November 16, 2002
With so many new games being released nowadays, it can be pretty difficult to know which ones to buy, check out this review of Mafia for the PC.
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With so many new games being released nowadays, it can be pretty difficult to know which ones
to buy(assuming of course you are going to buy a legal copy). This week were gonna take a look
at one of the newer games out: <i>Mafia</i>.

Mafia takes place in the 1930's when being in the mob was the thing to do. You play the role of
Tommy Angelo, taxi cab driver turned Mafia member due to some unfortunate circumstances. Tommy joins the
Salieri mob and quickly becomes Mob boss Don Salieri's right-hand man as they fight against a rival mob: The Morello Family.
The game takes place around the NY surroundings, and according to the game developers the map is around 12 square miles.
The game includes over 20 levels, 12 guns, 50 major characters and 60 different cars you can drive which when put all together
IS the 1930's. The game is told in a flashback, which makes it a little more interesting because you get to play as Tommy Angelo
and then hear him talk about his life in the mob. Mafia allows you do everything from robberies, assassinations, car theft,
car chases, and a ton of other little problems you get yourself into along the way.

<b>A GTA3 clone??</b>
At first glance it may seem like this game is just like GTA 3, and in some aspects it is. You can steal cars,
race around different citys and kill anyone you like. However besides those two parts of the game, the two are
very different. The main difference is that Mafia is MUCH more realistic in almost every aspect of the game. GTA 3
was intended to be a more light-hearted game whose storyline wasn't as meaningful as Mafia's. Mafia has a much more serious
storyline and actually puts the player in the 1930's allowing them to see just what went on. Does this mean that Mafia is a boring game
because of it's more serious storyline? Absolutely not, this game has more than enough to keep the player keep coming back for more.
<img src=""><br><b>AH, reminds me of good ol' GTA 3 days.</b>

