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The Top Games of E3 2001

Max Payne
Developed by Remedy
Published by GodGames
Available Q3 2001

It's been in development for about four years, but Max Payne by Finnish developer Remedy is finally nearing completion and should be available later this year. Once it's finally finished, it promises to become one of the PC's most violent, most stylish action games to date. We were skeptical about Max Payne going into this year's E3--but when we got a chance to see the latest version in action, many of our fears instantly disappeared. The game has definitely come a long way.

What's Ahead:
Max Payne has been in development for a very long time, and this can become a problem for some games. It may turn out to be a problem for Max Payne, too. That is, while the technology used for most of the game looks fabulous, some of it seems a bit dated, such as how Max's face doesn't animate and is stuck in a perpetual smirk and how bullets flying through the air leave no trails. Besides this, we're wondering how much content will be packed into Max Payne--the designers admitted the game will be less than 20 hours. The game has a lot of promising features, so here's hoping it'll all be worth the wait.

Max Payne will put you in the titular character's role--that of a young New York cop whose family is murdered and who's framed for the crime. Now that he has nothing left to lose--Remedy's designers seemed to stress this point--Max is out for cold vengeance. He'll enact this vengeance by means of the wide variety of painstakingly recreated real-world firearms that will be featured in the game.

Max Payne will borrow some of the stylish effects as seen in many Hong Kong action movies, as well as the science fiction blockbuster, The Matrix. While such slow-motion sequences have been demonstrated in unplayable gameplay movies leading up to E3 2001, this year, the effects the slow-motion action will have on gameplay were finally revealed. That is, as Max takes out his enemies, he'll gain what's called "bullet time." Bullet time will be stored in a meter that gradually fills up, and he can trigger it at will, causing the world around him to move in slow motion--except Max will still be able to acquire targets just as quickly as ever. Hence, you'll be able to switch to bullet time to take out superior odds single-handedly. Max's reflexes are just that good.

The graphics in the game are incredibly detailed--the textures used throughout are very sharp, and the weapon models are so real that you can zoom to see bullets being loaded into the chamber and even the threading inside the barrel of the weapon. Max Payne will sport multiple cinematic effects, including a third-person view from behind a bullet being fired toward its victim. It'll be a violent game, but one that will compensate for all of its gore with a healthy dose of cinematic flair.

The game will feature at least one additional mode of play that promises to extend Max Payne's replay value. In this mode, you'll be battling to get through each level against a countdown timer--and each time you kill an enemy, a few precious seconds will be added. This should make Max Payne's levels even more fast-paced. The game itself finally seems to be coming together, and we can't wait to get our hands on it.
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