Review by zippy142

Reviewed: 07/24/03 | Updated: 07/24/03

GTA3? Nah, this is way beyond that.

Just awhile ago I went to the local game store to pick up GTA3 (I had just beaten Vice City, and wanted to get the prequal). Of course, I was still unsure if the $30 would be well spent on it. So I ask one of the guys stocking the shelves and he tells me, ''Dude, like, screw GTA3. Mafia, is like, completely dope. GTA3 ain't got nothing against Mafia.'' Although those weren't his exact words, it was something along the lines of that. He went on to explain how Mafia was more of a storyline based game than any of the GTA titles and was much longer. I was quite intrigued, being a sucker for a good long story, so I dispensed with the hard earned cash and left with the little box of a gem. A few weeks later, I was able to finish the story mode. And I'll tell you, I loved every minute of that game.

This really will look like some sort of GTA clone to many, but just a few minute into the tutorial, and you may realize how in depth this game really is. Missions are put into various sections, which (Thankfully) the game automatically saves your game everytime you go into a new one. Much of it consists of driving, shooting and defending a character. While each mission has it's direct way of being finished, often times you can finish things quite a different way. For example, one mission has you sneaking into a port to steal some boxes. Now, normally you could barge in and kill everyone then load the boxes into a truck, or you can do tasks for the foreman, who is gaurding said boxes, and he will go away while you take the goods. Or you could just whack him from behind with a baseball bat. It's this kind of diversity with the style of scenarios that keeps this game interesting from the get-go.

This is movie material in interactive form, and in a good way. It takes place in the 1930's where former gangster Tommy Angelo is spilling the beans on his former boss, Don Salieri to the police. You play all the important events in his years as a hitman for Salieri, which are no simple small feat. Most of these take place in areas halfway across the map from different locations. No easy feat, I tell you what. Anyway, as Tommy gains respect as a notorious ganster, interesting things happen. Politics get involved, gang wars erupt and you get to shoot down a plane. If that ain't cool, I don't know what is.

The overall look of the game is quite nice, although you're gonna want to get a good video card to see the visuals at their best. The models of cars and people do look better than Vice City, and their are nice little touches here and there, like cars getting lots and lots of bullet holes and losing thier wheels. One of the few gripes I have with it are the cars: All of the cars are shiny. Very, very shiny. So shiny, that they reflect the city around them. This is somewhat unnecessary, and kinda distracting. Who knew people kept their trucks so clean and waxed? That and the occasional graphic glitch, like wheels popping out of their wheel covers, and floating people.
The sound is quite good, with era-appropriate music in the streets and great voice acting for the leading roles. Tommy's voice is quite convincing as the good ganster, and much of the rest fit their roles nicely. Unfortunatly, the pedestrians and general thugs sound less menacing then they look. Often times you'll be chased by hoodlums, and you'll hear one guy say something that the other guy said, but in a more annoying voice. They must've gotten really cheap with the budget on extras casting.

Controls are simply simple, although they may seem complicated at first. They operate like most First Person Shooters, except you have different keys for driving and such. You may have a little difficulty driving until you find the Auto Transmission key so you don't have to switch gears manualy.

The game has quite a lot of challenges, although they don't really take the fun out of the game, they do get frustrating (The Racing mission comes to mind). Regardless, if you toil long enough, you will find a solution to every problem.

The Good: It's like playing a gangster movie!
Nice Shiny (TM) cars!
Great voice cast!
It came with a fancy schmancy map!
The Bad: The Racing Mission...
Extra's voicing sucks...
It can get hard...
This world is going to hell in a wicker waste basket.

All in all, an extremly good game. Give it a try and see how much fun it brings to your free time! I give it a 9 out of 10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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