"A classic still worth playing!!! Taste the Payne!!!"
A few years ago, I wasn't much into personal computer gaming at all when a friend told me about a game developed by Remedy Entertainment and 3D Realms which played just like the movie, The Matrix. It was supposed to be a cool action game, with great story, never-before-seen game-play, including bullet time and shoot dodge, and many other things to go with it. I went forward and tried the demo. And that changed my whole video-gaming habits and converted me into a pc gamer. I was bitten by the Payne!
Welcome to the wonderful and brutal world of Max Payne. The protagonist of this game, Max Payne, lives in a world full of hundreds of mafia members, drug addicts (known as junkies), government assassins and officials, who combine their forces to make your life as difficult as a hellhole. You, as Max Payne, go through an incredible journey full of emotional losses, setbacks, revenge, and finally, redemption.
The world of Max Payne is incredibly scarce of normal, law-abiding citizens since the entire story takes place in a time-line in which the city is hit by the fiercest storm in the recorded history. But the story is so well told, that you will instantly believe any given circumstances throughout the game.
The story of Max Payne is the crux of this game (besides game-play). It is told through a number of cut-scenes and graphic novels (ala Sin City). The writer has done a wonderful job of crisp and witty writing which greatly serves the purpose of keeping the players at the edge of their seats throughout the game. Both, the cut-scenes and the graphic novels, are nicely done and maintain the dark mood and the intense atmosphere of the game.
The story is told in flashback by the character you play as, Max Payne. A NYPD
Detective (New York Police Department), Max Payne is shown as a family caring man who has refused a job offered by the DEA(Drug Enforcement Agency) because he then, may have had to go undercover which would have been bad for his family.
One day, Max returns home to find his house ransacked and his wife and baby daughter murdered by junkies high on the designer drug V-Valkyr. It happened on a fateful summer evening three years ago. Now, three years on, he is shown working as a DEA undercover cop trying to uncover the mystery behind the drug V.
While on the job, his best friend and fellow partner gets killed by the Mafioso and Max gets framed for the kill. Now, he is a fugitive running away from law while trying to get the real killers of his friend and uncovering the mystery behind the drug V.
The conspirators weren't ready to face the Payne!
Now, we come to the come to the game-play of Max Payne. Its game-play is the biggest highlight of the game. It's incredibly well done and extremely enjoyable to play. You get the feeling that you are actually watching a movie.
It brought to fore a new concept in gaming, Bullet Time (ala The Matrix). The bullet time will help you through thick-and-thin situations right through the game. The whole idea behind this concept is to make the game-play more stylish and fun to play. When in bullet time, you as a player , and all your enemies move in ultra-slow motion with the added benefit of you being able to aim in normal time while the enemies aim in slow-motion.
However, you will have to use it very wisely since the use of bullet time is limited and it diminishes with time. You can, however, regain bullet time by killing more and more enemies.
Another wonderful addition to bullet time is shoot-dodges, which you can use either with bullet time or separately. You will either dive forward/backwards/sidewards or roll forwards/backwards/sidewards depending on the weapon you may be carrying at that time.
Enemy A.I.: 8.0/10
The enemy A.I. is simple---see you-kill you. Thus, making it both a good thing and a bad thing! It makes for great, intense and stylish combat set-pieces. However, it would have been nice if the enemies could lose your trail, bringing a different kind of strategy to the fore. But, that's not saying much. It remains a great game through and through.
Though, the game is quite old, it still looks very good. The textures and models are nicely detailed and they look realistic. Weapons, character models, weapon reloading, environment, etc. all look fluent and realistic. The explosions and flames are nicely done, lending itself to creating a nice atmosphere. Carnage by bullets and explosions are permanent and looks good. Death animation of enemies has its restrictions, though. Also, there is no lip-syncing for the characters which look odd at times.
The voice-over acting in this game is the best you will ever find in any game. They sound convincing and more! The graphic novels, though they are great, would have been a big failure if it hadn't been for the great voice-acting. Voice-acting in this game really makes you fall in love with the characters. The guns and grenades all sound realistic. The enemies yell curses at you during fire-fights which add to the atmosphere. The music of the game, too, is one of the best for any game, and it goes well with the intense mood of the game.
This game is incredibly easy to control and operate. The features are very well implemented and the players find it very easy to learn the moves. You can also change the control set up for the game to any keys you want to.
This game can take you anything between 9-12 hours to complete in your first play through. However, this game has various difficulty modes to beat.
The game-play is so strong that you can play it multiple times without getting bored.
Once you beat the game for the first time, you can try to beat the game in higher difficulty modes, which are unlocked one-by-one as you beat the previous difficulty modes. The game has three difficulty modes which make the game progressively harder to beat. In addition to these three difficulty modes, it also has a timed mode to contain with.
The game has quite a few good mods for you to play. And the mod community for the Max Payne games has gained momentum off-late. So you can get a few hours game-play out of them.
All said and done, this game will always be remembered for it's story, it's unique and stylish game-play, it's great characters, and it's memorable lead protagonist, Max Payne.
If you have, by any chance, missed this gem, go and get it now. It can still bowl you over.
Taste the Payne!