Painkiller Reviews (Windows)

ESRB Rating
Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.

User Reviews

Return of old-school FPS vicrabb (7299) 4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars
The gimmick is not really one after all. dreamstealer (146) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
A new incarnation of Quake...or not quite? Kuv (75) 3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars
Have some Quake with your Serious Sam. Zovni (10653) 3.14 Stars3.14 Stars3.14 Stars3.14 Stars3.14 Stars
A game with potential shot down by serious programming bugs Dave Billing (28) 0 Stars0 Stars0 Stars0 Stars0 Stars

Our Users Say

Category Description User Score
Acting The quality of the actors' performances in the game (including voice acting). 3.5
AI How smart (or dumb) you perceive the game's artificial intelligence to be 3.3
Gameplay How well the game mechanics work (player controls, game action, interface, etc.) 4.2
Graphics The quality of the art, or the quality/speed of the drawing routines 4.4
Personal Slant How much you personally like the game, regardless of other attributes 4.0
Sound / Music The quality of the sound effects and/or music composition 4.2
Story / Presentation The main creative ideas in the game and how well they're executed 3.3
Overall User Score (69 votes) 3.9

Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
This game is the sort of which I'd like to see more: breathtaking attention to detail, deeply satisfying gameplay, and a focus on pure, simple fun that doesn't in any way defeat or diminish a richly powerful thematic narrative. My own review can now be added to the pile of glowing kudos from all walks of the industry. Far Cry, though popular and successful, was so shackled to its crushing system requirements and moronic save interface that we had little choice but to focus on the negatives of what would be an otherwise excellent game. Painkiller, meanwhile, never deviated from its original concept and goal. It is relentless in its focus on being exactly what it is intended to be, and the result is a colossal achievement in gaming, and one that I suspect will be thought of highly for many years to come.
Painkiller isn’t perfect, of course. Some of the boss puzzles get frustrating until you figure out the trick, and it’s hard to appreciate what’s going on until you’ve seen a few levels. In fact, if you were to play only the four levels in Chapter 1, you might shrug and assume you know where the game’s going from there. You’d be wrong. Because it’s not until you’ve finished the mind-blowing final level that you can really take a breath, look back over what you’ve just played, and appreciate the absolute genius at work.
Gry o2 (May 16, 2004)
Painkiller jest kolejną pozycją, która dowodzi, że Polacy także potrafią stworzyć dobrą grę. Już Mortyr pokazał, że drzemie w nas potencjał. Stosunkowo niedawno wydany Chrome tylko utwierdził w tym przekonaniu naszych zachodnich sąsiadów. Nowa gra Adriana Chmielarza jest warta 19,90 złotych – za tę właśnie kwotę możemy ją kupić na polskim rynku. Szybka i dynamiczna akcja, przepiękna grafika, klimatyczny podkład muzyczny oraz zachowane prawa fizyki przemawiają za tą grą. Oczywiście nie ustrzegła się ona drobnych wad i niedociągnięć, ale są one tak małe, że prawie niezauważalne. Z czystym sumieniem wystawiam Painkillerowi 9/10, ponieważ czas spędzony nad nim nie był czasem straconym.
GameSpy (Apr 16, 2004)
Unlike some recent first-person shooters, there's more than enough game in Painkiller even if you never go online. It may be another episode in the proud tradition of simply blowing stuff up, but it's as glorious and accomplished an episode as you could ever hope for.
90 PC Gaming (Jun 14, 2004)
Before I write anything else I just want to give out a warning to those interested in buying the game – it’s not the latest Tom Clancy game, and no, it’s not the sequel to Far Cry either. Research what you buy and then complain about it. I got very tired of people saying things such as "why isn’t there a crouch key”, “why are there only five weapons available”, “where’s my night vision” and so on. Painkiller is nothing more than a mindless run and shoot fest, bringing back simplicity that a lot of people, including me, desire. As someone else had said, where would the fun be if you had to face thirty zombies with the AI of a SWAT team? With that being said, read on.
