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Video games are notorious for poorly adaptating films, and only very few - such as the brilliant N64 game Goldeneye - have put sufficient money into development rather than simply acquiring the license. The Godfather is another rare instance, of a game that works as a solid companion piece to the film, while also being a serviceable piece of entertainment by itself.
First and foremost, this game benefits from a lot of collaboration from those involved with the films and the novel, for cast members James Caan, Robert Duvall, John Martino and Abe Vigoda have lent their voices and likenesses to the film. The game introduces its own "rising to power" story that revolves around the film's characters without messing with the continuity of the series or making any changes, thankfully, given that it is frequently regarded as one of the best films ever made.
The gameplay is a lot like the game Mafia. You start off being able to create a character, who is a young up-start working for the mob. You have to initially perform lowly jobs like extortion businesses out of money, assassination missions and attacking enemies, but as you progress through the game, you begin to rise to power, and develop in your own right as a powerful entity. The film is interlaced with the plot here, meaning that you get to interact with a pivotal moments from the first film in particular, chiefly being the man behind the executions in the film's famous baptism scene.
Although not deep, the game also has a well-developed experience mode, and other stats such as your animosity with other gangs are tracked, meaning you have to be on your guard at all times in case the heat gets too high.
This is one of the few film adaptations that's actually well rendered and not cheap looking. It is also well designed and has some truly inspired moments. Well worth it for fans of the films.
*SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE GODFATHER*
The Godfather is a game based on one of best film sagas of all time. This game focuses on the events of the first film, with it's setting in New York.
You control an entirely new character made for this game and control them from the years 1945-1955 under the tutelage of Don Corleone and later, Michael Corleone. This is where the game begins, you start out as an outsider and through completing missions and helping the family, you rise through the ranks to, hopefully, at the end when you become the Godfather.
For everything you do you get money and respect, the respect adding up until you get another upgrade, which you can use on various things like shooting, speed and fighting. Money you can put towards a new safehouse, so you have somewhere to go when you need to save or get some health (there are also places around the city you can get health from as well) or you can upgrade your weapons, to make them inflict more damage. You also take part in missions central to the Godfather plot, such as helping Michael defend the don in hospital, and chasing down the guys who gunned down Sonny.
There are a wide variety of weapons, from a little .38 to a shotgun, all inflicting different amounts of damage to people. There are also things like dynamite and Molotov cocktails, which you can use to blow things up or torch them. There's even a garrote wire, which you can use to strangle enemies after sneaking up on them, so there's a nice mixture there.
You also have the task of extorting businesses throughout the city, which earns you more money and respect (but a large cut goes directly to the Corleone family). You get paid each week so there's always money coming in, and you can use it for whatever you want. You also get bonuses if you take over a warehouse, a hub or a family compound, but these are much harder than normal nightclubs and bakers.
Everyone's likeness is here, except one. Al Pacino must've said no because Michael Corleone is the only character that doesn't look the part, which can be a bit jarring. There's a wealth of big stars lending their names to the game too, with the main characters all being voiced by who played them in the film (except Marlon Brando of course). There are even times where the developers take dialogue straight from the film which gives it a very authentic feel.
You can customise your character a lot in this game, giving him the exact look you want, right down to the bridge of his nose and the height of his forehead. You can also buy him lots of clothes as well once you get some money, and they are all fully customizable too, giving the game a very unique slant.
The city is well rendered, and the whole game has fantastic graphics. Everyone is given their own unique name, and you can walk past them and hear them talking, although after a while it can get a bit samey.
The control system can be a bit off, especially if you want to select an enemy and the game selects some pedestrian who happens to be closer. It's also frustrating when you have some mob member hiding behind a wall who can shoot you through the wall, although that is down to a glitch in a game, but overall these are major problems.
Pricewise, the cheapest I have seen it online is £9.83 from Woolworths, but if you don't mind buying it used then you might be able to get it cheaper on eBay.
All in all it's a good, engrossing game that will take you a while to complete, especially if you want to become the "Don of NYC" and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the film.
The first thing you'll witness is the death of your character's father at the hands of the enemies of the Corleone family. The Don then tells you that when you're old enough and the time is right vengeance will be yours. This takes place in 1936.
The next scene is in 1945 (the wedding scene). Your mother asks the Don to look after you and take you away from the bad crowd you have been mixing with. The Don does so and your aim in the game is to rise through the rankings of the family.
After you have completed the main missions you will be an underboss. The other activities you can take part in are extorting businesses which you do by entering them and threatening the owner, sometimes destroying their property etc. You can also take over racket, warehouses and compounds belonging to other families. As you do this the other families will become increasingly annoyed with your presence and you will have to fight mob wars from time to time. You can also perform contract hits.
Although the game does involve you in key points of the film as well as giving you your own storyline it's major flaw is what to do once you've finished the main story. Despite having listed the things above some of those activities get old fairly quickly. For example, taking over warehouses becomes quite monotonous and boring after a while especially seeing as the layout is quite similar for most of them.
There are some pretty good gameplay elements i.e. precision shots which allow you to perform accurate headshots, kneecap etc. You can also perform execution moves. Although the Godfather does a decent job I feel Mafia conveyed the atmosphere in a much better way though I do appreciate certain elements of the Godfather gameplay that were missing from Mafia i.e. extortion.
The sound is very good, the voice acting is pretty much flawless. The graphics are a let down, there's not much variety with regard to location and detail is also a let down with locations. The gameplay is quite good but there's very little replay value and lasting appeal. You'll play it until the end of the main story but it's unlikely that you'll play it to 100% completion or even play the main story again.
Overall it's a decent game but I prefer Mafia.
I have posted this review on Ciao.
Gamers will create their own mob character in the game, putting themselves into the action while reliving classic moments from the fiction and experiencing original missions alongside memorable characters from the film. After a life of small-time jobs and petty thefts the player will be accepted into the Corleone family, America's most famous criminal organization. It will be up to the player to carry out orders, earn respect and make New York City their own.