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Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven
North American box art
Developer(s) Illusion Softworks
Publisher(s) Gathering of Developers
Designer(s) Daniel Vávra
Composer(s) Vladimir Šimůnek
Engine LS3D engine
Version 1.2
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Release date(s) August 28, 2002
Genre(s) Third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) BBFC: 15
PEGI: 18+
Media 3 CD-ROMs , 1 DVD
System requirements Windows
  • System: PIII 500 or equivalent
  • RAM: 96 MB
  • Video Memory: 32 MB
  • Hard Drive Space: 1800 MB
Input methods Windows
  • Keyboard and mouse, Game Pad

Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven is a third-person shooter video game initially made for PC and released in 2002. It was later ported to the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Microsoft Xbox in 2004. It was developed by a Czech based company Illusion Softworks and published by Gathering of Developers. The game allows the player to take on the role of a criminal who has to accomplish various missions in order to advance in the game. It received strong critical reaction and continued to maintain a loyal cult following. As of March 12, 2008, Mafia has sold 2 million copies according to Take-Two Interactive.[1][2]

On August 21, 2007, Take-Two Interactive announced Mafia II[3] at the 2007 Leipzig Games Convention, under development by Illusion Softworks.



Walking on New Ark street in Lost Heaven, PC version.

Mafia's storyline gameplay consists of driving, mainly easy city cruise between different locations, as well as chases and races; the rest of the game is on foot "third-person" seeking and shooting - all in connected with stunning video clips. In addition to the photo-realistic city and a huge countryside, detailed interiors like the city's airport, a museum, a church, a hotel, an abandoned prison, restaurants and Don Salieri's bar are included. Weather changing and day/night circle is also in use.

Mafia offers an opportunity to drive 51 classical american cars around the city, plus 19 bonus cars (of which 5 are racing models) unlockable after the main mode and the opening of a new game mode. Cars are introduced periodically - in the beginning the cars from 1920-s appear in the city and later the models from 1930 on will start appearing on the streets.

Police would book players for minor offenses such as speeding or running a red light, and car accidents caused physical harm to the driver. There are also many forms of transport available, such as trams and elevated rail, though neither of which are drivable by the player.

Mafia is also noted for having damage physics on nearly all vehicles. While substantially more robust than their real counterparts, smaller and weaker vehicles stand less abuse before breaking down and finally exploding than large armoured vehicles. More realism is added here compared to other games in the same genre such as the ability to puncture the fuel tank, overheat the engine, and the ability to break transmission gears. Many exterior components (such as windows, tires, headlights, and bumpers) can be removed from most vehicles with physical means such as crashing, hitting with blunt weapons (fists, baseball bat) as well as firing bullets at them.

Law & Order

The Police department in Lost Heaven uphold the various laws that have been set. When these laws are broken in view of the police, they will respond. Offenses can be minor or serious offenses. Minor offenses will end up with the player being fined (-$1,000 in Freeride mode, no monetary value in campaign mode), and serious offenses can lead to the player being arrested for the first offense, or a shootout with the police until the player or they are dead. A series of four successive minor offenses qualify as a "serious" offense. Police force increases with the severity of the player's disregard of the law to a point where now well armed police form blockades with tire spike strips in attempt to defeat the player while firing from behind their armored cars.

Certain criminal acts most people would expect to warrant a response from the police do not occur, such as: driving on the sidewalk, driving on the wrong side of the road, and ignoring yield and do not enter signs (in the early stages of game development, these were supposed to be considered as an offense but were later changed).


Mafia is set in the 1930s, between the fall of 1930 through to the end of 1938, during the later part of Prohibition, which ended in 1933. The game is set in the fictional American city of 'Lost Heaven' (loosely based on New York City, Chicago, and parts of New Jersey of the same time period).

Although the plot is not directly taken from the movie, certain names such as Paulie, and certainly the faces of the characters, the style and pace of the story, and many scene elements appear to be heavily inspired by the 1972 Francis Ford Coppola film "The Godfather," the 1984 Sergio Leone epic "Once Upon a Time in America" and the 1990 Martin Scorsese film "Goodfellas". Indeed, the front of the box playfully announces "Welcome to the game of the greatest 1930s gangster film Scorsese never made."

