Welcome to Mafia World

Sorry, your browser doesn't support Java.

Our Mafia Review

Reviewed by Mack
Reviewed on Athlon 1ghz
512 ram
Sonic Fury Sound Card
19" Screen
Win 98 2nd Edition

In April 2001 Fugue and I were invited to Take2 studio's in London to see a very early version of Hidden and Dangerous2 a WWII game they were developing, after we had seen this game Andrew Morley (the UK Producer) asked us if we wanted to have a look at Mafia. We were amazed at how good this game looked, we were so impressed we made this web site MafiaWorld and did a mini preview of the game. So you can imagine how eager I was to see how Mafia had progressed in the one and a half years since I last saw it play. My wait was over 2 days ago when the postman delivered my review copy (thanks Take2) and I have been playing it solid since it arrived, finally finishing it about 10 minutes ago, here is what I thought of it.

Before I get into the game I should tell you is that Mafia comes on 3 CD's and has a very detailed and extremely helpful map of the City and surrounding areas. The full install is 1.86gig and it will run on anything over a 500mhz Pentium/Athlon with 96mb of Ram and a 16mb Video card, it will not run on Windows 95 though.

Before I played the game I had it in my mind that this review would be a comparison between Mafia and GTAIII, however after playing them both I now have scrapped that idea as in my opinion Mafia is totally unique to anything I have ever played before. GTAIII is a game, Mafia is an experience.

So what's it all about? You play the part of Tommy, a simple taxi driver who just happens to stumble on 2 gangsters who are being chased by a rival mob. Anyway after forcing Tommy to drive them to saifty they were so impressed they offer him a job, so Tommy joins up with Don Salieri the boss of one of Americas toughest crime syndicates.

Once you run the game an intro starts up, whatever you do watch this intro, it's simply the best game intro ever created, it's jaw dropping when you see the city for the first time.

The game plays over 20 missions but every mission has more than one part to it, some have as many as six, so all in all there are over 100 sub missions. For example in one mission you have to escort a young lady to her home on an evening, the mission starts in the café where you are told what you have to do, you meet the lady and then make your way outside, that's the first part over. The next part has you walking her home through the streets while making idle chit chat, suddenly you are confronted by a few hoodlums in an alley way, an exchange of words ensues between you and their leader and then they make a move on you, part 2 over. The final part is a mass street brawl between you and the hoodlums involving knuckle-dusters, knives and baseball bats and so it goes on like this all through the game. You can't ever save your game, instead it auto saves at the completion of every sub-mission and despite my initial doubts at this I can say it works very well. The game also has a free ride mode which allows you to explore the entire city.

As I mentioned earlier this is a unique game, it's more like a film than a game, you literally have to do everything yourself. For example, you may be told off the Don to make a hit on a certain individual who is causing the family a few problems, once you have been briefed the mission begins. Now most games would have you on your way to the hit after the cut scene, Mafia however is not like this at all. After the brief you have to walk out the Dons office, pick up a weapon off Vincenzo (the local Mafia gunsmith) and then choose a car from the garage. Once you have done all that you have to drive to the hit, this could mean a long treck out into the country, more on the driving later. In one mission where we were going to do a bank job, I had to travel by train with Paulie (another Gangster) halfway across the city, walk into the bank, take a look round then get tooled up, grab a car, meet back with Paulie and then make the hit. It all takes a long time and for some people this may be a chore, for me though it is all done with such finesse that I enjoyed ever second of it.

The attention to detail is staggering, the first time you drive through the City you will probably crash as you will be too busy admiring the gorgeous textures and scenery. The City is alive with traffic and pedestrians all superbly animated and unless you deliberately tail someone for a few minutes it looks as if they are going about their daily business. They get in and out of cars, trams and trains, they will even speak to you most of the time, even if they always say the same things.

Mafia got me immersed into a game like none before, I actually felt part of a mob, this is why I said GTAIII is a game and Mafia is an experience. I felt great pleasure at times when I was beating some punk over the head with a baseball bat, how dare he call my girl names. I was once talking to a snitch asking for some info, he was not being very co-operative, he then insulted me so I gave him a beating, he pleaded with me to stop and offered to tell me what I wanted, it's this kind of interactivity that makes Mafia great. Mafia is very violent and also has quite a bit of swearing, one mission in particular has you fighting some guys while the Don is constantly yelling out the window "kill the bastards", "go on Tommy, kill every one of those bastards" so you may want to turn them speakers down a touch.


