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Video Game / Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven

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Welcome to the family.

Thomas "Tommy" Angelo is an ordinary taxi driver working in the city of Lost Heaven during The Great Depression. One evening, he is caught in a wild car chase involving thugs of two rivaling mobs in town trying to kill each other. Forced to side with one party, he soon faces retribution from the other and has no choice but to start working for Don Salieri, whose men he saved earlier. This turns out to be a wise decision, since the other family is much worse. Thus begins Tommy's ascension from a simple cabbie to the best driver and hitman in the entire mob.

Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, often shortened to Mafia, is a 2002 Third-Person Shooter created by the Czech development studio Illusion Softworks (the guys behind Hidden & Dangerous, later renamed 2K Czech), which combines an affectionate pastiche to the classic Italian-American mafia movies (Scarface, The Godfather, The Untouchables and so on) with a Grand Theft Auto-like gameplay to produce a sweeping storyline with many sudden revelations, intense gunfights, and adrenaline-laden chases in vintage cars.


The game had many unique features for its genre and time, including storing the aftermath of player actions in the city, even if the player left the location for a long time: e.g. if you shot at a car in Free Ride, it is possible to run into that same car later on in a different part of the city; abandoned cars and weapons stay where they are, instead of disappearing after a while as in Grand Theft Auto, etc. The game was noted for exceptional graphics for its time and a sophisticated police AI.

The sequel, Mafia II, came out in August 2010 and features the new setting of Empire Bay, a new protagonist and a supposedly Darker and Edgier storyline, plus New Roman Legions and Nazis with Gnarly Weapons in the opening. Mafia III came out in 2016 and is set in New Bordeaux.

In 2020, a 4K Ultra HD remake of the original game was announced for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, developed by Hangar 13 (the studio behind Mafia III) and published by 2K. It will be released as part of the Mafia: Trilogy package, which contains Definitive Edition versions of all three Mafia games; the aforementioned remake of the first game, a remaster of II, and a major update of III. Because the second and third games did not receive nor needed remakes, their Definitive Editions were released in May 2020, with pre-existing owners of those games on Steam (both games), PS4 and Xbox One (III only) getting the Definitive Edition updates for free.


