“Max Payne” is the story of an undercover cop-turned-fugitive when he becomes framed for murder. His family has been killed and so has his best friend. Now he’s on the run from vicious mobsters and the police, all during a dark and cold winter blizzard in New York City. Not to worry though, Max Payne has all of the weaponry and bullet-time skills at his fingertips to fight back.
Don’t you just love it when a game’s visuals actually compliment the tone and feel of the game itself? Now that’s video game magic right there, plain and simple. The graphics here are dark, disturbing, and downright nitty-gritty. This is a violent game with blood, bullet-time effects, gangs, police, shootouts, explosions, death, and nightmares for starters. I have to admit they pulled an interesting trick with the cut scenes which all consist of comic book imagery right out of a Frank Miller comic fused with novel-like storytelling and narration.
“Max Payne” is not just a detective noir action-packed shooter, there’s also some puzzle-solving to do along the way as well. The game spans New York City over several different locations that range from a subway station, a run-down hotel, a skyscraper, a bar, and the streets of New York themselves to name a few. There’s many weapons to choose from such a beretta pistols (dual-action included), desert eagles, shotguns, sawed-off shotguns, launchers, molotov cocktails, and more. When you get hurt, you can use your painkillers which is essentially the “health packs” of the game. When it comes to getting through sticky situations or maybe you just want to have some fun, then the bullet-time mode comes in handy.
The control mechanics of “Max Payne” may take you about ten minutes to get the hang of, they have about three different controller configurations for you to test out. In my opinion, the first and the last ones are probably the best. “Max Payne” does make good use of the PlayStation 2 Analog Controller which, at the time of the game’s release, was fairly new. Once you get the hang of the mechanics, you’ll be blasting through rooms and bad guys in no time.
“Max Payne” is a solid third-person action game. It’s a dark and kinetic wild ride that entertains from beginning to end, it’s too bad the same can’t be said about the film adaptation. Once you beat the game, there’s really not much to do afterwards except maybe beat it on the next difficulty level (there’s about four of them), but other than that, it doesn’t hurt to pull out the game every couple of years and give it another play-through.