The player takes the role of taxi driver Thomas (Tommy) Angelo, who, while trying to make a living on the streets of Lost Heaven, unexpectedly and unwillingly becomes involved in organized crime as a driver for the Salieri crime family, led by Don Salieri.

Through the events of the game's story, Tommy begins to rise through the ranks of the Salieri 'family', which is currently battling the competing Morello family, led by the sharply-dressed Don Morello. Eventually becoming disillusioned by his life of crime and violence, Tommy arranges to meet a detective (Detective Norman) in order to tell him his story, to be given witness-protection, and to aid the detective in the destruction of the Salieri crime family. The 'Intermezzo' chapters of the game depict Tommy sitting in a cafe with the detective, relating his life story and giving out important pieces of information at the same time.



Console Versions

Mafia was ported to Playstation 2 in 2003 and Xbox in 2004. It was reported that because of the grand scale of the original PC game, sacrifices were made in order to accommodate the lesser processing power of consoles, and Illusion was not involved in porting the game. Many of the features of the PC version do not exist in the console port, such as police patrols around the city, realism, graphics, details etc.


The soundtrack to the game features Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club de France, The Mills Brothers, Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima, Lonnie Johnson, Latcho Drom and one track by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five. The main theme to Mafia, along with the original score, was composed by Vladimir Šimůnek, and performed by the Bohemia Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Adam Klemens. The ending credits music is a cover of the song Lake of Fire, performed by the Lordz of Brooklyn. The last verse of the song borrows the musical arrangement of the theme song for the Godfather movies.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 88%[4]
Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 9.3/10 (PC)[5]
GameSpy 91/100 (PC)[6]
IGN 9.2/10 (PC)[7]

The game was well received by critics and gamers upon release as a more realistic and serious Grand Theft Auto-styled game. IGN gave it a rating of 9.2/10[8] while Gamespot stated in their review: "Quite simply, Mafia is one of the best games of the year." and rated it at 9.3/10[9] Police would book players for minor offenses such as speeding or running a red light, and car accidents caused physical harm to the driver. Such was the realism that unless a mission was timed, many found that actually obeying the road rules proved to be faster than speeding, as the latter would more likely result in accidents and injuries. Mafia had a much bigger city to explore than most video games, with many forms of transport available (such as trams and elevated rail) in addition to an expansive countryside where police were absent.

While the original PC game received rave reviews and grew a cult following around the world, Playstation and Xbox were critical and commercial disappointments. This fact and the conflict and disagreements Illusion Softworks had with the head programmer later was said to be the reason why the company delayed plans for the sequel.


  1. ^ Matt Martin (2008-03-12). "Grand Theft Auto series has sold 66 million units to date". Retrieved 2008-04-01.  
  2. ^ "Recommendation of the Board of Directors to Reject Electronic Arts Inc.'s Tender Offer" (PDF). Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.. 2008-03-26. pp. 9. Retrieved 2008-04-01.  
  3. ^ "Mafia 2 announced on 2K Games". Retrieved 2009-07-22.  
  4. ^ "Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven Review (PC)". MetaCritic. Retrieved 2008-08-01.  
  5. ^ Wolpaw, Erik (September 4, 2002). "Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven Review (PC)" (in English). GameSpot. pp. 2.;review. Retrieved 2008-08-01.  
  6. ^ Rice, Kevin (September 18, 2002). "Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven Review (PC)" (in English). GameSpy. pp. 2. Retrieved 2008-08-01.  
  7. ^ Adams, Dan (August 29, 2002). "Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven Review (PC)" (in English). IGN. pp. 2. Retrieved 2008-08-01.  
  8. ^ Adams, Dan. "IGN: Mafia Review". Retrieved 2009-07-22.  
  9. ^ "Gamespot-Mafia for PC". Retrieved 2009-07-22.  

External links

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