Absolute Games ( (Apr 23, 2004)
Перед нами хит, господа. Или, если хотите, блокбастер. Причем от такой связки "разработчик-издатель", что поверить в подобное невозможно. DreamCatcher никогда не издавала шутеры от первого лица, а поляки никогда не делали игр, которые могли бы вырваться за границы определения "просто хорошая". Но — произошло. Смогли. Heaven's Got a Hitman. Gamers Got a Painkiller. Лучший "мясной", тупой, кровавый, прямолинейный шутер со времен Doom.
Imperium Gier (Sep 07, 2004)
Painkiller może wydać się zbyt prostą strzelaniną FPP, aby w ogóle zawracać sobie nim głowę. Faktycznie, dziecko Adriana Chmielarza to gra dla ludzi mało wymagających, ale to właśnie w prostocie i dynamizmie tkwi jej siła. Rozgrywka jest banalna, lecz jednocześnie przyjemna i niezwykle klimatyczna. Nie daj się zwieść złudnemu przekonaniu, że po pewnym czasie gra zanudzi Cię na śmierć. Każdy kolejny poziom oprócz masy nowych przeciwników do rozwałki niesie za sobą zupełnie odmienne lokacje, co w pewien sposób zachęca do odkrywania kolejnych plansz. Dzieło People Can Fly zostało wydane w Polsce przez firmę Dobra Gra za 20zł, co jak na polskie warunki stanowi bardzo atrakcyjną i kuszącą cenę. Ja gorąco namawiam do zasmakowania tego piekielnego i krwawego dania!
Gameguru Mania (Apr 21, 2004)
As I stated in my previous Painkiller's coverage of beta version and demo, Painkiller reminds me of the good Doom, Quake, Blood days in terms of playability and atmosphere. Yeah, It feels very old school just like Doom, Quake, Blood mixed with Serious Sam-like "intense" gameplay - you will be constantly outnumbered, fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds - if it moves, shoot it and if it still moves stake it to a wall! :) There are no puzzles, no adventure elements, so if you are looking for an in-depth storyline will have to look somewhere else. Also, I've noticed that many people compare this game with Serious Sam. Well, I don't think this game comes too much close to Serious Sam. The fast reactions and accuracy and the seemingly endless number of enemies coming at you, these are the things I remember already from the classic old-school shooters. Rock stable gory horror action, what more is there really to whish for?
87 (Apr 21, 2004)
Respekt! Painkiller hat meine Erwartungen übertroffen. Die Atmosphäre ist stellenweise richtig gruselig und genial. Da macht es auch nichts aus, dass sich die Gegner dümmer verhalten als die Polizei erlaubt. Wer Action und First-Person-Shooter mag, der wird Painkiller lieben, das versprechen wir. Nur für Kinderhände ist das Spiel absolut nicht geeignet.
PC Zone Benelux (May, 2004)
Zoals gezegd, de gameplay van Painkiller is bruut, enerverend en bovenal superhectisch. De gedrochten komen in bosjes op je afrennen, en als er weer zo'n raar figuurtje op je afrent met een ontstoken vat buskruit heb je niet eens de tijd om te lachen, ook al ziet het er ontzettend komisch uit. En dat is zoals gezegd eigenlijk het sterkste punt aan Painkiller: de hoeveelheid gore en het rare gedrag van de vreemde creaturen zorgen voor een 'over de top' sfeer die gruwelijk en tegelijkertijd heel komisch is.
GameZone (Apr 07, 2004)
Overall, Painkiller is a great game that will truly be appreciated by FPS purists like myself who remember the good old days where all you needed was a bunch of ammo, some nasty monsters, periodic powerups, and an itchy trigger finger to get you from the beginning of the stage to the end. Painkiller resurrects that style of gameplay through and through, and leaves all puzzle solving, escort missions, and long walks with nothing happening outside where it belongs. The bottom line is this … if you like your FPS games fast, furious, and brutal, Painkiller rocks. If you are more of a thoughtful person who needs some story, plot, and a little more than just killing, this may not be the game you are looking for and you might want to try out a demo before making the final commitment to buy.
