Review by Splinter02

"Want to join the Family??"

Here's the story: You play Tommy Angelo, a taxi driver at the early years of the Depression who is grateful to even have a job as opposed to standing in line at the soup kitchen. He's making a decent living at the job as well. That is until he takes a break one night and gets involved in a ''Run for your Life'' chase when two Mafia buttonmen get into the cab and demand that they get away from some of the competition. Well, Tommy manages to accomplish the feat and, as a reward, the Boss pays for repairs to the cab and offers Tommy a job with the Family. He's politely turned down, but, Tommy keeps the option open. Sure enough, the next day, Tommy is attacked by some thugs and hightails it to the Don...After that, you gotta play the game to find out what happens :)

Game setup
The game is a snap to set up, but, costly in terms of drive space (1.8 GB). Those with high end video cards will benefit the most, but, even those with lower end cards will still enjoy the game's graphics. Personally, unless the game detects the right card as well as memory (My version thinks I got an 8 MB card and not a 64 MB card), you might want to tone down the resolution and others stuff. It doesn't detract heavily, fortunately.

The graphics of the game are top notch, even at the midrange of the spectrum. The resolution goes from the real low end 320x200 and upwards of 1024x768 (and probably higher, if the monitor and card support it.) There's real emotion in the faces, especially in the cut-scenes, which there are many to view. During firefights, the screen gets covered in simulated blood when you get shot, so, you need to keep an eye on who could be shooting at you, then, mow them down. The detail is superb whether you're looking at distant objects or up close and personal.

But, the graphics are not perfect in some ways. Several times, you might notice a car or people floating above the actual ground, but, it doesn't affect gameplay much.

The controls tend to be a bit on the clunky side, because when you're on foot, you have to use a combination of the mouse and the keyboard to move around, and, if you have a joystick, that gets used as well during the driving scenes. If you have to drive and shoot at the same time, it's harder to manage, but, it can be done.

The cars themselves are somewhat difficult to control. Many times, you're just going the speed limit, and, unlike today's cars, you sometimes have to really slow down to master a tight turn, and, the cars will not turn easily if you're using the regular brakes. They also tend to spin out easily, but, that can also be used to an advantage if you make a wrong turn, just use the speedbrake (handbrake) and throw the car into a 180. If done correctly (takes lots of practice), you'll be completely turned around and you're on the way. The cars also tend to flip over at times, then, you need to escape the car and nick another (if you've been shown how!) in order to complete the mission. Walking/Running is not going to work. Sometimes, though, you can get the car to right itself or, another collides with you and flips you onto your wheels. Then, you're glad that the cars back then were made of steel.

Tommy is easy to control, but, you have to be careful. You can be in a firefight with someone, and the enemy gets close enough to start throwing punches instead of bullets, while you're sitting there with a useless weapon in your hand. Then, it's time to hide the weapon and start duking it out...but, a guy can get behind you and kill you with a lucky blow to the head, even if you're otherwise ''healthy''.

The sound for the game is well thought out, but, at some places, it's annoying listening to civilians begging for their lives, even when they aren't in danger. In many places, you'll hear period music, seeing how rock and roll was still twenty years away. The cutscenes are especially well-done as the lip synching is perfect.

Other stuff
The game is rated ''M'', and for good reason. It's especially bloody and there is one scene where Tommy is ''rewarded'' by a girl (his eventual wife) with sex. But, there is nothing to be seen, though. Also, there's very course language throughout the game, but, it's nothing that adults haven't heard at one point or another.

While there is a patch available for the game, when I installed it, the game no longer worked except at the default graphic levels and that was spotty at best. Also, various game trainers haven't been updated for the game patch, so, using them either doesn't work, or causes the game to crash out to the desktop. Until the bugs are worked out in the patch, I'd avoid it. It's no fun having to uninstall the game and reinstall it because the patch broke the game :(

But, as this is an adult game, the developers did draw the line at nudity. There are at least two scenes with naked women in it and, well, nothing is actually shown. Oh, well, we can't win them all.

Overall, I do enjoy the game thus, I have to give it a 9. In case anyone's wondering why I haven't mentioned the replayability factor...I just got the game a few days ago, so, I'm still working on the actual story.

Also, you might want to run a good memory manager, or let WindowsXP (if you're using that) manage the RAM. The game tends to become sluggish after a few hours of playing it when the sound cutting out or the game coming to a halt for a few moments. If you can find a copy of ClearMem, you might be able to run that to free up memory while playing, as that's a command line program and isn't resident in memory after it runs. Even on a 256 MB system, the game tends to act up, as I mentioned. Maybe it's not as bad with higher end machines.

Bottom line: If you ever wanted to life the life of a ''Made Man'' without actually having to kill someone or keep omerta (silence), this game is for you

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/05/03, Updated 06/05/03

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