First trailer

This video game provides examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: It's the 1930s, but holds some design ideas, especially with vehicles, that reach as far forward as to the 1950s. Mostly not jarring, due to the Rule of Cool.
    • There is one moment worth mentioning, namely early mission called "Molotov Party" in which Tommy uses Molotov Cocktails to wreck some rival family's cars. That part of the game takes place in 1930, whereas Molotovs didn't see widespread use until the Spanish Civil War in 1937. Granted, it could be hand waved by saying that Salieri's weapon master came up with the idea on his own, but Vincenzo audibly calls them Molotovs, a name coined by the Finns during the Winter War in 1939 after Josef Stalin's foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov.
    • There are also bars open in 1930 complete with large signage which taxi fares openly asked to be driven to. This is the middle of Prohibition, the only bars that served alcohol were clandestine speakeasies.
    • A good chunk of the soundtrack for Lost Heaven's various districts uses Django Reinhardt's mid-1940s music, while the game ends in 1938. Not only that, it's Gypsy jazz, which was popular in Europe and not in the USA.
  • Anti-Villain: Tommy clearly isn't bloodlusted, yet he still commits a pretty considerable number of murders. Some victims deserve it, some are just in the way of Salieri's plans. He does show mercy on several occasions though, and he truly cares for his friends and family, which in the end is the reason he leaves the Mafia and testifies against his former partners. However, this is also the reason he gets killed in the end.
  • Badass Bystander: In the middle of the airport shootout, a mechanic will drive up, jump out of his car wielding a crowbar, and start beating up everyone he sees wielding a gun. This includes both you and the FBI agents shooting at you.
  • Bad Boss: Don Morello and his younger brother.
  • Batter Up!: A baseball bat can be used by Tommy. A fully charged swing from behind can knock anyone out cold instantly, but there is little use for this (Mafia being a run-and-gun game for the most part, after all). However, there's a part of the "Better Get Used To It" mission where Tommy and Paulie have to beat the crap out of hoodlums with bats - and with careful maneuvering around the bad guys, Tommy can score several one-hit-KOs this way. Just be careful not to hit Paulie with this attack.
  • Battle Butler / Two Shots from Behind the Bar: Luigi, the bartender, packs a sawed-off shotgun behind the bar, and will not hesitate to gun you down if you attack any of your allies in the mid-mission stages.
    • The receptionist of the Corleone brothel also packs a sawed-off shotgun.
  • Benevolent Boss: Don Salieri (who turns out to be Not So Different from Morello, in the end).
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: After bursting in on the funeral of the guy you killed.
  • Bond One-Liner: "Man, that is one hot dame".
  • Born Lucky: Sergio Morello is one lucky bastard, escaping several assassinations attempts by the Salieri gang. Tommy eventually catches up to him and offs him, not before tearing through tons of armed mooks.
  • The City: The fictional city of Lost Heaven looks like a mix between New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Used by the Morello Family on Sam in "A Trip to the Country" and on a dockworker in "Buon Appetito!".
  • Collection Sidequests: Lucas Bertone's missions are essentially this, towards the end of some of the campaign's main missions. He rewards Tommy by teaching him how to steal rare cars, and gives him their location so he can steal them. Once brought back to Salieri's restaurant, they are parked alongside those Ralph provides to Tommy.
  • Convenient Misfire: The third assassination attempt on Sergio Morello has the Tommy Gun jam when Paulie tries to gun down the target in front of the Rainbow Garden Restaurant.
  • The Consigliere: Frank is Don Salieri's trusted counsellor. Until the day he betrays him.
  • Cool Car: The last cars Ralphie provides to Tommy, pretty much all the cars Lucas Bertone helps Tommy to steal and most of the bonus cars in the freeride mode are this.
  • Dashed Plot Line: The original game is a collection of various episodes of a long Mob War spread over the years, recounted by the Player Character.
  • Deadly Distant Finale: See Downer Ending below.
  • Deconstruction: The game's pretty much a realistic take on how much a risk would it be should one join the Mafia. Tommy was forced into joining the mob, since he had nothing to lose, but eventually is disillusioned as he witnesses his friends getting caught up and his morality at a slippery slope. Emphasized even further by the Downer Ending as described below.
    Tommy: For a while I felt like a king, until I came to a realization: If a regular guy like me could kill the most powerful man in the city, what good was all his power? Hell, if he hadn't been so powerful, he'd probably still be alive. It seemed to me that no matter how strong someone was, there was always somebody stronger to take them out.
  • Developers' Foresight: In an early mission, you need to save one of your allies during a protection money run. Normally, you get ambushed while saving him, and have to gun down the guys who steal your money during said ambush. That said, if you find the guy who steals from you and kill him before saving Sam, the mission ends then and there.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The whole game builds up to you finally dealing with Big Bad Don Morello, whose thugs are the ones who ran Tommy out of the taxi driver business in the first place. You finally manage to kill him about 3/4ths of the way through the game, with the remainder of the game dealing with the gradual collapse of Tommy's Mafioso lifestyle.
