Max Payne on Xbox

by Mike Shea on 6 February 2003

In my frustration over the game about saving the world by throwing coke cans, I went out and bought another action game, Max Payne. It's an oldie, but it got excellent reviews and only ran $30 from Best Buy. A rumor in the latest xbox magazine had it dropping to $20 this month but I couldn't wait.

The short is that Max Payne is an excellent action game. It combines John Woo type action scenes with special effects from The Matrix. Diving through the air in slo-mo with a pair of hand guns blasting three thugs before you hit the ground is the way video games were meant to be. It has good control, a simple and dark story, wonderful action, and grabbed me for two hours on my first sit-down.

There are a couple of faults. There are a lot of "loading" breaks, far more than there should be. It looks like it has some annoying platform elements, jumping on boxes, crossing thin pipes, crap like that. The game would be a lot better in 16x9. Right now I have to play on stretch which deforms the picture a bit. For $30, it may be the best value on the Xbox. Next to Halo its the most fun I've had playing single player action games on the xbox. I hate to hype, but Max Payne is the Grand Theft Auto of Xbox.

Speaking of action games with slo-mo guns blazing action, there has been a lot of hype about the new Enter the Matrix game. We all know the golden rule. Games based on movies suck. For every Goldeneye we've ever seen, there are a hundred Batman Returns and E.Ts. This one, however, may be different. It was actually written and produced by the Wachowski brothers, and given their love of video games and the homage they pay to them in The Matrix, it may actually come out well. There was a curious quote, however: "As you work your way through the level, you'll encounter vampire enemies that you'll engage in hand-to-hand combat with and dispatch with wooden stakes."

Vampires? In the Matrix? Well, if anyone can mix in another strange genre into their action / sci-fi / kung-fu movie, it would be the Wachowski brothers, but lets just say I'm skeptical. I'm also skeptical of any game based off of a movie, so I will have to read the reviews before running right out and buying it. It doesn't come out until May, though, so I have time to ponder.

In the mean time, Max Payne for single player fun and Mech Assault for multiplayer fun are the top pics for the Xbox.

What I learned from this posting:

Max Payne is a very solid John Woo / Matrix action game on Xbox for $20 to $30 bucks. Mike still hates Splinter Cell. It used to be bottle throwing crap in Eastern Europe but now its bottle throwing crap inside the CIA. I miss donky kong =( Enter the Matrix game may be good but history has shown us that movie based video games almost always suck. We can always hope, though.