Painkiller: Overdose

Moby ID: 30849


The angel/demon cross Belial is a feared demon of Lucifer's army. Having now escaped one of the many prisons of Lucifer, he is out for revenge on those who framed him. As Belial, you must fight 40 types of enemies including huge bosses in purgatory - the land between heaven and hell. The levels feature horror-adjusted versions of familiar worldwide beings from mythology and history - gladiators, mummies and ninjas all become frightening foes.

Painkiller: Overdose is a raw first-person shooter similar to the previous Painkiller games; you run and gun for your life using a devastating arsenal of six different weapons. Originally developed as a fan-made modification, the team was given funding to make it into a full, independent game. The weapons have both primary and secondary firing modes. You may also combine these two and get a third firing mode as well.

Power-ups are again achieved via the Black Tarot cards, which set specific challenges and rewards for each level. The Demon Transform feature from the original also remains - it allows you to swallow the souls of your victims to use as charges for a smart-bomb effect.


  • Painkiller: Передозировка - Russian spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

110 People (87 developers, 23 thanks) · View all

Executive Producer / Producer
Lead Designer
Lead Artist
Lead Animator
Lead Programmer
Game & Level Design
Lua Scripting
Art & Animations
[ full credits ]



Average score: 60% (based on 24 ratings)


Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 22 ratings with 2 reviews)

Not the sequel fans were all waiting for, but this is still Painkiller . .

The Good
I have to admit from the start I am a huge Painkiller fan. I have the original game sitting proudly on my ‘all-time favourites’ list here at Moby.

For me, it was, and still is, the epitome of the run & gun shooter. The level set-pieces were interesting and well-varied, the action suitably unrelenting, black tarot cards added a cool twist, and the secrets were so often ludicrously hard to discover - all of these elements favourably contributed to the games’ immense manic charm. Followed quickly by the slick expansion pack 'Battle out of Hell' this carried on from where the original left off with all new content, and continued the same high-standard of design & polish, though not without some newly added quirks - chiefly some rather irksome nonlogical puzzle bits.

Now we have the latest entry in the series, Painkiller Overdose. This game began life as a Czechoslovakian fan-made mod TC called ‘Project Overdose’ though along the way was picked up by Dreamcatcher Interactive, and subsequently was given complete technical & financial backing.

In Overdose, instead of playing as Daniel Garner, the hapless protagonist from the prior games, You play a half-angel, half-demon called Belial. The premise sees Belial having been locked away in a cage of torment for centuries. Upon being unduly released from his prison, subsequently he wants to take revenge on the ones who put him in there in the first place. This sets up proceedings for the served straight-up style of classic frenetic mayhem fans know and love.

If you have never player Painkiller before, then flee the computer right now, and track down a copy and be happy . . er, um, . . are you still there? Good. Sorry about that, I got a bit excited there for a moment. The basic execution for Painkiller is firmly part of the Serious Sam canon. You run into an area, a wall closes you in from behind, and then a whole bunch of hideous nasties appears seemingly from nowhere, and you must blast them all to bloody-chunks in order to do it all over again until the credits roll down. A staple of Painkiller has always been the ability to consume the fallen nasties souls in order to replenish your health reserve, and Overdoes rapturously carries on the tradition. During all the kinetic havoc you also collect gold coins which you can use to buy special powers (re black tarot cards) which will give you a decided edge over the armies of evil spawn. Goals are presented in order to unlock these cards, for example, keeping your health quota above fifty points for the whole duration of a level, or clearing a level in a tight pre defined time limit. The rewards are like being able to become completely invulnerable to enemy attacks for a limited period at will, or even bringing you back from the dead after being snuffed. Of course, obtaining certain cards will make earning future cards easier to achieve, and so on.

From the outset, Overdose evoked, at least for me, the sort of delivery of humour from the most popular of the old BUILD engine games like Duke Nukem 3D, and its later ilk. When the first level kicks off, Belial dispenses a wisecrack straight off the bat, and from this point the game already had a markedly different tone than the previous Painkiller games. The pop-culture jokes from well-known horror movies couldn’t help but make me smile, while some of the other more broad & silly one-liners were a bit much. It all depends on personal taste really.

In terms of action, Overdose delivers what it promises. That is, there is a genuine surplus of carnage. The nasties are plenteous, and the arsenal appropriately tears through them like a hot knife through butter. Though the game claims six all new weapons, most are simply tweaked reworks of the already existing arsenal. But why change from the classics? The shotgun has been given a new ‘skeletal’ look, renamed ‘Bone Gun’ and ammo-packs are now represented as a sack of bones rather than buckshot shell boxes. The freezer alt fire has been replaced by a ‘petrify’ function more akin to the medusa gun from Will Rock. Some others like the sniper bolt gun, and the rocket launcher/machine gun combo have had subtle power changes, and visual redesigns. Aside from the cosmetic updates, it all works about the same. But this is fine with me. One decent addition worth noting is the ‘Demon Head’ which was torn from the guard of Belials prison. This weapon works like a rail laser (a new weapon in Hell Wars), and also has a handy alt fire which literally screams’ to bring down masses of enemies.