  • Discretion Shot: At the end of an early level, "The Running Man", there is one after the two mafiosi that have been chasing you go into Salieri's bar.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: During the mission where he has to assassinate a politician on his birthday party on a steamboat, Tommy disguises himself as a sailor and must find a gun in the toilets. As expected, he is disgusted as soon as he enters them.
  • Downer Ending: Tommy finishes telling his story, testifies against the family and gets 80 gangsters thrown in jail, with some getting the chair and Salieri himself getting life in prison. The police then gets him and his family new identities, moves them across the country to a good looking neighborhood and a respectable job for Tommy. Basically everything seems to have worked out great...then we flash forward 20 something years, where we see an aged Tommy watering his lawn when a couple of thugs show up. One of them calls Tommy by his real name (which was changed by the feds) and the other says "Mr. Salieri sends his regards" while he blasts Tommy in the chest with a sawn-off shotgun. The game then ends with his thoughts as he lies bleeding on the lawn. In Mafia II, Vito and Joe are revealed to be the hitmen.
  • Emergency Weapon: In most missions, Tommy carries a Colt Detective Special as a backup gun. It does pitiful damage and Tommy doesn't carry extra ammo for it, so it's only really good for headshoting someone and taking their gun if you run out of ammo for everything else. You can also resort to your fists, but against gun-wielding opponents you're pretty much already dead at that point if it comes down to that.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: Oddly enough, but only for cars.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Cars are a lot less explosion-prone than most other games in the genre, but they'll still go up in a fireball if you put a hundred rounds or so into the engine, or shoot the fuel tank a few times.
  • Fauxrrari: The original game leans more on the Bland-Name Product approach, with vehicles heavily resembling their real life counterparts aside from a few details altered here and there, and a Punny Name alluding to what the car is supposed to be based on, e.g. "Ulver Airstream" for the Chrysler Airflow.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Foreshadowing: In A Trip To The Country's opening, Paulie jibs Tommy for his Love Interest in Sarah, before bringing up that they simply can't talk about their criminal activity at home. Tommy's response boils down to, "You're just supposed to lie to your wife for the rest of your life?" Even after he does marry her, his witness protection status aside this is exactly what Tommy does to evade being found by the Salieri. Not that it works forever.
  • Former Friends Photo: Rival mob bosses Don Salieri and Don Morello are introduced as long-time bitter enemies, but towards the end of the game, Tommy finds an old photo of them back in their youth, when they were best friends working as caporegimes for the then-Don Peppone. This photo is part of what makes Tommy realize that Being Evil Sucks.
  • Framing Device: The game starts with Tommy meeting with the city's chief of police and recounting the events that led to him joining and eventually leaving the mafia, which forms the basis for the game's missions.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Tommy starts out as an ordinary cabbie, but eventually becomes a fearsome hitman.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: A minor one, but gangsters with shotguns in FreeRide, who start off driving a car, occasionally have a glitch where their shotguns rapid fire until they need to reload, which is deadly in close range, but not too much of a problem farther away.
  • Genre Shift:
    • For some levels, especially "Visiting Rich People" and "Happy Birthday!", the game turns into a Stealth-Based Game.
    • "Fairplay" is a Racing Game mission.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The cars in the game, which you need to collect to be able to access in other modes, and the Bonus Cars, which include a tank, Batmobile Expy, a hippie-mobile, and a fragile taxi that can go from 0 to 90 in less than a second.
    • That'd be the Phantom Corsair. As most other cars in Mafia, it is a real car with a few details changed and sans the marque name.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The enemies in the abandoned prison in "Election Campaign" have no reason to exist other than for a shootout. If Tommy approaches them unarmed, they attack him for absolutely no reason.
  • The Great Depression: The whole plot of the first Mafia, except the final scene of the epilogue, takes place between 1930 and 1938, dead smack in the middle of it.
  • The Hero Dies: Tommy was killed after moving out of his criminal life.
  • Hide Your Children: Semi-averted. What appears to be a youngster shows up in the opening FMV, and a mission had Tommy rescue Frank Colletti's daughter Alice along with her mother. Don't expect them to roam the streets in the main game and Freeride, though.
