Top 125 X-Box Games Results Thread Mar 10, 2008 14:25:20 GMT -5
Post by Seth Drakin: The North Reigns on Mar 10, 2008 14:25:20 GMT -5
113. Mafia: The City Of Lost Heaven
Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven is a computer and video game initially made for PC and released in 2002. It was later ported to the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Microsoft Xbox in 2004. It was developed by a Czech based company Illusion Softworks and published by Gathering of Developers. The game allows the player to take on the role of a criminal who has to accomplish various mission in order to advance in game. Despite strong critical reaction, sales proved to be lackluster although it maintains a strong and loyal cult following.
On August 21, 2007, Take-Two Interactive announced Mafia II at the 2007 Leipzig Games Convention, under development by Illusion Softworks. It ranks at #85 of IGN's "Top 100 Games of All Time."
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 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 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 kidnap Tommy and force him to act as a getaway driver), 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) Don Morello, as revenge for him helping Paulie and Sam escape them. Tommy is saved by the Salieri family who, when Tommy escapes into their bar and the Morelli men follow him, murders them both. Indebted, Tommy becomes a Salieri mobster.
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 blowing up a hotel and burglarizing the villa of a public prosecutor. His work for Salieri climaxes in his refusal to assassinate his wife's best friend Michelle, an informant to Morello, who he instead orders to flee and never return. This culminates in 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, after 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 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 succeded, the game pauses while Tommy shows 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. While ordered to carry out further assassinations against politicians not co-operating with the family, Tommy is drawn into Paulie's suspicions that Don Salieri is hiding part of his earnings from his men. These suspicions are later confirmed when a batch of stolen Cuban cigars turns out to be a considerable amount of well-hidden diamonds. Convincing Paulie not to steal any of them, Tommy speaks to Salieri as if he did not know of the diamonds, suggesting a raise of salary. Salieri refuses and Tommy joins Paulie to rob a bank, 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.
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 and is then shot to death by Tommy, execution style. Here, Tommy's story to the detective 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 imprisoned, probably 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 with his family, all under new names. He starts a whole new life and buys a two-storey house in a beautiful neighborhood, working as a driver "for a respectable company".
The epilogue, set circa 1957, shows an old Thomas Angelo, grey-haired and moustached, standing outside his house watering the grass. Two men 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), one of the men pulls out a sawn-off shotgun. The other assassin tells Tommy that 'Mr. Salieri sends his regards', and both barrels are emptied into Tommy's body. The game ends with Tommy's thoughts, as he is left to die on the bloodied grass of his front lawn.
The bulk of Mafia's storyline gameplay consists of driving, mostly for general travel between game locales, as well as car chases and races; the remaining portions of the game consist of on-foot third-person exploration and shooting, similar in style to the Grand Theft Auto series. In addition to the entire city of Lost Heaven and countryside, several detailed interior levels were also included for many of the on-foot levels, including the city's airport and museum, a church, a hotel, an abandoned prison, a restaurant, and Don Salieri's bar. Weather and night effects are also available in the game.
Mafia offers players the opportunity to drive a total of 51 classic cars based on real-life counterparts, in addition to another 19 bonus vehicles (including five classic racing models) available for unlocking in a new mode upon completion of the game's storyline. Unlike the Grand Theft Auto series, however, cars are introduced progressively through time in the storyline, with 1920s models available earlier on during the storyline, while newer varieties from the 1930s appear later. In addition, the players must "learn" how to steal a car by acquiring such knowledge from experts or experience, as opposed to the Grand Theft Auto series, where players are free to acquire any type of vehicle, superior or otherwise.
The game was well received by critics and gamers upon release as a more realistic and serious Grand Theft Auto-styled game. Police would book players for minor offenses such as speeding or running a red light, and car accidents caused physical harm to the driver (indeed, so much that unless a mission was timed, many found that actually obeying the road rules proved to be faster than speeding, as the latter would more likely result in accidents and injuries). Mafia had a much bigger city to explore than Vice City, with many forms of transport available (such as trams and elevated rail; neither of which are drivable by the player), in addition to an expansive countryside where police are strangely absent.
During "Free Ride" mode, the player is able to purchase weapons at "Yellow Pete's" as well as additional health at the city hospital for $1000. All of the game's weapons are available for purchase albeit for a rather inaccurate and inflated price for the era (i.e: 1 grenade: $1000, baseball bat: $10, Sniper rifle: $2000.) The player has many methods to raise money such as killing fellow (but now enemy) henchmen for $500 a pop, speeding above 65mph nets $100 every other second, as well as exploding vehicles for $100 a piece.
Mafia is also noted for having 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 crashing, hitting with blunt weapons (fists, baseball bat...) as well as firing bullets at them.
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. Offenses can be minor or serious offenses. Minor offenses will end up with the player being fined (-$1,000 in Freeride mode, no monetary value in campaign mode) , and serious offenses can lead to the player being arrested for the first offense, or a shootout with the police until you or they are dead. A series of four successive minor offenses will lead to the players arrest. 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 armored cars.
Certain criminal acts you would expect to warrant a response from the police do not occur, such as: driving on the sidewalk, driving on the wrong side of the road, and ignoring yield and do not enter signs (in the early stages of game development, these were supposed to be considered as an offense but were later changed).
Some programming flaws and limitations cause unrealistic behavior under special circumstances. For example, while police AI is sophisticated enough to identify certain offenses committed by players, they may continue to pursue a player, even when the player is pursued by an equally speeding hostile car. The police also ignore players who drive in the wrong lane of the road and sidewalk, or co-drivers and hostile cars who carry weapons openly.
In fights, the enemy AI is far from perfect. Enemies will attempt to attack with fists even when players are still armed or driving a car. They constantly crouch, enter the player's range before reloading their weapons, and then return to their hiding positions to shoot, while the enemy's limited field of view and occasional tendency to rotate themselves meant that players could easily kill an enemy while he predictably turns his back towards players. Pedestrian characters also have glitches which are quite noticeable. For example, they may attempt to jump out of the path of moving vehicles whenever; however, a character which was not in the direct path of a vehicle may suddenly jump in front of your car and be killed when they shouldn't have been touched.
Another notable problem faced by players is the infamous racing level, which was rather difficult to complete without proper training and controls, and turned a number of players off the game. Many fan websites even offer saved games with this level completed for download. In addition, official game patches have since added the ability to select a difficulty level before starting the race (there is also a cheat feature that allows the player to complete the race quickly and easily). These problems were fixed in versions 1.2 and 1.3, making the racing mission far more enjoyable.
Mafia was ported to Playstation 2 in 2003 and Xbox in 2004. While similar games such as Grand Theft Auto Vice City and Grand Theft Auto III were almost identical to their PC counterpart, many changes appeared in the Mafia's console versions. It was reported by Illusion Softworks that because of the grand scale of the game and the programming, they were not able to replicate the game in it's exact state. Many of the features of the ported versions do not exist, such as the activity of the police patrol around the city, the realism, graphics, details etc. The gameplay is also very different and most people who played the PC version commented that the ported versions have sluggish control, lumbering movements, and technical issues. The original developer of the PC version did not participate in development of the ported versions. While Mafia PC received rave reviews and grew a cult following around the world, sales and popularity of the Playstation and Xbox versions were not high. This fact and the conflict and disagreements Illusion Softworks had with the head programmer later was said to be the reason why the company delayed plans for the sequel.