With the new levels of Overdose, it is really a mixed bag in terms of quality. I genuinely enjoyed some of them, but others were definitely so-so. One entitled ‘Animal Farm’ was rather interesting, which had a decidedly Redneck Rampage feel about it. There was even a pile of dung in barrows which would cause you to trudge if you decided to step into it for whatever reason! Here you contended with demonic explosive chickens, Pig-men in aprons with saws for hands’ in meat freezers, and even had a final showdown in some very authentic fifties style Diner. Another sees you battling with Vikings through snowy villages in ‘Ragnarok’ or even a very Shadow Warrior-esque encounter in ‘Japanese Massacre’. I think there are some nice odes to past games’ which fans of these titles should appreciate.

Shooter purists will be happy to know the Guardian battles in Overdose have returned back to the traditional “Hammer the weak spot(s) until it keels over” philosophy of play, as opposed to the often frustratingly complicated puzzle-structured boss battles presented in BooH.

From a visual standpoint, Overdose uses the same ‘Pain’ engine as the original, though there is the odd Direct X 9c bell or whistle put on. While perhaps not at the bleeding edge of tech anymore, it remains a very nice engine, and the benefit is of course you can get very respectable performance from a modest hardware configuration. Some of the special visuals touch like soft shadows on the desert level complimented by subtle heat haze effects, or even the snow blizzards on Ragnarok would complete the suspension of disbelief at times for the sheer amount of rich detail.

The Bad
Though, on occasion the system was brought to its knees by some of the weather routines - chiefly dense fogging, or anomaly effects, which would usually be the culprits. Apart from that, only if there was a huge amount of activity on the screen, e.g. rag-dolls flying in all directions, huge explosions, and ever more spawning nasties, there might be a slight momentary pause during the action - but that’s it. Though you would think some of these hiccups could, and should have been ironed out of the engine by this point.

Another problem which has always afflicted the Painkiller games is slow load times. Quite unfortunately, this remains true for this outing. You can expect to wait some times up to & more than thirty seconds for some levels to load, and that is a long time to wait during the course of play, especially when you just want to get straight back into it. Of course the flip side to this is it will most likely force you to try just that bit harder to stay a float.

I have to be brutally honest by saying that design-wise, Overdoes isn’t up to the previous Painkiller entries. The environments are so often relentlessly flat, which in turn makes your progression rather an uneventful-trod from one checkpoint to the other most of the time. The previous games’ had maps with far more intricacies which complimented the action with interesting level advancement. The secret areas to discover aren’t a fraction as much clever or devious on the same token. On more than one occasions a secret-place was just finding an ammo-crate or Holy item just sitting smack-dab in the centre of the level, not obstructed by anything. On top of this seemingly indifferent design mind set, there aren’t nearly as many secrets to find per level. A few of the levels don’t even have any secret places, and the ones that do usually will only have one or two. I thought this to be rather out-of-tune for a Painkiller game.

Some of the newly added weapons are rather flaky. For example, the ‘Shadow Blade’ - which is this broken-sword thing which you throw in a straight line, and the nasties sort of just flail over when hit. I don’t know, it was a bit dull for my taste. I felt the same about the ‘Demon Egg’ this you would throw out kind of like the pipe bombs in Duke 3D, though instead of a proper explosion, these things’ splat into a toxic green mess. These new implements just lack the raw ferocity of the standard weapons, and I found myself rarely using them personally.

There are no new Black Tarot cards to speak of. Even the goals’ to unlock them has been recycled from the original game. This goes for the monsters’ in the game as well, while some have been remodelled, too much I felt was recycled. A lot of content has been reused from both prior games’ which contributes to a niggling feeling that the game was rushed to completion.

The Bottom Line
As a certifiable Painkiller fanatic, I was really hanging out for Overdose. This is why I was so disappointed to find it isn’t quite up to mustard. Obviously Mindware Studios isn’t People Can Fly, and the end result feels decidedly half-baked at best. If Overdose was the free fan-made mod it was originally intended to be I would say it was a great effort, but as a fully-produced commercial product it falls well short of expectations. This is my biassed opinion of course, and my final words are that the carnage still thankfully retains the classic Painkiller stamp of style, and the subtle nods to past shooters will most likely delight real fans of the genre. So, it gets my swollen OK.

Windows · by Nick Drew (397) · 2008

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.

Windows · by vicrabb (7272) · 2008


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Wormspinal.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Stratege.

Game added November 3, 2007. Last modified March 28, 2024.