  • How We Got Here: The entire story is a series of Tommy's flashbacks, as he relates his criminal past to Detective Norman.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted. While Tommy can hide quite a few pistols in his coat, he can only conceal one large gun at a time while carrying another in his hands. Picking up a third large weapon or attempting to conceal your weapon will prompt Tommy to drop the one he is currently carrying. The sequel plays this trope straight.
  • In Medias Res: The game's Framing Device is that it's a massive flashback that Tommy relays to a cop while blowing the whistle on his boss.
  • In-Vehicle Invulnerability: Averted. Bullets can still hit you inside a car (although you gain some protection) and crashes will injure the occupants.
  • It Gets Easier: Played straight and deconstructed. Tommy gets used to gunning down enemy scum and defying the law for profit, but finds himself reluctant to kill people he feels empathy for. This signs his death warrant in the end.
  • It's Like I Always Say: Played with for irony:
    Tommy Before He Decides To Join The Mob: Better to be poor and alive than rich and dead, right?
    Tommy After He Decides To Join The Mob: So like I always say: better to die young and loaded.
  • Little Useless Gun: The Colt Detective Special compact revolver does pitiful damage (even less than the regular .38 special revolver) and has relatively poor accuracy. The only reason to use it is if you run out of ammo for all your other guns. In one of the final cutscenes, Tommy shoots a guy point blank in the chest with one, and after the cutscene ends the guy is perfectly fine and still shooting at you.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The PS2 port is the primary offender of this trope - it takes around 30 seconds - 1 minute for a mission, Freeride, or race to load. Add additional time to load up the New Ark/Hoboken district when crossing the Guiliano Bridge, entering the countryside, or going inside a building. Expect to clock half your game time waiting for the damn game to load. Averted with the PC version though - the time it takes is about 10 seconds and the game doesn't have to load when crossing the Guiliano Bridge.
  • Made of Iron: Unlike every other opponent in the game, the final boss can survive a staggering number of bullets, simply because he's the final boss (it takes at least 20 shots from the Colt M1911, which normally kills enemies in just a few hits). Notably, this game was made back when that sort of thing was still considered normal.
  • The Mafia: Well, duh.
  • Master of Unlocking: One mission for Don Salieri has Tommy recruiting the help of a lock picking master named Salvatore to steal a procurer's incriminating papers in his safe. Salvatore can open pretty much every safe in the country, and says it's hard to get up to date.
  • Meaningful Name: Thomas Angelo from the city of Lost Heaven, eh?
  • Mob War: Tommy gets caught in the war between the Salieri and Morello families.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Oddly enough, they are named as such before 1939, when the name was coined.
  • Mooks but No Bosses: With the notable exception of the final boss, all major enemy targets are either no tougher than regular enemies (i.e. Sergio Morello) or taken out in special scripted sequences such as in a car chase or sniper mission (i.e. Don Morello).
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Averted. Unlike almost all other shooters, enemies have the same limited amount of ammo as the player, and it's possible to see them run out during particularly long firefights and be forced to resort to fisticuffs.
    • On the other hand, all cars that pursue you during free ride, whether police- or gangster-driven, will be able to catch up to you. Enemy cars running away from you during scripted chase sequences can also defy the laws of physics, rounding corners with sharp L turns without experiencing any friction or driving straight through ambient traffic, sending civilian cars flying through the air without slowing down.
  • Nintendo Hard: Like many games from the time period, Mafia is noticeably harder than the modern average. You can't take a lot of hits, you don't have Regenerating Health, and in many action levels both healing items and checkpoints are few and far between. Even on Normal difficulty you have to play the game more like a tactical shooter rather than a standard third-person shooter.
  • No One Should Survive That: Sergio. Four times. In the end Tommy decides to just chase him down and kill him rather than being discreet about it.
  • One Bullet Clips: Mafia is one of those games that averts this trope, so be prepared to lose unused ammunition in your magazine when you reload. Oddly, this also applies to sawn-off shotguns, which are supposed to be fed with individual shells.
  • Police Are Useless: Surprisingly averted, considering the genre. Among other things, police will immediately react to speeding and running a red light, and are extremely competent at chasing you down if you try to drive away.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Sergio Morello, and some of the Prosecutor's guards in "Visiting Rich People".
  • Redemption Equals Death: Tommy himself at the end.
  • Reformulated Game: This led to a Porting Disaster on the PS2 and Xbox versions, which while retaining most of the content was a lot different compared to the PC release. The console releases also came with a bonus racing mode to compensate for the lack of a Freeride Extreme game mode.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Played straight with the relatively rare Smith & Wesson M 27 .357 magnum, which packs the big punch you'd expect. Averted with the Colt Detective Special and Smith & Wession Model 10, which fire low-power .38 special rounds and have reduced damage, stability, and fire and reload speed compared to the semi-auto Colt M1911, their only advantage being that ammo for them is somewhat more common since enemies tend to carry them more often.
