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THE BEST AND WORST STORY MISSION OF ALL TIME: “JIVE DRIVE”

There is a mission in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories that is simultaneously my most and least favorite quest in any video game. That quest is called “Jive Drive”, and it is driving me right up the wall. At the time of this paragraph writing, I have attempted this mission, no lie, 20 times, and for the life of me I cannot beat it.

The plot of the Jive Drive quest is that you are picking up your younger brother Lance from the airport. This guy in the red is Lance.

Just look at this fucking guy. I have been staring at this son of a bitch for two weeks of playtime.

Victor (the player’s character) is displeased to see his brother, and it’s immediately obvious why: you can probably tell by Lance’s face that he speaks and behaves like Steve Urkel from Family Matters.

The whole point of the quest is to pick him up and drive him to his hotel, but things quickly go awry and you run into some trouble with the rival gang, the Cholos.

Part One: The Adventure Begins

The two hop into a car to go to Lance’s hotel, and what happens next I am still unsure, but in the midst of a short exchange between Victor and Lance, these things happen in about 3 seconds:

  1. gang members from the Cholos are unhappy that you killed their friends earlier, so they show up and start shooting uzis at you.
  2. Lance grabs the wheel for some reason and starts driving off, and Victor hangs out the window with his own unlimited-ammo uzi to fight them off.
  3. With you controlling Victor, firing uzis and slaughtering dozens of people, Lance takes the car off a ramp and lands in Little Havana, where a car chase murder spree ensues.

This is the first part of the quest, where you need to ride shotgun and fend off the Cholos as they try to kill you. Lance races through town, hitting random jumps like some Dukes of Hazzard scene yelling “OH SHIIIIIIT” among other memorable moments, while no less than 12 cars filled with opposing Cholo gang members pull in front of you and attack you. You can fire back and kill them, or you can aim for their cars which, like everything else in every Grand Theft Auto game ever, makes them explode.

It’s actually pretty funny the first 18 times you see it.

Unfortunately an unintended side effect is that if you explode the Cholos too close to you, it will damage your own car, and then you won’t have enough life left to make it through the rest of the onslaught.

This is how the first few attempts went:

Attempt 1: I have a great deal of trouble aiming my uzi. The aim is super sensitive on the PSP and the joystick is horribly inaccurate, resulting in flailing the gun around the whole time and missing most of my shots. Our car explodes shortly after take-off. MISSION FAILED

Attempt 4: At this point I’ve gotten used to the aiming, and I realize that shooting at the Cholo cars might be a better bet. Right at the beginning of the sequence, two cars approach and tail you, eventually shooting at your car if they get close enough. It turns out, shooting the cars works great to make them explode.

Unfortunately the car exploded while it was next to my car, so we caught fire and also exploded. MISSION FAILED

Attempt 7: We make it past the car chase and over the ramp into Little Havana where the real fun begins. We die immediately when Victor cannot manage to hit any of the four unmoving gang members as they turn our car into Swiss cheese. MISSION FAILED

Attempt 10: Finally getting the hang of aiming, it seems the most accurate method of shooting is to aim my gun at “Cholo level” and wait until Lance drives me within range, and fire when they enter my sights. This is pretty effective and allows us to progress much further through Little Havana.

This works until we reach another tricky part – driving through one of those drainage ditches like the one in the motorcycle chase scene from Terminator 2. There are two Cholos on top firing down at you, two waiting for you on the other end, and two more guys on freaken dirt bikes who jump in front of you and rain a hellstorm of bullets. We die immediately.

MISSION FTERMINATED.

Attempt 12: Finally we are able to make some progress, but our plans are foiled again by the final group of 6 Cholos right before what seems like the way out.

Attempt 13: We commit serial murder for the thirteenth time and reach the final ramp which launches us in Little Haiti.

This is part one of the mission. Yeah, after riding the struggle bus through 13 freaken attempts I thought this was all done. We’d drive to the hotel, maybe stop and get a ice cream cone. NOPE. Cut the cutscene.

Part Deux: The Chaos Continues

The video fades in and we’re left with Victor and Lance in a dimly lit back alley, casually walking away from the car, which is now trashed and on fire. In typical Grand Theft Auto fashion, Victor is pissed about the destruction of his car and Lance’s poor driving (and I quote, “you are NEVER driving again!”) and not at all frazzled over the 28 gang members and random civilians he shot. The car explodes and you are immediately thrust into a firefight against 10+ armed Cholos.

Note: If you want to see this part in video format, click below and skip ahead to 3:55.

This is part 2 of the mission, and where the party really starts. The first part you can easily breeze through once you get a hang of the aiming (although there were a few more issues on subsequent attempts…), but there are far more variables at play that can send you up shit creek without a paddle.

