12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Much imitated, never bettered,
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This review is from: Max Payne (Xbox Classics) (Video Game)
It's quite difficult for gamers coming fresh to Max Payne in 2003 to appreciate just how groundbreaking it was upon it's initial release. The game is perhaps most famous as the originator of the 'bullet-time' gameplay, which slows the action down Matrix-style whilst allowing the player to aim at normal speed. This effect was really impressive when first seen, although it has been copied many times since and it's allure has become somewhat muted as a result. However, Max Payne makes this effect more than just a gimmick; it's absolutely essential to use it when facing multiple enemies in order to avoid a quick death. In fact, no game since has implemented bullet-time to such a successful degree as this. It's not the only thing which makes Max Payne stand out, though - there's a rich and involving story, well-defined characters and even some decent voice-acting for once. The script is excellent; it's like a tongue-in-cheek homage to the hard-boiled 'noir' thrillers of the 'Thirties, and Max's deadpan delivery is admirable. The 'graphic novel' cut scenes are also very impressive, and the game evokes it's gritty atmosphere wonderfully well. The graphics are no longer top-notch, but they still look pretty good, and luckily the X-Box received an excellent conversion which is equal to the PC version in almost every respect (unfortunately the PS2 version is very poor). Criticism of the game is usually centred around it's length; you can finish it in around ten hours without too much difficulty. The game is now available at a reduced price which renders the question a moot point, but consider: would you rather play 10 hours of a top-quality title, or opt for 50 hours of rubbish? I'm not suggesting that all short games are good and all long games aren't - this plainly isn't true, as any fan of RPGs will tell you, but Max Payne is the very definition of quality over quantity. I can understand that perhaps younger gamers, with more spare time to play and less money to buy games, would be pretty disappointed to pay full price for something thay can finish in a day or two, but for anyone else I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this title. The good news is that Max Payne 2 is on the way later this year, so what better time to acquaint yourself with the original?