Certain jaded gamers have been known to complain that modern FPS titles are too complex and stray from their roots. Those people, along with many others, should be more than satisfied with Painkiller, a shooter in the grand old style. Puzzles are typically nothing more complex than killing everything in sight, and levels usually funnel you from one encounter to the next with barely enough time to reload. These frantic fights are the emphasis and strength of Painkiller.
85 (Apr 05, 2004)
Le cocktail Painkiller est simple mais bien dosé, frappé à la perfection et servi dans un verre coquet surmonté de sa petite ombrelle. Une ambiance qui accroche, une action ultra nerveuse et une réalisation qui tue, voilà la clé du succès. Il est vrai que tout le monde n'aimera pas ce titre ultra bourrin mais ceux qui ont gouté aux joies simples des FPS bruts de décoffrage, qui font appel à la dextérité pure y trouveront un excellent défouloir à l'univers travaillé. On ne lui reprochera que ses armes peut-être pas assez nombreuses malgré leur qualité et des cartes multijoueurs qui mériteraient, elles-aussi, d'être enrichies.
GameSpot (Apr 09, 2004)
This game is a throwback to the older classics. Specifically, it's a throwback to id Software's Quake, whose multiplayer deathmatch mode popularized an aggressively fast-paced style of play. Painkiller is a simple game at heart, but it's very well-put-together and does what it does exceedingly well. That is, it offers up lots of spectacularly visceral, bloody, in-your-face action through its numerous, action-packed single-player levels. And it looks beautiful, it sounds great, and it's got a pretty good old-school multiplayer deathmatch mode, for good measure. If you enjoyed the genre's pre-Half-Life classics or more-recent arcade shooters like Serious Sam, then you'll love Painkiller.
85 (Apr 14, 2004)
The game can get repetitive. If you like Serious Sam then you know all about this, but Serious Sam was great fun, mainly due to Co-Op mode. With the lack of Co-Op mode in this game it can be boring, the shock value from all the scary monsters and settings can wear off and become humdrum. Aside from all of that Painkiller still offers some great hits and semi-addictive game play. Overall I am pretty impressed with the game. It is fun, but it can become boring. The gameplay just doesn’t hook me like other games do. The monsters come at you in large numbers offering a great kill fest, and some scares.
Armchair Empire, The (Apr 25, 2004)
Maybe the most important aspect of any game is having it run properly right out of the box. I can forgive the occasional crash to the desktop, but the file that starts the game should execute without problems. It creates a bad first impression. This initial stumble, as big as it is, is quickly overcome by the sheer Doom-esque, first-person, in your face, blast-o-thon that is Painkiller.
If Painkiller had a great storyline and great multiplayer modes in addition to everything that I've played in this game, I'd say that it would be one of the greatest games for the PC, and maybe one of the greatest video games ever. Sadly, those two apparent flaws keep it from perfection and only allow me to say that this is one of the best FPSs of the year.
Gameplay (Benelux) (May 01, 2004)
Een cool spel met coole graphics, cool geluid en coole wapens. Enkel de AI en het verhaal zijn wat minder cool.
Painkiller ziet er geweldig uit en speelt meer dan geweldig. Het is een pretentieloze shooter, waarbij het bloed op een overdreven manier van het scherm afdruipt en lichaamsdelen in het rond vliegen - dus de argeloze speler is gewaarschuwd. Maar net deze overkill maakt dat het spel te relativeren is, en resulteert in pure fun!
Gry OnLine (Apr 16, 2004)
Fabuła "Painkillera" raczej przeznaczona jest dla mniej wymagających odbiorców. Wspiera się na motywie wojen aniołów, który, choć oklepany, miodnym jest, a w każdym razie daje najbardziej moralne z możliwych uzasadnienie dla zabijania – w imieniu Boga. Ale przecież nie o to chodzi. Nacierające hordy potworów można zabijać z byle jakiego powodu, byle zabawa była przednia, a całość grywalna. A jest.
