There are offers you can’t refuse, and then there’s the Godfather videogame franchise. EAEA’s attempt to bring Francis Ford Coppola’s cinematic world to interactive life should produce games worthy of their Oscar-winning source material, games as epic and challenging as Grand Theft Auto. But the first game was despicable for turning morally sophisticated art into icky exploitation. Punching out innocents for protection dough? Shaking your Wii wand to simulate strangulation? I’d rather kiss Luca Brasi.
Thankfully, The Godfather II, a more cerebral, respectable communion with Coppola, is less likely to rot your soul — but it might bore you to tears. A shame, because there’s promise here. The game uses the basic arc of the ’74 Godfather sequel (Michael Corleone’s tricky, treacherous tango with underworld mastermind Hyman Roth) and the movie’s midcentury Cuba, Miami, and New York settings to forge a unique, parallel-universe narrative. You are Dominic, a Corleone underboss. After busting out of Havana as Castro’s revolution goes down, you must build up your Corleone-loyal family and wage war with rival gangs. Long, chatty cut scenes involving cartoon versions of Tom Hagen and Frank Pentangeli talking stakes and strategy honor the film. But the Mob-war stuff is a never-ending, relatively unchallenging cycle of raiding Mafia fronts, killing rivals, and seizing property. Your computer-controlled foot soldiers are buggy and bland, and the graphics feel halfhearted. The Godfather films were technical marvels. The games should be too.
By contrast, Wanted: Weapons of Fate — billed as a ”sequel” to last summer’s Angelina Jolie movie — offers a vividly realized re-creation of the film’s inventive visceral experience: bending bullets, gonzo perspective shots, super slo-mo perception. The story is air-thin (Wesley Gibson must avenge his mom’s murder), but the well-designed set pieces — especially a shoot-out aboard an airplane?rock. The throat-slashing, skull-bursting, blood-squirting violence is utterly outrageous, and it didn’t bother me a bit. Weapons of Fate did exactly what I expected it to do: provide an interactive experience as entertaining as the movie. Wanted: Weapons of Fate: B