The Godfather Panto

User Rating: 4.7 | The Godfather PC
Now first of all, let me get one thing off my chest: The Godfather is one of my favourite films of all time through a combination of sublime acting, superb story and stunning atmosphere. Therefore, I am very likely to be biased against this game, as any fanboy is biased against something which takes his or her object of admiration and ham fistedly funnels it into gaming form. As hard as I try to remove myself from comparisons to the film, said comparisions are of course inevitable, so forgive me father.

My major beef with The Godfather game is that it could have been done so much better. Another obvious comparison to this game is Illusion Softwork's legendary classic, Mafia, for the reasons that both games involve driving around cities in period cars while shooting the heck out of all that you meet with drum fed thompsons. However, these games are different fundamentally to eachother in a number of ways:

Mafia is a linear game, modestly using its incredibly detailed city as a mere backdrop to the riveting (but clichéd) storyline. In The Godfather, the city is a diet version of New York, divided into five tiny districts that take yonks to travel to and from.

Mafia's gunplay was subtle and realistc, using motion captured death animations to great effect. The low key use of blood and solid feeling weapons really made you feel as though you were playing in a film. The Godfather successfully takes these conventions, auto locks on to them and drills them full of bizarrely weak bullets. Yes, you guessed it, The Godfather is criminally unbalanced. With the base magnum, it takes THREE SHOTS TO THE CHEST to take the fat gangsters down. THREE SHOTS! That's vapourise and elephant! And to make matters worse, in earlier levels, enemies can effectively dispatch you with one or two shots. Utterly frustrating, and not much fun. To try and balance this out, EA have decided to make gunplay easy enough for a drunk four year old to master in a few boring minutes. Auto aim? Oh come on, this is the PC! WE HAVE THE MOUSE!

Mafia oozes class from every orifice. The Godfather struggles to get a trickle of it out of it's pecker. Think of the pure grittiness of Coppola's masterpiece. And then imagine Ed Wood has taken over mid development. The game takes place at the time of the main story, and all too frequently merges into the film. For example, YOU plant the horse's head in Woltz's bed, YOU strap the gun to the back of the tiolet in Louis' restaurant, and YOU witness the death of Luca Brasi (which is commited totally chronologically wrong by the way). However, the overall feel is of The Godfather: The Pantomime. The script is dire, the character graphics are dire, the settings are dire, and don't get me started on Michael Corleone...

If you think mafia's story was hackneyed and clichéd (which it was), you're going to love Mafia. The story, for want of a better word, is bollocks. father killed blah blah saved from the streets blah blah blah meet some people from the film blah blah blah some side story about some guy who oh god blah blah blah your gal dies with no real repurcussions on the story blah blah blah you get revenge blah blah blah blah ad tedium. The story isn't so much bad as boring, old and terminally clichéd. the story of the film just about keep's it's head above water.

Where They didn't have Brando's dialogue recorded (he popped his clogs before development started), Don Corleone starts to speak like a bad Marlon brando impersonator... likely because most of Don Corleone's dialogue is performed by a bad Marlon Brando impersonator (or as like to refer to him: some guy with a husky voice with two bits of kleenex in his mouth).

Michael Corleone looks totally wrong, sounds totally wrong and acts totally wrong. Granted, this is because Al Pacino didn't licence his likeness (although he did for the terrible Scarface cash in), but seriously, without Mike, why bother making the game in the first place???

back on to original thread: Mafia's cars were the paragon of physical car handling in games. They skidded when they should have, crumpled up where they should have crumpled up, and blew up from gas leaks.

To put it plainly, The Godfather's cars are some of the worst cars EVER in a video game. I **** you not, there are 4 KINDS, all ugly, low poly and atrociously textured. They turn on a sixpence and can effectively come to a halt from toip speed in about 3 seconds. Three shots from a magnum to the door should see them off, and what terrible doors they are. The character can only get out on one side, meaning that if the exit is blocked then the screen goes black and the character is beamed ten metres away from his car as if by magic. The windows are opaque and silver, the car interiors (a glimpse can be caught as the character gets in) are abysmal, and as for the policeman shooting out of the windows of a car without a driver, well...

On the subject of the police cars, they seem to have infinite speed. Even when you are in a (read 'the') sports car travelling at full speed, they can still somehow catch up and overtake you. This is all well and good, providing the police cars are just fast cars. But when one is hijacked, lo and behold, it is merely a reskinned version of the second slowest car (the one up from the pick up truck and down from the coupe). Things like this made me want to eliminate my computer.

Oh God, there are so many more things wrong with this game, i don't even want to take time writing about them in detail, so here's a list: Cars as weak as large petrol tanks on wheels, the player character's unfeasibly girly voice (doesn't suit a seven foot tall wall of muscle), the laughably small collection of changeable clothes, the fact that the most valuable clothes are the ugliest while the cheapo ones look the best, the fact that the player can run faster than every car in the game, The inclusion of the empire state building but non inclusion opf a way to look up at it,
The laborious buisness aquiring gta style game aspect,
the suspended rail tracks that have no trains,
The annoying dead end roads,
the fact that some models have all five digits, while others have some sort of skin coloured spatula,
The poor, vomit like face textures on the populace,
The absolute raping of the Don Corleone assasination attempt Fredo's voice,
Rober Duvall's voice is an old man's voice, same goes for James Caan's
No sex :(

AND THERE ARE SO MANY MORE I advise you to buy this game just for ****s and giggles.

And now, the good points:

Excellent melee combat system, with excellently connecting punches and rather brutal exectution moves.
Draw distances are good with LOD landmarks,
Will run on any computer built by humans in the last 3 years,
Generally superb acting from the likes of Robert Duvall and some lesser knowns,
Great facial expression system (let down by despicable textures),
The character creation is good and lets you change the face at any time by loading up your game again,
Explosions are sexy,
Lots of blood,
On higher levels your character feels satisfactorally invincible,
Pedestrians make comments about your actions which adds to immersion,
Is actually a passable GTA clone.


All in all, the Godfather is a below average game in its own right, but frankly it takes it's source material and pisses it up the wall. To be honest, the main shortcoming of the game is that it's just cripplingly BORING.
this is the biggest shame, as I feel that EA have wasted the Godfather licence and the film's gripping narrative and artistic flare. The game is hilarious for it's foul ups, and there are many of them, but if you happen to seer it in a bargain bin, buy it - it'll keep you entertained for about a day, then leave you to grow bitter.