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Max Payne

aka: Dark Justice, Max Heat, Max Payne Mobile, Yingxiong Bense
Windows Specs [ all ]
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Description official descriptions

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 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

253 People (181 developers, 72 thanks) · View all



Average score: 88% (based on 74 ratings)


Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 395 ratings with 30 reviews)

Max Payne Is More Fun Than Television

The Good
Wow, has it really been nearly 10 years since Max Payne was released? The game that blended the grittiness of pulp and graphic novels, with the John Woo inspired gunplay. And tied it all together within a shiny 3rd person action shooter?

I have only reviewed Max Payne 2, at this point and after viewing the horrendous film adaptation, and replaying the game to rid the bad taste of the film from my mouth. I decided to throw my two cents into an already over-reviewed game. So here goes.

“They were all dead… the final gunshot, was an exclamation…”

Max Payne is a New York City cop, whom upon arriving home one day, stumbles into a nightmare. There are armed men in his house, and they are crazed on some new designer drug. In the ensuing chaos, Max’s wife and daughter are murdered. Flash forward some years later, and Max is working deep undercover, in the seediest hellholes. When his partner, Alex is killed, a crime for which Max is blamed, he goes on a rampage against New York’s underworld.

Max Payne is supported by a lot of other interesting characters. Like the whiny Vinnie Gognitti, the psychotic Jack Lupino, and the femme fatale assassin, Mona Sax to name a few.

Also there is the Address Unknown, back-story which mirrors Max’s plight. As well as the silly Captain Baseball Batboy. All of these elements come together, to make a more interesting narrative, and make the game world seem more realistic.

And how can I forget, the great graphic novel panels, that move along the story?

The gunplay is a blast. Literally. It’s like being throw headfirst into a heroic bloodshed film.(Look it up.-MM-) Max runs and guns, and can go into bullet-time, in which everything slows down around him, allowing him to easily take out his foes.

There are lots of guns and explosives to collect. Pistols, machine guns, rifles, etc. And in one particularly cool effect, when fired, the sniper rifle zooms in of the bullet and tracks it as it connects with an enemies head.

Max Payne, is a very adult game. Not only with it’s graphic violence, but also it’s mature themes, that would be lost on younger players. Be warned, Max Payne is a very violent game. Especially when it slows down, as the bullets riddle the bodies of the gangsters, and blood pours from their wounds. (Take that PG-13, BS film!-MM-)

The graphics are still pretty good. Not as much as say Max Payne 2, but they still get the job done, and only look a little dated.

The music is great, as are the voice overs. Particularly, the voice of Max. And some of the dialog with the enemies when they are just hanging around is laugh out loud funny.

The Bad
This game can be very challenging. I finished it on all the modes, and would not care to do that again. Max dies very easily, especially on the higher difficulties.

If you do not want or like a challenge, then you need not apply.

Some of the boss fights are insanely hard. Like the one with Jack Lupino.

There are also some “filler” levels. The only purpose these levels serve is to make the game longer, they could have easily been cut.

The Bottom Line
So here we are 10 years later, and Max Payne is still a blast to play. What you haven’t played it? You have to play it.

Windows · by MasterMegid (723) · 2009

A very big disappointment.

The Good
Sound were awesome with the gun shooting and explosions throughout the game. Also, the ability to pick your wasted victim's ammo is sweet to.

The Bad
Where do I begin? First, the voices are really blurred so you can never hear what the person is saying and when you can there is like only 5-6 different voices which is pretty lame. Plus, the background graphics are really shoty and just plain suck. Finally, the load times are horrible compared to the PC version.

The Bottom Line
Please, if you want this game, go buy either the Windows or Xbox version. If you don't have either, PS2 is only hope, and my friend you will be disappointed.

PlayStation 2 · by Exodia85 (2147) · 2003

A wonderful action shooter that brings back the senseless-violence thrill of Doom.

The Good
"Are you saying this game is like Doom?"

No, no, that's not what I meant. Doom and Max Payne have only one direct link to each other, and that's guns and violence. Of course, many games have that link, so why did I mention doom in the one-liner? Because very few FPS games, or games in general since Doom have had that thrill of going into battle, killing everything and walking away triumphant. Games nowadays emphasize realism and bring the action to you in a very scripted and "realistic" way. Like having to take out that guard to progress, or being forced to defend yourself against assailants, or of course the end-game boss. Now, I'm not saying that's not good either. In fact, I love the type of game that emphasize strategy and realism. I just missed the action of a Doom-style shooter, and Max Payne has brought it back to me.

"So, Max Payne is basically a senseless kill-everything-for-no-reason shooter? Bah! Boring!"

That's not what I meant either. Max Payne has a dark and noir-like story and setting that make going from one level to another something more than "flipping the switch and counting up your score". I compare Max Payne to Doom because of the battles, because Max Payne is not realistic at all, but at the same time it is an edge-on-your-seat thrill ride. I remember playing Doom and firing off that shotgun at the horde of demon-spawns, running away from the cloud of bullets, rockets and fireballs, dodging behind walls and charging into battle with no hope of surviving, only to come out alive, standing in a field of corpses.

That is how the battles in Max Payne are essentially fought. You charge into battle with the odds against you and somehow, miraculously, come out on top. How does this happen? Well, you have one distinct advantage, and it's the real selling point of Max Payne - bullet time. Obviously influenced by The Matrix, Max has the ability to slow time down, allowing him to dodge bullets and fire off his ammo twice as fast as his opponents. Once the battle begins, it might only last one, two seconds before everyone in the room - except for Max - falls to the ground dead.

"Doom didn't have that feature!"

