When it comes to retrogaming, sometimes just a small jump back, or to the side, in time is enough, as demonstrated by the good “Max Payne”
So welcome to another special on the world of retrogaming with “Max Payne”, A title that differs not a little from the previous article on The Curse of Monkey Island, but which certainly cannot be missing in the collection of any self-respecting fan. So let’s find out a little about this iconic title here.
It was a beautiful summer day, one like many others
He ran the July 2001, but apparently that wasn’t the only thing going in a hurry. In fact, there were not a few video game enthusiasts who that day decided to pop into specialized stores to grab a title, coming from cold Finland, which would forever change their gaming experience.
Max Payne officially comes out on the PC market in the summer of 2001 all over the world and, a few months later, also lands on PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox ed anche Game Boy Advance with due downscaling. The game is a real highlight of the Finnish house Remedy Entertainment which can also boast the realization of its two sequels. But let’s go back to the actual retrogaming and let’s try to understand together how the story of the tormented Max Payne originated.
Finnish videogame science – Retrogaming: “Max Payne”
The origins of the game are not to be found in America, but rather in Northern Europe, more precisely to Espoo in Finland. The team, coming from experiences of demo and little more, it is made up of young boys full of ideas and imagination. This cultural baggage includes a much more cinematic style of play than the average of the titles of the time and this is due to the brilliant intuitions of the creative director Sam Lake (pseudonym of Sami Antero Järvi) which has contributed to the genesis of Remedy Entertainment since its debut game.
It was in fact the Death Rally of the 1996, a driving and fighting game that probably drew inspiration from Twisted Metal released for the first PlayStation the previous year. Lake is therefore noted for its characterization of the characters and dialogues, the key points that will find the maximum development in the second game of the Finnish house, Max Payne.
Like its sequels and other games such as the Alan Wake series, Quantum Break and Control, Remedy Entertainment favors games in single player with darker and more complex storylines inside which the protagonists move. Titles with more cinematic stories and game modes to the delight of a man, on the other side of the globe, like Hideo Kojima (the father of Metal Gear Solid and more).
The tragic story – Retrogaming: “Max Payne”
A police radio communication it starts us directly from the end of the game where, in the silence of the snow storm torn by the sirens of the patrol cars, we find our Max Payne on top of a building holding a sniper rifle. A comic flashback follows, an excellent idea both to cut costs and to give Max Payne a much more noir imprint, where we discover the tragic story of this retrogaming gem.
Get Ready 1010 Investigate the riots at Aesir Plaza. 1004 control panel: confirm address. Aesir Plaza, I repeat Aesir Plaza. Gunshots on the roof of the building, an assault on Aesir Plaza is underway, I repeat, assault in progress
It’s 1998 and our Max Payne is a NYPD detective. On his return home, however, does not find his wife Michelle and newborn daughter, but rather criminals full to the hair of a new drug called Valkyrie. After the shooting comes the tragic truth, Max’s entire family was massacred and it is at this point that our detective “enlists” in the ranks of the give for a very dangerous undercover mission in clan of the Puncinello. Find those responsible and foil the threat of the drug Valkyrie.
It will take three years until the name of Jack Lupino. Max Payne will therefore go to the subway, after the straight one of B.B., to exchange information with your friend and colleague Alex Balder, but fate has more “pain” in store for our hero.
Balder is killed by a gunshot and Max, after defeating some criminals in the subway, will come mistaken for his murderer and, consequently, it will come also hunted by the police led by Jim Bravura. And we are only at the beginning! At the beginning of a real “Odyssey of pain” between intrigues, betrayals, action, tough phrases, the philosophy of a seasoned detective and many, many bullets.
Game Modes and Characters – Retrogaming: “Max Payne”
The game’s plot unfolds along three main chapters, “The American dream”, “A cold day in hell” e “On the way to heaven”, Interspersed with comic-style sequences also chosen to make the most of the poco budget available.
In this regard, it must be remembered immediately that the features of Max Payne and screenwriter Sam Lake they are practically the same while, friends and acquaintances of the team, will “dress” the shoes of other characters in the game. If you compare the photos of Max and Sam from a few years ago, in fact, you can see how they are the same person. Maybe the second is less pixelated, but I’m not ready to put my hand on fire as far as it goes the jargon and the clothing.