  • Roof Hopping: Tommy escapes on rooftops after blowing a brothel's boss' office.
  • Run or Die: The second mission, appropriately named "Running Man". Morello's goons attack Tommy to exact revenge on him for aiding Sam and Paulie the previous night, and since Tommy is an unarmed, regular guy going up against two gunmen, he must leg it to Salieri's bar before they kill him.
  • Sadist: The Morello brothers love to inflict pain.
  • Satellite Love Interest: While Sarah does not exist solely to be Tommy's love interest (and, in a longer run, his wife) as one of the women Tommy needs to kill at one point turns out to be Sarah's close friend, thus making it harder for him to nail her and, in consequence, possibly making it easier for him to turn back to the light side of the law later on, but the fact remains Sarah has little to no personality and after she falls for Tommy basically overnight (and vice versa) she... never makes an appearance again while being mentioned maybe three or four times. And that happened like halfway through the game!
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: Nicknamed "Lupara". The first mission where Tommy can get one is the brothel Corleone, and Vicenzo gives him one on two occasions.
  • Ship Level: The mission in which Tommy has to assassinate the City Councilor takes place on a steamboat.
  • Shout-Out: The revolver that hidden in the toilets for Tommy to use immediately brings Michael Corleone's assassination of Virgil Sollozzo and Mark McCluskey in The Godfather to mind.
  • Silliness Switch: The Free Ride Extreme mini-campaign unlocked after beating the main game. It consists of 19 sidequests to unlock special cars; the first sidequest you're likely to find is to chase and kill a pedestrian who has Super Speed named Speedy Gonzales, and they get even sillier from there.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic: Leans heavily towards the realistic side. Cars handle a lot less "floaty" than more higher-action games like Grand Theft Auto, driving takes mass and momentum into account so you turn slower than in most other driving games and can't just accelerate or brake on a dime, and even moderate damage to the engine can seriously affect you vehicle's performance. Gunplay-wise, the game averts One Bullet Clips, both you and the enemies can run out of ammo in extended firefights, and everyone dies after only a few shots.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Paulie, at the start of "The Death Of Art".
  • Stumbled Into the Plot: Tommy Angelo is an honest taxi driver as the game opens, when he is forced at gunpoint to help a couple mobsters escape from a rival family's attack. Later on, the same rivals destroy his car in revenge, so he has no choice but to join up with the family he unwillingly helped before.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Falling in the water means instant death.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Billy, the son of the City Councilor, leads a gang that terrorizes the Salieri family's neighborhood in Little Italy and would have raped Sarah had Tommy not protected her. Don Salieri responds by sending Tommy and Paulie to their hideout in Chinatown to "take care of them".
  • Tranquil Fury: Most characters get at least one. Morello gets a particularly creepy one partway through the game (mostly due to limited face rigging capability at the time, but still).
  • Unwinnable by Mistake:
    • In "The Death of Art", if Tommy runs towards the entrance of the stairs to access the museum's upper floor, grenades will be thrown too soon and the Salieri mook calling his comrades will be killed. This results in the cutscene not happening and the mooks standing still and being intangible, making it impossible to finish the level.
    • Two missions in Freeride Extreme (Bridge Bombing and Exploding Celeste) involve outrunning bombs that explode at a rate tied to games framerate, making them impossible to complete on modern hardware.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can run over people, shoot them, stab them, and cause gigantic amounts of mayhem, and the people will just keep taking it; even if you block traffic and then drag people out of their cars one at a time and shoot them, the rest will just keep honking their horns till they're dragged out too.
  • Wham Episode: "The Death of Art".
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: When Don Salieri or Paulie hire Tommy for a mission, they usually tell him everything's gonna be fine. Cue Morello's men showing up, and the ensuing shootout.
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: The final stage takes place in an art gallery. Nearly everything can be broken, and those that can't be can still show very large bullet holes. Feel free to wreak havoc on priceless works of art. At the end of the level, the detective whom you're recalling the story to will even chastise you for wrecking so much priceless art.
  • Witness Protection: Frank gets one after testifying against the Salieri gang and Tommy has to fight his way to catch up with him. Tommy himself gets police protection and a new identity and home at the end after testifying against Salieri. It doesn't prevent Salieri from finding him however, even if it took some years.

Alternative Title(s): Mafia


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