aka: Mafia Classic, Mafia: La Cosa Nostra, Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven
Moby ID: 7190
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Tommy Angelo was an ordinary taxi driver trying to make a living on the streets of Lost Heaven until one day an unexpected meeting changed his life forever. Two men jump into his cab, telling him to drive as fast as he can. Bullets begin to hit the cab, and a car with armed pursuers gets closer. Barely escaping a violent death, Tommy obeys the instructions of the two men and delivers them to a bar of their choice.

Impressed with his driving skills, the men pay him and offer him a job in the mafia. The next day, while Tommy is taking a coffee break, his cab is smashed by two rival gangsters. After this, he recalls the proposition from yesterday, and, without much hesitation, joins the Salieri family, making his first steps on the path of organized crime. While performing missions for Salieri, Tommy gradually begins to regret his choice. However, it turns out that joining the mafia was much easier than leaving it.

Mafia is an action and driving game set in the 1930s in Lost Heaven, a fictional city in the USA modeled after New York and Chicago of the Prohibition Era. Similar to GTA games, it consists of free-roaming (driving or on foot) in a large city, completing missions to advance the narrative. The missions often include driving to various locations, car chases, and one race; however, most of them are structured like fairly large and long third-person shooter levels.

The player will have the chance to drive over sixty vehicles that are reminiscent of the 1930's period. Each car handles it differently, with various degrees of damage. It is possible to smash windows, destroy bumpers, lights, and mirrors, dent the car, shoot out the tires, or shoot the tires so much that they fall off. To add to the realism, if the car's gas tank gets punctured, gas will slowly leak out until the car totally empties. There are gas stations scattered throughout the city, allowing the player to refuel. With these vehicles, the player is able to explore twelve square miles of the city, visiting areas such as Central Island, Chinatown, and the Downtown district.

Complementing the vehicles is an array of weapons, such as pistols, tommy guns, shotguns, explosives, baseball bats, and crowbars. While driving a car, Tommy can perform a drive-by, sticking his hand out the window and firing. Trying to impede him is the police force; they will act on anything suspicious. If they see Tommy carrying a weapon, they will attempt to arrest him. Going over the speed limit, running red lights, crashing into buildings, cars, or objects will result in fines.

Tommy is often given new cars to use during the missions, usually provided by Ralph, the mechanic of the Salieri family. The player can also save hijacked cars in the backyard of the bar belonging to Salieri. Weapons can be acquired at the beginning of a mission by Vincenzo, the local arms dealer.


  • Мафия - Russian spelling
  • מאפיה - Hebrew spelling
  • 四海兄弟:失落的天堂 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

196 People (195 developers, 1 thanks) · View all

Development Director
Lead Programmer
LS3D Engine Director
Director Of Photography
Art Director
Written and Directed by
Level Design
Collision, Facial Animations and Cutscene Editor
AI Programming
Physics Engine Programming
LS3D Engine Team
Additional Programming
LS3D Editor Plug-ins
Character Design
[ full credits ]



Average score: 85% (based on 53 ratings)


Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 210 ratings with 9 reviews)

Almost Perfect.

The Good
The story: it's brilliant.

A tale of gangsters, well written, well narrated, well developed, with a bunch of well crafted characters, an interesting plot, violence, guns, the mid 30's and their beautiful cars.

The game is short enough for not being boring; it's not a endless series of senseless missions in a city where you don't die (you know what I mean), the missions always make sense, and if you die, well, you'll have to try again.

And you WILL die. At first, I didn't like this feature, but, if you think about it, you'll love it as much as I did in the end: when you are hit (and I mean, with a bullet), sometimes you won't be able to shoot or move, and sometime you will die if the enemies hit you in the right place, with just one single shot. "That's unfair" I hear... No, it's not, it's realistic. And it's great.

The cars are fantastic replicas of the classics from the 30's, and if the police catch you speeding, they'll chase you and eventually you'll have to pay a fine, and it's better to pay, or you'll end up in jail, and that means the game is over.

The enemies are not the smartest ever, but they can be quite challenging in some missions; they'll shoot and they'll take cover, to see if they can catch you by surprise.

