Max Payne is an Xbox Original
Published April 24, 2009
At A Glance
Max Payne has long been a haunted man, a rogue cop who fights through life in a dark void, his soul splintered by grief after his family was murdered by a parcel of psychotic junkies. His trigger finger is still quick and his wits are keen, but they are driven by a dark brand of justice, fueled by cold rage.
Pissed off and deadly is an effective combination.
Payne has carved out his own iconic niche in gaming thanks to the brooding noir-inspired Max Payne and Max Payne® 2: The Fall of Max Payne. These much-loved third-person shoot-'em-ups need no longer live surrounded in nostalgia, for they are coming to Xbox Originals for all to enjoy.
Payne doesn't so much deliver a line as chew on it, oozing a world-weary gravitas with each delightful turn of phrase.
Players could send Max diving from side to side, flying backward and forward over obstacles, squeezing off perfect shots to cut up waves of gun-happy enemies in a single graceful slow-mo arc. With Bullet Time, standard action encounters were transformed into the kind of beautifully choreographed gun battles you would expect to find in a John Woo movie.
The man needs a break.
The environments in which he does his violent trade are criminal-infested ratholes, covered in filth, and lit by gloomy bulbs offering only a ragged, dirty light. The Max Payne games delight in assuming the grittiest, most violent undertones possible and it serves Payne's tale of vengeance and ruthless justice wonderfully.
Even more than the environments and the crass, manic, trigger-happy enemies that inhabit them, Payne's own fatalistic monologue, which runs through the game courtesy of comic-book styled panels, peppers the experience with equal parts doom, gloom, and hilarity. Payne doesn't so much deliver a line as chew on it, oozing a world-weary gravitas with each delightful turn of phrase.
With lines like "But who was I to talk, a brooding underdog avenger alone against an empire of evil, out to right a grave injustice," you can't help but smile and cheer Payne on.
The Original Payne
Women are trouble. Women with guns? Watch out Max.
If the original game covered Max's lonely quest for vengeance, the second game flirts with our hero's redemption, as he and Mona form a bond sparked by love amid a world still battered by violence. You'll even get to step into the shoes of our femme fatale, playing through entire levels as the mysteriously motivated Ms. Sax.
Prelude to the Third
Max Payne 3, the first current-gen game in the series, finds our hero retired from the NYPD, long removed from the shattering events of the first two games, and living quietly in an as-yet-unnamed city. Bad luck, alas, continues to follow Payne, and betrayal at the hands of someone close to him plunges Max once more into a world teeming with corruption and violence.
Whether you've longed to relive the Bullet Time glory of the original games, want to prep yourself for the arrival of Max Payne 3 or simply desire an introduction to the series, the arrival of Max Payne and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne on Xbox Originals is a welcome, gritty, and violent gift for any who call themselves shooter fans.
Article by Ryan Treit