Max Payne was a police officer of the New York City police. On one terrible day, his wife and newborn daughter were killed by three junkies, who broke into his apartment after having ingested a new designer drug known as Valkyr. After the tragedy, Max quit the police force and joined the Drug Enforcement Administration. Three years later, during a raid on a mafia compound that was reportedly trafficking Valkyr, his best friend and fellow DEA agent Alex is killed, and he becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Now Max is all alone in the cold, snowy night of New York. The mob is out to get him. The police are out to get him. The only way out is with guns blazing, because he has nothing to lose.Max Payne
is a third person shooter stylistically influenced by film noir, "hardboiled" detective stories, and Hong-Kong action cinema. Max can perform rolls and leaps to try and dodge enemy fire. The weapons at his disposal range from baseball bats to Ingram sub-machine guns, grenades, Molotov cocktails, and others. A unique feature of the game is the usage of the so-called Bullet Time
- a time-slowing ability that was popularized by the first Matrix
movie. Activating the Bullet Time slows down everything that happens around Max (including his own movements), allowing for slow, but precise performance of moves to take care of his enemies. A special meter indicates how much time the effect will last, and how long Max needs to wait until it can be activated again.
Cutscenes in the game are presented as comic book-style graphical panels accompanied by voice-overs.
- "英雄本色" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
- "Yingxiong Bense" -- Chinese title
- "Max Payne Mobile" -- Android/iPhone/iPad title
- "Max Heat" -- Working title
- "Dark Justice" -- Working title
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In England, the game was advertised on hydrants covered with actual yellow police lines with the game's name and slogan on it ("Max Payne - A Man With Nothing to Lose" etc...), just like the game box's cover art.
The origins of bullet time, made famous in the movie The Matrix
and as a playable effect in Max Payne
, are attributed to Eadweard Muybridge (April 9, 1830 – May 8, 1904), who used still cameras placed along a racetrack to take pictures of a galloping horse.
Cancelled Dreamcast version
was initially in development for the Dreamcast up to the point that Remedy
demoed the game at E3 in 1998. Despite some more refined character models, the game looks and plays almost identically to the PS2 and Xbox versions of the game.
- Early on the V drug was not only a mind-warping drug, but also body-warping. It fact it made its users grow into hulking giants with glowing green eyes. In fact, early script drafts deal with super soldiers. There were even work in progress screenshots which shows Max fighting these super soldiers. All this was scrapped as it looked silly and was too similar to Sin.
- In order to create the game, the developers from Remedy traveled from Finland to New York to photograph the buildings and streets. You can read about their adventure at the 3D Realms website: http://www.3drealms.com/max/newyork.html
This game was put on the German index on 29.09.2001. A short time afterwards, according to a Take 2 salesman, the planned to publish a "toned down" version of Max Payne
. It would be cut so it could get a "12+" rating and they wanted to do a German translation including voiceovers. This would allow them to sell it again since it isn't the same as the banned game and even more, it's localized so more people could enjoy it.
The new box art had a yellow "police line" over or under the MAX PAYNE title on the box which stated it was a toned down version. However, this version got canned.
Despite all the "realism" put into the game... The "code numbers" given by NYPD officers are completely wrong, according to an ex-NYPD officer (Rich Laporte of gonegold.com)
The music for the game was made by Kärtsy Hatakka, who is also the singer and bass player for a band called Waltari.
- The game features some humourous moments. In one of the earlier levels, there is a room off one of the ledges outside a building. Inside is a guy lying on the ground with a stake in his back, and the letters "BUFF" (with obvious reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer) scrawled in blood next to him. Max passes a comment along the lines off "I don't even want to know what happened here."
- In another level, you need a password to get into a laundry room. After finding a low-life to help you out, stand off to the side while he tries to get you in. He's given a first name and asked to give the full name before they'll open the door. The name he has to give is "John Woo", director and king of slow-motion action sequences in movies, an obvious inspiration for the developers of Max Payne.
