Painkiller: Overdose (Windows)

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Written by  :  vicrabb (7299)
Written on  :  Apr 07, 2008
Rating  :  3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars

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An overdose for Overdose?

The Good

Knowing my love for the Painkiller series, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to come back in Purgatory and kicking some demons out of it. But with Overdose, you're not Daniel Garner anymore. You're Belial now. An half-angel half-demon. Mom was coming from the dark side and daddy from the light side. Belial, because of his nature, was feared by both sides and after having his wings eaten by Cerberus, under the monitoring of an angel named Sammael (yep, the same Sammael who gave Daniel Garner his assignment), he was imprisoned in a cage linked to Lucifer's life. Well, you know what? Lucifer has been defeated by Daniel in Painkiller. And so, he freed Belial. Now, he wants revenge. Against Cerberus and Sammael. That's the plot behind Overdose. Classic one but still, in an universe like Painkiller, it's a coherent one.

One of the good points of the game is the appearance of new weapons. You're gonna love the Crossbow (acting also as the sniper "rifle") or the Bonegun (even if it's copied on the Freezer Shotgun from PK). And the new design for the Rocket Gatling is marvelous. And remember, each weapon has two alternate fire mode. So, perhaps, it' s only 7 weapons but in reality, you have 14 ways of killing demons.

Another good point is the bestiary, especially the never-seen-before enemies. I'm not talking about some PK/BOOH enemies having a different color in Overdose or the unaltered ones. No, I'm talking about Wheelchair Veterans in Ambulance Field, Spike Demons in Asteroïds or the Geishas from Japanese Massacre. It's only examples of what you will fight.

Black Tarot is also making its return with familiar cards like Fury or Iron Will or Soul Catcher from PK or Fear or The Sceptre from BOOH. And 5 new cars make their appearance... Isn't it great? No, but I'll explain later why.

Graphics, even with 4 years of age - Overdose engine is the Pain Engine - Havok 2, already used for Painkiller and its add-on Battle out of Hell in 2004, are still fabulous. Air Combat and Desert are really great levels for example. And the Haunted Valley is really well-realised.

Last but not least, soundtrack is priceless. Even if it's far from what Painkiller used to play, music is coherent with the level. Guess what? Air Combat and Desert are also my favorite tracks. Mindware Studios didn't neglect soundtrack and I'm happy with that.

The Bad

But nothing is perfect and Overdose is far from it. Don't get me wrong, I loved Overdose. But it was uninstalled as soon as I've finished taking screenshots for guides. Why? Well, it's very rare for me to do that: uninstall a game. And Overdose is one of the few to have known the process. I explain: Overdose is too slow. My configuration is perfect for Painkiller but not for Overdose, using the same engine as Painkiller. And the loading is too long. Yep, 4 years are separating both games (in some European countries, it was released in January 2008) but when you're using the same engine, I don't understand why suddenly, one of them is slower than the other.

And the list of defaults isn't closed. Take soundtrack for example. For me, it's a good point. For a good part of the community, it's a shame not to have some good hardrock tracks in the game. And I can understand this point of view. I miss the hardrock track. It's a trademark for Painkiller. So, not having it in Overdose has disappointed many players.

Another negative point concerns the Black Tarot. Overdose didn't take the most powerful cards. Yes, some of the greatest and useful cards are here. But why take Divine Intervention when every PK player will say that having for free all the cards is not useful because it's taking another card's place? And only two of the new cards are interesting (Assault and Steps of Thunder). Take Hellish Armor. You're beginning a level with 20 points of armor. Is it really necessary to use a silver card having his effect only in the starting block? Oh yeah, I must precise that silver cards have ongoing effects in the level (but you can only carry two at the time) and gold cards must be triggered at the right moment because you've only one use per level. And if you dreamed about Mercy and Forgiveness in Painkiller Overdose, you're going in the wrong direction: these useful cards in Painkiller didn't make to Overdose.

And last but not least, but you've guessed it with the Black Tarot, a lot of things are worse than the original game: weapons aren't accurate and less powerful, too much enemies are spawning - Nuclear Plant is a good example of that -, difficulty isn't very well balanced (too easy in Daydream, practically too difficult in Insomnia)...

I can't forget to mention that a patch was released but instead of making the game easier, like the players reclaimed, it was longer and harder battles. Bugs, like in Loony Park, weren't resolved and I've never seen that but two secrets were added. Fortunately, it was in Desert and Air Combat. If it was in Nuclear Plant, I would have been very angry at that fact because this was the level where the game was slowing the most frequently. And sometimes, it was freezing. That's an annoying fact for players, myself included.

The Bottom Line

Painkiller Overdose is an old-school FPS, like Doom. Lock, load and shoot. Simply as that. What is a pity is that I loved Overdose but the bugs finally won and make me uninstalled Overdose for freeing some hard drive space and because I don't like to see too much bugged games on my deskpot. I can't say not to buy it because it's still a fun game and I can't say to buy it because of its long list of weak points. If you're not coming from Painkiller, go for it. But it's not the better way to be acquainted with the Painkiller Universe. If you had a choice between Overdose and Painkiller, choose Painkiller.