Max Payne is therefore a title in third person where we will always move on foot, but fortunately not unarmed. The paraphernalia it is quite essential this is true, we are not sure about Far Cry or Call of Duty, but know that it will be more than enough for distribute the right amount of “justice” and lead to the bad guys on duty.
Such killings and shootings will be made later more spectacular also thanks to bullet time, a slow motion that will allow our Max Payne to shoot even while doing one slip. So remember to always keep the bullet time indicator under control, believe me, it will save you the pellaccia on more than one occasion. And I’m not just referring toblack raincoat in vague Matrix style. After all, the slow motion used in that film will highlight some salient scenes or particular killings. In the face of those who think that for retrogaming we only mean games in 8 e 16 bit or Super Mario 64!
In this regard it is better to do a note on reloading weapons. A trick in order not to waste ammunition when the magazine is nearing its end, apart from that for the shotgun, is to change the weapon and then return to the initial one. In fact, Max will throw the magazine to the ground and, even if it is half full, it will no longer be recoverable.
During the adventure there will be no need for “excessive” stealth, if not in particular cases, but of quick reflexes and a firm aim. Some bullet plus at your fingertips and pain relievers reserve will not hurt to allow our Max to move forward between intrigues and levels!
In addition to this, there is no shortage of dream components, also thanks to some little drug mixed with the right blows to the head, which retrace the corridors of Max Payne’s memories. I would like to remind you of the level in which you find yourself moving on the roofs and, following the trails of blood and the cry of the child, you must find the right path. Simply disturbing.
However, the “crossing” will be made even more epic thanks to one immersive and powerful soundtrack worthy of the best Hollywood films. There will be pianos and melancholy notes to accentuate the most pulp moments also thanks to the skilful use of the heartbeat. Who devoured Edgar Allan Poe will greatly appreciate this last choice.
Some quotes and references – Retrogaming: “Max Payne”
Another pivot on which the game rotates, in addition to the comic style to render it even more American and noir, are definitely the citations and references. Among these is the reference to northern culture with the drug Valkyrie, also cited by Wagner like virgin warriors who collected the souls of fallen heroes, the place Ragnarok, basically the end of the world, and the project Valhalla, the paradise of fallen heroes where they train for Ragnarok.
Another point certainly concerns the tough sentences uttered by Max Payne, worthy of the best Humphrey Bogart who, however, perfectly assimilated the lessons of “Shaft” e Quentin Tarantino.
Vinnie Gognitti ran in terror. He could escape, but with a bullet in his stomach like a shattered bottle of Tabasco, he wouldn’t get far. He knew where to find his boss, and I had an unfinished business with Jack Lupino. Gognitti would have wasted no time. I don’t know about angels, but for men it is fear that gives wings.
Another quote then comes directly from Pulp Fiction. Usually, when a new weapon is found, it is picked up and equipped automatically. In one level, in fact, our Max Payne finds one machine gun near a toaster, as soon as the latter snaps, a man will come out of the bathroom and we will riddle him with shots. Does it remind you of anything?
The heavy legacy of a detective
Twenty years have now passed, as time flies, and also for Max Payne (whom I have covered in this new chapter of the column dedicated to retrogaming) we need to talk about followed. The adventures of our detective saw the direct sequel Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne go out in 2003 and the last Max Payne 3 in 2012. If its following I would define it as “a game with less philosophy and more bullets”, Even the most recent third chapter does not seem to be outdone since the action is certainly not lacking.
In 2008, for the directed by John Moore, the film comes out with Mark Wahlberg. Nothing that is perfectly forgettable, in my opinion, but if you do a little research then you will find films made by fan directly on YouTube. If you talk to me about Max Payne I prefer to remember him with his moments of glory. Just think of the Bafta Award come “Best PC Game of 2001“, To its introduction of Finnish Games Museum in 2017 and in the fact that his clothes are exposed to Science Museum in London.
In conclusion Max Payne I also put it in the my very personal Top Ten videogame! A good playability despite the two decades on his shoulders, a truly immersive atmosphere and a soundtrack that scans each case. A real pearl of retrogaming.
The first, and fundamental, chapter is found on the net a low price together with his followers, just click here, but, if you want more “goodies about yesterday’s games”, Then don’t miss the next releases on TechGameWorld.com!