Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven
|Publisher(s)||Gathering of Developers|
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
Mafia is a third-person shooter video game and the first installment in the Mafia game series. It was developed by Czech company Illusion Softworks (now 2K Czech) and published by Gathering of Developers. Mafia was released for Microsoft Windows in 2002, and later ported to the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox consoles in 2004, in North America and Europe. The game allows the player to take on the role of a mafioso who has to accomplish various missions in order to advance in the game.
Mafia received positive reviews for the Windows version, with critics praising the game as a more realistic and serious Grand Theft Auto-styled game, while the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of the game received mixed reviews. A sequel, Mafia II, developed by 2K Czech and published by 2K Games was released in 2010.
Mafia 's storyline gameplay consists of driving, mainly easy city cruise between different locations, as well as chases and races; the rest of the game is based on third-person on-foot navigation and shooting - all inter-connected with cutscenes. In addition to the photo-realistic city and a huge countryside, detailed interiors like the city's airport, a museum, a church, a hotel, an abandoned prison, restaurants and Don Salieri's bar are included. Weather changes and day/night cycles are also in use.
51 classic American cars around the city can be driven in Mafia, plus 19 bonus cars (of which 5 are racing models) unlockable after the main mode and the opening of a new game mode. Cars are introduced periodically - in the beginning of the game, early 1920s models drive on the streets of the city, while models from 1930 begin appearing in later game stages.
Police book players for minor offenses such as speeding or running a red light, and car accidents cause physical harm to the driving player. While other forms of transport are available, such as trams and elevated rails, they are only ridable and not drivable by the player.
Mafia is also noted for having comprehensive damage physics on nearly all vehicles, even going so far as to making use of real-time deformation, compared to vehicles in other games that used pre-made damage models. While substantially more robust than their real counterparts, smaller and weaker vehicles stand less abuse before breaking down and finally exploding, than large armoured vehicles. More realism is added here compared to other games in the same genre, such as the ability to puncture the fuel tank, overheat the engine, and the ability to break transmission gears. Many exterior components (such as windows, tires, headlights, and bumpers) can be removed from most vehicles with physical means such as crash-driving, hitting with blunt weapons (fists, baseball bat) as well as firing weapons at them.
Finishing the main storyline unlocks the "Freeride Extreme" mode, which is essentially the same as Freeride, but with the added benefit of stunt jumps, side quests, and the lack of police patrols. Side missions in this mode range from the trivial, such as carrying packages or killing gangsters, to the extreme and sometimes outlandish, like chasing an alien spaceship, or in one mission, driving an explosive-rigged truck at a certain speed, which is a reference to the 1994 action-thriller film Speed.
Law and order
The police department in Lost Heaven uphold the various laws that have been set. When these laws are broken in view of the police, they will respond by booking the player with offenses that can be "minor" or "serious". Minor offenses (such as speeding in a vehicle or running a red light) will end up with the player being fined (-$1,000 in Freeride mode, no monetary value in campaign mode), and serious offenses (such as physical assault, or visible display of a weapon) can lead to the player being arrested for the first offense, or a shootout with the police. A series of four successive minor offenses qualify as a "serious" offense. Police force increases with the severity of the player's disregard of the law to a point where police, now well armed, form blockades with tire spike strips in attempt to defeat the player while firing from behind their cars.
Certain acts which would catch police's attention in real life do not in the game, such as driving on the sidewalk or on the wrong side of the road. The police AI do not recognize computer AI violations. In freeride, the police will ignore violent actions against the player. Certain motorists in the game will resist with violence if the player attempts a carjacking. The AI of these motorists does not differentiate between the player and police officers in active pursuit, and motorists will attack police if they are nearer than the player. The police will not take defensive action against the motorist and will, if the player stays out of reach, eventually be killed by the motorist.
Mafia is set in the 1930s, between the fall of 1930 through to the end of 1938, during the later part of Prohibition, which ended in 1933. The game is set in the fictional American city of Lost Heaven (loosely based on San Francisco and Chicago of the same time period).
Although the plot is not directly taken from the movie, certain names such as Paulie, and certainly the faces of the characters, the style and pace of the story, and many scene elements appear to be heavily inspired by the 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas. Indeed, the front of the box playfully announces "Welcome to the game of the greatest 1930s gangster film Scorsese never made."
The player takes the role of taxi driver Thomas "Tommy" Angelo, who, while trying to make a living on the streets of Lost Heaven, unexpectedly and unwillingly becomes involved in organized crime as a driver for the Salieri crime family, led by Don Ennio Salieri.
