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The Godfather review

Join the family, crush your enemies and live La Cosa Nostra

Pros

  • Controls enable a wide variety of abuse
  • Extremely faithful to the movie
  • Stamping out rival families is a lot of fun

Cons

  • Almost too easy
  • Taking over businesses gets repetitive
  • Three endings
  • all of them anticlimactic

If you ever need proof that video games are a powerful educational tool, look no further than The Godfather. After a week with this Grand Theft Auto-like gangster simulator, you'll know more about the movie than most film students. You'll know the name of the guy who gets shot in the "leave the gun, take the cannoli" scene. You'll know the order in which Michael Corleone's enemies get whacked during the climactic revenge montage. You'll know this, because you'll have done it all yourself.

Instead of straight-up adapting the movie, The Godfather casts you as a young street bastard who gets pulled into the Corleone crime family. The setup will be familiar to anyone who's played GTA: you run around in a big mock-up of New York and take on missions from various Godfather figures, with free rein to steal cars or hassle random civilians in between.

Your missions, which run parallel to the events of the film, are mostly the things that happen offscreen, like hiding a gun in a restaurant for Michael or slipping a severed horse-head between a film producer's sheets. It's an approach that falls flat in places (certain key movie events don't appear at all, while others get stretched to the point of absurdity), but overall it's clever, and it gives you a personal attachment to the mythology.

As you complete these tasks, you'll gain "respect" - Godfather-speak for "experience" - which lets you upgrade your abilities, gradually transforming you from a street urchin into an unstoppable engine of Mob justice. You'll also earn money, which lets you bribe people, rent safehouses or buy better guns.

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionA great (if repetitive) car-crime game that immerses you in the movie's 1940s gangster drama.
PlatformXbox, Xbox 360, PS2, PC
US censor ratingMature
Release date21 March 2006 (US), 24 March 2006 (UK)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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