Remedy's slow-motion shooter is still worth playing today
Released on PC in 2001 and developed by Remedy Entertainment, Max Payne was one of the first games to make a feature out of Bullet Time—the effect popularized by The Matrix. Two decades on, here are six reasons why it remains a classic...
Diving into a room and wiping out an entire group of armed goons in a single flurry of bullets, Molotovs exploding theatrically around you, remains immensely satisyfing, even 20 years on.
It almost feels like a puzzle game at times. You have to figure out the most efficient, ruthless way to clear a room based on the weapons you're carrying, and how full your Bullet Time meter is.
The game creates a superbly forboding atmosphere. Its vision of New York is relentlessly bleak and grimy, taking you on a grand tour of rundown apartments, grotty ships, and seedy nightclubs.
Max is played brilliantly by actor James McCaffery, who brings a whisky-soaked gravity to Sam Lake's dialogue. The cop's musings are drenched in cliché, doubling down on film noir stereotypes with a knowing splash of irony.
Max Payne isn't shy about flaunting its influences, whether it's Pulp Fiction, John Woo shootouts, classic film noir, David Lynch movies, or, of course, The Matrix.
Remedy's classic still looks great thanks to the strength of its art direction, its use of light and shadow, and those dazzling slow-motion particle effects. Two decades later, it holds up remarkably well.
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