Okay, enough about Doom. Don't talk anymore.

The story is cliche'd, but it's certainly new to the FPS genre - or in this case, TPS (third-person shooter...blargh) and as you play it, it won't feel at all like an "I've seen this before" game. You come home one day to find a bunch of druggies murdered your family, and then you're framed for murder! As if things weren't bad enough, druggies and thugs and psychos and every criminal and politician in the city is after you! It's up to you to cut through the red tape - in slow motion, baby - and find the men responsible for your family's death and clear your name at the same time. Such a feat could only be accomplished by Max Payne (or maybe Duke Nukem).

"Hey, Duke Nukem! That came after Doom, why didn't you mention Duke?"

Wha - I said quit talking! Doom had a story to go along with it, and it was pretty cool. Duke's story was dumb. Now shaddap!

The battles in Max Payne are truly memorable. Sometimes, during the death of an enemy, there'll be a sort of camera-sweep cutscene that adds so much to the experience. During the battles, you'll actually see the bullets fly past you, smashing bottles and breaking small pieces of wood off the walls. And there's just something great about throwing a molotov cocktail accross the cafe in slow motion and watching it burst into flames on the fatass bartender as he charges at you with his shotgun. Max Payne brings a truly cinematic feel to the genre that isn't brought on by scripted cutscenes or FMVs.

It comes with an editor. Heh...if you can figure it out, you can make a Max Payne for yourself.

The Bad
While I didn't mind the linearity of the game - it is just an action FPS afterall - it should still be noted. You don't have any real area to explore in the game, save for a few secret areas that you're not supposed to visit. There are no sights to see or anything like that. It's all standard "go here, kill everyone, go there, kill everyone, go through the door, kill that guy".

Everyone wants to kill you. Most of the areas you visit are areas where you'd expect to see a lot of enemies, but it's just a little rediculous that a hotel has thirty criminals armed with shotguns and uzis, but no civilians staying there.

I really wish they'd done more with the camera-sweeps and stuff in the game. They were awesome, but there just weren't enough of them. Only a few guys had them when they died, and I only remember one area that had a different camera angle before the enemy was dead. They added a LOT to the game and made it so insanely fun to play, I really wish there had been more.

Strategy would have made the game cooler. While Max Payne diving in slow motion was a cool feature...it just gets dumb when Max dives around the room shooting ten times in one battle. I wish the bullet-time would have been a more optional feature rather than a must-have, because unless you get the first shot - and make it a fatal blow - in a battle, you'll die without bullet time. Also, there's really not anything else to do but bullet time. You can't really duck behind many things because your head will pop above it and the bad guys can just shoot it. You can't lean around corners, there is no stealth involved in the game at all. I love the senseless-violence action...but there could have been more to it.

Some people complain that the game is too short. I didn't think so, but...well, maybe it is.

The dream sequences were cool, but the level design was unecessary. It's filled with mazes and guessing games.

Bullet time drains waaay too quickly unless you're just diving. But it's pretty useless unless you're diving, which is a pity.

The Bottom Line
Doom-style action with some shnazzy cinematic effects. Max Payne rocks!

Windows · by kbmb (416) · 2002

[ View all 30 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
XP SP2 Indra was here (20642) Jun 4th, 2008


1001 Video Games

The PC version of Max Payne appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


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.

Bullet time

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

Max Payne 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

German index

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.

The ban on the game was eventually lifted.


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.

References: Self

  • 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.

Version differences

The PS2 version doesn't allow you to quick save during a level unlike the PC and Xbox versions.


  • Gamespy
    • 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

Information also contributed by AkibaTechno, Archagon, DarkBubble, dasfatso, David Sky, Dreamweaver, Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze, Erik Niklas, festershinetop, Juan Pablo Bouquet, Juguryo, JPaterson, Karthik KANE, Kasey Chang, MasterMegid, PCGamer77, phlux, Samuel James Vince and Scott Monster

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Related Sites +

  • 3D Realms Site
    The official 3d Realms/ Apogee Website
  • A Rock-Solid Hero for a Rock-Solid OS
    An Apple Games article about the Macintosh version of <em>Max Payne</em>, with commentary being provided by Art Director Saku Lehtinen (July, 2002).
  • Max Payne
    The official Max Payne website
  • Max Payne
    3D Realms official Max Payne website
  • Max Payne Fan Site
    Tips, cheats, screenshots, modifications and links.
  • Official Webpage (Mac)
    The official product page for the Mac version of <em>Max Payne</em> on the publisher's website, which provides a trailer, character information, a profile of the game itself, and purchasing information, among other such particulars.
  • Payne Reactor
    A fan site dedicated to Max Payne - Mods, Levels, Total Conversions, Tutorials, Forums, Cheats, etc.
  • Sound fix for Max Payne and Vista.
    A clever person fixed a bug with Max Payne not playing music and dialogue in Vista. Vista doesn't support the sound file formats used for the playback.
  • Wikipedia: Max Payne
    Information about Max Payne at Wikipedia

Identifiers +


Know about this game? Add your expertise to help preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Derrick 'Knight' Steele.

Xbox added by Brian Hirt. PlayStation 3 added by Charly2.0. Xbox 360 added by karttu. iPad, iPhone, PlayStation 4 added by Sciere. Android, Macintosh added by Kabushi. Xbox One, Xbox Series added by Eufemiano Bullanga.

Additional contributors: Macintrash, Xantheous, Kasey Chang, Unicorn Lynx, Jony Shahar, Jim Fun, Frenkel, Sciere, Scott Monster, Zeppin, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, 64er.

Game added July 19th, 2001. Last modified June 24th, 2023.