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Painkiller is a "bullet hell" first-person shooter with a gothic storyline and frantic gameplay.

Players are cast as Daniel Garner, a regular guy who gets killed in a horrific car crash while taking his wife out for her birthday. She, being the saintly woman she is, gets admitted to Heaven. Daniel, due to his shady past, does not. He finds himself in Purgatory -- a place somewhere between Heaven and Hell. It isn't long before Daniel is recruited by his "caseworker for the dead" to fight the minions of Hell. Lucifer is plotting to overthrow Heaven, and is using Purgatory as a staging ground. The offer is simple: stop Lucifer's armies and earn Daniel's heavenly reward.


Painkiller Windows The Catacombs final stage. On the other side you can see the little boss of the Catacombs. Don't waste your ammo on him, he doesn't gets killed by gunfire. Below is a well of fire... get it?
Painkiller Windows The eerie Military Base...
Painkiller Windows Cleric clones!
Painkiller Windows City on Water level.

Promo Images

Painkiller Screenshot
Painkiller Screenshot
Painkiller Screenshot
Painkiller Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "恐惧杀手" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • "PK" -- Abbreviated title
  • "Painkiller: Крещеный Кровью" -- Russian spelling
  • "Painkiller: Verega Ristitud" -- Estonian title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Return of old-school FPS vicrabb (7291) 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 (10638) 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

Critic Reviews

GameSpy Apr 16, 2004 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90 Apr 21, 2004 87 out of 100 87
Armchair Empire, The Apr 25, 2004 8.5 out of 10 85
Game Freaks 365 2004 8.4 out of 10 84
Gameinatrix May 26, 2004 B+ 83
Game Informer Magazine Jun, 2004 8.25 out of 10 82 Apr 22, 2004 82 out of 100 82
Thunderbolt Games May 06, 2004 8 out of 10 80
Boomtown Apr 30, 2004 7 out of 10 70 Sep 02, 2004 61 out of 100 61


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On October 14, 2004, the CPL (Cyberathlete Professional League) announced that Painkiller was chosen as the official game for their $1,000,000 CPL World Tour. The competition maps are designed by Todd Rose, Richard Heath and Russel Meakim from Ritual Entertainment.

A month later, on November 20, 2004, the CPL announced that they had cut a deal with Dreamcatcher Interactive that gives them worldwide rights for the use of multiplayer Painkiller in any online or live tournament with cash or merchandise prizes.

German version

In the German version, blood was re-colored green and enemies don't burst.


In January 2004, four months prior to the release, a hefty multi-player alpha build was leaked to the internet. Dreamcatcher was unable to trace the source and could only warn fans that the leak was not representative for the final game.


The latest patches (1.61 and higher) adds new graphic features, such as the Bloom effect and more resolutions. Two more weapons are also added, an SMG with a Flame Thrower and another gun similar to the shotgun and Stake Gun.


Daniel Garner, the hero of Painkiller, was originally envisioned and prototyped as slick, gun-toting Latin American with a wardrobe reminiscent of Miami Vice, before being reinvented as a the tough and troubled everyman he is in the final game.


Painkiller is one of the few games that doesn't force real-time rendering for it's video display. Usually whenever a game or program has a graphic load that exceeds the hardware's performance it starts to "skip" the rendering of certain frames in order to maintain the timing of the animations as intended. This results in the familiar "frame-skipping" or "jumping" that we known so well.

Another alternative to this problem is to forget about trying to maintain real-time animation and draw every frame at the speed the hardware can manage, however this is hardly used for videogames and usually only appears as an option on 3D rendering programs. The reason for this can be seen on Painkiller and that's because if you play it on a machine that's below the recommended specs, the game will be actually easier to play. As whenever the CPU load gets too high (which starts to happen when many enemies appear) the game goes into slo-mo.


  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2005 - #3 Game of the Year 2004
  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2005 (Issue #249) – Single-Player Shooter of the Year
    • March 2005 (Issue #249) – Best Weapon of the Year (for The Painkiller)
  • GameSpy
    • 2004 – Most Pleasent Surprise of the Year (PC)
  • PC Gamer
    • 2004 - FPS of the Year
Information also contributed by Ghostbreed, PCGamer77, rstevenson, Scott Monster and Zovni

Related Web Sites

  • All About Painkiller (Fan site about Painkiller and its add-on, Battle out of Hell, with gallery, guide, secrets, videos, etc.)
  • Hall of Pain (Fan shrine to Painkiller and its add-on with a complete list of enemies, videos, a mod created by Varus, the webmaster, called The Hills and an interactive Tarot Guide. Also available in German.)
  • Official Website (Official Publisher Website for Painkiller (Flash required))
  • Painkiller Euro (European painkiller fansite with news, cups and tools.)
Brian Gladman (210) added Painkiller (Windows) on Apr 21, 2004