Mafia (video game)

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Developer(s) Illusion Softworks
Publisher(s) Gathering of Developers
Distributor(s) Take-Two Interactive
Director(s) Daniel Vávra
Producer(s) George Lucas
Programmer(s) Dan Doležel
Artist(s) Pavel Čížek
Writer(s) Daniel Vávra
Composer(s) Vladimir Šimůnek
Series Mafia
Engine LS3D
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 2
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

Mafia is a third-person shooter video game developed by Illusion Softworks (now 2K Czech) and published by Gathering of Developers. The game was released for Microsoft Windows in August 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 Tommy Angelo, 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 for its realism, while the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of the game received mixed reviews. A sequel, Mafia II by 2K Czech, was released in August 2010, and a third game titled Mafia III by Hangar 13 is scheduled for a 2016 release.



Map of Lost Heaven.[1]

Mafia is set during the 1930s in the fictional American city of Lost Heaven, with a countryside the total area encompasses 12 square kilometers in the game. The city incorporates parts of San Francisco and Chicago of the same time period.[2]


Tommy Angelo meets detective Norman at a restaurant and offers to tell him everything he knows about his boss, Don Salieri, and his criminal activities, in exchange for a shortened sentence and protection for him and his family. He recounts his time back in 1930 as a taxi driver and a chance encounter with two of Salieri's henchmen, Paulie and Sam, who he rescues from hitmen working for Salieri's arch-enemy, Don Morello. The next day, he is attacked by the same two hitmen, but manages to run to Salieri's bar, where the two attackers are killed. Indebted, Tommy agrees to work for Salieri and the organization and starts a relationship with bartender Luigi's daughter, Sarah, whom he protects from a group of men that try to attack her. In revenge, Tommy and Paulie attack two of the men, killing one, who is later revealed to be the son of a city councilor, who is a friend of the mayor and Morello. Salieri's consigliere, Frank, orders Tommy to blow up a brothel whose owner has begun working for Morello and assassinate a target who has been providing information on Salieri. When Tommy confronts the informant and realizes it is Sarah's friend, Michelle, he is unable to kill her and instead orders her to leave the city and never return. Tommy later marries Sarah, and she gives birth to his daughter.

In 1933, during an assignment to buy a large amount of Canadian whiskey at a farm, Tommy and Paulie are ambushed by a group of corrupt police, resulting in the loss of the shipment and the near death of Sam. The same day, Frank hands over the account books to the police, providing enough incriminating evidence to put Salieri in prison; Salieri orders Tommy to find out where the books are and eliminate Frank. After Frank reveals that he betrayed Salieri because the police took his wife and daughter hostage, and tells him the location of the books, Tommy allows Frank and his family to flee to Europe, while Tommy fools Salieri into believing Frank is dead. In 1935, Tommy saves his boss from being assassinated at a restaurant, that was set up by Salieri's bodyguard-turned-traitor, Carlo, who is later killed. Declaring war with Morello, Salieri has Tommy and Paulie assassinate the city councilor and Morello's brother, Sergio, which stops much of Morello's income. These actions shatter the Morello crime family, allowing Tommy, Paulie, and Sam to finally kill Morello under Salieri's orders.

During a mission to steal a batch of Cuban cigars for Salieri, Paulie suggests a plot to rob a low-security bank, but both Tommy and Sam refuse, out of fear and loyalty to the family. After they finish the job, Tommy and Paulie discover that the boxes contain a considerable amount of hidden diamonds, some of which Paulie is tempted to steal, but Tommy convinces him otherwise. 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, which they successfully pull off. The following day, Tommy arrives at Paulie's apartment to find him murdered and the money gone. Sam rings the apartment, and tells Tommy that Salieri knows of the bank job and that they should meet at the city art gallery. It is revealed to be an ambush set up by Sam, who informs him that Salieri ordered their deaths because of the unauthorised bank job, and because he spared Michelle and Frank's lives, both of whom were eventually found and murdered by the mob. After a lengthy gun battle, Tommy is finally able to kill Sam, who delivers one final warning about Salieri's power.