Game Shark (Apr 16, 2004)
Painkiller's overall presentation is polished and cohesive; every aspect of the game comes together and accomplishes what it was meant to do: deliver a fast-paced first-person action game experience. The multiplayer is adequate but uninspiring and the cutscenes are best skipped, but the single-player game brings home the bacon. Painkiller's cast of evil doers is varied enough so you won't get bored and with all the extra challenges players can take on , the potential for an enjoyable replay experience is there for the taking. If you are one of the thousands of players who still play Quake and Doom and thought Serious Sam was the greatest modern-day shooter of our time, then Painkiller should be added to your must-buy list. If you are looking for an epic story or the next big multiplayer action game, than Painkiller may not be for you.
Gaming Age (2004)
Painkiller’s strict freshness comes in the genre it’s based in. The environments created, enemies that spawn, and weapon you use sets this apart from most FPS’s on the market. If you like your FPS game fast and furious with buckets of blood and hideous creatures, then Painkiller fits the bill.
Gameinatrix (May 26, 2004)
Not many games can boast a good storyline and beautiful graphics too boot. Dreamcatchers-Painkiller can do more than boast. It should pass out cigars and smile proudly.
Even so, the game may easily bore many players who would like to see a little more out of their FPS. Also, unless you love instrumental metal music, be warned that you'll be the one needing the painkiller.
82 (Apr 22, 2004)
Painkiller ist höllisch cool! Wer Spiele wie Serious Sam mag, der findet hier ein Ballerfest erster Kajüte mit Hammer-Optik und jeder Menge Spielspaß. Allerdings nutzt sich der schöne Schein schnell ab, denn im Grunde könnt ihr den linken Mausbutton auch festnageln und Mittag essen gehen – sehr viel verpassen werdet ihr nicht. Das Spielprinzip ist also so hohl wie die Köpfe eurer Widersacher, aber das macht nichts; niemand hat hier einen neuen Deus Ex-Teil erwartet. Wenn ihr mit diesem Gedanken im Hinterkopf an das Game geht, werdet ihr nicht enttäuscht. Allerdings bekommt ihr auch dann nicht sehr viel mehr als launiges Dauerfeuer auf höchstem technischen Niveau geboten.
Game Watcher (Jan 03, 2005)
Overall, Painkiller is a high-paced game with great production values. However, the lack of complexity may turn off some people. The game itself is of decent length, and should take almost nine hours to finish, but all of it is run and gun action. If you don’t like running around mindlessly blasting thousands of monsters, you won’t like this game. If you enjoy games like Doom and Quake, you’ll absolutely love Painkiller.
FiringSquad (Apr 26, 2004)
Painkiller has a solid singleplayer design with subtle appeal that isn’t likely to be very broad. It’s not as frantic as Serious Sam, there’s more thinking involved especially with the boss and mini-boss characters. It accomplishes what it sets out to do, but little else. Along the way, the repetitive enemies, few of whom are as creative as Serious Sam’s, do a lot of harm to the suspension of disbelief. Being FiringSquad, however, we were more concerned with the multiplayer and came away very impressed, but bleeding from two sore spots. For a game that so faithfully manages to recapture the spirit of Quake, that comes away with good level design (always troublesome) and some very interesting weapons, it’s painful to see the developers make two major mistakes. The stake gun and painkiller are simply useless in multiplayer, and they’re your starting weapons. This is as poorly thought out as id giving the blaster as the weapon in Quake II.
Games Master (May 27, 2004)
When Painkiller is on, though, it's on. You want old school without the old hat? Come get it. And bring a spare set of entrails - you'll be needing 'em.
Thunderbolt Games (May 06, 2004)
Painkiller is like a cold drink on a hot day; refreshing. So many first person shooters these days are turning towards the "alpha two, move east and provide covering fire" tactical approach, so it's nice to play something so undemanding once in a while. Evolution and the development of the genre is not to be frowned upon, but reminding gamers of the principles behind the games of today needs to be done sometimes. Painkiller is an enjoyable update of an old school technique, a game where big bosses and lots of scary monsters count for a lot.
UOL Jogos (Oct 11, 2004)
"Painkiller" não é um jogo revolucionário, mas conta com uma direção de arte bastante acima da média e usa seu sistema de simulação física de maneira bastante divertida, permitindo que o impacto das armas lance os inimigos longe e uns contra os outros. Quem se decepcionou com a lentidão e pequeno número de inimigos de "Doom 3" tem uma boa alternativa aqui para voltar aos confrontos frenéticos do início da série.