<b>Graphics/Game Detail</b>
I'm gonna start this off with a big WOW. The detail in this game is absolutely amazing. The game's maker Illusion Softworks really went
all out on this. The faces in this game are so detailed, and along with that comes excellent facial expressions and lip synch with the voice-overs.
The character's eyes can follow movement and blink and their body movements are very smooth for the most part thanks to the motion capture technology
the developers used. Another area where the graphics stand out are on the cars. It would be expected that the graphics on the cars be very good considering
you spend the majority of your time driving from mission to mission in the many different cars. The 1930's cars used in this game are all different
in some aspect,which adds to the realism factor alot more. From the leather interior of the cars to the exterior finish the car's appearances really stand out.
The only aspect of graphics that didn't seem that great were some of the characters clothes had textures that seemed like they were blurry or pixelated<br/>
but this is easily overlooked when looking at all the other graphics in the game.
The environment has on-par graphics with other games but nothing that
really struck me as amazing. The whole game environment is in the city with the exception
of the outskirts of town which has a more country feeling to it.
Luckily all of the buildings in the city appear differently so you don't have to look at the
same 3 or 4 buildings cloned throughout town.
<br/>The sound in this game is pretty good. The background music is kind of catchy and definitely adds to the gameplay. Most of the music is a variety of swing which
kind of puts you in the mood to play each mission. The sound effects are very very good. Rain hitting different objects makes different sounds, for instance rain hitting
a metal roof on a shed will make a clank sound, while when it hits a wooden surface it is more dampened out. Another example is if your car tire gets shot out(more on this later)
you can hear that specific rim hitting the ground. The sound definitely makes the game seem more real.
<br/>The last part of the game that must be looked at for graphics is the cinematic scenes. Again, Illusion Software put alot of work into these. They
all run very smoothly and are well balanced as far as length is concerned. Some games have cinematic scenes which seem like they are playing for an eternity,
however in Mafia the scenes are well placed giving you any background information you need to make the story flow and last just long enough.
The body and mouth movements of characters, excellent graphical detail, and good 1930's background music all fit together to make a great cinematic scene.
<br/>In case you haven't figured it out, the graphics and sound in this game are amazing. The game reccomends a minimum of 32MB of ram on your video card, however to take full advantage of all
the graphics I would reccomend at least a 64MB card. I played the game using a 128 MB GeForce 4 Ti4200 and thought the game looked excellent, but 128MB probably isn't needed for this game.
<img src=""><br><b>An excellent example of the stunning detail in Mafia.</b>
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<b>Gameplay/Lasting Appeal</b>
Gameplay in Mafia is generally pretty good. I customized the controls to something that I found easier for me personally, but you might like the controls just the way they are.
The cameras in the game are good following behind the car when you are driving(the cameras also follow you from the front when you are driving in reverse which makes it easy to back up)
One of the most helpful tools included in the game are your compass and map. In the upper left corner of your screen is a compass whose needle points in the direction you have to drive
for different missions. If this isn't enough of a help, by pressing the TAB key you can display a map on your screen of your current position and your destination which allows you to drive while
viewing the map(it is semi-translucent), which helps out alot if you get lost because you can get back on the right road. Driving can get a little tedious because of the fact that you have to drive
pretty much everywhere in the game, but it's not the worst thing in the world because there are over 60 cars to chose from and theres always an oppurtunity to steal a new car if you get bored on the way
to one of your missions. Missions have varying difficulty with some missions taking numerous tries to complete, and some being able to be accomplished on the first try, there is a good balance.
<br/>The game offers 3 different modes of gameplay. The main mode is the normal game with missions in which you follow the life of Tommy Angelo and complete the various missions assigned to you by the
Don. For those of you that either get tired of the mission-type play quickly or have already beat the missions and are looking for something else there is the "Free-Ride" option which is more of a GTA 3-esque
play. It allows you to choose your car(some cars must be stolen in the mission-mode first to be able to use them in Free-Ride), and drive around the various cities. During Free-Ride you can
pick up people in taxi's,
eliminate mobsters to make money, and steal different cars. This mode is good because your not bogged down by having to do missions or watch cinematic scenes, instead its a more 'fun' type of play, hence "Free Ride".
The last mode of play is "Free Ride Extreme" which is only accessible after beating the single player game. This removes all of the police from the town and allows you to steal even more new cars. This mode will let
you wreck havoc on the city and go on a killing spree. Between the three modes of play, it would be hard to get bored of the game, theres lots of detail in the 12 square mile map to check out so it should keep you pretty
entertained for awhile. I would have personally liked to see a multiplayer option, however sadly it isn't included with the game.
<img src=""><br/><b>A nice ride in the country.</b>
I thought I should give a section of this review just to realism. The main reason i would reccomend this game is the detail and realism included. When looking over the games website they note that the cars
have a very realistic physics engine with each car having 100 paramaters affecting how it moves. Each car also has a gas gauge which when playing free-ride can run low on gas forcing you to drive
to a gas-station for a refill. Each individual tire of a car can be shot out, and it is seen as the car will adjust its height/position when a tire is shot out(i.e. you shoot out the front left tire, the car will lean towards the left).
Smoking a cigarrette produces amazingly real smoke and likewise when
shooting a gun, smoke appears from the barrel. When experimenting with the
game I found alot of things in the game were able to be destroyed as well. Fire hydrants can be
destroyed to produce a spout of water, and cars seem to have increasing damage the more you hit it, with more and more scratches appearing each time. The guns each have different accuracy, with the tommy gun being fairly unaccurate(by far the most
entertaining weapon), to the different pistols and rifles which have varying accuracy. You really have to play this game to get an idea of how real it is, it can't all be put into words.<br/>
<img src=""><br/><b>Hmm... wonder how that happened</b>

I would recomend this game to anyone that likes first person shooter/adventure games. It is a fun-filled game, and has a definite lasting appeal.
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<img src=""><br><b>Meet Tommy Angelo...</b><br/><br/>
<img src=""><br><b>A meeting with the Don and various mob members.</b><br/><br/>
<img src=""><br><b>A rainy night on the farm</b><br/><br/>
<img src=""><br><b>A very nice shot of the farm during the day, look at the detail.</b>


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