An instant brownie point for Mafia Contract II, a graphic adventure from Atlantis: it has a Ram Save that allows you to instantly store any position just before you do something that feels like it might be disastrous.
Such a facility improves an adventure's playability around 20 per cent in one fell swoop.
Praise awarded, it has to be said Mafia Contract isn't graphically much to enthuse about, most of the location illustrations are simple looking affairs, all straight edges and simple shapes. They also take ages to draw though there is, thankfully, an option to turn them off.
The adventure itself is a bit of a curate's egg. I liked the way it began relatively simply and the occasional sound effects. But I hated the way sometimes whether you die or not is a pure lucky dip - you get two choices, make the wrong one and it's instant death.
The plot is moderately original. The game opens with you a Godfather recluse in your enormous mansion. You're in hiding since you gave a rival gang leader a St Valentine's Day present he'd never forget. The game begins in the thick of an assault on your hideout by mobsters from another gang. You see them storm the landing on your TV monitors, you see your boys being cut down, the door is locked. What do you do now?
It soon becomes obvious how to get out of the room and after dying a couple of times you'll soon figure out how to rub out the guys on the landing. My complaint is that there is not that much by way of genuine intelligent puzzles requiring logic and patience. Instead you get the lucky dip win or die choices. That's not reasoning, that's luck.
Not a bad plot, a few nice touches (like the machine gun effects when you rub out the boys), naff graphics and nothing for the serious adventurer to get his or her teeth into. Quite a good introductory adventure for novices, however.
Author: Neil Smyth
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
Nice touches but not for serious adventurers. Strong on ideas, weak on carrying them through.