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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 hitman in the entire mob.
Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven (2002) is a Third-Person Shooter developed by Illusion Softworks (later renamed 2K Czech), which combines an affectionate pastiche to the classic mafia movies (The Godfather and co.) with the Grand Theft Auto-like gameplay to produce a sweeping storyline with many sudden revelations, intense gunfights, and adrenaline-laden car chases. 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.
The game featured 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. However, despite being originally released for PC, the game is probably known to many for its god-awful Playstation 2 port, which, due to a significant drop in processing and programming power, lost many of these unique perks.
- 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 Did Not Do the Research 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 in their Winter War, ten years later.
- Back Seats Are Just for Show
- Bad Boss: Don Morello
- Battle Butler/Two Shots From Behind the Bar: Luigi, the bartender, packs a shotgun behind the bar, and will not hesitate to gun you down if you attack any of your allies in the mid-mission stages.
- 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."
- Career Killers: Tommy, Paulie, and Sam
- The Consigliere: Frank
- Cool Car: Most of the bonus cars in the freeride mode.
- Dashed Plotline: 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.
- Discretion Shot: At the end of an early level, The Running Man, there is one after the two mafiosos that have been chasing you go into Salieri's bar.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 "Happy Birthday!", the game turns into a Stealth Based Game--specifically, and appropriately, Hitman.
- 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.
- 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
- Hide Your Children: Semi-averted. What appears to be a young boy 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: Adverted. While Tommy can hide quite a few pistols in his coat, he can can only conceal one large gun at the time while carrying another in his hands. Picking up a third large weapon will prompt Tommy to drop the one he is currently carrying. The sequel plays this trope straight.
- 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
- It's Like I Always Say...: Played with for irony:
Tommy Before He Decides To Join The Mob: "It's like my mom used to tell me: better to be poor and healthy than rich and dead."
Tommy After He Decides To Join The Mob: "It's like I always say: better to live good, quick, and loaded."
- Loads and Loads of Loading: The Play Station 2 port is the primary offender of this trope - it takes up to 5-10 minutes for a mission, a cutscene or Freeplay to start up. Add additional time to load up the New Ark/Hoboken district when crossing the Guiliano Bridge and the countryside (in some missions). Expect to clock half your game time waiting for the damn game to load. Averted with the PC version though - it omits loading screens in between map changes and only uses them for mission startups or cutscenes (and the time it takes is at least 10 seconds).
- The Mafia: Where do we start?
- Meaningful Name: Thomas Angelo from the city of Lost Heaven, eh?
- Mob War
- 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.
- Roof Hopping: Rooftop escape after blowing a hotel.
- Stop Helping Me!: Though they are usually pretty intelligent, the main character's partners (especially Sam, for some reason) will occasionally get a bit too enthusiastic and run straight into trouble.
- Super Drowning Skills
- Third-Person Shooter
- Tranquil Fury: Most characters get at least one. Morello gets a particularly creepy one partway through the game.
- 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.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: Angelo, Lost Heaven, etc.
- The mob boss is named Salieri. In Amadeus, Salieri declared himself an enemy of God.
- 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.