The Philosophy of Revenge | Nostalgic review of the game Max Payne


The other day, a new exciting game from Remedy was released, which I personally have been waiting for with great interest. And, as for me, the release of Control is a great occasion to remember those outstanding projects that the Finns have already given us over the years of the development studio’s existence. It would be logical to start with their very first game – Death Rally – however, to be honest, I have not played it, and generally do not like racing, but the next brainchild of Sam Lake’s team left a big mark in my childhood and in my entire gamer life. Today I will continue my series of reviews of the cult games of the first half of the 2000s, and in this post we will talk about the undisputed masterpiece of Remedy Entertainment called Max Payne.

Once, far in the north, in one harsh country, having drunk beer to the bone, a guy named Samul Suwahoku decided to suddenly create his own game development company, sent messengers of mummy trolls to his old friends, and after they responded, she was born studio Remedy. However, then this word did not sound as proud as it is now, and it was difficult to call Remedy a company: it consisted of only six people, their budget was very modest,

and all business was conducted in a cramped closet under the stairs in Suwahoku mother’s house. Their first game and at the same time their first success was the arcade racing simulator Death Rally, thanks to which Remedy were not only able to lay a financial foothold for their future projects, but also to show what they were capable of, so that in the future they no longer had problems finding publishers. Although even after the release of the rather highly acclaimed Death Rally, Remedy has not yet gained fame.



After their first game appeared on store shelves, the Finns immediately thought about developing the next one, because, as we know, game development is still a drug … In parallel with the creation of a benchmark for VNU Business Publications (another way to announce yourself to publishers), the team Suwahoku began to cut a new game in the setting of a zombie apocalypse, set by the explosion of a megadome called “Valkyrie” … Can you smell the smell of Ragnar.

There is no point in talking about this project in more detail, because the development was curtailed and canceled. But on the other hand, all the attention of the Finns was now focused on a new game called Dark Justice, however, such a title ordered to live a long time, and after a while the project was renamed Max Heat, which also did not suit the developers in the end, and as a result, the game from Maximum heat turned into Maximum pain … In other words, this is how Max Payne appeared.

For all that long time that Max was in development, the game managed to undergo many changes: from individual small details to changing the entire concept of the game in general. But in the end, it all came to the well-known dark, addictive third-person action game, imbued with a strong detective story. By the way, Sami Antero Jarvis, who is now familiar to everyone, also known as Sam Lake, appeared in the Remedy team during the development of Max Payne. Being a friend of one of the founders of the studio, Lake was invited as a screenwriter, although in the future he took part in the creation of the level design, and of course he was endowed with the main character of the game.

Max Payne is a simple New York police officer, with whom fate has played a cruel joke. Day and night protecting law and order in the Big Apple, he could not prevent the death of his family. One unfortunate evening, returning home, Max discovered that his wife and child had been brutally killed by acid makers who had been drugged by a hitherto unknown drug called “Valkyrian”. This turned the hero’s world upside down, but he did not leave the police, but made every effort to get to the culprit of the tragedy. After two years in the anti-narcotics department, he finally goes to the Italian mafia.

But the bandits did not like it and Max was greeted with a rain of lead, in turn, and he had to bare the trunk of his old Beretta and bleed the bastards. Starting in the New York subway, a crazy carnival of death carried us through the snow-covered streets of the city, a drug den, a hotel that was covered by Don Punchinello, and in the end confronted us with forces much more powerful than the head of the city mafia, at some point Max was even abandoned to a secret underground laboratory, and in the end it all ended with the disclosure of the conspiracy of the corporation of evil and the fulfillment of revenge.



The plot in Max Payne is very strange thing. It is banal, predictable and has a lot of through-slots. But at the same time, I wouldn’t be Grid if I say that this story did not capture me and did not carry me away. And all thanks to the art of Remedy, yes, precisely to art, otherwise you can’t say how to present this story correctly, and this fact alone interrupts all the shortcomings of the plot, and passing the game over and over again you are still delighted with it. All cutscenes in the game were made in the form of inserts stylized as comics, while all the characters depicted in the pictures were not drawn, but were real photographs, which, after going through a series of filters, acquired such a stylish design.

Max Payne impressed the players so much that later any other game in which shooting from two guns at the same time was available inevitably evoked associations with Max, we then said: “There you can shoot with two hands just like in Max Payne!” Well, the birth of bullet-time is completely stuck to the creation of Remedy, because it was the Finns who first embodied “bullet time” in a computer game. The slow motion mode was the hallmark of the game, which we only talked about at that time. Max Payne was a great example of hardcore.

and time dilation was not at all pleading for this fact, although many may argue with me, but this is my opinion. Sometimes even bullet-time did not save the hero from a swarm of bullets that left a couple of engrams in the hands of the enemy. Max was very susceptible to damage, so he had to be very careful even on the easiest difficulty, which actually turned out to be not easy at all. All opponents were essentially the same, only their appearance and weapons changed, but I could not single out any subspecies. Of course, not counting a few bosses, but they also differed only in durable skin.