Bet you're thinking something like: "Made Man, Made Man. Hmm. Who gets 'made'? Oh, yeah. Bloody gangsters. This is another bloody gangster game. Bugger this, what's on the next page..."
But just wait there, before you go off on one. Yeah, it's a gangster game, and yeah, the lead character is fond of phrases like 'Forgeddabout it!' and 'Quit breaking my balls!' But as for all those other gangster game clichés - respect, stashing the cash, yada, yada - they're surplus to requirements here. The whole gangster thing is only spoken of in the plot, so as not to get in the way of what the game really is: a pure, unadulterated shooter.
It's the sort of thing you used to get years ago, before shooters got fancy ideas above their station and started pinching bits out of other games. You'll find no vehicle sections, or stealth bits, or gang recruiting. You just shoot stuff. People mainly. Although you can also shoot windows out, but mainly that's so you can shoot the people behind them. And call us sick, twisted, whatever you like, but shooting people in Made Man is great.
Obviously the most important thing to get right when you're making a game about pumping loads of fellas with loads of lead is the nitty-gritty of firing a weapon. Ideally you want to be able to swing your targeting reticule about the screen freely, but not wildly, and you want a nice primal bark every time you unload a barrel to confirm you are about to vaporise someone's brain, not sneeze in their face. On both counts Made Man succeeds, so much so that the game's shortcomings - its fairly repetitive premise, the sometimes samey level design, the rough graphics - can be forgiven.
Seventeen levels tell the story of how Joey Verola comes to find himself heading to be 'made' by his Mafia bosses. Driving with his nephew through New York, he tells of his first dodgy job (picking up cigarettes in the Deep South), to how he met Eggs in 'Nam (the chap who introduced Verola to the Mafia) and all his other exploits. But while the story - written by Mafia expert David Fisher - drives the game through three decades (with some good, gritty voice acting), it never gets in the way of the action, which sees you pitted into the scenarios Verola describes.
The Jump to Cover move is another simple yet effective feature that highlights areas which will provide protection. Hitting X locks you securely to safety, so you can blast away (although some of it can be destroyed).
So you see, you were right to not be hasty. Made Man is a fine shooter after all, not just another crime sim-bynumbers. It's nothing you've not played before, but you won't have played anything as single-minded for a while. Forgeddabout it at your peril.
- Simple, addictive gunplay
- Decent, well-told story
- Useful Jump to Cover move
- It's not breaking new ground