“I slide into the toilet in slow-mo”

Relearning to love bullet time in MAX PAYNE


It’s only now, as I slide into the toilet in slow-mo, twin Beretta 92FS pistols blazing, that I suddenly realize that, boy, Max’s laundry bill is going to be high this month. Sliding on the floor at the best of times is going to leave your clothes in a bad state, but sliding around on the filthy floor of a mafia-run drug den and knocking shop’s toilet is going to take Max from Prada to pauper in seconds.

The Berettas have done their grim work, though, and two burly mafia goons now lie slumped against a bullethole-peppered wall. Like the floor, the wall is dirty. Why can’t the mafia keep their places of business clean? I turn the corner of the run down, gang-owned, knocking shop’s corridor and throw a Molotov cocktail onto the card table that three made men are sat around, gambling. The explosion coats two in a horrible, fiery death, while the other narrowly escapes, rolling out behind a counter.

Hearing the commotion, two other goons burst out of a nearby door and, just like that, the corridor leading to my bathroom refuge is an adrenaline-pumping rush of slow-mo gunfire that would give John Woo a wet dream.


What I hadn’t remembered is just how brutal the combat in this game could be, though, with Max frequently left in a bloody, bulletridd­en mess on the floor despite his ability to utilise bullet time slow-mo. Time your use of bullet time badly or, like me, accidental­ly trigger a slow-mo dive out of a bathroom cubicle while trying to reload a shotgun, and you’ll be gunned down by an enemy in no time.

Max is also, almost always, low on health and on the brink of death in this game. Mr Payne limps around, holding his chest, his trenchcoat and slacks covered in blood, almost all the time, just one bullet away from kicking the can. That leads to many frustratin­g low blow deaths, but it also seriously adds to the tension and fun. Plus, it feels entirely in-fitting with this game’s dark noir atmosphere and narrative. Was it a design decision by Remedy to deliver plenty of pain? I’m more convinced now than ever.

 ?? ?? Max always knows how to make an entrance.
Max always knows how to make an entrance.

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