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XBox Classics Review: Max Payne


Max Payne Screenshots

The Final Say!

Max Payne
 - reviewed by Ryan Raybould
Review Date: 08 May 2003
Review Score:7.9/10
Not based on an average 
Distributed By:
Take2 Interactive

Max Payne is back!  

I first remember reading about Max Payne way back in 1998. At this time the word Xbox was only a rumor. The images of Max Payne from the late nineties remained with me to its release on the PC in 2001. So, along with the other 420,000 people around the globe I pre-ordered a copy. The game was brilliant and shone with glorious graphics and revised game-play methods proving nothing was left out during its 3-year development. The Xbox version however fails to offer much more than the PC version.

Max Payne Features

  • Players 1
  • Genre: Third Person Shooter
  • Rating: M15+

Max Payne is the story of a fugitive undercover cop who is framed for the murder of his own wife and daughter. Throughout the game you must avoid the police and mobs, whom are hot on your trail and attempt to find the murderer of your wife and daughter. The story is told in the past tense, which results in the game being incredibly story driven. At every key moment in the game a comic sequence fills in the details. 

The interface of the game is innovative and easily adaptable after a few minutes of play. The game is played in third-person and as with all third person games, camera angles are sometimes annoying and retract from its value. Max Payne offers the ability to turn slow-motion game-play (bullet time) on during fight scenes. Some games such as Fifa have imitated this slow-motion game-play but it is reassuring to see that Max Payne still integrates it the best.

The fight scenes in the game are in abundance and keep the player entertained. This game has the potential to become extremely addictive as the fight scenes and storyline keep the player just wanting to go one step further. In some fight scenes where there are a group of enemies and leader is killed, a slow-motion replay of his death occurs and the camera spins around him, making it very cinematic.

The interaction of the characters throughout the game is clever. When approaching a gang of enemies from around a corner you can hear them discussing tactics and what their boss wants. This I found to be of great assistance in moving through the storyline of the game.  

Payne survives throughout the game by relying on painkillers to reboot his health and is represented by an outline of his body, which fills up red when he is shot. Scrolling through weapons is easy through a simple push of the directional pad. This makes it much more enjoyable during fight scenes as you are not fighting the controller as well as the AI.  

The graphics show an immense amount of detail, yet still look slightly dated. The characters are designed well and fit in nicely with the blizzard plagued New York scene. The animation is smooth and the character moves very freely. This is an advantage that the Xbox version of Max Payne has over the PC version. 

The soundtrack in the game is glorious and the twisted music that is used leads to the player not always knowing when something is about to happen which adds to the suspense of the game. Max Payne is just as much about atmosphere as it is about shooting people. 

There is no multi-player component of Max Payne, which is a shame, as a death match between fugitive cops over a system link would have been a blast. Unfortunately this highlights just the beginning of the disappointments of Max Payne.

The Xbox version of Max Payne offers nothing more than the PC version of the game is storyline or length. It would have been nice to see a few extra missions. The PC version also came with a level editor and character developer, which meant that extra levels could be created. It takes the spark away from a new game, when everything in it has already been seen before.  

Max Payne is a well-made game and a great buy for those who want the Payne effect on your Xbox, however if you who have played the PC game, your money is better spent on a fresh experience.

- Ryan Raybould

Copyright 2003 www.impulsegamer.com