The Bad
Most of the things I didn't like were related to the buggy game engine: pop-in distance, awful textures, loading between areas...

The music: it is always the same tune on the radio! It's just as catchy as annoying, and believe me, you'll be whistling it for weeks.

The game difficulty is sometimes not balanced: some missions are a piece of cake, and some others can put your patience to test.

The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a game with a good story, and you like gangster's movies, look no more. This is it: it shares a lot of things with Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto and the "The Godfather" saga. I loved it.

Xbox · by Tiroloco (15) · 2008

So good I would join the Mafia to get it! Capisci?!

The Good
The first decade of the 21st century was marked by a rise in creativity in Eastern European game-making. Among the new games that were developed in those countries that used to dwell in the shadow of communist regimes, the Czech Mafia stands out as the one that found its way into the mainstream and became an instant hit within its genre.

Mafia was truly one of those "games you can't put down" for me. From mission to mission, my appreciation to it grew and increased. It was so clear that the Czech developers loved their game so much and invested everything in it, left in it a part of their souls. When a game is created with so much dedication, you just feel those vibes coming at you.

Since Mafia was conceived as a GTA clone, the inevitable question is of course "how does this game compare to GTA games"? I can only give you this advice: don't compare. I started playing Mafia while thinking of GTA, and that was a mistake. It took me some time to appreciate this game for what it was. GTA games are great at what they do, and Mafia is great at what it does. Their goals are different. GTA is about pure fun, diversity, and humor; Mafia is serious and realistic. In GTA, you are happy to perform all kinds of crazy things even though you know they are impossible; in Mafia, you are immersed into a genuine life of a mafioso. GTA is arcade-like fun, while Mafia is hardcore action. GTA is about insanely versatile and totally unrealistic missions tied by silly plots sparked by satire; Mafia is about down-to-earth assignments and serious third-person shooter gameplay crowned by a meaningful story. They are different, they are both great, and we need them both.

That doesn't mean that there is no fun to be had in Mafia. Oh no, there is plenty of it. Just like in GTA games, you can wreak havoc in the city, running over pedestrians, shooting people, blowing up cars, etc. You can hotwire and hijack cars and just drive around, enjoying the beautiful scenery. But it is clear that the focus of the game is not on that. In GTA, driving was clearly more important than shooting; in Mafia, it's the other way around. The "meat" of the game are its missions, in which shooting sequences take much more weight than the driving ones.

Mafia is above all a fantastic action game. It is challenging and sometimes frustrating in a good way. The large, varied, excellently designed levels, the tricky foes, the realistic way the weapons are handled - everything indicates a first-rate shooter. It is full of unforgettable moments - I'm sure each player has fond memories of how he crouched behind a wall with only two hitpoints left and no health kits in sight, with vicious shotgun-wielding maniacs waiting around the corner; how he desperately charged into a guarded building, diving to the side and giving the gangsters a taste of the old trusty Thompson; how he finally reached that checkpoint, read the magic words "the game was saved", removed the sweaty, trembling hands from the mouse and sat back, pouring a glass of water to quench the thirst of the dry throat...

Mafia never lets go, it is always ready to greet the player with yet another nerve-wrecking episode. There is always great variety in the shooting parts of the game: besides the usual "kill everyone" missions, there are stealth missions, melee fighting, sniping; the levels are massive outdoor environments, narrow corridors, a boat, an abandoned prison, docks, airport, art museum; each and every level is memorable, each and every mission is different in terms of goals and execution, but similar in the amount of pure suspense and adrenaline-raising action. Mafia would have been a great game even if it didn't have the driving parts.

But the driving is also great fun. The city in Mafia is a wonderful place to explore. Everything is done with outstanding care. The city is very large, with several drastically different areas: busy city center with skyscrapers, charming areas with old buildings, a rich district with villas, a workers' quarter, a lovely countryside, etc. There is a vast amount of different cars to steal and to drive; all of them have an authentic look and feel of the thirties. There are fully interactive trams and trains in the city that you could board if you are tired of exploring the city by car or on foot. While most of the driving serves as just a prelude to the actual missions, there are also several suspenseful chase sequences and an incredibly challenging (fortunately, with a difficulty level slider if you apply the much-needed patch), but excellent racing mission with the coolest cars you've ever seen.

