- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Here’s a multimedia tribute to one of film’s most brutal cult figures.

Scarface: The World Is Yours, from Sierra Entertainment for Xbox, rated M for mature, $39.99. Actor Al Pacino’s famed film crime boss Tony Montana gets his own video game, which imagines what might have happened if Tony had survived a hostile encounter with Bolivians.

Before jumping into this third-person experience penned by “American History X” writer David McKenna, the player should watch the latest special DVD release of the film to understand exactly what will be keeping him attached to his television for days.

The Scarface: Platinum Edition two-disc set (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, $29.98) presents a violent, caustic film that relates the rise to power of a Cuban refugee from the Mariel Boatlift who attempts to control the cocaine market in 1980s Miami.

The film is distinguished by Mr. Pacino’s exaggerated performance, and the DVD revels in his actions through a remixing of the soundtrack to enhance the gunfight scenes and an optional on-screen counter that keeps track of bullets fired. A second disc offers plenty of behind-the-scenes background and includes a look at the video game.

After appreciating the movie’s mayhem, the player can pop in the game and enter the action just as Tony’s death scene is about to occur. Instead of watching his demise, however, the player can help the thug escape, attempt to regain his glory and bring down his archenemy, Alejandro Sosa.

The title builds on the Grand Theft Auto franchise through mission-based objectives and free-roaming events embellished with celebrity star power and film authenticity to deliver the mature-rated goods.

The gangster must wipe out his rivals in bloody encounters, using a massive arsenal (chain saws and missile launchers included), rebuild alliances, sell drugs and move around the Florida city on foot and with a choice of more than 100 vehicles, 30 boats and a few aircraft.

Until now, I have never played a game that integrates profanity into the action. Not only can a player succeed if he skillfully kills his enemies, but when he viciously taunts his victims (with a special button), he is rewarded as a meter fills up to unleash a new level of power. Called Blind Rage, this first-person explosion of violence allows the player to remain invincible for a short time and regain health as he mows down opponents.

Intimidation, negotiation and reputation also will lead to success. The first two are accomplished as a circular meter fills. The player must stop it before it hits the maximum point to get the most from the encounter, which could include the percentage he pays a bank to launder his money or the final cost of a cocaine buy. Reputation increases with wealth, material possessions (including items such as a speedboat, panther or Ming vase) and allies, all of which can be bought.

Nuances such as using a cell phone to call a driver to deliver his car (with access to weapons in the trunk), not obviously breaking the law to keep the police away, gambling at casinos and dancing at the famed Babylon Club more than make up for the dated graphics.

The game perfectly captures Tony and his mannerisms and boasts voice-over work from a cast of more than 50 celebrities, some from the original film, including Robert Loggia, Steven Bauer, Elliott Gould, James Woods, Michael York and Michael Rapaport as well as Andre Sogliuzzo — handpicked by Mr. Pacino to represent Tony.

Scarface: The World Is Yours brings the deadly and dangerous cinematic world of Tony Montana to the player and beautifully melds movie with video game. Be warned, however: It is not for the squeamish.

Write to Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; or send e-mail ([email protected] times.com).

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