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Max Payne Review
developer: Remedy Entertainment
P450, 96MB RAM, 16MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Jul 23, 01 (released)
|» All About Max Payne on ActionTrip|
The last couple of days, I was trying to remember a game that caused this much turmoil when it was about to appear as Max Payne did. OK, Quake 2, Quake Arena, Black & White, Unreal Tournament, Giants, all these games had a bunch of die-hard fans far before they hit the shelves, but the thing with Max Payne is that the players' opinion about this game only improved after they have seen it. (I guess that is the case with the aformentioned blockbusters as well - Ed.)
Even as I was going to the store to buy my copy of the game, I met two more of my friends who were going same way with pretty-much same intentions. (Buy a game, rob a liquer store, play ball - Ed.) And even though I spent the entire day staring at my screen on the job, I could hardly wait to hit that Max Payne shortcut... (The poor bastard does some coding work as well - Ed.) It all ended with me sitting the whole night through by my computer, and not being able to stop playing the game.
Now why do people like this game so much? If we look at the gameplay, Max Payne is nothing more than just another 3rd person shooter, which picked up elements of all other game genres adorned in some Matrix-John Woo style. So, after so many copycats in the movie industry, Matrix finally got a copycat video-game (And I'm not counting the scenes in Desperados). I really don't know how Matrix: The Game was supposed to look like when it appears, and how much it will resemble this game, but I just felt like Neo who temporarily changed his name to Max. You'll find it all here: slow-motion running and jumping, dodging bullets, picking up public phones, desert eagles and the final countdown in a huge corporate building. Be that as it may, those slow-motion sequences are the greatest novelty introduced by Max Payne...
But let us first explain who this guy really is. You sure wouldn't like to be on his bad side: he is a combination of Blade Runner, Bruce Willis from his worst days and Neo... In fact he may as well be a pleasant fella as New Yorkers go, but when you piss him of, say by killing his wife and child and setting him up with a murder, he can kill more than a thousand various criminals, mobsters, police officers and security guards. All that while being chased by even more cops, and news reporters.
All these killing take place in 3rd person view, but as the whole thing was conceived as a comic book, the action is frequently gets interrupted with slightly annoying comic books that lead you through the story. If I were to explain what the action looks like, I'd say the controls resemble the ones in MDK, wrapped up in a mixture of Blade Runner, Soldier of Fortune (without the gore) and Half-Life type of atmosphere. First I have to point out that I really enjoyed the game which doesn't happen that much with 3rd person shooters because of the usually frustrating camera. Here, the camera always moved just the right way, and I was always able to see the entire situation. The slow-motion feature did wonders for the gameplay, especially in massive gunfights... One right-click will take you to the slow motion mode in which you have much more time to think and aim at your targets, or perform a slow jump. This is a very useful feature, which you won't be able to use all the time as it spends your 'Bullet Time'. Fortunately, "Bullet Time" quickly fills itself up when not used, and you'll have enough of it whenever you may need it...
The action starts in a New York subway station, and then slowly takes you all over the city. The levels are quite common for this type of a game: building interior, suburbs, huge laboratories, warehouses... usually confined spaces, pretty similar and at times monotonous. You won't have much chance to think about them, though as they are quite linear. There was not a single situation when I had to wonder which path I should take. (And why should you?? It's an action game - Ed.) Everything is designed in a way to let the players concentrate on the action, and this probably also made AI scripting a bit easier. If you enter a hallway with ten doors, you can be sure only one of them is unlocked and marked with a green light. There is absolutely no chance for you to find an alternative route to somewhere or get lost.
8.8 Very Good
Slow-motion scenes, 3D engine and visuals, playability, editing tools;
Only one single-player mod, linearity, slightly monotonous at times.