They say time slows down when youâ€™re looking down the barrel of a gun. Not only that, but the action heats up.The story is every bit as good
Review by Mike Sklens
I remembered it vividly, years ago. It was a game. A game that made life seem like a movie: one of those John Woo films. There were bullets flying about; time slowed down; all sorts of those crazy special effects. Now, years later, I was reliving that same dream. Only this time it seemed different, somehow smaller.
The story began with the family of one Max Payne, just your Joe average NYPD cop. He arrived home one night to find his wife lying on the bed in a pool of her own blood, his baby in a matching scene in the room next door. Driven mad, he took to the streets to avenge his family, joined the DEA to try and put an end to the devilish drug used by the executioners that killed them, and put his life on a downward spiral. Only the story was much much deeper than that, deeper than anybody could have imagined, deeper than the depths of a manâ€™s soul.
It was a sublime retelling of that original dream, but from a different perspective. The first time, there was a constantly moving viewpoint, as if a cameraman were three steps behind at all times, watching and recording it all for the eleven o'clock news. This time, however, he stayed put, trapped up in the ceiling corner as if he were terrified to come down. It wasnâ€™t just the cameraman though. There was something else, some other-worldly force controlling his every move like a child playing a computer game. If his controller wished to move him, he responded with an eerie precision, running about and dodging bullets like a man possessed.
Perhaps thatâ€™s also where the power came from. In an unexplainable twist, Max was somehow able to slow down time itself like in a cheesy action movie. It provided a great advantage, giving him the ability to keep his reflexes at a rabbit-like speed while those of his enemies slowed to a near halt. It was the edge he needed to take on his unrelenting horde of adversaries. He would be faced with room upon room of men, some with the cold eyes of killers, others just doing their jobs. It didnâ€™t matter to Max. To him, they were all the same, just obstacles in the way of his final, noble goal: justice.
One thing that remained the same from that original dream was the vocals. Each and every line had been trapped like a fly in honey. All the detail had been captured and put into a tiny plastic case, preserved for all eternity. Miraculously, they had survived the transition process and came out crystal clear on the other side in all their original glory. Thatâ€™s not to say there werenâ€™t sacrifices though. The once grand soundtrack had been reduced, turned into nothing more than a few vanilla songs that repeated like a trained parrot that wouldnâ€™t shut up to save its life.
Maxâ€™s vendetta wasnâ€™t an easy task, not by any measure. It was wrought with all sorts of peril. In addition to an ant colonyâ€™s worth of men, there were other problems like red-hot burning jets of fire and bombs ready to explode at the bat of an eyelash. Max would have to brave it all to finish the job. No, it wasnâ€™t easy at all, but it would have to be done.
The dream was kept intact, even after its rough transition. Despite all the changes, it still kept that same intense feeling -- intense like the bright hot fires of hell. Charging into a room still came with a feeling of uncertainty. â€śWhat the hellâ€™s going to happen? How long can I keep up this murderous rampage before my luck runs out?â€ť This new retelling of an old story was every bit as good as it could be, keeping a grip on the dreamer like a vengeful man grips his gun. It was a dream that could be enjoyed by anybody looking for the proverbial â€śgood time.â€ť
All the cut-scenes remain, complete with voice acting
An intense handheld shooter
Background music is repetitive.
Some minor slowdown
The adventure is short.
Polygonal characters running around shooting the living hell out of each other. Fantastic. Thereâ€™s some slight slowdown with a few characters on the screen, but it causes no gameplay problems. The cut-scene art is wonderful.
All the cut-scenes are fully voiced with the original voice work from the first Max Payne. Itâ€™s crystal clear and brings the story to life. The in-game music, while nice and moody, is only composed of a few songs.
After a very slight learning hump, everything meshes together perfectly. Max can dive all over the place shooting the crap out of his enemies. It would be nice if the game paused while switching weapons though.
Payne is one of the best shooters ever, even on the Game Boy Advance. The experience, though changed a lot for the system, remains the same. Bullet time is a total blast and a half.
The game is short. There are a good amount if bonuses to unlock, including cheats, and a few new difficulty levels. You can also view any cut-scene youâ€™ve previously come across.
Final Score (not an average): 8.5
Max Payne is a damn good shooter. The film noir story is excellent and knows how to poke fun of itself very well. The only real problem is the length. Sadly, the game is quite short, even if it is a roller coaster ride from start to finish.