Review by wonkots42

"You've brought great pleasure to this old Italian stereotype."

I got this game on Friday. It's now Monday and I've completed the main story mode. That's not to say that the game is easy, it's just to give you some idea of how absorbed it makes you. I only stopped playing to eat and sleep all weekend.

Your character, Tommy, is a regular guy who is pulled into the Mafia life by chance. He starts off as a low level thug and works his way up to high level hit-man in the space of about 8 years. The basic plot is quite similar to the movie Goodfellas - your best friend even looks like Joe Pesci.

The game itself mixes and matches a load of different genres including racing, shooting and stealth. It gives just enough variety to avoid showing up the flaws in each of these aspects. For example, the race level is abominably hard but, thankfully, you'll only have to race once. And in the stealth level, the gaurds can't hear footsteps, even when you're crunching on gravel. They only respond to gunshots. This would be annoying in a stealth game but in Mafia you hardly even notice it because you're onto the next mission so fast and it's completely different.

However, more often than not you'll find yourself driving from your boss's bar to a mission where you'll have to kill several dozen people, hide from the cops and then drive back to the bar. My main problem with the game is the amount of superfluous driving. Just once, why couldn't the drive back to the bar be a cutscene? Other than that, the game is exciting and keeps up a good pace.

Graphics - 9/10

You'll really need a good graphics card to enjoy these to the full though. There are just one or two glitches (people's arms being visible through doors, dead bodies lying in mid air etc.) The graphics are generally top-notch.

Sound - 8/10

The music is very thirties and thankfully doesn't grate too much. You can usually forget its there. The voices are generally good, except sometimes Paulie's accent was so broad I could barely understand what he was saying. Also, sometimes the music drowns out the voices a little bit while you're talking and driving.

Controls - 8/10

The controls are pretty standard and shouldn't cause you any problems. Do the tutorial first and you'll pick them up no problem. The only thing I had trouble with was shooting while driving, but that's probably just my hand-eye coordination playing up again.

Gameplay - 9/10

Mafia is all in all a solid game which will keep you going for some time. Once the story mode is complete you can always replay your favourite missions or cruise around in Free Ride mode. Even though the main game is over, you'll still want to carry on so you can collect all the cars.

Mafia is definitely one of the best games I've played all year. Try it. You won't be disappointed.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/09/02, Updated 09/09/02

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