Max Payne

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Max Payne
Max Payne cover.jpg
Release date: July 25, 2001
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Gathering of Developers
Series: Max Payne Series
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox,
Technology: MAX-FX
Media: CD-ROM, DVD


Max Payne is a third-person shooter video game developed by the Finnish company Remedy Entertainment, produced by 3D Realms and published by Gathering of Developers in July, 2001 for Windows. Ports later in the year for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 were published by Rockstar Games. A Macintosh port was published in July 2002 by MacSoft in North America and Feral Interactive in the rest of the World. There were plans for a Dreamcast version of Max Payne, but they were cancelled, maybe due to the discontinuation.

A sequel called Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne was released in 2003. As of March 12, 2008, the Max Payne franchise has sold over 7 million copies according to Take-Two Interactive.


The Max Payne series has a major cinematic influence: the Hong Kong action movie genre, particularly the work of director John Woo, which features a great deal of slow-motion violence and gunfights, almost resembling ballet. "John Woo" is in fact the password that the mobsters must recite to enter their laundromat hideaway.

The game's stylish cinematography and choreography is combined with heavy film noir, pulp noir, and pulp fiction influences in characters and dialogue. Rather than employing rendered or digitized cinematic movies for cutscenes, the story is told instead with "graphic novels" and narrated in the heavy-handed style of radio detective dramas such as Pat Novak for Hire. The games are dark and noir-style, following Max Payne, a troubled cop with internal and external conflicts in a dark, sinister New York City.


The prime emphasis of the series is on shooting. Almost all of the gameplay involves utilizing bullet-time to gun down foe after foe. Levels are generally straightforward, with almost no key-hunting. However, some levels do incorporate platforming elements and puzzle solving. Ammo is in virtually constant supply, as all enemies drop some ammo when killed.

The game's A.I. is heavily dependent on pre-scripted commands. Most of the apparently intelligent behavior exhibited by enemies, such as taking cover behind obstacles, retreating from the player, or throwing grenades, is pre-scripted. Thus, when replaying a level, enemies perform exactly the same behaviors each time. The only enemies who would dodge and roll are the Mercenaries (operatives in black ski-masks), Aesir Security Guards, and Killer Suits (men in sunglasses and business suits).

Higher difficulty levels are extremely challenging; the "Dead on Arrival" level limits the player to 4 saves per chapter, and the "New York Minute" level forces the player to complete each chapter before the allotted time — replenished by killing enemies — is exhausted. Upon completing the game on "Dead on Arrival", Max is transported to the "Final Battle", where the player then fights in perpetual bullet-time against 20 Killer Suits — each armed with the Pancor Jackhammer automatic shotgun. Upon completion of this task, the player can view a secret room with various photographs of New York locations used by the developer, Remedy, as well as a picture of the development team.

On the highest difficulty setting, Max is (from a game perspective) extremely fragile and dies after suffering only 5 pistol bullets, 3 assault rifle bullets, or 1 accurate shotgun blast. Most enemies have more endurance than the player character, with later enemies being able to survive 2 or 3 times as much damage as Max. The player can heal Max by consuming "painkillers", which the player collects and carries, until he/she decides to use them.


The story begins with Max Payne returning home to find several drug junkies high on a new drug called Valkyr in his home, who prompty attack him. After dispatching them all, he finds that his wife and newborn daughter have been killed by the junkies.

Three years later, Max is an undercover cop working for the DEA, investigating the Punchinello Mafia family, who is responsible for the trafficking of Valkyr. B.B. Hensley, a fellow colleague in the DEA, gives Max a message asking him to meet Alex Balder, another DEA agent and a good friend of Max's, in the subway. When Max arrives at the subway, Alex is shot by an unknown assassin. The police consider Max the prime suspect in Alex’s death, and the Punchinello family finds out that he is a cop and wants him dead.

Max begins looking for Jack Lupino, who oversees Valkyr distribution for the Mafia. After killing him, he meets Mona Sax, who laces his drink with Valkyr and leaves him to be found by the Mafia, who proceed to interrogate him.

Max escapes the Mafia and gains access to a shipment of guns belonging to the Russian mob. Max uses these weapons to infiltrate the house of Don Punchinello, the head of the Mafia. Max discovers that the Don is only a puppet in the Valkyr market when the Don is killed by agents of Nicole Horne, CEO of Aesir Corp., in front of Max. Horne herself then injects Max with an overdose of Valkyr and leaves him for dead.

When he awakens, he pursues his only lead, the phrase “Cold Steel”, heard just before he passed out. It leads him to a foundry with an old military bunker under it. He discovers that Valkyr was the result of a military project to improve its soldiers’ stamina; the project was halted shortly after it began. He also discovers that his wife accidentally found out about the project while working at the District Attorney’s office, so Nicole Horne sent the junkies to kill her.

After leaving the bunker, Max gets a call from B.B., who asks Max to meet with him at a garage lot. There, B.B. reveals that he was the one that shot Alex, framing Max for his murder. A brief gun fight ensues in which B.B. is killed. Max then gets a phone call from a man named Alfred Woden, asking him to come to the Asgard building. Alfred is part of a secret society called the "Inner Circle". Woden informs Max about who Nicole Horne is & says the Inner Circle cannot pursue Horne because "their hands are tied." They ask Max to kill Nicole Horne in exchange for ensuring that any criminal charges against him are dropped. After the meeting, the room is stormed by Horne's agents. They kill every person in the room except for Max, who manages to escape, and Woden, who pretends to be shot.

Max enters the Aesir Corp. main office, where Horne is located. As he makes his way past security guards and mercenaries, he runs into Mona Sax again. She is shot by mercenaries after refusing to shoot Max. Max confronts Nicole & states that this whole thing all started after Max's wife found out about the Valkyr project. Horne runs to the roof of the building, boarding a helicopter. Max uses a tower on the roof to destroy the helicopter.

The NYPD arrive at the scene, arresting Max. As Max is being led out of the building by the SWAT team, he sees Alfred Woden. They smile at each other.


Max Payne

Max Payne
Max Payne, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, Max Payne 3