When “The Godfather” movie first graced the silver screen, it left an indelible mark on the world of cinema. Its portrayal of the Corleone family’s complex dynamics, intertwined with themes of power, loyalty, and betrayal, captured the hearts and minds of audiences around the globe. But it didn’t stop there. The legacy of “The Godfather” extended beyond Hollywood and found a new home in the world of video games. Enter “The Godfather” game, a digital reimagining of the iconic story that dared to immerse players in the mafia’s shadowy underworld.
So, what happens when you take a beloved movie and turn it into a video game? How does it capture the essence of the Corleone family’s world, and does it bring the themes of power, loyalty, and betrayal to life in an engaging way?
So read on, Let’s take a closer look at “The Godfather” game.
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EA’s mission in making the cult classic movie, “The Godfather,” into a video game was a challenging task, and the video game reflected that. Although EA knew that adapting the number one-grossing movie into a video game was a risky endeavor due to the inevitable loss of important details in the story, they still embarked on it, and it turned out to be a success.
Even though the game was released in 2006 when the PS2 was nearing the end of its life cycle, it managed to evoke the nostalgic moments everyone was hoping for while still being a really good game. Despite it being the first time EA would be making a GTA-styled game, which was the type of game that could sell out easily back then, coupled with a dedicated fan base of the movie to purchase in droves, it became a recipe for success, resulting in over 2 million sales.
The video game was able to provide a rough idea of what the movie was mostly about. However, the movie was set in the 1970s, while the game was set in the 1940s and 1950s in New York City. Many scenes were skipped, and the plot could become confusing because several preceding dialogues were not included in the movie for obvious reasons.
These details were expected to be understood by people who had watched the movie, but for newcomers to the story, I would advise you to watch the original movie to get the whole picture.
Just like GTA, it is an open-world action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective with a different protagonist in the movie who was Michael Corleone. Now, you get to play Aldo Trapani, who never appeared in the movie, rising as a soldier in the Corleone family after witnessing his father, Johnny, a Corleone associate, getting murdered by the rival Barzini family just outside his bakery.
Then comes Don Vito Corleone, delivering one of the most vital lines in the game to the young Aldo: “Save your anger. Save it. When you are old enough, and the time is right, you will take your revenge.” One of the major disappointments of the game was Al Pacino not being able to reprise his role as Michael Corleone due to a deal he had signed with a rival gaming company for his image in “Scarface: The World is Yours” (2006).
Several characters from the movie also appeared in the game, with many of them voiced by the original actors, such as James Caan as Sonny Corleone, Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, and Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone. Unfortunately, Marlon Brando was already very old and required an oxygen mask to breathe most of the time, and the noise around this could not be edited out, rendering most of his lines unusable.
He was replaced by Doug Abrahams, who also voiced Clemenza, Capt. McCluskey, and Jack Woltz. Marlon’s last performance was possibly an Easter egg in the game. You can listen in when Don Corleone is in the hospital after he’s shot.
One of the reasons why the movie was so beloved was the flawless acting, from the delivery of their lines to their appearance and demeanor. The actors were able to accurately depict what an Italian mob family was like at the time, and the game delivered that without seeming too cheesy.
Right from the start, you get to customize your Italian mobster, from the eye color to the mustache, hair color, and outfit. In the story, first, we see Johnny Trapani meeting up with his wife in Little Italy, and then a bomb goes off, where the action begins. You quickly learn the controls and movement with Johnny fighting off some thugs before getting murdered by Don Barzini.
Aldo, as a young boy, witnesses his father’s murder by a group of Barzini thugs, with Don Corleone telling him to save his anger for the future (as earlier said). Nine years later, at the famous wedding scene, just like in the movie, except here, we start with something that presumably happened off-screen. Aldo’s mother, Serafina, asks Don Corleone to save her son from a life of petty crime, and he agrees while offering Aldo a life of organized crime instead.
He sends his enforcer, Luca Brasi, to fetch Aldo and take him under his wing, teaching him how they “run their business.” Luca makes Aldo an unofficial enforcer for the Corleone family, teaching him how to extort businesses, especially those paying rival families for protection, and convincing them to pay the Corleones instead.
Each business owner has their weak points, so you need to find those, as there are bonus points for using the right tactic, but you can’t know if you don’t try. Each store owner has a pressure meter to let you know how far you can push to get money from them. Watch out, though, if you push too far, they will resist you and begin to fight back.
The higher you climb in rank through your dealings, the more business owners will respect you and strike a deal with you for maximum gains. One interesting way to gain respect is by engaging with hookers. If you flirt successfully with one, you gain a little respect, and if you don’t, nothing happens since you can’t lose respect.
Once these businesses start paying, they reveal a racket at the back where illegal businesses are run. You could also take the easy road and just extort the owner here, but they can be quite stubborn, so prepare for a gunfight. Keep in mind that the business will not change to a Corleone symbol on the map until you take over the front and the back.