Through the events of the game's story, Tommy begins to rise through the ranks of the Salieri 'family', which is currently battling the competing Morello family, led by the sharply-dressed Don Morello. Eventually becoming disillusioned by his life of crime and violence, Tommy arranges to meet a detective named Norman in order to tell him his story, to be given witness-protection, and to aid the detective in the destruction of the Salieri crime family. The 'Intermezzo' chapters of the game depict Tommy sitting in a cafe with the detective, relating his life story and giving out important pieces of information at the same time.
After a not-so-casual encounter with two of Don Salieri's henchmen, Sam and Paulie (who escaped from Morello's men and while trying to get away, had a car accident), Tommy is given the 'chance' to work for the Salieri organization. Tommy refuses politely, preferring to remain poor but legitimate. However, the very next day he is attacked by two hitmen sent by Salieri's arch-enemy (later revealed to once have been his companion) Morello, as revenge for him helping Paulie and Sam escape them. Tommy is saved by Salieri's men, who, when Tommy escapes into their bar and the Morello men follow him, murder the attackers. Indebted, Tommy becomes a Salieri getaway driver.
Through a series of assignments given to him by Don Salieri, Tommy quickly becomes deeply involved in the activities of the Salieri business, concerning extortion, bootlegging, assassination, arson jobs and a lot of unexpected gunfights, often with the opposing Don Morello, whose power Tommy describes as "built on violence". He is also made to carry out jobs to avoid Salieri having to face prosecution, culminating in an assassination mission involving the bombing of a hotel. Although he carries out the bombing, he discovers that the assassination target is his girlfriend's best friend Michelle, an informant to Morello. Unable to bring himself to kill her, he instead orders her to flee the city and never return. This begins the process of his eventual rejection of his new vocation.
Tommy eventually marries Sarah, the daughter of Salieri's bartender Luigi, who gives birth to a girl a year later. However, a fatal shootout at a farm where the Morello mob and police surprise them trying to buy Canadian whisky nearly kills Sam. On the same day, Frank Colletti, Don Salieri's Consigliere, hands over Salieri's account books to the police. Though being a friend of Frank for more than 20 years, Salieri orders his death. Tommy finds Frank at the Lost Heaven International Airport, attempting to flee to Europe. In one of the game's more emotional moments, Tommy lets Frank go and he flees to Europe with his family. Believing Salieri will never find out, Tommy later saves his boss from being assassinated while dining at a luxurious restaurant. Salieri has his bodyguard-turned-traitor, Carlo, killed along with Morello's ally, the councilor (who is shot while giving a speech at his birthday). Morello's brother, Sergio Morello, is also killed on Salieri's orders. These actions shatter the Morello crime family and Salieri finally orders the death of his rival. After having succeeded, the game pauses to present times, while Tommy shows Detective Norman a photo of a young Salieri standing next to another young man revealed to be Morello. He tells Norman that this photo proved to him that "This life is poisonous", and is one of the main reasons why Tommy wants to betray the local mob.
After the death of Morello, the Salieri family runs the town. Following the assassination of another politician not co-operating with the family, Tommy, along with Sam, is presented with a plan to rob a bank by Paulie. Both men refuse, Tom mentioning the danger involved if Salieri were to discover such a plot and Sam citing his loyalty to the family. The three then steal what is ostensibly a batch of Cuban cigars on Salieri's orders, but Tommy and Paulie discover that the cigar boxes contain a considerable amount of well-hidden diamonds. Convincing Paulie not to steal any of them, Tommy acts as though he is unaware of the diamonds and surreptitiously probes Salieri for information about the matter. Deciding that Salieri was well-aware of the diamonds and intended to cheat him out of his fair share, Tommy joins Paulie in his bank robbery plan, risking their lives if Salieri would find out. The robbery is successful, but the following day Tommy arrives at Paulie's apartment to find him murdered. Tommy panics, and is tricked by the ever-loyal Sam, to meet him at Lost Heaven's art gallery. In the midst of a gun-battle, it is revealed that Salieri, having discovered Tommy and Paulie's unauthorised bank-robbery, has ordered their deaths. Sam also tells Tommy that Salieri has mistrusted him for some time after discovering that he spared both Michelle and Frank's lives, both of whom were eventually found and murdered by the mob.
During a climactic battle on the top floor of the museum, Tommy gets the upper hand on Sam, but when he runs away, finds that he cannot bring himself to kill his former friend. Ultimately, as Sam is stumbling towards the exit, Tommy watches him from above and fires a bullet into his back. Shivering and astonished, Sam delivers his final words, a warning of Salieri's power, and is then shot to death by Tommy. Here, Tommy's story to the detective (and thus the game) ends, telling that he fled to Europe but decided to return and to testify against Salieri to ensure the safety of Sarah and his (unnamed) daughter. The detective agrees to put Tommy and his family under the protection of the police, and Tommy is free to testify against the Salieri family. Don Salieri is arrested and sentenced to prison for life, presumably dying during his detention. 80 gangsters are convicted, some sentenced to electrocution and the family is destroyed. After the trial, Tommy is relocated to the other side of the country where he starts a whole new life, buys a two-story house there, indicated to be Greenfield, Empire Bay in Mafia II, with his family, all under new names. Tommy works as a driver "for a respectable company".
