When a man has nothing left to lose, he turns
to the one thing that can make things all better: gratuitous violence.
Max Payne is not having a good life. First, he finds his
Wife and baby daughter murdered in cold blood by 3 drugged up junkies.
Then he gets framed for a crime he didn't commit and finds himself the
turkey in the world's largest turkey shoot. Everyone wants a piece of
him. The Mafia and the cops all have a target painted on Max Payne's
forehead and so it goes. Max Payne is a mixture of pretty much every
cop movie every made. Max Payne, the character that you control during
the game is hodgepodge of the character Clint Eastwood played in Dirty
Harry and the character that Charles Bronson played in Death Wish. The
story is rather dark, so parents may want to keep this one away from
the kiddies [Duh, that's why it's rated "M" - Ed.]. The story is played
out in manga comic book style and it really gives Max Payne a unique
look of all its own.
Max Payne plays in a third person prospective and the Xbox controller feels
perfect for this type of game. You move Max with the left analog stick
and you control where he aims and looks with the right analog stick. Left
trigger performs the popular bullet time feature, which I will talk about
a little bit later and the right trigger acts as the fire button. It controls
pretty much like Halo so for those of you who played the PC version with
the mouse and keyboard shouldn't have a problem picking this title up rather
"... Max Payne is one of the most engrossing games released this year for the
If you were lucky enough to own a PC
that could do Max Payne justice you will be very impressed that a $300
videogame console can handle the same game almost as well. The textures
may not appear as clear as they do on the PC version but your much
too busy dodging gunfire then to look at the floor textures. The lighting
effects are also very well done, and I was impressed with the fact
that when you shoot a wall the bullet holes stay because all of the
environments are interactive. When you are in a gun fight you will
notice your bullets hitting (and shattering) bottles, hitting a tv
and causing it to explode, hitting a barrel causing wine pour out of
the hole, all showcasing the detail that went into the game. Like Duke
Nukem, Max Payne can interact with pretty much everything in the game.
Have Max stand near a bed in a flea bag hotel and watch the bed vibrate
for a little action. Call me weird but I made it a point to flush all
of the toilets that I came across in the game. [Ok, you're weird. -
The character models are somewhat blocky
and the look on Max Payne's face is a cross between constipation and
determination. The textures are almost photo realistic and really do
a great job of capturing some of the prettiest looking city slums that
you will ever see in a video game. The frame rate stays pretty consistent.
There are only a few instances where you can feel the frame rate slow
down. For example, late in the game you battle in a huge open area
that has several sniping points for the enemies to shoot at you. When
you look up the game does slow down a bit. But other than that, you
wont notice it very much.
"... Max Payne can interact with pretty much everything in the game."
The Bullet Time feature is incorporated
very well, and it really makes you wonder why it wasn't thought of
before. The sounds of gunfire and the bad guys taking pot shots at
you become almost muted. You're only able to use the bullet time in
short increments and in order to fill your bullet time meter you need
to kill the bad guys. Bullet time allows Max to aim and shoot in real
time while the rest of game slows nearly to a stop. You can see bullets
fly past you and it gives Max a serious advantage when is outgunned.
It also allows you to do some great aerobatics. One example of this
is when I was standing right beside a door and I heard the 2 goons
standing outside the door waiting to ambush me. I pressed the left
trigger and jumped towards the door. The 2 goons were facing towards
each other, one on either side of the door, I shoot at the one on the
right taking him out but while doing so he shoots at me but misses
(since I'm moving in real time and he isn't) and hits his partner taking
him out. Suckers
To help Max Payne take out the criminal
underworld, he has a huge arsenal of weapons that he has access to.
Shotguns, Sawed off shot guns, dual pistols, semi automatic guns as
well as grenades and molotov cocktails. Max Paine can also come across
painkillers to help restore his health.
The voice acting is filled with clichés
at best and at worst is almost laughable. And there are times where
the overacting becomes somewhat of a distraction. Take a look at this
Oscar winning performance by one of the goons right before Max dispatches
him to where ever drug crazed goons are dispatched to: "I am so cold,
I don't think I will ever be warm again." It's melodramatic and at
times it can take away from the believability of the game.
Unfortunately the game is over almost
as quickly as it begins. Average players should be able to play through
the game in about 10 to 12 hours. After defeating the game once there
is little incentive to play again. Which is somewhat of a downer because
the initial experience playing Max Payne is very satisfying.
Fears the pink flamingo.
Despite being filled with tired cliches Max Payne is
one of the most engrossing games released this year for
the Xbox. It also has some of the best looking textures
yet seen on the Xbox. For those of you who have not had
the opportunity to play the PC version you might want
to pick this game up. It is among the top 3 action titles
for the Xbox.