  1. Lance and Victor both have uzis, but Lance’s AI does some really whacky shit. It’s not uncommon for him to run straight into enemy fire which at this point is an absolute bullet storm.
  2. Your Wanted Level jumps roughly every 30 seconds, up to a maximum (that I’ve seen) of three stars. This is no bueno.
  3. Once the cops start showing up, you have to take them out or else they’ll knock you down and bust you. Shooting a cop immediately jumps you to three stars.
  4. Many guns firing at your car = explody car.

If by some miracle you are able to a) kill all the cholos without dying yourself, b) keep Lance alive, c) steal a car, and d) keep the car from exploding, the party still isn’t over.

Now, I have witnessed firsthand some serious Final Destination shit going on with this mission. Like clockwork, no matter how well things are going, at the end of the quest, something ends up killing Lance – explosions, cop homicides, game glitches, traffic accidents, you name it. I’ve got this quest down at this point, and there’s no reason or inherent difficulty in any of the portions of the quest after you’ve gotten used to it. There’s only so many things that can happen, you know?

Still, even in the attempts where I had all my bases covered and protected Lance, somehow this son of a bitch gets himself killed. I’d say it’s maddening, but it feels more like a bad joke at this point. The man just doesn’t want to live.

The Locked Car Incident

During one attempt, I had the brilliant idea to turn around and run away from all of the chaos. This allowed me to pick off the Cholos one-by-one, so that they didn’t have the ability to flank me from each side. I ran all the way around in attempt to find a car to escape, and to my luck, I actually found one!

I go to open it, and.. it’s locked. Practically none of the cars are unlocked in GTA games, presumably the citizens are overly trusting or something, but this pain in the ass car was not only locked, but blocking our way. I can’t even get a screenshot of this at this point, but you’ll have to take my word on it.

I later realized that it was one of the Cholo cars and must have been planted there as a part of the mission, to make it more difficult. I ended up getting shot and killed.

Lance’s Suicide By Cop

There were many attempts where we were able to start alive after the initial Cholo attack, but were then thwarted by cops with shotguns. Unfortunately, if the police are dispatched, you don’t have any chance but to dispatch them, so needless to say, we had a lot of high Wanted Levels.

One of the tensest moments during the quest, and really in Grand Theft Auto games in general, is getting into a car with a cop nearby, because all he has to do is open the door and you’re going to jail. In this case, I needed to wait for buggy Lance to get into the car, while withstanding a bulletstorm from Vice City PD.

At least 5 times, Lance would get shot, turn around, stop running to the car, and start exchanging fire. This ended abruptly as soon as one of the cops pulled a shotgun. This killed Lance, and exploded my car.

This was the first taste of glitchy AI, but not the last battle with glitchy things in general…

The Wall Glitches

There is a frustrating glitch with Lance’s movement that sometimes gets him stuck in walls. Off the top of my head I can remember four distinct times where I had actually managed to kill all the Cholos, grab a car that wasn’t ablaze, and then dumbass Lance had to get stuck in a wall again.

This started happening more frequently as time went on, so quickly things went from fun to frustrating. I don’t think I mentioned this yet, but every time I failed, I needed to get health at the hospital, find body armor (sometimes having to wait for it to respawn), restart the quest from the Escobar International Airport, then do the whole driving portion all over again. We’re talking about 10 minutes between attempts.

How Did I Finally Beat It?

I did a lot of Googling to make sure I wasn’t just shitty at the game, and I learned very quickly that I was not alone in having trouble with this quest. Endless comments on Youtube videos reassured me that my failures were par for the course. Many players reported dozens of attempts. My total around the time I started searching for answers was around 20 attempts, and it would take me at least 10 more before I could beat it.

Ok, confirmed. I am definitely not alone in this.

There are so many variables that make this mission immensely frustrating, but by far the most consistently difficult thing is to keep Lance alive. The man just craves death, and you have to do everything in your power to remove his power in doing so.

What finally worked was getting Lance into a car, and driving away to your nearby base. Dump the car (with Lance still in it!) and run out of the garage so that the door closes and traps him inside. This is for your own good, LANCE.

Then, go back and clean up your mess, killing the rest of the Cholos. Now drive to the nearest Pay N’ Spray to get your Wanted Level removed. Pick Lance back up from the garage you trapped him in, drive him to the hotel, and you’re good to go.

Success! After 32 total attempts.

For more information on this technique, check out this geniuses video below (4:05 is where this part starts), because I sure as hell didn’t come up with this idea.


Near the final attempts, I didn’t even get frustrated when I failed the mission because of the hilarity of the situation. Once you come to expect it, it just plays out like a parody. However, this is a part of the charm and why it’s hard for me to hate this deeply, deeply flawed quest. It’s a perfect microcosm of Grand Theft Auto games in general – completely over the top, unrealistic, and driven by caricatures of thugs and idiots. It’s video gaming perfection.

I hope you enjoyed hearing my story from Vice City Stories! I am happy to have beaten the mission, and it really was a great time minus the 32 damn times I attempted it, and I’m looking forward to continuing on in this ridiculous game. Have you played this game, particularly this quest? Apparently it’s a real doozy to a lot of players, so if you have any comments, you know where to leave em!

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