September 24, 2018
Archives  Reviews  Max Payne  



Publisher: MacSoft    Genre: Action
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 450 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 900 MB

Max Payne
August 21, 2002 | Patrick Leyden

Click to enlarge
Easily the most recognizable feature of Max Payne is its use of player-controlled slow motion effects. This Bullet Time is clearly inspired by Hong Kong action cinema as well as western films like The Matrix. With Bullet Time, the player can slow down time for every character in the game, except Max. This gives the player time to assess a given situation and decide the best course of action.

A variation on the Bullet Time concept is the Shootdodge. This is the stylized action that Max Payne is the signature feature of Max Payne. Shootdodging allows the player to dodge enemy gun fire, target enemies and return fire in real time while the rest of the game world is slowed down. Of course, all of this temporal manipulation comes at a price. The ability to enter Bullet Time and to Shootdodge is finite and is only replenished when Max kills an enemy.

Max Payne significantly dials down the emphasis on puzzle solving (and box moving), instead focusing on nail-biting action and straightforward combat strategy. In a typical game play situation, the player may have to reason the best way to take down five opponents without being ripped apart in a hail of enemy gunfire or find a way to get out of a burning building before it explodes. While this isn’t the same kind of strategy found in a game such as Warcraft III, it requires more thought than simply deciding which weapon in Max Payne’s impressive arsenal is the best to use.

I rarely became frustrated with Max Payne, thanks to the game’s auto-adjusting level of difficulty. This feature appeared to work as advertised, since the game never became too easy or punishingly difficult. I was able to play through the game in approximately twelve hours. When players finally finish Max Payne, new game play options are unlocked that increase the title’s challenge level based on time constraints and increased enemy difficulty.

Looks Like, Sounds Like
With a plotline steeped in crime and conspiracy and game play that does not pull any punches, Max Payne is a game demands a graphical look that is raw yet sophisticated. Thankfully, the 3D world of this game lives up to the rest of the title’s stellar attributes. A large portion of this game is set in the seedy, crime-ridden tenements and alleyways of New York City. The level designers in Max Payne have faithfully recreated the ‘bad part of town’ that has been the backdrop for any number of television and feature film crime dramas over the years. When the action moves off the streets and into the areas where the ‘beautiful people’ live, this game does not miss a beat. The game consistently delivers a look that is consistent across all levels while permitting each map to be unique.

The people that populate the world of Max Payne perfectly fit the feel of this game. These characters are created with a balance of animation fluidity, texture quality and respectable polygon counts. This title will not give Doom III a run for its money in terms of 3D realism, but that is a good thing. Max Payne has a style all its own.

Part of this style comes from the game’s audio track as well as its visuals. The music in Max Payne is a good mix of styles, transforming from subtle ambient tones to intense electronic-infused rhythms when the story demands it. The game’s sound effects are also on target, delivering unique and realistic weapon sounds and excellent ambient sound effects. These audio special effects are not overused, so the sound of a conversation in an adjoining room or a distant crash of a door are often as startling as finding a group of enemies waiting for Max on the other side of a door.


Archives  Reviews  Max Payne