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Written by  :  Sycada (191)
Written on  :  Aug 09, 2001
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Streamlined action games never looked so good.

The Good

It's hard to know where to start, the whole package is so beautifully realized and meticulously presented that faults are hard to pick. Playing as Max Payne, you basically have to go from level to level blasting bad guys and finding the exit. However, what separates this title from others in the genre is you become wrapped up in the well written and interesting story which is spoon fed to you as you progress through the game, relishing every bite. Almost everything can be interacted with and the style of the game is very similar to a certain popular sci-fi flick from 1999 that has spawned countless imitators (you know the one I mean so don't make me say it.) This time though, we can actually PLAY OUT the scenes ourselves rather than just observe thanks largely to the use of the bullet time gameplay mode. When you enter this mode, the whole game slows down, you can see the bullets whiz past your head and fly from your weapon, the sound begins to convey a feeling of being under water and when the effect wears of it's as if we have surfaced again. Usually with a few more dead bodies than before. Max Payne is played out from the third person which some may complain about but I for one like this viewpoint. It's worked so well before in games like the criminally underrated Heretic II. If anything, it works better here and if the game were in first person, the bullet time features would just not work as well as they do. The story is conveyed through some beautifully done graphic novel cutscenes (that's comics to most people) and the voice acting suits the game perfectly with rough gritty representations of characters. The level design is very polished and looks lovely. Visually the game is unmatched on PC with some of the crispest graphics ever to grace a monitor. Some have complained that Max Payne is too short, while it isn't the longest of games, it is certainly of a decent length and when the quality of what's on offer here is considered, it is pure ignorance to expect anything more.

The Bad

The biggest complaint I have about Max Payne is that for some reason, the game would crash my whole system every time I exited from it, even after applying a patch. During the game it was fine but it's clear there are some nasty bugs that must still be ironed out. Also during the excellent dream sequence stage, I was irked to discover that it was possible to die. Being able to die in a dream is just plain silly and something that could have easily been avoided with minimum fuss.

The Bottom Line

Every now and then, a game comes out that innovates it's chosen genre and goes down in the hall of gaming fame as a true masterpiece that will be revered in years to come when it becomes a classic. Max Payne is one such game.