Scarface: The World Is Yours Makes You Wish Tony Montana Was Still Dead
By Gwendolyn L. Spelvin
Scarface is a cult classic; everybody knows the ending at this point, but I’ll get back to that later. Having a game adaptation almost thirty years later for hardcore fans seems like a great idea, until you remember that the things about the film that kept interest was the storyline and the cast.
When Scarface The World Is Yours was announced, fans everywhere cheered in curiosity about being able to finally play the epic film. However, what was delivered was a complete mockery to the film and was almost a bastardization of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to boot.
Off the bat there were problems, since the majority of the original characters died by the end of the film, Tony Montana included. But let’s overlook that little chestnut for a minute and focus on the casting.
Al Pacino has been anti-video game voice acting; he immediately declined reprising his roles in Scarface The World Is Yours and The Godfather series as a voice actor, citing it took too much physical work, but did grant his likeness only for the Scarface franchise. The voice actor that replaced him was allegedly hand-picked by Pacino, but sucked in comparison and was more of a parody than anything.
Adding insult to injury, many of the original cast returned to lend their voices in Scarface The World Is Yours, but as different new characters. For people not familiar with the film, that works. For the fans, it’s a slap in the face considering how familiar fans are with the actors’ voices.
A cavalcade of voice actor cameos of the B list supporting actors of the era aren’t a selling point, either.
The storyline is just a mockery of the original. David McKenna can’t totally be blamed for this; Radical Entertainment in conjunction with higher ups at Vivendi just didn’t know what they really wanted to do with the plot. Rushing into the idea of making a world outside the original was a flag on the play.
First off, since Scarface The World Is Yours is supposed to be so accurate to the ending of the film, where the hell was Elvira Hancock, Tony Montana’s wife played by Michele Pfeiffer? Why didn’t they write that Manny survived the gunshot wound instead of casting Steven Bauer as The Sandman? Why is Felix given such a great role now as a minister of information, when he could barely do anything in the film? Why would Tony leave his mother out there with no protection to be murdered by the likes of The Diaz Brothers after Gina got killed? Why is Robert Loggia the narrator, and is he/is he not the consciousness of the dead Frank Lopez?
As the plot develops, Scarface The World Is Yours relegates you to a repetitive role of small time drug dealer, which plays like the horrible acquisition hustles of The Godfather franchise. There is nothing original about it, and watching Tony be diminished down to a low level street pusher is too much to bear. Even at the lowest lows of the film, Tony was always a badass tough guy, and never took nothing from nobody. All of a sudden, he takes it on the chin from everybody, from his lawyer to Sosa.
Fans will be pleased to know that Tony Montana cannot hurt innocents; if a player attempts to hurt an innocent, that goes against their own health and well-being. Honestly, considering Sosa’s vengeance, this is a bit of a tedious point to enforce in missions, as villains can kill innocents bucking at Tony. I get the point about using Tony’s insistence of not hurting kids from the film, but to refrain from hurting all innocents is taking it far past even what he would do or has previously done outside of those parameters.
A man only has two things in this world, his word and his balls, and Tony never breaks them for anybody. And that’s great, except the developers jumped off the deep end with the absolute obsession of Tony’s balls rhetoric. Yes, he has to keep earning “balls” to grow stronger in fights, and build up “blind rage”. Honestly, the entire system makes no conventional sense, especially seeing Tony regains health by murdering adversaries plus earns reputation levels with mission completions anyway.
The cheezy feel good ending just doesn’t work. Tony would never just reside himself to a family guy, hanging out all day and enjoying his girlfriend now that the trouble is over. Nor would he ever let an enemy work for him; the fact that one of Sosa’s henchmen becomes his butler is just a far stretch of the imagination. How could Tony ever trust a guy that tried to kill him? Just because he gave Felix a job after killing Lopez, it’s not the same thing.
Scarface The World Is Yours had a great reception on consoles and tanked on the PC platform. Thankfully all proposed sequels were cancelled and rightfully so. The true Scarface adaptation was really Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and even that included a mock of Tony’s mansion at the end of the story. This entry fails to capture even a second of the glory of such a magnificent epic, and floats by like a plagiarized copy of something that is a send up to its original shine.
This one just leaves players with more questions than answers, wasted voice talent, and a overinflated production budget to promote a resurgence in a twenty-five year old licensed product versus great gameplay.