Mafia has beautiful, detailed graphics, excellent music and sound effects. I just love the main theme (the music that plays when you access the main menu and also during the most important cutscene). It is done in the style of those heart-wrenching Italian melodies for gangster movies and it fits the game's story so well.

Speaking of which: Mafia is a very story-driven game, much more so than the GTA games, in which the stories were there mostly to tie the missions together and also served as excuses for bringing up as many satiric scenes as possible. The story of Mafia is very serious, tragic, and could in all honesty serve as a plot for a good gangster movie. There is something indescribably honest and direct in this story: it is warm and humane without being sentimental, concise without being dry or underdeveloped, and moving without being melodramatic. There is a lot of understanding in this story, but also a lot of realism, which is naturally not always pleasant, since it is a story about organized crime, after all. Above all, it is poignant and very sincere. The dialogues might appear plain in the beginning, but there is a lot of power in those precise, clear sentences. Characters tend to have moral discussions, so those dialogues are full of quotes that illustrate the happenings in the story and are stuck in the memory of the player. The story just gets better and better as the game progresses, with plot twists to follow, until it culminates in the outstanding ending.

The Bad
Mafia will satisfy you only if you don't come to it expecting crazy GTA-style antics. It is less ambitious and it generally goes only for what matters most. I imagine some people wouldn't appreciate its austere nature, sparse side activities, and relentless difficulty level. Be sure to apply the patch, since the race is almost unbeatable without it. Also, being killed by the last enemy left in the level and having to restart the whole mission is understandably frustrating. I don't like limited saving options in games and strongly oppose this treatment; but somehow, the gameplay here was so engaging that I almost didn't mind.

The voice acting could be called "uneven". Not just because some actors are better than others; the same actor's performance can range from convincing to adequate to almost fake during different dialogues. In a game with such a dramatic, serious story, everything that falls below "convincing" reduces the intensity of the experience. I also think that they could have worked more on the expressions on people's faces; they are absolutely bland. So many times Tommy is distressed, angry, or desperate; his face never betrays any of these emotions, and sometimes it just looks silly, especially when combined with the less than emotional voice acting.

The Bottom Line
Mafia gives you everything you would expect from a great action title: nerve-wrecking suspense and intense fights, great levels and atmospheric scenery; it also gives you a gorgeous city to explore while driving cool, stylish cars from the thirties; and on top of this, it has outstanding cinematic qualities and tells a good story. If you don't go and play this game now, I'll have to liquidate you on behalf of the Don.

Windows · by Unicorn Lynx (181794) · 2015

One of my all-time favorite games.

The Good
The atmosphere of this game, brought to us by the sound, music, and incredible graphics have never been this good for a mafia game. There may never come a better mafia game.

I don't know jack about cars, especially cars of the era, but the graphics sure do look good, so I'm going to go ahead and say that all the cars are realistically portrayed in the game with realistic physics and sounds. But one thing I noticed that I particularly liked was that you could really damage them. Unlike most games, if you hit a car, it will become dented in a certain predefined way. But in Mafia, every spot on the car seems to have a unique damage area, with scratches and bullet holes contributing to it. Tires will pop and windshields will break, your mirror will break off and your car can explode. Most of the time in the game, whether you're walking down the streets of Lost Heaven or driving through the winding countryside roads, it feels like you're an actor in a movie. A great movie.

Throwing away your ammo clip will actually cost you some ammo! Finally! Odd that this long-awaited realism was brought to us by a game that doesn't focus entirely on guns.

The game's story spans about a decade and you will be engrossed in the life of Tommy from the opening scene up until the final battle. Every mission you go on tells a tale that adds more to Tommy's character, as well as the other characters in the game.

Every mission is unique, though most require you to kill a lot of bad guys. Some missions require you to go out and assassinate someone, others you might just have to "rough someone up" a bit and damage their cars, some others might just be trying to escape from the cops or an opposing gang, wildly flying down the roads and taking sharp corners while bullets decorate the back of your car and your buddy hangs outside the window with his tommygun blazing.