- At one point in the game, Max comes across a television show speaking about the Aesir Corporation, and how they are becoming another monopoly like Microsoft. However, because Microsoft is a copyrighted name, the television gives a bit of static when Microsoft is spoken, and the graphic novel displays "*static*" instead of Microsoft.
- The Dopefish (an enemy from Commander Keen 4, the Dopefish is usually put into games as an easter egg) appears in Max Payne.
- In the room immediately after Alfred Woden's office, if you shoot a picture off the wall, you'll find a switch. Pressing it will open a secret passage to a room with a Star Trek parody.
- At some point you will pass by a TV in which the images show a familiar red-curtained room and a flamingo, and the accompanying dialog is all in Twin Peaks style. The music has that hip TP jazzy sound. A man's voice talks about his "evil twin," which of course ties in with the dopplegangers of Twin Peaks. The flamingo's speaking style sounds much like the Little Man in Twin Peaks dream sequences. The flamingo may be a reference to Wild Palms, which included flamingos and is sometimes compared to Twin Peaks. Elsewhere, another TV shows a soap opera with events that closely parallel events in the game; this 'soap opera device' was used often on Twin Peaks. During the Twin Peaks parody portion, the flamingo’s speech is distorted and it is impossible to understand what it’s saying except its final line: “The Flesh of Fallen Angels”, a sort of recurrent motif along the game.
- Of all the various pop culture references found throughout the game, there is one that probably escapes the notice of most players. In the tutorial level, take a look at the Tar Cafe signs. Their address is listed as "604 All Your Base Are", a reference to the poorly-translated intro of Zero Wing.
- In the Ragnarock club there are references to the supernatural horror literature of H. P. Lovecraft - the so called Cthulhu Mythos. One of Jack Lupino's books is titled Necronomicon, and one of his personal "spells" mention the name "Cthulhu" as one of the dark gods that he invokes.
- In Part I, Chapter Six, Max Payne enters a small flat. There is a gun lying on the counter, and a gangster can be heard whistling in the toilet. The toilet doors are locked tight, unless the player picks up the gun, which makes the adversary flush the toilet and come out. This is a reference to Quentin Tarantino's cult movie Pulp Fiction: (Pulp Fiction spoiler) This area closely resembles the scene of Vincent Vega's death, when Butch sneaks into his apartment and shoots Vic with his own gun which he left on the counter in the kitchen.
- In the first level, Roscoe Street Station, Max overhears two thugs talking. After a moment of conversation or two, a phone rings. The ring tone is The Ecstasy of Gold from the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, composed by Ennio Morricone.
- In the skyscraper mission, in one of the elevators, if you stay and listen, you will hear some guards talking about how it would be cool if you could see your moves in slow motion. The guard concludes by saying that he will name this effect Bullet-Time.
- In one part of Max Payne, the graphic novel jokes about Max being a game (this happens in one of the nightmare sequences).
- Another humorous moment... In Part 1, Chapter 2 "Live from the Crime Scene", you finally made your way into the bank vault, and the alarm is blaring. If you shoot the alarm (thus silencing it), Max will thank you.. The same happens at one point in the hotel: you must ride an elevator playing some cheesy elevator music. Shoot out the speaker and Max will thank you.
- Max Payne features a lot of Remedy employees as characters in the game, including screenwriter Sam Lake as Max Payne himself. This led to a very weird E3 2001 showing of the game, since Sam Lake was at GOD Games´ Promised Lot along other members of Remedy with a demo. Everybody was a bit disoriented by seeing Max Payne on screen and his real-life counterpart talking about the title right next to it.
- In Part 1, Chapter 6, when you're chasing Vinnie, there is a billboard for Captain Baseball-Bat Boy, the comics you see throughout the game.
The PS2 version doesn't allow you to quick save during a level unlike the PC and Xbox versions.
Information also contributed by
Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze,
Juan Pablo Bouquet,
Samuel James Vince and
- 2001 - PC Action Game of the Year (Readers' Vote))
- 2001 - Best Gimmick of the Year (for bullet time)
- PC Gamer
- April 2005 - #41 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list