Gangland Review

We head to rough streets to start our own crime syndicate, in this strategy game.

Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 10th March 2004


  • Developer: MediaMobsters
  • Publisher: Whiptail Interactive
  • Release Date: 27th February 2004

When we first got our paws on the preview version of Gangland we decided that the game looked promising at the very least and now thankfully, after hours of addicted gameplay we have come to the conclusion that we were certainly right the first time, Gangland does not disappoint.

It all centres around 5 brothers who started their lives in Sicily. Despite the family honour that these ‘families’ are famous for one of the men is murdered by 3 of the brothers who then flee to America. Brother no.5, the one still alive in Sicily, is angry at the family’s recent events and on the orders of his grandfather, travels to America to track down the murderous brothers and seek revenge, hence restoring family honour. Didn’t their mother ever teach them that two wrongs don’t make a right? Kids!

Once in the USA, the revengeful brother must go to his uncle Vincente and it is this man who starts off your characters career in America giving you small tasks to complete, helping you make a name for yourself. These tasks range from delivering packages, killing specific police officers and taking over or extorting local businesses.

To help you in your objectives you can hire men from around the city all with their own unique ways of sorting out the bad guys. Some of these people carry guns, some carry sprays in which to daze enemies and some are simply thugs who use their fists to get through difficulties.

As well as the violent aspect of the brothers ‘work’ he is also an apt business man who is able to walk into local establishments and offer deals to the owners. Extorting the owner gives you 25% of all profits whilst actually taking over the business makes you an equal partner and you will receive 50% of whatever the business makes.

Controls are pretty simple with a classic point and click set up. Actions such as shooting, conversation and object pick ups are controlled by the left mouse button whilst, as far as I can tell, the right mouse button remains useless.

Gangland also offers players the opportunity to drive a few vehicles although this really is one of the worst aspects of the game. Cars are extremely slow and chunky (think brick on wheels), controls for driving are clumsy and unresponsive and the cars themselves are strictly limited to the road meaning even the slightest mistake and you are left smashing into the kerb, scraping along at snail pace and basically making you wonder why you didn’t just walk, it would’ve certainly been quicker!

Naturally you didn’t just come to America to drive bad cars and perform lap dog duties for your uncle, you are an up and coming gangster and in the process of finding your brothers you also want to make a name for yourself! This is done by taking over local businesses, acquiring your own safe houses and well, being ruthless. Aside from this you can also start your own family, not family as in hordes of men in suits with guns but family as in wife and kids. It takes a man to raise a gangster and today’s toddlers may become tomorrow’s mobsters, you hope anyway.

Despite the game been extremely addictive in some ways it is extremely frustrating in others. The biggest frustration comes from the fact that you can’t save the game mid way through a level, you must first complete the campaign and the game automatically saves your progress. This is highly annoying when you have spent almost an hour getting through a particular campaign and then all off a sudden you are killed and have to go through it all again.

Another annoyance is the enemy AI which allows enemy gang members, police officers and even normal civilians to suddenly attack you for no reason at all and at one point my main character was stuck in a building been ‘sprayed’ by a street girl, I couldn’t move as I was dazed and nobody was attacking me and she kept on and on until eventually I had to restart the mission as I had no other option.

Graphically Gangland is pretty good the games action takes place in Paradise City, a place which consists of old fashioned town hall style buildings, warehouses and industrial settings alongside strip bars, gun shops and numerous neon lighted hot spots. The camera can be a bit of a problem, in particular the scrolling and turning which can result in a confusing, frustrating fight with the controls to bypass a view obstructing tree!

Overall Gangland is a great game to play, certainly addictive and one of those games where even though you keep getting killed you can't help but go back for more just to progress that little bit further. Apart from the cars the control system on the whole is pretty good and the freedom to do whatever you want to do, such as buy your own businesses or take on a mission from a disgruntled citizen makes the game a job to play. If there is ever a sequel, I just hope they make the game a little less frustrating.

Review Score: 7/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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