Max Payne Review

Take a lot of film-noir darkness and add a dash of The Matrix, and you'll get Max Payne.  In this third-person shooter, you take on the role of Max Payne, a fugitive undercover cop who has been accused of murder.  You must dive deep into New York's dark underbelly to clear your name and find the source of a new drug scourge gripping the city.

Max Payne does a top-notch job of creating an immersive, film-noir environment - the game just oozes atmosphere.  Run-down buildings, abandoned subway stations, and dark back-alleys are just some of the locales Max must make his way through while the city is paralyzed by a major snowstorm.  

The game's story is very compelling and is brilliantly carried forward by cut-scenes which are a mix of action sequences and graphic novel, comic book frames.  The voice acting in these scenes is top-notch, driven by Max's own narrative which sounds part Dirty Harry, part hardboiled PI straight out of a 1940's detective movie. 

Max Payne's dark and dangerous world is populated by gangsters, thugs, pushers, and more scum of the Earth that stand between him and his vindication.  While it is often best to deal with these dirtbags with the business end of Max's well-stocked arsenal, sometimes it is a good idea to wait a few minutes before barging into a room with guns blazing.  Max's enemies have a life of their own and are involved in their various dirty dealings before their ill-fated meetings with Max, so eavesdropping on a conversation or two can provide some clues to unraveling the mystery and clearing Max's name.