Review by Schraiber
"Simply the best action game ever"
Max Payne... I remember when this game was first set to come out. Even then, I was pretty excited, but I knew it would not run on my computer. Then, I sorta got out of computer gaming, because my computer was really that bad. A few months ago, I got a new computer, and got back into computer gaming. Quickly I found out Max Payne had not yet been released, making me one of the few people who were incredibly glad it had been delayed so much. A few days ago, the game was finally in my hands... from all the stellar reviews I'd read, I expected a great game. It totally blew my mind.
Incredible graphics. I play with everything on max at 1024x768x16, and at times, this is quite possibly the closest a game can get to real life, graphically. Max has a great model, the only bad thing being his face, because he looks... well... constipated... His animations are very smooth, and he just generally looks cool doing all his action movie star moves. The environments sport quite possibly the best textures I've ever seen. I think Remedy used high quality photos for the textures, and it paid off quite well. Incredible realism. Even stuff like blood decals fit right in, not like in other games, where they are bright red, and sometimes don't go exactly on surface. It looks like the blood was originally part of the environment. The bullet hole decals are great too, and unless looked at very closely, don't seem to be decals at all. I love the way the crushed wall falls out of the area where the bullet hit the wall, it totally adds to the atmosphere of the action movieness. The only problem with decals is that after a while, they stop being made, but its hardly noticeable.
To me, sound is not that big of a deal. Surely, it adds to atmosphere, but not as much as graphics do. In this case, the sound did add a lot to the game and was very well pulled off. For the most part I didn't notice the music, but I did note that sometimes, its quiet, and then a big action sequence starts, and you get some cool pumping music to go along with the action. It fits really well. The sound effects are generally pretty good, I didn't notice anything particularly bad about them, and the slow-mo sound effects in bullettime sounded damn good. The voices are incredibly well acted. Max himself has the typically gritty film noir voice, and everyone else's voice fits their character well. Sometimes it seems over-acted, but I think Remedy might have had that in mind.
Now the meat-and-potatoes of any game. This game delivers heaps and heaps of excellent, incredibly fun gameplay, backed up by great control and a great story. The basic gameplay is ''Go in room. See bad guys. Shoot until room is clear of bad guys.'' Just like any other shooter out there, since the days of Doom. But, the addition of bullettime and shootdodge add a whole new dimension to the game. Bullettime, for those not in the know (and who haven't read the other reviews of this game) is when the action slows down, but you can still aim in real time. I didn't find bullettime that useful, myself, but it was pretty cool. Shootdodge, by far the coolest and most useful ability in the game, is when Max takes a John Woo style dive, guns a-blazing, in slow motion. Not only useful in filling enemies with led, but it kinda turns it from a ''kill everything in site'' type of game to a ''kill everything in site, but also try to look as cool as you possibly can doing it.'' I absolutely abuse this ability, and it hasn't gotten old yet! The controls, for the most part are standard shooter fare. Mouse aims, WASD controls forward/backward and strafing, left mouse button fires. E is the use key, and jump is controlled with the space bar. The bullettime feature is activated by the right mouse button while not moving, so it can be difficult to go into it, but, for the most part, you wanna press the right mouse button while moving to go into shootdodge mode. The story backing up the gameplay in an incredible film noir style story, with some twists and turns. Very well written and acted. On a closing note in this section, there are a couple ''nightmare'' levels and a ''run through the exploding building'' level to break up the shooting. Hey, it is supposed to be like playing an action movie!
To buy or not to buy, that is the question?
If you haven't figured it out yet, buy it! Any action fan cannot go without this game. But, keep in mind, this is a relatively short blast-fest, so don't buy it expecting Baldur's Gate. But, like I said, any true action fan NEEDS to pick this baby up.
Final Verdict: 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/02/01, Updated 09/02/01
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