|image courtesy of allgame.com|
The makers of The Godfather went all out to keep true to the original source material, even bringing back James Caan, Robert Duvall, Abe Vigoda, and Marlon Brando to do voice overs for their characters in the movie. Unfortunately, Al Pacino could not voice Michael Corleone in the game, as he had a contract with another gaming company to do voice overs for the Scarface video game. As it turned out, Brando's voiceover work in this game was the last work he ever did, and there is some controversy as to how much of Don Vito's dialogue was actually done by Brando or by an impersonator. If it was an impersonator, well I must say that he had Brando's voice down pat. In the Godfather game, set in the 1950s, you play as an original character doing various deeds for the Corleone family after Luca Brasi. From there, you play a role in many of the key parts of The Godfather story, including the famous horse head scene and also planting the gun in the restuarant bathroom for Michael to murder the police chief and Sollozzo.
But missions is not all that you do in the Godfather. Much like the GTA games, the game allows you to roam around New York causing chaos. You can steal cars, chat with and beat up citizens, bribe police officers and even rob banks if that's what you're into. Also, you can go around town and take over businesses for the Corleone family, offering the family's protection to various shops and hotels around the city. If they refuse, then you can slap them around some or mess up their store front until they get the message. The more damage you do, the bigger your weekly cut, although if you get the store owners too riled up, they'll refuse to pay up. Not to mention that the mob family your taking the shop from won't be too happy about you nosing in on their territory, so expect lots of fights between you and the other New York families. The business takeover aspect of the game is a nice touch, however, there isn't much variety in the building interiors, as every hotel looks the same, every flower shop, every bakery, etc. Fortunately, the missions are varied enough so that you don't feel like you're doing the same thing over and over again, and the notion of taking place in some of the most famous scenes in the movie also adds to the excitement of the game.
The controls of this game are rather simple to learn and are very responsive overall, although I had some problems with a couple of actions in the game such as throwing people after grabbing them. When fighting mobsters, you can either take them on and hand-to-hand combat, which is nicely done, btw, or by using a variety of weapons from Tommy guns to Magnums to pistols to lead pipes and even a piano wire to choke out opponents from behind. The game has an auto aim feature that allows you to quickly lock on to an opponent. While combat isn't too hard, you will end up dying a lot, as oftentimes the mobsters will gang up on you and it only takes a couple of shots to put your character down. Then again, since dying really has no consequence other than costing 100 dollars for a doctor visit, it's not really a big deal. Dying in a mission also isn't consequential, as each mission has a series of checkpoints from which you can start over after being defeated.
The game allows the player to customize their character, from building their face in the beginning of the game to buying a closet full of clothes or getting one of a variety of haircuts. This is a nice touch, although there isn't a whole lot of variety of clothes to choose from. The nicer the clothes you wear, the more respect you will get. You also get respect by completing missions, shaking down business owners and taking over rackets, and even bribing cops to get you off your back. The more respect you obtain, the more ability points you get to improve your shooting and fighting skills, as well as speed, health, and street smarts. Driving in The Godfather is a mixed bag, as on one hand, its rather simple to control a car. On the other hand, it's nearly impossible to weave through traffic on the highway, so expect a lot of crashes and a lot of pedestrians being run over in the game.
The graphics in this game are solid, as everything runs smoothly and all of the characters look life like, especially Tom Hagen and Sonny Corleone. It would have helped if there were more variety in building interiors and cars, but that's a minor issue. The sound of this game is a major plus, as not only is the original Godfather theme featured in the game, but the soundtrack as a whole is both diverse and sets the tone for each game situation. The voiceovers are crystal clear, and each gun and car sounds accurate. For example, if you fire a shotgun, it sounds like a 1950s style shotgun.
Overall, unlike a lot of video games based off of movies, The Godfather is one heck of a game. Sure, it's not quite on par with the movie, but honestly very few games or movies are, and The Godfather: The Game is a great compliment to the movie and is deep enough to provide hours upon hours of gameplay. Overall, I'd give The Godfather: The Game an 8.35 out of 10. Well thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this review or this game, then share those thoughts by leaving a comment. Also, if you have an idea for a future review, then share those with me either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.