Preview by: M. Brewer
I was recently asked to preview one of the new titles from the line-up of Whiptail Interactive - a relatively new publisher who made a name for itself with the publication of controversial Postal 2. Gangland. The game is developed by Media Mobsters, a new, but promising Danish based developer.
A quick summary of the story for those who have not heard about it before:
There were five brothers Romano, Angelo, Sonny, Chico and Mario. As kids they were inseparable as they grew up on Sicily with their grandparents. As they grew older three of the brothers became more and more unsatisfied with the quiet life in the Mediterranean and one day they killed their own brother Chico in a fight, whereafter they fled to the land of opportunity, where they began each their own criminal career.
That made grandpa very upset... He sent his fourth grandchild to America to track down and kill his malicious brothers and avenge the murder. First thing Mario should do when he arrives is to look up his uncle Vincente...
After checking the website of the developers for some more information on the actual gameplay itself I became pretty interested in the game, which promised RPG, RTS, Simulation and Action elements. So i sat down and immersed myself in the mean world of organized crime and sweet revenge.
At the start of the single player campaign (of which 2 levels are featured in the beta we played), you can pick which of the 4 brothers you would like to play. Each of them has his own strong points. Fans of the genre will immidiately feel familiar with the way the character selection is set up, being forced to choose between the brains or the brawn, the top guns and the character who couldnt handle a bee-bee gun properly.
The game itself is set in a fictional city, by the name of Paradise City. The first mission in the game shows the chosen character ariving in America and ending up in front of the building owned by good old uncle Vincente. Your character walks in, and after a few greetings your uncle immidiately sends you out on a simple assignment, to see what kind of stuff you are made of. You have to muscle the local arms dealer who is just across the street out of some ammo, because the current stocks are nearly depleted. To help you he sends one of his lower thugs along, by the name of Tony, to help you get the goods. Just in case he also hands you a piece. Using Tony to take care of the goons the arms dealer had in his employment, i quickly assured a steady supply of ammo for uncle Vincente
The mission then continues and the ultimate goal is to take over a whole range of stores/buisnesses in order to asure a steady flow of cash into your organisation, but also a number of commodities such as liquor and such. This is where the simulation part of the game comes into play. You have to manage your buisnesses and deal with other factions, and these items can be a nice perk when it comes to bartering for good contracts. A whole other variety of buisnesses can be set up as well including that all time favourite, the brothel.
The rpg elements in the game is your avarage STAT system with which you can improve your character on several levels.
The action portion of the game conaists of everything from gunfights to all out brawls and fistfights, adding to the fun factor of the game.
Since Paradise city is a big place you will sometimes need to steal a car to get around, which is easily accomplished. A car can be used in a variety of other ways besides transportation, you can for example use it to do a hit on a rival gang.
The game also has the so called "Challenge" mode where you have to hold your own against an overwhelming amount of enemies with only a limited force on your own side.
The final version of the game will contain 26 levels ( 16 story based and 10 conquest ). It will also feature a multiplayer option, but unfortunately this was not yet included in the copy we received, hence we couldnt test it.
The game features nice crisp 3d graphics - they arent spectacular, but they suit the gameplay just fine. Sporting high resolutions the game looks nice enough in 32 bit mode and plays very smoothly on the low end test machine ( AMD 1900+ mhz, Geforce 4 TI 4200, 512mb 233mhz ram ).
The game features some great tracks that sweep you up into the game and fit perfectly with the decor of the corrupted city that is Paradise City. The game also has your average array of sound effects, but nothing that really stands out.
Gangland is set to hit the mean streets of your local software retailer in March, and based on what I have seen in this beta this game is definitly a gem in the making, with a bit of fine tuning and polishing gangland will be a great hit. For more information on the game visit the developer's website or the publisher's page.