Wham! gaming (Apr 18, 2004)
Painkiller is the most fun you'll have pumping hot death into endless hordes of creepy demonic minions since old-school classics like Doom and Quake. Just try not to whimper too loud when you face off against the skyscraper-sized boss beasts. It's unbecoming, see.
Withingames (Apr 30, 2004)
Painkiller ist ein Action-Shooter wie Serious Sam. Action und Spaß stehen hier ganz oben. Taktik gehört in diese Sparte definitiv nicht hinein. Eine bessere KI und mehr Waffen hätten aus dem Spiel einen Geheimtipp machen können. Storyfanatiker hätten dann aber dennoch nichts mit dem vorliegenden Produkt anfangen können. Es gibt zwar wie anfangs erwähnt eine Story, doch sonderlich von Nöten war diese letztendlich eigentlich nicht. Wer also auf Non-Stop-Action steht und sich gerne hin und wieder den Frust von der Seele ballern will, der greife zu.
ActionTrip (Apr 14, 2004)
Painkiller has accomplished exactly what the fine development team at PCF set out to achieve. They created an extremely fun, fantastic looking FPS in the vein of Doom, Quake and the like. Those of you who enjoy mindless arcade FPS action will get a kick out of playing Painkiller. There's plenty of good fun to be had in this one and what's more, the gameplay is backed up by some very smooth and solid 3D code. The level design is not always top-notch and occasionally, the game might lose some of its pacing, but in the grand scheme of things, it all balances out nicely with the unique and fun bosses and some frantic over-the-top shooting, slashing, breaking and stabbing action. The biggest problem with this game, as I said, is that it doesn't offer enough content to warrant playing it a second time around. This means that in all likelihood it will end up collecting dust on one of your shelves the minute you're finished with it.
PC Action (Apr 28, 2004)
Bis auf die düstere Umgebung müffelt Painkiller aus allen Poren wie Serious Sam. Nach wenigen Schritten im neuen Level verschließen sich alle Ausgänge, knackige Mucke setzt ein und die Metzelei geht los. Nicht selten habe ich mir einen Dauerfeuerknopf gewünscht, wie ihn ältere Semester noch von archaischen Joysticks kennen dürften. Das simple Spielprinzip wird allerdings knackig in Szene gesetzt und sorgt deshalb für Kurzweil. Wichtig: Auch die entschärfte deutsche Version gehört aufgrund der Horror-Effekte nicht in Kinderhände.
Game Revolution (Apr 30, 2004)
For all Painkiller's intense fragging, time seems to be its greatest flaw. Had this game come out last year it would have stood out as a good choice, but it's hard to recommend this one over recent entries likes Far Cry, UT 2004 or Call of Duty, not to mention upcoming doozies like Half-Life 2, Doom 3 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. It does what it does very well, though, and if you're a fan of mindless destruction, you'd be hard pressed to find a game as immediately gratifying as Painkiller. Just don't expect it to be a cure-all.
PC Games (Germany) (Apr 25, 2004)
Wie schon an Serious Sam und Will Rock, so werden sich auch an Painkiller (dt.) wieder die Geister scheiden. Keine intelligenten Gegner, keine Fahrzeuge, keine Skript-Ereignisse, keine richtige Story, nur Dauerfeuer im Moorhuhn-Stil - das ist vielen zu anspruchslos. Ich gehöre zu denen, die sich gerade bei so einer hirnlosen Baller-Orgie wunderbar entspannen können. Ein, zwei Stunden Painkiller (dt.) machen den Kopf wieder frei. Allerdings macht die deutsche Ausgabe weit weniger Laune, als sie könnte: Mit braunem "Blut" und zensierter Waffenwirkung wirkt das schießwütige Spektakel schlicht albern. Zudem ist die Synchronisation der Zwischensequenzen alles andere als gelungen. Wer sich daran nicht stört, mag bedenkenlos zugreifen.
games xtreme (May 25, 2004)
It’s a game that can be picked up and played every once in a while, not heavy on concentration, its lightweight and not built to last, the levels are repetitive but have some interestingly different boss fights, the five targets of the chapters are the generals of Lucifer’s army and they all stand at about 130 feet high, it’s a very impressive fight but not the fist time we’ve seen it in a game!