The epilogue, set 1951, shows an old Thomas Angelo, grey-haired and moustached, standing outside his house watering the grass. Two men, revealed in Mafia II to be the protagonists, Vito Scaletta and Joe Barbaro, pull up to the side of the street in a red 'Tudor' car (resembling a 1957 Ford Thunderbird) and approach him. Addressing him by his real name (which was changed beforehand by the FBI), Barbaro pulls out a sawn-off shotgun. Scaletta tells Tommy that 'Mr. Salieri sends his regards', and both barrels are emptied into Tommy's body. As the two men get back into their car and hurry away, Tommy lies on the grass with blood pouring out of his wounds. Tommy then later lamented on what happened to him and his associates as the camera zooms away from his dead body.
- Thomas "Tommy" Angelo - The protagonist of the game. He worked as a taxi driver but a chance encounter leads him to join the Salieri crime family and become a gangster.
- Paulie - Tommy's partner and best friend. He works with Tommy on multiple missions.
- Sam - Paulie's partner who initially brings Tommy into the family. He is very loyal to Salieri.
- Don Salieri - The boss of the Salieri crime family.
- Frank Coletti - Salieri's Consigliere and his best friend. He takes care of the family's business.
- Norman - The police detective who interviews Tommy throughout the game's narrative.
- Vincenzo - Long-time armorer for the Salieri family, he provides Tommy with weapons and equipment.
- Don Morello - The boss of the Morello crime family. His family are rivals to Salieri family. He serves as the main antagonist for most of the game.
- Ralph - Mentally challenged stuttering mechanic for the Salieri family.
- Sam is voiced by Matt Servitto, who played Agent Dwight Harris on The Sopranos.
- Frank is voiced by Dan Grimaldi, who played Patsy Parisi and his twin brother "Philly Spoons" Parisi on The Sopranos.
- Paulie is voiced by William DeMeo, who played Jason Molinaro on The Sopranos.
- Sarah is voiced by Cara Buono, who played Kelli Moltisanti on The Sopranos.
- Yellow Pete is voiced by Ray DeMattis, who played Gerry Gaultieri on The Sopranos.
- Don Morello is voiced by John Doman, who played a patron of the Bada Bing club (billed as "District Attorney") in the episode "Full Leather Jacket" of The Sopranos.
The game was in development since the end of 1998. It was codenamed Gangster and originally intended to be a driving game similar to Driver. The original plans included a multi-player and racing mode which was not present in finished version of the game. The release date was scheduled for 2000. The engine that was used was the same as Illusion Softworks used in Hidden and Dangerous but the engine did not fullfill developer's requirements. It led to replacement of an engine and in the end Mafia is run by LS3D Engine. Due to the change of the engine, the game was released two years later than planned.
The soundtrack to the game features Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club de France, The Mills Brothers, Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima, Lonnie Johnson, Latcho Drom and one track by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five. The main theme to Mafia, along with the original score, was composed by Vladimir Šimůnek, and performed by the Czech Symphony Orchestra conducted by Adam Klemens. The ending credits music is a cover of the song "Lake of Fire", performed by the Lordz of Brooklyn. The last verse of the song borrows the musical arrangement of the theme song for The Godfather movies.
Mafia was ported to PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2004. Illusion was not involved in porting the game. Some of the features of the PC version do not exist in the console port, such as police patrols around the city in Free Ride, and some aspects of the game's realism and graphics.
Mafia was well received by critics and gamers upon release as a more realistic and serious than a usual Grand Theft Auto-styled game. Mafia contains a much bigger city to explore than most video games of the time, with multiple forms of available transport in addition to an expansive countryside. Dan Adams of IGN gave the game a rating of 9.2/10, while GameSpot described the PC version as "one of the best games of the year" and rated it at 9.3/10. Game Informer compared it favorably to Grand Theft Auto III, and wrote that "from the living city in which you reside, to the incredibly realistic vehicles, this title has the heart and soul of a blockbuster."
While the original PC game received widespread acclaim, the versions for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox were considered inferior by many critics, and received lower scores as a result. In the Czech Republic, the country where the game's developers come from, the game received universal acclaim from both critics and players. According to Take-Two Interactive, Mafia had sold 2 million copies by March 12, 2008.
Mafia was elected the best video game developed in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in a Survey by Czech server BonusWeb. It received 3866 votes out of 13,143.
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven|
- Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven at MobyGames
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