It has been a few summers since I played through Max Payne, but the memories of it have stuck. The game remains one of my favorites, all these years later, and stands as one of the pinnacles of the previous generation of video game consoles.
The Cascading Snow...
The first thing that strikes you about Max Payne is its tremendous script and story telling. Fashioned in a graphic novel-esqe display, the story is narrated by the film noir words of Mr. Payne. The writing has a crisp quality, and the voice acting of James McCaffrey, playing Max Payne, is impeccable. The voices of his supporting characters are excellent as well.Lost in the gun play is the true quality of the story. An officer of the law running from his former colleagues, Max Payne shoots his way through the snowy streets of New York after his wife and child are murdered. Discoveries await you in the frost bitten city and the story keeps the intensity pumping.
You know it, you love it, it's the all important, all encompassing bullet time. The first game to introduce bullet time, the ability to slow down time in harry situations, it is made to perfection. While the controls can be a little jumping at times, the slow-mo gameplay can be a thing of beauty.
Otherwise, combat is mostly satisfying, with a fair amount of weapons and plenty of bad guys to shoot. Interaction with the environment is also a plus, with the ability to rummage through cabinets, dressers, and closets for ammo and pain-killers. It's always cool to turn on a faucet or listening to a radio.
Baseball Bat Boy
The atmosphere inside the game is one of acute perfection. Tense, full, and pulse-quickening, you are gripped by the story. Even semi-side stories, like that of the comic Baseball Bat Boy, add to the story and make you almost tremble with anticipation.
Sorry, Maxy, even you're not perfect. The main problem I had were the slightly jumpy/sensitive controls. When you are running around on the rooftops of apartments and skyscrapers, it stinks to make a slight mistake and go careening down a 50-story building.
Regardless of this mistake, Max Payne remains a great game to play even eight years later. Great story, good gameplay, and an original way to tell a tale all combine to make an excellent game.
The Final Score: 9/10: Almost Flawless
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