CanardPC (Apr 21, 2004)
Painkiller est un shoot 3D assez jouissif, qui ne décevra en rien les aficionados des Serious Sam : ennemis par dizaines et carnage à gogo, le soft embarque les joueurs pour un rodéo sanglant dans une ambiance sépulcrale. On regrettera le nombre d'armes limité à cinq mais on applaudira des deux mains les boss géants de fin de niveau, très impressionnants.
Joystick (French) (May, 2004)
Exigeant techniquement et pas vraiment finaud dans son gameplay, Painkiller est un carnage à l'ancienne destiné aux nostalgiques de la grande époque. C'est beau, nerveux et rapide, peut-être parfois un peu facile mais très distrayant. Comme les modes multijoueurs sont plutôt fun eux aussi, Painkiller est à recommander aux gros bourrins fatigués des FPS réalistes.
Gamekult (Apr 08, 2004)
Tout droit venu des lointains studios polonais de People Can Fly, Painkiller s'engouffre avec talent sur les routes peu fréquentées mais toujours populaires du FPS bien bourrin, que Serious Sam a remis au goût du jour. Doté de mécaniques de jeu très simples mais ô combien efficaces, le jeu nous invite à un festival de frags non-stop dont on a bien du mal à décrocher. Malgré une action finalement un peu répétitive, il parvient à empêcher la lassitude de s'installer grâce à des niveaux très variés et une trentaine d'ennemis différents, bien complétés par des boss aux dimensions effarantes et plutôt bien animés. Au-delà de son aspect bourrin qui aura du mal à séduire les joueurs fins et cultivés, le titre pêche cependant par son faible nombre d'armes, particulièrement criant en multijoueur où ses six pauvres cartes et ses modes de jeu peu variés ne rendent pas justice à des physiques par ailleurs très travaillées.
Boomtown (Apr 30, 2004)
This is a game about guns and shooting things. It's about making a mess and going "Oh Christ!" It's about being scared out of your wits one minute and then bellowing with laughter at something gruesomely humorous the next. Painkiller doesn't set out to do all that much and you won't be solving puzzles, choosing weapon load outs or trying to be stealthy. You will be enjoying the pace, the level design and the increasingly bizarre opponents. The first person shooter dynamic has been stripped down to what it once used to be, polished up for the new age and the result works rather nicely thankyouverymuch.
IGN (Apr 12, 2004)
The basic premise of the first-person shooter is as pure and refined here as it possibly could be. Even with the inclusion of exploding barrels and Tarot power-ups, this game is about nothing but putting the reticle on the scary thing and pulling the trigger. Now I like Doom when it first came out and I definitely appreciate Painkiller's roots, but, having said that, games that are simple aiming exercises seem to lack a little substance when compared to more recent shooters.
GameStar (Germany) (May, 2004)
Dabei ist die Grafik fantastisch und bietet flüssig animierte Gegner sowie sehenswerte Level-Architektur. Und anfangs hat mir das stupide Ballern sogar Spaß gemacht. Doch weil ich schon zu Beginn vier der fünf Ballermänner habe und den letzten anfangs des zweiten Kapitels bekomme, ist dieser Reiz schnell vorbei. Und da sich bald Gegner und sogar Endgegner immer ähnlicher werden, nervt das eintönige Spielprinzip.
65 (Jul 26, 2004)
Ce jeu avait fait beaucoup parler de lui avant sa sortie dans les magasins. En effet beaucoup de vidéo ont circulé sur le net avec tout ces monstres géants et ces armes plus farfelues les unes que les autres. Ce jeu avait plutôt l’air attrayant : des monstres, des armes différentes que dans les jeux sortis à la même période notamment Far Cry qui possède des armes basiques connuse dans la plupart des jeux.
61 (Sep 02, 2004)
Conclusion: The game has attitude, but fails to catch your enthusiasm for longer than 5 minutes. Fun to play once in a while to blow of steam though, and the entire atmosphere surrounding the game isn’t that bad either.