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Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Whiptail Interactive
Developer: MediaMobsters
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Gangland is a dark game about crime underworlds and gritty streets, and the visuals relay this feeling nicely. The city blocks look trashed and everything has the type of lighting you see in Max Payne. However, there is a general lack of variety in each level you play. Everything starts to blend together after a while, and you begin to feel that every block you come to looks exactly like the last one.

The audio sounds like its straight out of a 1920's gangster flick, especially with the voice acting. People on the streets will spout things at you a la GTA III, and your henchmen sound as if they wouldn't be able to read the newspaper. The noise of gunfights also fits the game well, and the music rounds everything off nicely.


Gangland is a mix of real time strategy with Commandos-like squad based action. Ultimately you control a number of guys on the street and send them around to do your dirty work in the city. Their abilities vary depending on who they are or where they are, but you get a sort of god-like feel commanding these hooligans.

The main campaign mode revolves around you, a son of an Italian mob boss, who is sent to America to kill his renegade brothers. The beginning of the game sees you running errands for your uncle, killing people, extorting businesses and the like. This first part is relatively slow, but later in the game you get to move up to be boss of the gang (for various reasons) and start running the whole show. This is where things get interesting.

Once you attain the title of boss, you get your very own safe house where you organize all of your devious plans. If this safe house falls, it's game over. Fortunately you have a number of ways of stopping this from happening. You can extort local businesses to get weapons, money and commodities to trade on an international market. With more money you can hire more goons and arm them with weapons from a weapon shop you are extorting, and take them out on raids.

All out combat isn't your only method of survival though. As boss you can marry a woman and have a child who will grow up to become an under-boss. Under-bosses help run your gang and lend more power to you. You can also put out hits, hire infiltrators, make and break alliances, loan money, borrow money, anything you could think of that would have some illegal aspect to it. There are some really cool things you can do to your enemies, but it takes a while to get to that point.

Unfortunately, most of the missions are as bland as the locale. Most involve going out and killing somebody, or making money, or gaining enough turf to satisfy the victory conditions. Though the method of getting to the end of a level is interesting, it gets a little old after a while. Things are mixed up a bit in between levels by a number of challenges you can partake in, like racing from one side of the city to another while under fire, but these don't completely break the monotony of things.

The Multiplayer mode is a nice addition to things as it lets 8 players try to kill each other in a virtual city. Things can get pretty interesting here as you have free reign to do whatever you want to your opponents, as opposed to adhering to guidelines like in the single player mode. There are also Multiplayer shootouts where you ditch all the strategy stuff and just take a group of guys at each other and shoot it out in the street. Short and sweet is the name of that game.


Gangland offers some good game challenge, and it ramps up exponentially as the game progresses. Sometimes it will seem impossible to go into a situation without losing everybody you've got, but with some careful thinking you should be OK. There's a type of difficulty in actually controlling people as well. Trying to get everybody in position during gunfights, especially when there are a lot of people, is difficult at best. Had this been pulled off better, the game would probably have been much easier.

Game Mechanics:

Controlling your people in Gangland is much like moving units around the battlefield on any other real time strategy game. You can group units and give them action orders. The controls take a slight turn for the worse when you try to give precision movement orders to your people. Getting them to crouch behind a dumpster may take just long enough for the guys shooting at you to wreak havoc. If the fighting was handled the way Baldur's Gate handles fighting, where you can pause the action and give action commands to each of your people, Gangland would have been much more immersive and, in turn, more fun.

Another difficult aspect of the control is when you get into vehicles. This idea is great, but turns out to work horribly with the control scheme in the game. You drive the vehicle, car, truck, whatever, with the keyboard and aim a crosshair and shoot with the mouse. For one, the controls on the keyboard are horrible for controlling any vehicle, and trying to shoot at the same time is nigh impossible.

If Gangland got an overhaul in the control department and a broader single-player experience, it could be great. That's not to say it's no good right now. It definitely offers a unique experience, something missing in most games these days, so if you're feeling lucky then be sure to check it out.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2K/XP, 600 MHz Processor, 128 MB RAM, 1 GB Hard Disk Space, 32 MB Video Card, 12X CD-ROM, 56K Modem for Internet Play

Test System:

Windows XP, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce FX 128 MB video card, 40 GB Hard Drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, Cable Modem Internet connection

Windows Galactic Civilizations Nintendo GameBoy Advance Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated