Monday 3rd April 2006
by Philip Ellwood
When I first heard they were turning 'The Godfather' into a computer game, my first thought was why? It seemed like an odd choice and I couldn't quite imagine how they would do it. 'The Godfather' is such a classic film and I hoped the game wasn't going to cheapen it in any way. When the screenshots started to leak through and the adverts began I became even more curious. The game looked incredible and I began to look forward to playing it.
First things first, 'The Godfather' game is very faithful to the movie. All of the major characters are present and correct and the voices are there too. The only exception being Al Pacino as Michael Corleone. Marlon Brando recorded his dialogue before his death so his classic portrayal of Don Vito Corleone lives on through the game. The movie sequences are very well done and the general feel of the game fits with that of the movie. The game allows you to create your own mobster to control. You can choose everything from his face shape down to his facial hair. Once you've created your mobster you name him and begin the game. Your aim is to help the Corleone family dominate New York.
To begin with you must complete a variety of training missions. These are designed to get you used to the controls, which to being with are a little confusing. Once you've completed the training missions the controls become second nature and if you're anything like me, you'll be desperate to get into the proper game.
'The Godfather' can be played in two different ways. There is a linear story to follow, which is basically the film, where you must complete missions to advance through the game. Alternatively you can do pretty much whatever you like. You can run around New York City, randomly kill whoever you want and create havoc. The best part of playing the game in this way is taking over businesses and discovering rackets. You can enter many of the buildings in the game and extort the owner. This allows you to gain extra money and earn respect; a crucial part of the game. You can spend hours extorting businesses and it's great fun. Some of the people you extort are easy to crack but others you really have to rough up before they'll give in to you. If you get bored of extorting, you can collect cannisters hidden around the game to unlock clips from the original movie. There is a wealth of possibility in the game.
It is easy to see where the comparisons to the 'Grand Theft Auto' franchise have come from. The gameplay of 'The Godfather' is very similar to that of 'Grand Theft'. The major difference is 'The Godfather' is much more of an open playing field. You can enter into a lot more buildings and random areas. The businesses you extort and takover usually offer a great deal to explore. 'Grand Theft' generally only allows you to go into the places you need to but 'The Godfather' takes that aspect further.
My biggest complaint is the use of the right analogue stick for combat. I found this tricky at times and especially hard when you are trying to fend off a group of attackers. It's not so bad when you are fighting one-on-one but it can prove tricky when you are trying to avoid a gang of mobsters. It took me a while to get used to the combat controls.
'The Godfather' game is a great adaptation. Hardcore fans of the movie will find faults and nit-pick I'm sure. Personally I found the game involving and exciting. I loved how richly layered the gameplay is and the game takes hours to work through. If you loved the movie, I'm confident you'll love the game. If you've never seen the movie don't be put off. 'The Godfather' is a great game but do be warned it's incredibly violent.