Review by MrLipid
This is not a review of Mob Enforcer as it comes out of
the box. This is a review of Mob Enforcer once it has been
modified to make the player invulnerable to gunfire. (You can read
all about how to do that here.)
Why review a first-person shooter played in what I like to call
Summer Blockbuster (aka god) mode? Because shifting the emphasis
from survival to exploration in Mob Enforcer allows the player
to fully appreciate the craft, thought and wit that animate this
Mob Enforcer: Budget Blockbuster
Happy, happy, joy, joy!
I have a new favorite game: Mob Enforcer. Getting to know
this title has given me hours of entertainment. While some of that
entertainment has been technical—I always enjoy figuring out how
to successfully "adjust" a saved game filethe major fun has
come from simply playing the game and exploring its world.
Mob Enforcer is a first-person shooter set in what could
be painter Edward Hopper's vision of 1920s Chicago. The night-shrouded
streets of this game are muted studies in stone gray and brick red.
Other than the occasional civilian, only mobsters and police appear
in the pools of light beneath the city's street lamps.
A quick glance at the cover of Mob Enforcer's box suggests
a Mafia wannabe: Rise through the ranks of the underworld
by running errands for a mobster. Once one begins playing Mob
Enforcer, the differences between it and Mafia become
clear: what Mob Enforcer lacks in terms of Mafia's epic
scale (and great driving mode), it more than makes up for in manic
energy, feral cunning and sly humor. The mobster hordes of Mob
Enforcer can effortlessly sprint for blocks and then sneak with
the stealth of a cat on velvet. And, since this is a game built
from a mobster's perspective, Mob Enforcer offers, just for
yuks, cops who need to repeatedly catch their breath throughout
Our Story So Far ...
Mob Enforcer doesn't so much have a story as it has an excuse
for superb production design outfitted with vintage armament. It's
Gangland Chicago decorated with what we have come to accept as the
symbols of the 1920s: old cars, snappy hats and Thompson submachine
guns. A few props here and there, and on with the action.
And there is plenty of action. The player, in the first-person
role of Jimmy "Machine Gun" DeMora, advances through the game by
doing the bidding of none other than Al "Scarface" Capone. In order,
Jimmy must track down and rub out a snitch, trash stores protected
by other gangs, kill off rival gang bosses, blow up a brewery, break
out of jail, bribe the chief of police, execute an informer in his
holding cell at the 13th Precinct, steal the payrolls of stores
run by other gangs, prevent the demolition of a hotel where Capone
is being held captive and, finally, get Capone safely out of that
hotel through waves of thugs wielding everything from .45s to Molotov
cocktails. (Note: Capone is flammable.)
Playing as someone who can't be shot transforms Mob Enforcer
into a player-guided movie with puzzle elements. Think of it
as a summer blockbuster where one can choose how the story is going
to unfold and how each of the baddies is going to meet his end.
And prepare to be surprised when that end turns out to be particularly
Such a moment occurred in the basement of the plush Lexington Hotel.
I found myself being fired upon from above by a thug standing on
a metal stairway landing ... standing next to a yellow fifty-gallon
drum of something. I took a shot at the drum and it exploded, sending
the thug (now aflame!) hurtling down the stairs toward me. Real
Die Hard-type stuff. The poor fellow didn't survive ... which
was fortunate because I was too busy laughing with delight to do
much of a job of defending myself.
Summer Blockbuster mode relieves the player of the need to painstakingly
learn (by endlessly dying, reloading and trying again) the location
of every gunman on each map. Not that that can even be done. There
is a certain amount of randomizing that goes on in Mob Enforcer,
making it impossible to know exactly where, for example, all
of the police are at any given moment. Or when a civilian might
stroll through the line of fire.
And if blasting through waves of bad guys, picking off cops and
avoiding the ventilation of civilians doesn't sound like enough
to do, try finding the ten piles of cash stashed in clever places
around each of Mob Enforcer's impressively large maps. I've
been at it for a while now and am still not sure where all of the
Not that I mind. Walking the dark streets of Mob Enforcer's
Chicago and noticing how the Jupiter engine allows the leaves
in the trees to respond to the wind of the Windy City is just another
of the subtle joys of this title. That and wandering Taylor Street,
Mob Enforcer's one daylight level, and appreciating the care
given to detailing the already fading logos on the sides of its
Mob Enforcer has no music other than the disappointing riff
that runs under the main menu. The only recurring sound in the Chicago
street scenes is the rumble of the elevated train. Once all running
and gunning are done, there is time to pause and appreciate how
the production design of Mob Enforcer captures the 1920s
pre-noir universe of Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op. This is
a game that is way better than it has any need to be. Just wish
there were a bit more of it.
Mob Enforcer gives the impression of having shipped without
its final mission. The game's last level begins with this promising
comment: DeMora must first help Capone evacuate the Lexington
Hotel before he can complete his final mission. Once the player
delivers Capone safely to the exit of the Lexington Hotel, however,
the game just ends. So much for the final mission. Unlike the previous
levels, there isn't even a tally of the amount of money found, the
number of shots fired or the accuracy of the shots fired. Al's okay.
End of story. Game over.
Mob Enforcer, built on the LithTech Jupiter engine, looks
great, loads its levels quickly and plays smoothly. It also installs
completely to the hard drive. Thank you, Touchdown Entertainment
and ValuSoft, for not treating your customers as if they were mobsters.
The depth of the options menus puts many bigger-budget games to
shame. Virtually everything about Mob Enforcer can be tweaked.
And some elements, like the fountains of blood that spew from the
bad guys as they spin gracefully toward the pavement, can simply
be turned off.