Tommy then tells Norman that he and his family fled to Europe before he decided to return in order to testify against Salieri and ensure the safety of Sarah and his daughter. Norman agrees to put Tommy and his family under the protection of the police, leading to the arrest of Salieri, who is sentenced to life in prison, and 80 other gangsters, some of whom were executed. After the trial, Tommy is relocated to the other side of the country where he starts a whole new life and changes his name. In 1951, an aged Tommy waters the grass outside his house, just as two men, revealed to be the second Mafia game's central characters Vito Scaletta and Joe Barbaro, pull up in a car behind him. They address Tommy by his real name (which was changed beforehand by the FBI) and tell him that 'Mr. Salieri sends his regards', before shooting him with a double-barreled shotgun. As the two men flee in their car, a mortally wounded Tommy lies on the grass, lamenting what has happened to him, Paulie, and Sam simply because they wanted better lives but in the end got nothing at all.


The player controls the character of Thomas Angelo from a third-person perspective. He can freely move around, using cars or public transport.

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 city and 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 in use, though unlike in Grand Theft Auto missions take place at a set time and the weather is fixed during the duration of the level.

51 classic American cars around the city can be driven in Mafia, plus 19 bonus cars (5 of which 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. All of the vehicles are based on real-world cars from the era, albeit renamed and redesigned due to copyright issues.

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 noted for having comprehensive damage physics on nearly all vehicles, even going so far as to making use of real-time deformation,[3] 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 driving an explosive-rigged truck at a certain speed.

Law and order[edit]

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.


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 fulfill 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.[4][5][6]

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.

Story and theme development[edit]

"[As] I dug deeper, I began to see these men as people who are unwilling to obey the rules and would rather set their own. I wanted to tell the full story of a gangster- how somebody joins the Mafia as a young man, rises almost to the top and then falls down to the bottom."

—Vavra on writing the crime game.[7]

The original cinematic inspirations of Mafia were films like Goodfellas and The Godfather, aiming for a more serious and mature tone for the game. Wanting to create a rich drama, director Daniel Vavra tried to mix drama, action and humour for hightening the game's realism.[8]


Review scores
Publication Score
PC PS2 Xbox
Edge 6/10[9] 5/10[10] N/A
EGM N/A 6.17/10[11] 6.17/10[11]
Eurogamer 4/10[12] 6/10[13] 5/10[14]
Game Informer 9.25/10[15] 7.75/10[16] 8/10[17]
GamePro N/A 3/5 stars[18] N/A
Game Revolution A−[19] C+[20] N/A
GameSpot 9.3/10[21] 7/10[22] 7.1/10[23]
GameSpy 4.5/5 stars[24] N/A 2/5 stars[25]
GameZone 9.3/10[26] 6.9/10[27] 7/10[28]
IGN 9.2/10[29] 6.8/10[30] 6.8/10[31]
OPM (US) N/A 3.5/5 stars[32] N/A
OXM N/A N/A 7.3/10[33]
PC Gamer (US) 91%[34] N/A N/A
Maxim N/A 4/10[35] 4/10[35]
The Times N/A 2/5 stars[36] N/A
Aggregate score
Metacritic 88/100[37] 65/100[38] 66/100[39]

Mafia was well received by critics and gamers upon release as 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,[29] while GameSpot described the PC version as "one of the best games of the year" and rated it at 9.3/10.[21] 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."[15]

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.[22][40][23][30][31] In the Czech Republic, the country where the game's developers come from, the game received universal acclaim from both critics and players. Mafia was even elected the best video game developed in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in a Survey by Czech server BonusWeb when it received 3866 votes out of 13,143 as every reader could choose for three games to vote for.[41][42] According to Take-Two Interactive, Mafia had sold 2 million copies by March 12, 2008.[43][44][45]


A sequel, Mafia II, was announced on August 22, 2007.[46] The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on August 24, 2010.[47] The third installment in the series, Mafia III was announced on July 28, 2015.[48]


