Video: GTA VC – Steam is NOT a bad version 👀 [Comparison] – Feat. MrMario
Hey, what is going on everyone, it’s me Mister Mario, and today we’re going to look at the Steam version of Vice City to decide if it’s either a good version of the game or yet another bad Steam release. So without further ado, let's get straight to the cut soundtrack mystery. Why do I call this a mystery? Well, let's dive into the backstory. The PC version of Vice City was released on Steam on January 4th, 2008 Everything was going well until the end of October 2012.
Near the end of the month, the game suddenly disappeared from the Steam store. Right around its 10th anniversary! After a few days, the entertainment news site "CinemaBlend" reported that the main reason why Vice City was yanked from the Steam store was due to a claim from Sony Music Entertainment regarding Michael Jackson's song "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin", which is featured on the "Fever 105" radio station. At the same time, Rockstar Games assured fans that they were working hard to resolve the issue. At the beginning of December, users noticed that the digital version of Vice City was finally back on Steam, but what changed? The third party website "Steam Database" revealed that the game should now use two separate so called "Steam" depots; "Original audio" and "New Audio". At the same time, people who bought the game before these license issues noticed that their copy of the game had the "Old Audio" tag. People who bought it later received a copy of the game with the "New Audio" tag.
The problem was, no one had a new version at the time. GTA news sites believed that the "New Audio" version removed the same music tracks as the, at the time, recently released mobile version of the game, which, by the way, came out the day after the silent re-appearance on Steam. If you activate your Vice City key today, Steam will congratulate you for obtaining your newly acquired "New Audio" version, so be prepared for the truth. The "Old Audio" and "New Audio" releases of Vice City are the same freakin version! Both of them have a full soundtrack. I’m not joking, they didn't change a single file in the new release! I know this, because I own both of these versions and I compared them file by file. In case you’re wondering, they did the same thing with German version of the game as well and I doubt this is a coincidence.
So yeah, if you own the "New Audio" version, then you’ll hear the same tracks as the rest of the people, who bought the game on disc or own the “Old Audio” release on Steam. And you can easily check it by yourself. Select a new game and sit, for instance, in Admiral. You should hear “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson play. However, if the game has cut music, such as mobile version or a later re-release, then it should play "Self Control" by Laura Branigan. And you know what? Many other gamers were shocked by this as well. They bought the game during this year's Humble Bundle sale and were surprised to hear presumably cut songs on the in-game radio asking other gamers on Steam’s forum if they had experienced the same thing. Soon enough it will be six years since music licensing issues hit Vice City. It’s either a flaw from Steam …
or Rockstar Games SOMEHOW managed to sort this problem out without removing the tracks from the game. But we’re not done investigating yet! Turns out the Steam version of Vice City shares the same files as the original retail version of the game. The only difference is the executable. I compared this once again, file by file. This means that this digital release appears to be a "Haitian-UNfriendly" version or let’s say a normal version, which is strange. In case you don't know, in the "Haitian-Friendly" version you won't hear or see any words like: "Haitian", "Cuban" or any expressions insulting various groups of people. They were simply omitted from the game due to Haitian-American community protests near the end of 2003. I assume you already know about these in-game differences, therefore we will skip this part. If you don't, YouTube is your friend for learning more about this. Since the Steam version of the game has a different executable, let's talk about its unique changes and enhancements. Prepare to be shocked: the Steam executable has been updated the most out of the all Vice City executables I’ve (FireHead) examined! We’ve noticed that it has all new fixes and changes, which were made exclusively for later releases and subsequent re-releases for international markets.
I’m willing to bet you didn’t know about them. A big thank you goes out "FireHead" for these finds. He messed around with various executables and compared their code side by side to identify the changes I am going to show you. Moreover, I want to thank "Nick007J" for some consultation as well as "space einstein" for address offsets used to find these changes. The Steam version of the game received the famous fix brought to us by the 1.1 patch. The developers stated that "this fix is an UN-SUPPORTED update that corrects polygon corruption that has been noticed on certain video cards and PC combinations", and highly recommended to avoid it if users do not have this bug. You can read more about it by pausing the video.
Interestingly enough, the developers actually lied to us, because this wasn't the only change they promised us in this patch. First of all, they finally fixed a pesky bug with skins. There was a bug in the original game in which if you decide to change a skin and exit, you’ll suddenly notice the skin resets to the default one, After this patch, it doesn't reset anymore. Secondly, they implemented a weird check in acquiring the "Good Citizen Bonus". The game now checks that the "criminal", who is chased by the police, is actually a pedestrian and not an object or a car or another entity. And finally, the developers cut a check, which could identify DirectX 9.0 on your computer. This is quite a strange change, because the game doesn't even require DirectX 9 to play. For some reason, DirectX 9 is still listed everywhere as a part of minimal system requirements. Maybe they wanted to artificially increase system requirements? Who knows. Moreover, the Steam version takes its roots from the Japanese release, which contains an executable dated one year after the 1.
1 patch. Trust me, these changes aren’t less interesting than the previous ones. Starting from the Japanese release, the developers decided to fully fix an interesting bug involving replay functionality and a green screen effect. If during the replay you’re standing in front of the surveillance camera and suddenly you decide to abort the replay, you’ll notice that Tommy will receive "Terminator" vision. This is a pretty cool thing to mess around with, but don’t play with it for too long. Your vision will suffer from a ripple like effect after looking at the screen for some time. By the way, if you want to reset the camera, you can go through these security gates leading to the golf club. Easy as that. This was fixed in the Japanese release, so if you want to repeat this bug on Steam, you’ll notice that it will reset your camera effect even if you’re standing in front of the camera. Also, starting from the Japanese release, they decided to implement two additional fixes for a "Short Cut Taxi".
