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Product: Max Payne
Company: Remedy
Website: http://www.maxpayne.com
Estimated Street Price: $49.95/44.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

Max Payne was a massive hit on the PC and rightly so as it was not only an excellent, entertaining title, it was also graphically superb. Out of all the consoles released right now, the Xbox is probably the only one that can handle the detail of the graphics in Max Payne in terms of sticking to the highest quality that the game had when released on the PC. The Playstation 2 couldn't do it, so lets hope that the Xbox can.

Max Payne is a man with nothing to lose in the violent, cold urban night. A fugitive undercover cop framed for murder, and now hunted by cops and the mob, Max is a man with his back against the wall, fighting a battle he cannot hope to win. Prepare for a new deep-action game. Prepare for pain...

Developed by Remedy Entertainment and produced by 3D Realms, Max Payne is a relentless, story-driven game about a man on the edge, fighting for his justice while uncovering plot-twists and twisted thugs in the gritty bowels of New York during the century's worst blizzard.

  • Feel the Pain: Story is full of mind-blowing gunplay and clever story-telling.
  • Realism to the Max: Photo-digitized textures, radiosity lighting, and hardware T&L combined. A first in gaming. Gameplay never looked this real.
  • Bullet-time Gameplay: Another gaming first. Slow-mo gives you an inventive advantage over your opponents.
  • Make Your Own Levels: Auto-adjusting gameplay. The game's self-adjusting gameplay keeps you in the sweet spot of gameplay bliss.
  • Play it Your Way: the most powerful, easiest-to-use game editor ever released is in your hands. Use it to recreate your house or workplace.
  • More Realism: Painstaking attention to detail. The bullets are even modeled accurately, resulting in realistic and cinematic gameplay unlike anything you've ever seen.

Prepare for pain...Max Payne.

Installation, Settings and Loading Speeds

Loading up Max Payne doesn't take too long at all, longer than the PC version yeah, but this is a console and the game doesn't install to the Xbox's hard drive. Once the game has loaded you basically get exactly the same options that you had in the PC version. So what are the main differences that people will notice over the excellent PC version, well the game takes longer to load, but not long enough to spoil the game and then we also have the addition of some of the larger levels being broken up into sections so that the game continues to run smoothly. But again as I mentioned earlier, the levels don't take too long to load and there is never a moment when gameplay is spoiled I am pleased to say.

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"I guess I have become spoiled on the Xbox thanks to Halo and its great fun gameplay, superb graphics and sound and while Max certainly some good graphics it doesn't have the gameplay"

Max Payne isn't quite your average 3rd person shooter, here we have subtle differences compared to a lot of other shooters that have been released over the last year or so. For a start the game has a pretty good story going with it, the dialogue, while corny is well put across by the voice actors. Then we have the excellent bullet time, in which you can play the game in slow motion for a short time, diving around all over the place, dodging bullets here and there while taking out the bad guys.

But as this is basically a conversion from the PC classic that is now over 8 months old, it is starting to show its age gameplay wise. There were shortcomings in the PC version when it was first released, and those parts have not been fixed in the Xbox version. For example the really annoying nightmare levels are still here, and haven't been improved what so ever. In saying that, I never expected that they would be changed, but its a part of the game that should just have been dropped. Then we have restaurant scene (I won't spoil it for those who haven't played the game), which again hasn't been improved, but yet again I didn't expect it would.

I guess I have become spoiled on the Xbox thanks to Halo and its great fun gameplay, superb graphics and sound and while Max certainly some good graphics it doesn't have the gameplay to become the best here on the Xbox. The levels have been split up compared to the PC version to supposedly improve load times and keep the graphic settings up, while not really spoiling the game are a bit of a hindrance due to each time you go through a section of the level, about half way though the game will load a new area, but this means you cant go back and pick up lost ammo or health like you could in the PC version. Not only that, but each time you enter a new area a quick save is made.

Controls

This is one very good area in Max Payne on the Xbox, the port has managed to give some good controls to the game. You use the left thumbstick to move around the levels, and the right thumbstick to aim. The trigger button to shoot, and the directional pad to swap various weapons around. I can't say that I had any problems with the controls what so ever in Max Payne on the Xbox, but in saying that, 3rd person shooters on here don't seem to be having any problems in the controls department.

Review Quotes
"Graphically Max Payne looks just like it did on a GeForce 3 powered PC running in high quality mode. The main difference is that the frame rate is rock solid this time"

Graphics & Sound

Graphically Max Payne looks just like it did on a GeForce 3 powered PC running in high quality mode. The main difference is that the frame rate is rock solid this time. The graphics stand up quite well against some games released recently, but Max Payne doesn't go up as well against Halo. Halo has massive levels full of great graphical detail, color and depth...Max Payne looks blocky, and the drab colors don't help matters much. Don't get me wrong though, the game does look great, but it could and should have looked better on the Xbox than it did on the PC, but it just looks like a lazy conversion to me.

Sound is pretty good, but again it could have been better, there is no Dolby 5.1 support (which could have been excellent in game like Max Payne). A lot of the sound tends to be a bit tinny, which detracts from some of the excellent graphics. Despite this the game does have some excellent voice acting, especially from the guy who plays Max Payne.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Controls: 89%
Gameplay: 82%
Presentation: 85%
Graphics: 91%
Multiplayer: N/A
Sound: 86%
Manual: 82%
Interface: 90%
Price/Value: 80%
Overall: 85%

What we have here is really an identical version of the PC game running in high quality mode. There are no new features, no improved graphics but a lot more load times and an additional annoyance of not being able to go back into old areas to pick up supplies when a new one loads up. But all in all the game is very good still, graphically it is still excellent, even if it can't compete with the likes of Halo on the Xbox. This is an excellent 3rd person shooter and if you don't already have the PC version, get this.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 85%
Version Reviewed Max Payne (NTSC)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Max Payne DVD
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Good graphics
Great bullet time
Solid frame rate
Fun action
The Bad Points Repetitive
Widescreen Support No
PAL 60 Support (Europe) No


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