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Mafia returns to sale after vanishing for five years

Just when it thought it was out, GOG pull it back in

After five years of not being sold for download anywhere (and long being out-of-print on disc), the first Mafia has returned to sale. GOG this week dredged the digital bay, hauled the crime 'em up out, and chipped off its concrete boots to re-release it DRM-free. This version has an edited soundtrack with the licensed music removed, mind. Presumably music licenses expiring is what got the game pulled from sale back in 2012. I've not played Mafia since ooh it was on CD, so I am tempted to see how it feels 15 years after it came out - and after two sequels of varying quality and direction.

GOG are selling Mafia for £7.99.

You might want to download this widescreen mod to better utilise your fancy modern monitor. And if you do have the CD or Steam version but want it DRM-free too, this tutorial explains how to bust open data files and add the original music back. Oh! And a mod added multiplayer a few years back.

For those who haven't played Mafia, a brief summary. It's set in the fictional American city of Lost Heaven during the Depression, where a taxi driver gets pulled into the mob and slowly climbs its ranks. The story spans several years, living out chapters of Tommy's life as he tells his story, which I always liked. It's a third-person shooter with car chases aplenty and one notably horrible race. One curious aspect is that though it's set in a Grand Theft Auto 3-ish open world, it's a fairly linear and mission-based game. Aside from a wacky post-game mode, the open world is not full of hidden tasks and missions as you might expect. It was strange, even at the time, but I did enjoy that I could just drive for driving's sake without feeling nagged. And it's a pretty decent game? I think? People will tell you it's so much better than the sequels but my memory is hazy here.

It is a shame to lose the licensed music. Hours of driving across Lost Heaven means certain period tunes from the radio are stuck in my brain. They set such a great mood. The version presented to posterity is an inferior version, one not in tune with the game's vision. Such is the sorry state of video game preservation.

Alan Wake was pulled from sale earlier this year because its licensed soundtrack expired, and GTA: San Andreas was updated to remove some songs. What a mess.

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