Max Payne


I just finished Max Payne.

Couple of interesting things, as an example of how small the PC game market is in Japan, when I went to Sakuraya to get it 1 week or so ago they had 3 copies just stuffed in the shelves with the rest of the games. I'm not sure how big it was in the states but there's no place like Best Buy or Fry's with 100rds of copies of PC games here.

I finished but the game is way to damn hard. I only made it 1/6 into the game before I put it in god mode. Maybe if you are one of those Quake guru's who can spin on a dime and make every single shot you could finsh this game without cheating but even then I doubt it. As an example I am able to play Quake 2 without cheating but no such luck here. Part of the problem might be that it's a 3rd person game, not 1st person like Quake. By default there is a dot on the screen showing where you are aimed but for whatever reason in the heat of battle that's not where I'm looking. I'm often looking at my character thinking he's aimed and then noticing the dot is 3 inches down the screen below were I needs it to be.

Another problem is it takes only about 4 hits to be dead and there's very little health to be had.

About 1/6 of the way though is where you meet the first boss. Just another human but he takes like 5 to 10 times the hits as anybody else. After 10 or 20 tries I put it in god mode. I tried putting it back but it was just too hard and annoying. Basically to make it through without cheating would require saving just before entering each room, running in, shooting, dying, restarting and waiting until you got lucky enough to kill everbody in that room without dying. AND, the game gets progressively harder and I was only at 1/6th the way through the game at that point.

But, as an experience there were some cool things about it. The writing is over−written noir but it's kind of entertaining if cheesy at times. The voiceovers are pretty good. Also a little over the top but mostly at least fun to listen to. You've probably read that most of the dialog happens over a graphic novel kind of display. That acutally works pretty well. Also, lots of the characters are having conversations before you they notice you. Some of them are pretty long and funny so if you wait outside the door or just around the corner you can listen in.

There's also a couple of nightmare levels (as in inside a nightmare) which were pretty darn freaky. In fact they were freaky enough that I could imagine somebody making a virtual torture game to drive somebody crazy. Of course I did my best to get into the game. I only played at night. I turned all the lights off. I had my headphones on so it's loud.

There's a burning building level that's pretty neat. The graphics are just okay. I really couldn't tell what was better about this vs say Quake 2 or Half Life except maybe larger textures. There are some notable missing technical items. There's no animated water so in a few levels there is water but it's just a still texture. Not, scrolling, rippling, nothing. There's also very little if any dynamic lighting so even a grenade, although the explosion is nice, does not light the room nor are there many flickering lights or light sources. There are a few levels with red warning lights that fade the whole room red/black but Quake 2 had dynamic lighting, like when you shoot a rocket down a hallway, so it seemed missing from here. It was there just not used much. For example there are TVs you can turn on/off and they effected the lighting but for some reason it just seemed missing.

The whole bullettime thing is getting old in that every friggin game is putting it in, at least for death squences. Kill an enemy and the camera spins around the enemy in slow−mo mode, accelerating in to 180 degrees then back out the last 180 degress. It's in at least 3 other games I've seen. As for the play part of bullettime. It's pretty cool but also poorly done, at least for me. You only get like 10 seconds, maybe only 8. Of it which it's usually, at least for me, only enough to kill 1.5 guys. So, you turn it on, shoot one guy, start shooting the other, then run out and get killed by him and the 3rd guy you haven't even started shooting. To get more you have to kill more guys. Probably 8 to 12 guys to get fully recharged again. If there was a cheat for unlimited bullettime it would have been more fun, at least for me. It is kind of cool though when you are actually in it. They took the sounds directly from the Matrix for going in and out of it and you hear a heartbeat while you are in it which works. Also, all the bullets have trails etc so you can see them wiz by. They are not slow enough that you can choose to dodge them but if you are running perpendicular to an enemy you can see them miss you. While in bullettime everything moves slow, you, them, bullets, explosions but you can aim at full speed.

I would suggest checking it out for the story, dialog and for the nightmare levels I guess.

Luigi's Mansion