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Max Payne Review

/ Sep 6th, 2001 No Comments

Oh my how long have we been waiting for this one! I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “WOW!” today, but I think I have just witnessed an evolution in the shooter genre.The game starts with a cool tutorial where you can get to grips with the new “Bullet Time” feature. Bullet Time is the nearest thing in video games you are going to get to The Matrix’s special effects. For instance if you shoot a bullet from a sniper rifle the camera sits on the bullet and flies with it until it hits the target. The effect is nothing short of stunning. Max can use bullet time to dive out of the way of oncoming bullets. He has a limited supply of this, which is represented by a egg timer in the lower left corner of the screen. You can fill the timer up by killing bad guys.

The opening to the game is very disturbing and you get to play through it rather than simply watch it like a movie intro. The game starts in present day New York with Max on top of a building with police helicopters surrounding him. You have no idea why he’s there but the cool voice over tells you that to get to this point we have to go back three years to get the whole story. You find that max had a perfect life “The American Dream” as he calls it. Wife, child, and job as a police officer. One day he comes home from work and something seems strange. You actually play this grueling scene and experience the murder of your wife and baby, it’s all pretty disturbing.

It turns out that the guys who broke into your house were drug addicts hooked on a new drug that a crime syndicate is selling on the New York streets. Max goes after them all to exact revenge and in the process stumbles across something much bigger than he anticipated.

The game is silky smooth and is using the MAXFX engine from Remedy. If you have ever run the 3dmark 2001 benchmark you would have already seen the engine at work in the Matrix lobby scene. The game runs at 60fps and never loses a frame. The level of detail in the graphics is amazing, every sign and poster are readable. Many objects in each room are usable and you can even switch on a tv and watch some humorous programs like a funny soap opera or an insane cartoon.

The game plays from a 3rd person perspective which cannot be changed. It’s very similar to MDK2 to control and I picked it up within two minutes. You use the mouse wheel to select weapons and mouse2 to activate “Bullettime”. You can use game pad but I wouldn’t advise it because it would be awkward to control.

Overall Max has totally lived up to the hype. The only thing I see wrong is the short playing time of the game. A skilled gamer can finish it in 7-8 hours which is short for a game. Good news is you can open up a new section once you have completed it called “A New York Minute” this mode gives you one monute to beat each level while you get a few extra seconds for each baddie killed. A really nice extra that will keep you playing for a while. There is no multiplayer mode but it’s not really that kind of game.

A special kudos should go out to whoever made the comic strip effect. The games’ story is played out as a graphic novel that is amazingly drawn. This is another kickass game. 2001 is becoming a great year, what with this and GT3 we are being.

Editor's Choice Award

Roy Rossi

Roy Rossi

Roy Rossi was a long time major contributor to Gaming Illustrated before disappearing of the face of the Earth. His service to GI will never be forgotten.
Roy Rossi

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