While his initial appearance in Vice City Stories is almost absurdly dorky-looking, Lance Vance (top and bottom right) is equally recognizable in both the art and the game, even if the art makes him look more thuggish and less drug-addled than he actually is.
The Victor Vance at top left, meanwhile, is damn near unrecognizable when compared to VCS' no-nonsense hero. What's with the lantern jaw and pouty lips? Vic neither has nor needs those things. And what the hell is that - hair? HAIR!? If it weren't for the eyebrows and the mustache, we'd go so far as to say that Rockstar made a mistake about its own character when they identified this guy as Vic.
If the woman at left wasn't officially labeled as Mallorie, we'd never guess that she was supposed to be Roman's mousy Puerto Rican girlfriend. The dim expression, trashy clothes and tacky earrings are all at odds with our normal image of Mallorie, with her thick glasses and sharp wits. But two important clues lurk in this image, and those of you who haven't played more than an hour into GTA IV will probably want to skip ahead now so as to avoid minor spoilers.
The first clue is the presence of Vlad, who's lurching through Mallorie's doorway and looking impatient. The second is this:
"Roman!?" Ooooooh, someone's been cheatin'! Witness Mallorie's unseen wild side. Which, even with the clues, still looks unrecognizable next to her in-game self.
The portrait on the left is actually a pretty accurate rendition of Faustin, although he looks a little softer and more tired than the hard-edged, rage-prone Russian gangster we've come to vaguely detest. Given the cell phone, sleepy expression and the wad of bills in his hand, however, we can only guess that he's on the phone with his dealer, trying to score more blow after coming off another wife-smashing coke bender. Pretty soon, he'll be tearing down the paper background behind him while flapping his arms like a chicken. It's almost disappointing that we won't get to see it.
OK, we admit we fudged a little on this one - Reni does actually wear the costume at left toward the end of his/her missions in Vice City Stories, after his/her umpteenth sex change. Even so, we can see a few obvious differences, chief among them Reni's sexual ambiguity. In-game Reni's sharper, more angular face always made him/her look somewhere between a drag queen in Chinese-opera whorepaint and Nagel print, and we were never completely sure which gender he/she was supposed to be at any given time. The Reni on the left, however, is clearly just some pouty-looking dude with a boob job, which somehow makes the character simultaneously less and more creepy.