Saturday, July 9, 2011

THEPLAYGAMER3: MAFIA







Mafia (also known by its full title, Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven) is a third-person shooter video game initially made for Microsoft Windows in 2002 (and later ported to the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox in 2004). It was developed by Czech company Illusion Softworks and published by Gathering of Developers. 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. It received strong critical reaction and continued to maintain a loyal cult following. As of March 12, 2008, Mafia has sold 2 million copies according to Take-Two Interactive.

On August 21, 2007, Take-Two Interactive announced Mafia II at the 2007 Leipzig Games Convention, developed by Illusion Softworks, now renamed 2K Czech.

As of September 7, 2010, the game is available via Steam.


Gameplay

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. 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.

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 until the player or they are dead. 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 now well armed police form blockades with tire spike strips in attempt to defeat the player while firing from behind their cars.

Certain criminal acts most people would expect to warrant a response from the police do not, such as driving on the sidewalk or on the wrong side of the road. In the early stages of game development, ignoring "yield" and "do not enter" signs were to be considered as offenses, but this was later changed. The police AI do not recognize computer AI violations. In freeride, the police will ignore violent actions against the player.


Plot

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 New York City and Chicago of the same time period).

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 (Detective 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 Ennio 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 mafia.

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 Tommy for some time after discovering that he hadn't killed neither Michelle nor Frank, both of whom were eventually found and murdered by the mafia.

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 Vito Scaletta and Joe Barbaro, pull up to the side of the street in Bolt-Thrower (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 women can be heard screaming and the two men get back into their car and hurry away, Tommy lies on the grass, blood still running out, the hose lying next to him. Tommy's last narration as the camera rises from his dead body ends with:

"You know, the world isn't run by the laws written on paper. It's run by people. Some according to laws, others not. It depends on each individual how his world will be, how he makes it. And you also need a whole lot of luck, so that somebody else doesn't make your life hell. And it ain't as simple as they tell you in grade school. But it is good to have strong values and to maintain them. In marriage, in crime, in war, always and everywhere. I messed up. So did Paulie and Sam. We wanted a better life, but in the end we were a lot worse off than most other people. You know, I think it's important to keep a balance in things. Yeah, balance, that's the right word. Cause the guy who wants too much, risks losing absolutely everything. Of course, the guy who wants too little from life, might not get anything at all."

Characters

Actor overlap between Mafia and The Sopranos

A number the characters in Mafia are voiced by actors who also played characters in the HBO television series The Sopranos, a drama also about the mafia.

Sam is voiced by Matt Servitto, who plays Agent Dwight Harris on The Sopranos.
Frank is voiced by Dan Grimaldi, who plays Patsy Parisi on The Sopranos.
Paulie is voiced by William DeMeo, who plays Jason Molinaro on The Sopranos.
Sarah is voiced by Cara Buono, who plays Kelli Moltisanti on The Sopranos.
Yellow Pete is voiced by Ray DeMattis, who plays Gerry Gaultieri on The Sopranos.
Don Morello is voiced by John Doman, who plays a patron of the Bada Bing club (billed as "District Attorney") in the episode "Full Leather Jacket" of The Sopranos.

Console versions

Mafia was ported to PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2004. It was reported that because of the grand scale of the original PC game, sacrifices were made,[citation needed] and Illusion was not involved in porting the game. Many of the features of the PC version do not exist in the console port, such as police patrols around the city, and some aspects of the game's realism and graphics.

Soundtrack

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.

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