Painkiller Review

You've got to see Venice by air...

The game’s engine also supports location based damage. Wing a demon from far off and you’ll notice his shoulder flinch. Blow the arm off of a nearby demon and you will see his weapon go bouncing across the floor. Unleash the pain up close and personal and there will be demon parts flying everywhere and blood spatter on the wall. Now multiply this by twenty or thirty as you are attacked from all sides and you get some adrenaline-pumping mayhem, to say the least. Did I mention that Painkiller is an M-rated game?

The physics engine affects more than weapons effects - the laws of physics apply to everything in Painkiller’s world. Suspended rope bridges will bounce and sway when you cross them and exploding barrels will send twisted pieces of wooden shrapnel flying and bouncing off of objects. You can even push one of these barrels around, send it bouncing it down some stairs, and then blast it when it rolls to the feet of some demons. One level early on requires you to shoot an explosives crate to clear a pile of boulders blocking your path. When the explosives go off it is amazing to watch the individual rocks fling into the air and bounce around the ground before coming to a rest. Heck you can move around the rocks before blasting the crate and I think it just may be possible to dig your way through without setting the explosives off.

Painkiller is not the first game to pit players against demons from hell, but it does have some creative ideas on the form of demons. Sure you’ll face various horned and skeletal apparitions, but you’ll also encounter battleaxe throwing monks, brutish bikers, spectral scythe-wielding crusaders, and ninjas just to name a few. And then there are the bosses. The bosses in Painkiller are massive terrors that will really put you to the test. The first time you see one of these thirty foot plus brutes coming for you, pushing columns out of the way and collapsing the ceiling and floor around you, you’ll certainly freeze for a second as you slowly utter your favorite expletive deleted.

To fight the armies of darkness you’ll have five weapons at your disposal. Each weapon also has an alternate fire mode that is somewhat different than the primary mode, effectively giving you ten weapons. For example, there is a bolt shooter which can impale enemies and stick them to walls whose alternate weapon is a grenade launcher. All of the weapons are useful and there aren’t any throw-away weapons included just to increase the number of available weapons. Even your default weapon is pretty cool – instead of a knife or weak pistol you have a spinning blade device that is great for making scrambled demon guts. Ammo is plentiful for the weapons primary mode, but secondary ammo is a little harder to come by. This adds a little strategy to the game in deciding the right time to use your secondary attacks.