A game you can’t refuse

Andrew Gaug

The classic book and film has finally been made into a game, which was released on multiple platforms. COURTESY OF ELECTRONIC ARTS

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Since the dawn of video games, movie adaptations have always had trouble translating from the silver screen to the console. These titles range from Atari’s version of Gremlins, where you tried to stop the villains from eating hamburgers, to the recent horrible adaptation of Fight Club that featured Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst. So there was a lot at stake when one of the most highly regarded films in the history of cinema – The Godfather – was made into a video game.

Thankfully, The Godfather is a labor of love as opposed to yet another disposable attempt at squeezing the last few dollars from the film’s franchise. Excluding Al Pacino, Electronic Arts got all of the original actors to do voice work for their iconic characters – even the late Marlon Brando, who recorded his lines prior to his death. The atmosphere of 1930s New York is captured through rustic buildings, vintage billboards and polluted roads. Unlike other video games based on films, the characters look almost exactly like their film counterparts.

The game doesn’t make the mistake of just leading you through everything that you’ve already seen in the movie, but switches things up as you play. Instead of playing Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone character, you assume the identity of your own by creating it through an in-depth program called “MobFace” – where you can customize everything from what you look like to what you wear.

Your purpose throughout The Godfather is to first earn the respect of mafia godfather Don Corleone and ascend the ranks of the family to become crowned the Don of New York. To the dismay of people who lack patience, this is not an easy or time-efficient task.

In the beginning of the game you are introduced to popular characters like Sonny Corleone, Sal Tessio, Pete Clemenza and Luca Brasi as they lead you through missions that require you to extort businesses, “whack” opposing mafia members and bomb their homes. But as the game continues, it drags due to constantly having to do the time consuming task of driving from city-to-city to complete missions. It becomes more a test of how bad you want to be the Don of the Corleone family than missions you’re looking forward to.

At first glance, Godfather‘s overall look and gameplay look like they were ripped-off directly from the Grand Theft Auto series. But as it continues, the game becomes its own. It’s more focused on completing your missions and taking over mafia families than beating up hookers and driving flashy cars. The dialogue is straight-forward and well-delivered – you get background about characters and what mission you must complete next without long monologues or useless banter.

The Godfather

Published by Electronic Arts

Available on X-Box, Playstation 2, PC

Genre: Action

Stater rating (out of five): ???«

Unfortunately, the game appears to be rushed toward the end. The ending where you are crowned the Don doesn’t seem worth the 20-24 hours that most players will put into it and even longer for those who venture to perform every task in the game to become Don of New York. The aiming feature works well until you face multiple characters, then it has the tendency to not be able to choose or, in some cases, will just shoot a wall or the ground. Another frustrating thing is, at times, a bullet will take a small part of your health away while at more important moments, it will put an end to your character.

Overall, this game has an obvious amount of respect and work behind it that will please both fans of the movie and those who just want to play a good mafia game. It won’t go down as one of the best movie-to-video game adaptation due to its nagging problems, but Godfather ranks as one of the better games released in the past year.

Contact ALL correspondent Andrew Gaug at [email protected].