  1. ^ "Mafia The City of Lost Heaven, časť druhá". Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Smith, Edward. 10 Years On: Interview With Mafia Director Daniel Vavra, 29 November 2012. Retrieved on 5 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven - PC / Windows". GamePressure. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Czech". Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  5. ^ 7. listopadu 2001  12:00. "Czech". Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Martin Šebela (hadl). "Czech". Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Smith, Edward. 10 Years On: Interview With Mafia Director Daniel Vavra, 29 November 2012. Retrieved on 5 October 2015.
  8. ^ Smith, Edward. 10 Years On: Interview With Mafia Director Daniel Vavra, 29 November 2012. Retrieved on 5 October 2015.
  9. ^ Edge staff (October 2002). "Mafia: City of Lost Heaven (PC)". Edge (115). 
  10. ^ Edge staff (March 2004). "Mafia (PS2)". Edge (134): 109. 
  11. ^ a b EGM staff (April 2004). "Mafia (PS2, Xbox)". Electronic Gaming Monthly (177): 116. Archived from the original on 1 April 2004. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  12. ^ John "Gestalt" Bye (6 September 2002). "Mafia (PC)". Eurogamer. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Kristan Reed (4 February 2004). "Mafia (PS2)". Eurogamer. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  14. ^ Kristan Reed (6 May 2004). "Mafia (Xbox)". Eurogamer. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Kristian Brogger (November 2002). "Mafia (PC)". Game Informer (115): 147. Archived from the original on 25 February 2005. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  16. ^ Matt Helgeson (March 2004). "Mafia (PS2)". Game Informer (131): 104. Archived from the original on 1 April 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  17. ^ Andrew Reiner (June 2004). "Mafia (Xbox) ["Second Opinion" wrongly addresses "Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dawn of Destiny"]". Game Informer (134): 132. Archived from the original on 8 February 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  18. ^ Pong Sifu (24 March 2004). "Mafia Review for PS2 on". GamePro. Archived from the original on 12 February 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  19. ^ Shawn Sanders (September 2002). "Mafia Review (PC)". Game Revolution. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  20. ^ Ben Silverman (4 June 2004). "Mafia - PS2". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Erik Wolpaw (4 September 2002). "Mafia Review (PC)". GameSpot. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  22. ^ a b Greg Kasavin (27 January 2004). "Mafia Review (PS2)". GameSpot. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  23. ^ a b Greg Kasavin (15 March 2004). "Mafia Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  24. ^ Kevin Rice (18 September 2002). "GameSpy: Mafia (PC)". GameSpy. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  25. ^ Matthew Gallant (31 March 2004). "GameSpy: Mafia (Xbox)". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 27 December 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  26. ^ Michael Knutson (4 September 2002). "Mafia - PC - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on 5 January 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  27. ^ Steven Hopper (16 February 2004). "Mafia - P2 - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on 30 December 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  28. ^ John Wrentmore (31 March 2004). "Mafia - XB - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  29. ^ a b Dan Adams (29 August 2002). "Mafia Review (PC)". IGN. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  30. ^ a b Douglass C. Perry (26 January 2004). "Mafia (PS2)". IGN. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  31. ^ a b Douglass C. Perry (30 March 2004). "Mafia (Xbox)". IGN. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  32. ^ Thierry Nguyen (April 2004). "Mafia". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine: 98. Archived from the original on 28 June 2004. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  33. ^ "Mafia". Official Xbox Magazine: 74. June 2004. 
  34. ^ Bert Salkmoor (December 2002). "Mafia". PC Gamer: 90. Archived from the original on 15 March 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  35. ^ a b Alex Porter (28 January 2004). "Mafia (PS2, Xbox)". Maxim. Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  36. ^ "Mafia (PS2)". The Times. 6 March 2004. Retrieved 12 September 2015. (subscription required)
  37. ^ "Mafia for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  38. ^ "Mafia for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  39. ^ "Mafia for Xbox Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  40. ^ Matt Keller (25 February 2004). "Mafia Review - PlayStation 2 Video Game Review". PALGN. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  41. ^ "Czech". Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  42. ^ "Czech". Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  43. ^ Matt Martin (12 March 2008). "Grand Theft Auto series has sold 66 million units to date". Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  44. ^ "Industry-Leading IP Portfolio: 15 Million Unit Plus Owned Franchises" (PDF). Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. 26 March 2008. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  45. ^ "Nejlepší česko-slovenská hra? Že neuhádnete, kdo na plné čáře vyhrál". Bonusweb. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  46. ^ Nick Chester (22 August 2007). "Mafia 2 announced: The most compelling Mafia game since that last Mafia game". Destructoid. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  47. ^ Greg Miller (23 August 2010). "Mafia II Review (PS3, Page 2)". IGN. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  48. ^ Mike Futter (28 July 2015). "First Mafia III Trailer Coming August 5". Game Informer. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 

External links[edit]