio and Jet Set Radio Future also revolved around the concept of soundtrack-as-radio station, GTA: Vice City's soundtrack is the most ambitious -- and impressive -- realization of this idea yet, offering DJs with distinctive personalities, tailored track listings, and realistic bumpers, voice-overs, and commercials. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Vol. 5: Wildstyle presents Mr. Magic, a pioneering hip-hop head who plays an authentic set of rap, hip-hop, and electro from the '80s, the era in which GTA: Vice City is set. The volume's standout tracks include Run DMC's "Rock Box," Herbie Hancock's "Rockit," Mantronix' "Bassline," Cybotron's "Clear," Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force's "Looking for the Perfect Beat," and Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks." Actually, trying to pick highlights on this collection is something of a fool's errand, since this volume of the soundtrack is probably the most consistent and inventive in the set, and indeed a very respectable collection of hip-hop and electro on its own terms, with artists like Grandmaster Flash, Zapp & Roger, Davy DMX, Man Parrish, and Whodini rounding out the album. Likewise, the commercials for "Degenatron" an early home video game system, and "Maibatsu Thunder," a Japanese car, are among the best parodies of the soundtrack series. For GTA addicts, there's an added incentive to buy the soundtracks: each disc comes with bonus multimedia content (Windows and Mac compatible), including wallpaper, screen shots, a screen saver, a movie clip, and most importantly, a special cheat code unique to each volume of the soundtrack. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Vol. 5: Wildstyle's cheat code unlocks the first Weapon Cheat, which provides various useful weapons. As with this volume's music, it's one of the best cheats of the series. ~ Heather Phares

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