In case you’re wondering, this is a special Cabbie waiting you to get in at the front of a hospital if you die during a mission. The first fix in the code forbids the driver to abandon his car in any possible way until you fully get into his taxi. In the original game as soon as you set his wheels on fire, the driver will abandon his taxi leaving the door open. But now he won't be as amused if his hooptie is on fire. It’s almost as if he stopped caring about it. Speaking of fire, the second fix SHOULD extinguish a taxi if it’s on fire during the screen fade. Why do I say should? Well, because it doesn't work. So, this is how it works in-game. First of all, the game checks that an unknown entity is a pedestrian. Then it checks that this entity is our special taxi. Then it checks that the taxi is moving. If everything is okay, the fire goes away… and of course it won't happen, because the first check makes no sense.
On the other hand, if we were to change entity type from pedestrian to car, then the whole thing actually works. Here’s a quick comparison of fixing a fix by FireHead. By the way, if you throw a Molotov in this specific way like I do here playing an original game, then be prepared to experience some weird bugs. Like this one… Or this one… And this one… I’m under the impression that both of these fixes should have prevented us from being dead in this taxi, but what the heck. Who would throw these Molotovs anyways? Moreover, starting from the Japanese release, the developers decided to remove some unused opcodes from the game’s executable. Nothing to worry about as these opcodes seem to be San Andreas leftovers and were never used in the mission scripts. Moreover, you won't find them in the PS2 version of Vice City. This actually proves that San Andreas was in heavy development at around the same time they were porting Vice City to PC. After they removed those unused opcodes they implemented a new one by the name of "IS_JAPANESE_GAME", which can return either true or false. In the JP version it always returns true.
This opcode was used in the new so called Japanese mission scripts, which we already analyzed in my previous video. For instance, this opcode reversed controls in the ammu-nation store. But this isn’t the end. The Steam version of Vice City also takes its roots from the exclusive German "Green Pepper" release, which contains an executable dated two years after the Japanese release. Since the "Green Pepper" version uses these new mission scripts used in the Japanese release, the developers decided to change the save format or for a better way of saying it, they changed the algorithm of saving and loading your save files. This was a smart move, because if you load a retail save in the Japanese release, the game will crash, since it’s incompatible due to the new mission script file. If you load the same save file in the Green Pepper version, then the game will tell you that is incompatible, and the game will start from the beginning.
As you can see, it is indeed a good implementation in this version. Do you know when a good implementation goes wrong? Well, this change is still found in the Steam version of the game. It doesn’t make any sense, because it still uses so called old mission scripts. You know what’s funny, though? Both the Green Pepper and Steam versions tell you about save incompatibility, but don't forget that they didn't bother to update the text strings. Thanks to that if you load a retail save on the Steam version, you’ll see this empty box. I bet you didn’t know about this warning! Not just because it has no text, but because on newer PCs you don't even have a second to look at it… but now you know the truth. After some time, game enthusiast “Silent” released a simple tool, which easily converts a retail save to a Steam save and vice versa. So, as you can see, it isn’t a problem now, at least for people who know about this tool.
And hey, they actually noticed that the Green Pepper version is fully censored, so they had to remove all this whack stuff from the Steam executable once and for all. Just imagine if they didn’t do it. That would be a real scandal to see that the game has no blood and is missing many other cool features which GTA is famous for. Interestingly enough, the opcode "IS_JAPANESE_GAME" returns False in both Steam and Green Pepper versions. This means this opcode doesn't reverse controls in ammu-nation in the Green Pepper version, but it does absolutely nothing on Steam, because, well, like I told you, the game has retail mission scripts, which don’t use this opcode yet. And lastly, the developers removed a disc protection from the game along with their special DRM.
However they decided to go with Steam’s DRM. To sum everything up, the Steam version of Vice City isn’t that bad of a version after all, unlike the Steam version of San Andreas. Its advantages are: This is the Hatitian-UNfriendly version or let's call it the developer’s original vision with Cubans and Haitians. Don't forget that it has the full soundtrack you can hear on any old PC version of the game! Finally, it has some exclusive fixes and enhancements, which were available in newer releases and re-releases around the world. On the other hand, the developers didn't ever bother to bring something new to the Steam version… I mean, why not to fix this pesky bug with the broken crosshair while using a widescreen monitor? It was a well known bug, damnit! What about fixing the weird mouse behavior? How many times should I press "ESC" to make it work? Well, what about vertical mouse axis? Nah, forget about it.
In the end, the Steam version was based on the Green Pepper version, which was based on Japanese release, which already had the secret 1.1 fixes. So my question is, why not reuse the new mission scripts then? People would have been pleased to play the game with some minor fixes, enhancements, and wouldn’t have blamed old save incompatibilities, because in this case, these saves can’t be compatible in any possible way. As a downside, if they reused these new mission scripts and other associated files with them from Green Pepper, then the game would have been the Haitian-Friendly version, because it already has these tweaks inside, which would be disappointing. But do you know which Steam version of Vice City really has issues? The macOS Steam release, which I am planning to cover soon. Or.
.. check the description, maybe it’s already out..