While most of the game you're either supposed to be going somewhere or escaping somewhere, you can take advantage of times when you're not under the clock or in trouble by just driving around the very large city of Lost Heaven...maybe get out of your car and beat the hell out of a pedestrian for looking at you funny, too. Or steal a car and run the sucker over like in Grand Theft Auto. Yes, this game can quite easily turn into GTA for the 30s. There is even a special playing mode specifically designed for this. And when you complete the game, another mode unlocks that lets you go nuts in the city without any police resistance!

There are many guns of the era to play with in the game, and those which require one hand to use you can even use while driving! Driving and IS as hard in the game as it might be in real life. But if you're good, you might shoot out the enemy's tires and watch him fly off the road into a pole.

Running into a wall at sixty miles and hour WILL hurt you. It can even kill you. They didn't have airbags back then, you know.

As your cars take more and more damage, they become less reliable and well...useless to drive. It isn't just the "your car slows down" thing of most car games. No, your tires, your engine, anything that has been damaged will seperately contribute to your car's performance.

There's law in the city! You can't run over the speed limit, you can't crash into people or walls, you can't run a red light. Hey, how about that? You might just get a ticket - but if you step outside with a tommygun in your hands, the cops will either try to arrest you or blow you away.

Your actions on one mission carry over to the next. I wrecked my car on a turn in one mission, and when I played the next, the car was still there, toppled over on the side of the road.

Between missions, you can do secondary missions for a guy who'll tell you how to steal cars and where to find a nice car to steal. These missions usually involve racing accross the city to get to a guy before the cops do, or helping a guy escape from the cops.

Everyone talks about "that damn race level". I felt that it was greatly exaggerated. I finished it on my fourth try, and it was fun! I went back and did it again just for the heck of it. Anyone with any experience with racing games should be able to finish it with ease.

The excitement that builds up in the game can spawn some great stories to be told to your friends. Like when I had every cop in the city - as well as a rival gang - after me, I was driving this really slow car and I hit this ramp that went over this fence at a very slow speed. I touched the ground not far from the fence, but the cops and gang members who were chasing me hit the ramp fast, and each one after the other flew over my head, crashing into each other like something out of Blues Brothers. I remember another time when me an' Pauly had to go 'whack' somebody, but I was very badly injured. I was about one hit from getting killed and we were walking down this alley. I was peeking around the corner, seeing who was there, when I saw a man sneak up behind me. I didn't have time to turn around, and just as the man raised his bat to strike me down - which would have been a killing blow - BLAM! Pauly blows the guy away just a split second before my death. Or another time when I was able to survive only barely after having my car shot to pieces on the side of the dock. I got out of my car and hid behind it, ready to jump out and start shooting. But then my car exploded and sent my hopefully already dead body into the river. Or maybe the time when I pulled over while a rival gang was after me, and while the cop was writing the ticket, the rival gang car pulled right up next to us, the gang members leaned out and shot us to hell with their tommy guns! Ah, I laugh out loud just remembering the non-scripted elements of the game.

Cars don't just drive around aimlessly (though they'll circle blocks a few times and stuff like that). You'll see cars park and then pedestrians get out. Taxis will pick up people and drive away. You can even drive a taxi in the game.

The city is gigantic, the game is huge, the story is incredible - I nearly shed a tear at the end - the graphics rock, the sound is great...this is one of my all time favorite games.

The Bad
Driving around got a bit boring at times. A lot of missions require you to drive accross the city a few times to do things, and after you've "seen the sights" a few times already, it just feels like a chore. Especially if you do something stupid and end up getting arrested by the cops, thus ending the mission, and have to do it all over again.

Hey, why am I getting pulled over because some other idiot broke the law?! Sometimes, the civilian cars are...well...just kinda dumb. I've seen them do some crazy things. Like drive on the wrong side of the road, run red lights, fly out from nowhere, hit me, and just drive on. And if they hit YOU, even if you were not at fault, and a cop sees it, you'll probably get ticketed.