Without doubt Mafia has the best graphics ever seen in a game to date, breathtaking is an understatement when you drive around the city. The bridges and buildings are modelled on actual buildings of the time, all this adding to the atmosphere. The characters faces are almost real and the animation is first class. The only graphical gripe is that the buildings don't look too good when you get really close to their walls.


I always said sound makes a good game and Mafia is no exception, the sound track is excellent, really setting the style of 1930's America. The music changes at set points of the city to match your surroundings and it works very well. The speech and the sound effects are also brilliant, especially the engine noise on the sports car, what a beast. A few people have said the acting is a bit poor, but to be honest I think for a game it's the best I have seen, not that it has much competition.


Mafia is a very tough game, 40 hours for the average game player to complete, which is very good considering some games are all over in 8. It took me about 24 hours but had I not been helped by some of the very helpful posts on our Mission help forum I would still be looking for that damn colt on the steam boat. The fact that you can't save the game makes Mafia tough, but I think it's better this way, maybe allowing 1 save would not have been so bad, but to have instant saves would have ruined it, despite it's frustration.


There is a lot of driving to do in Mafia, almost every mission will have you driving the car so you better get road wise quick. If you break the 40mph speed limit you run the risk of getting stopped by the New Heaven police and getting a speeding ticket, likewise if you run a red light. I never used a special controller for the driving, just my normal move keys and after some practice I found it very easy to navigate the city. Pressing F5 limits the car to 40mph so it's impossible to speed, I found this very useful, but on the quiet roads I would just let rip and do some staggering speeds of like 75mph. Yes the cars of the 30's were not exactly hot rods, they do 0-60 in like 10 mins and have a top speed of 80, unless you get one of the more sporty ones. Again though the speed issue just adds to the realism, it just makes the game more atmospheric.


The main part of any Mafioso is the violence and as I mentioned earlier Mafia has plenty of it and it's very extreme. When you are not holding a weapon in your hand, you default to punching, the longer you hold down the fire button the harder your punch (displayed by a power bar). If you have a gun in your hand the fire button unleashes a world of hurt onto whoever is in your sights, at least that's what it's meant to do. This is another of my gripes, the aiming system, firstly the crosshair is way too big and secondly Mr Magoo could shoot better, I would constantly find myself crouched behind a barricade with my sights on the enemy's head only to find my bullets hitting the barricade. Eventually I worked out where to aim for a direct hit and that very short bursts was the key to winning most gunfights. My worst gripe out of the entire game is the hit damage, it is what has stopped this game from being perfect, there is damage modelling but it's still crazy. I must have filled one guy with 2 clips before he went down, others fell with one shot and the worst of all was a guy who took 20 rounds from a Tommy gun. In a game where realism is oozing from every pour, why did they make the damage so totally like an arcade game, if they were worried about difficulty they could add more enemies. If a patch is released then I hope this is one of the issues they address.


Well in the whole time I was playing Mafia I had 3 crashes, one was solved by turning off EAX. I suppose it depends on your hardware/software config but I have no complaints, however after reading our tech support forum there is obviously an issue somewhere that needs correcting.


Mafia is not for everyone, I think it's for a more mature audience and I don't necessarily mean for the adult content, I mean for the gameplay. The quick fix people that like the idea of wizzing around streets stealing cars are not going to like this, they will get frustrated very quickly. It's more of a game you play when you have 2 or 3 hours to spare, you shut the door and get out a six pack. It will take you on the ride of your life, you will be laughing your arse off at times. I got pulled for speeding, stepped out the car, the officer was telling me off while writing my ticket, when I noticed my car slowly roll away backwards, I forgot to pull on the handbrake. It looked comical, I could not move until the officer had finished writing the ticket, once he had I sprinted after the car, which by now was causing havoc down the main street, then when I finally caught it, I was knocked down by a truck swerving to avoid hitting the car. Other times it will have you fuming with anger, dare I mention the race track mission, all those who have played the game will know what I mean. Finally it will have you killing in cold blood without so much as a passing thought for your victim, in GTAIII I always felt it was just a game when hitting another guy, in Mafia it almost feels real. They plead with you, this woman in a café was saying "please don't shoot I have a family" I let her live but killed the sailor she was flirting with, the tart.

My biggest gripe would definitely be the lack of Multiplayer, but at the time of writing the word on the street is that Mulitplayer will be released in the form of a free patch or addon.

Score 9.5