Warehouses, hubs, and compounds bring in good money, but they are always heavily guarded by mobsters, so make sure you’re prepared because one thing the game likes to do a lot is spawn enemies behind you. Compounds are the HQs for families, and warehouses and hubs house and deliver stolen goods.
It is advisable to hire a crew member to accompany you when trying to take them down because they will always put up a fight.
In “The Godfather” on the PS2, the focus is on exploration and conquest. You find yourself in a world teeming with intrigue, featuring five powerful mafia families: Corleone, Tattaglias, Straccis, Barzinis, and Cuneos. These families rule five distinctive neighborhoods: Little Italy, New Jersey, Midtown, Hell’s Kitchen, and Brooklyn. You have to wrest, conquer, and control these territories.
To keep you engaged, there’s a vendetta meter, reminiscent of the wanted level in GTA games. It rises when you eliminate mobsters from different families. Monitoring it is simple; just open the pause menu. You’ll accumulate more vendetta by gunning down foes, but opt for hand-to-hand combat, and you’ll gain less vendetta and more experience.
High vendetta can spark a mob war within a family, which can be easily defused by bribing a crooked FBI agent. You’ll usually find these agents lurking in churches, ready to exert pressure on rival families and clear your name. Alternatively, you can avert a mob war by bombing a rival family’s business, though it’s not as fun. If you decide to forego these options, you’ll frequently face attacks from rival family members and see your controlled businesses bombed, causing financial losses.
Favors and hit contracts offer alternative ways to earn money and respect. Favors are marked with purple X’s and O’s, while hit contracts are denoted by yellow X’s and O’s. Some intriguing favors arise when attempting to extort a shop owner. Fulfilling these tasks will make them more receptive to your payment proposals.
In the realm of combat, mastering the system can be a bit of a learning curve. Hand-to-hand combat stands out as the highlight, overshadowing the less exhilarating gunplay. You have an array of moves at your disposal, from punches and chokes to neck-snaps and power attacks. Depending on where you aim when shooting enemies, you’ll witness various reactions, and a well-placed headshot can take them out with ease.
Automatic aiming assists in shooting, but if you prefer more control, free-aim is an option. Understanding the use of cover is vital for survival in the game, and it can be a game-changer. Whether it’s a wall or low objects, taking cover is essential for your survival. You’ll have to choose the right moment to take shots, as firing when enemies are not shooting back is crucial for success.
With only five types of guns to choose from – three handguns (pistol, magnum, and snub-nose) and two larger guns (shotgun and Tommy gun) – the game keeps your options streamlined. You also have access to cocktails and dynamites, but remember that being too close to the explosion can be hazardous. Upgrading your firearms can be a costly endeavor, so budgeting wisely is a necessity.
Driving mechanics in the game share similarities with those in GTA, offering a familiar feel. The in-game map is detailed and informative, providing you with a clear overview of your surroundings. However, the mini-map sometimes falls short of delivering enough detail, making it easy to get lost.
Your journey in the game unfolds gradually, and while it may feel slow at times, it’s intentionally paced to mirror the movie’s atmosphere. Starting the game with limited resources can pose a challenge, but as you amass wealth, the difficulty becomes more manageable.
For added convenience, blue health bottles can restore your health to 100%, and safehouses offer convenient checkpoints where you can save your progress.
The graphics are very nicely done, with the characters looking just like the movie versions, except for Michael Corleone, of course. Voice acting, mostly done by the original cast members, was great. At times, it could feel like they were overacting, but they did sell it very well.
The soundtrack is also the same as in the movie version, as are the environments, except for some minor differences because the game was set in the 1940s and 1950s, like the cars used.
After you’ve taken out all the rival families and completed all the missions, you get to become the Don of New York, but the real fun is in the story mode. Even though it might take 30 hours to complete the game on normal difficulty, the story is always the place to be. There isn’t a lot to do after completing it except just shooting people and driving around – an activity that might turn out to be a chore.
So there you have it – “The Godfather” on the PS2, a game that immerses you in the gritty world of organized crime. While it might not perfectly replicate the movie, it captures the essence of the story and offers an engaging experience.
Exploring the game’s open world, taking on rival families, and navigating the intricacies of the mafia life is an adventure worth undertaking. The combat system, with its focus on hand-to-hand combat, provides a unique twist, even though the gunplay might not be as exhilarating.
Although the game was not recreated as I expected or wanted it to be told, and Al Pacino’s absence made it seem incomplete, “The Godfather” delivered in several other areas a game is supposed to be good at, such as the story and gameplay. That is not to say these are also perfect, but they allowed players to be involved in the events of the movie, especially for the fans. For those who might not have seen the movie, the game would provide a good reason for anyone who’s played it to want to watch the movie.
- Engaging storyline based on the film
- Solid shooting controls, Impressive and upgradable arsenal
- Decent acting
- Unchallenging gunfights
- Incomplete feeling through Repetitive and uninspired gameplay
- Poorly designed multiplayer modes and maps