Whoowhee - don't believe what they tell you when they say you have the "recommended requirements". Running this game (on full detail) might chug a bit with even the fastest, most powerful computers. My computer is far from the best, but it certainly is good, and I had to nearly drip my detail levels to the lowest just to get a frame rate higher than 6 FPS while driving (though indoor areas ran just fine).

Your "wife" only appears in one mission, though she has references throughout the game. I wish they had done more with her, at least added her to a cutscene or something to give her a bit more depth.

Shooting while driving is pretty inacurate, and not because it's "hard to do", but because you don't have a very good reference while driving. All you really see is your arm hanging outside the window and a crosshair, but the crosshair doesn't help if your arm isn't aimed in the place, so it's impossible to aim correctly if the target isn't slightly ahead of you or right beside you.

Okay, the race level. I'll put it in "the bad" because most people hate it like the devil. If you've never played a racing game in your life - and don't have a steering wheel - it'll probably be hell for you, too.

I've heard people talk about bugs that prevent them from finishing levels and the like, in which they have to restart the entire mission - not just restart from the last save - in order to fix it. I did encounter this bug, in the very last level. When I told a friend about it, he remarked, "just the one?" so apparently it happens pretty often. Maybe I just got lucky.

On the last level, the gun guy's location isn't pointed out on the map. Grrrrr!

A multiplayer option would have been cool.

The Bottom Line
Combine elements of GTA3 with a 3rd person shooter and throw in a great immersive story that'll have you playing from beginning to end and you have this masterpiece. Mafia is an epic cinematic computer game that shouldn't be passed up by anyone (well, except those who have slow computers, heh)

Windows · by kbmb (415) · 2002

[ View all 9 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
References to heavy metal?! Simoneer (29) Sep 12, 2010
Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven Indra was here (20768) Sep 1, 2010


1001 Video Games

Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

German version

The German version of Mafia has been censored. There is no blood when running over or attacking people. Also, pedestrians cannot be killed, they just lie down on the ground and take cover. Interestingly enough, the in-game cutscenes still have all the blood effects.


The game features a fictional luxury car called the Phaeton. Two years after the game's release, Volkswagen has released a new luxury car also called the Phaeton. Coincidence?


  • One mission has you entering a hotel named "Hotel Coreleone". Coreleone is the famous family name from the The GodFather movies.
  • Another mission has you stealing cigars from a box labeled "Scorsese Import/Export". Scorsese is in reference to the film director Martin Scorsese, who has directed many mob movies, including GoodFellas and Casino.
  • The names of the opponents during the car-race are taken from actual people, mostly frontmen of heavy metal bands, like Mark "Barney" Greenway from Napalm Death, Chris Barnes from Cannibal Corpse or Kirk Windstein from Crowbar.
  • The museum at the end of the game is a detailed clone of the "Kunsthistorisches Museum" in Vienna, Austria. Illusion Softworks, the Czech-based company who developed the game, obviously chose the building as an inspiration for the level.

Voice acting

In the German version of the game, Mogens von Gadow voices Paulie. Von Gadow is the German voice of actor Joe Pesci who performed in Scorsese's mob movies Goodfellas and Casino.


  • 4Players
    • 2002– Best PC Action Game of the Year
    • 2002– Best PC Action Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2002– #6 Best PC Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2003 (Issue #225) – Best Music of the Year
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • February 13, 2003 - Best Game in 2002 (Readers' Vote)
    • February 13, 2003 - Best Action Game in 2002 (Readers' Vote)
    • February 13, 2003 - Most Innovative Game in 2002 (Readers' Vote)
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 11/2005 - #4 Game Which Absolutely Needs A Sequel (it eventually got in in 2010)

Information also contributed by Daniel Saner, Gargaj, Indra was here, Lumpi, Wizo and Zack Green


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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by JPaterson.

Xbox added by Corn Popper. PlayStation 2 added by Horny-Bullant.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Isdaron, Jeanne, Zack Green, Crawly, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger, Plok, Victor Vance, FatherJack, UgraUgra.

Game added September 4, 2002. Last modified February 23, 2024.