Painkiller: Battle Out of Hell Review

More great levels await you.

Painkiller is a game that reminds us how much fun mindless carnage can be. It eschews a complex storyline and scripted events in favor of waves of imaginatively designed enemies, surreal and fantastic levels, and non-stop action. It breaks action gaming down to its basic elements and expertly delivers those elements in a package that is a blast to play. Now Painkiller fans can rejoice in the fact that the game now has an expansion, Battle Out of Hell, that adds ten new levels to the game and a host of new enemies to blast into oblivion.

Battle Out of Hell is a typical expansion game in that it does not really alter the gameplay of the original, so if for some odd reason you did not enjoy the original game the expansion won’t change your mind about things. The expansion continues the premise of the original in that you are a recently deceased man enlisted by heaven to fight back the demon hordes that are trying to invade purgatory. Like the original game, the story is just a little glue designed to hold the otherwise distinct levels together, but this is not a game you play for the story.

The new levels in the Battle Out of Hell are some of the most atmospheric and imaginative levels you’ll ever find in a game. Like in the original game the levels are not really connected in any way, but rather stand as individual set pieces in an episodic shooter. Right off the bat you start in a haunted orphanage which is creepier than most settings conjured up for Hollywood horror films. The orphanage just exudes malevolence from its eerie ambient noises to the sinister artwork adorning the walls to the ghostly nuns who pass through the corridors. I found myself taking the time to look at each room in detail after dealing with the resident nasties just to take it all in. Of course the evil entities in the house fit the setting perfectly, including zombie-like children who keep coming after you even after losing their heads and evil puppets that stab at you with Pinocchio noses. Battle Out of Hell includes other imaginative levels that include a war-torn city that resembles Stalingrad in World War II and a demonic circus. Each level includes its own ambient sounds and musical soundtrack. Demon attacks are accompanied by blaring original rock tracks that succeed in taking the frantic gameplay up another notch.