Review by Iceburgh
"It's a beautiful thing"
Mafia is truly a terrific game, and has been released at the perfect time, where third person driving/action games complete with a gangster lead character and interactive cities seem to be all the rage, thanks to a certain Rockstar Games hit. Don't be fooled though, this isn't Liberty City, you won't be driving an Infernus to stop spank deliveries, and Lazlow isn't available to take your calls.
Mafia goes beyond what it has been labeled as; GTAIII in the 1930's. An engrossing storyline, realism to the brim, and creative mission design makes this game a must, even for those who wouldn't even think about looking at this game based on it's concept.
The overview; well you're basically poor, boring, old taxi driver Tommy Angelo. A high speed chase and a baseball bat later, you're with the Mafia full time. Not exactly too pretty, but once you get around, the game really starts to show it's shine.
Gameplay - 8/10 - On the basics, it is simply driving from point A to point B, taking care of ''business'' (usually in the form of shooting someone), and going back to point A. But the game starts to evolve soon after, where many things have to occur in order for success. Some missions will start to require patience, expert knowledge of the infrastructure of the city, and yes, knowing how to drive the different varieties of cars effectively. The shooting in the game seems to be a bit off, it usually requires three headshots in hopes of killing someone, and in latter missions where you are put up against large groups of enemies, things can get frustrating fast. Cops make a presence in this game as well, and while you can't compare them to the likes of the ''Kamikaze Cops'' in Driver, they do lay it all on the line. In Mafia, driving isn't just accelerating and breaking, drive-by's and rammings are constant whether you are pursuing or being pursued by the enemy, and don't expect to be immune from any damage in the car. You run into a lightpost at 70mph, you're going to receive some damage. Overall, great mechanics troubled by a few small bugs.
Story - 10/10 - Obviously opinion can change on how good this story is, but I was so incredibly happy to see missions take place in various locales. There are enough twist and turns to keep the average gamer happy, and while things might turn a tiny bit outrageous, it's still keeps up with itself to keep you going.
Graphics - 9/10 - The fact that you're going to need anything around 1ghz to at least attempt to play this game smoothly shows how powerful this thing is. But while the in game graphics are great, the plentiful full motion videos are just spectacular.
Sound - 7/10 - One of the tiny disappointments. The music does fit in with the times; with the ragtime beats you would expect, but they get rather repetitive. Environmental sounds are average as well, each car seems to have a different horn and engine sputter, which is a nice touch, but it is nothing exceptional.
Replay Value - 8/10 - Most likely, at the least you will beat this twice. The Free Ride Extreme mode you unlock after the story campaign will only appeal to those that really want to see Tommy doing some very strange things. It doesn't quite live up to GTA3's replay value, but it will last awhile.
This game is one of the greatest made all year, and it warrants at least somesort of your attention to the game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/04/02, Updated 09/04/02
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