Special Max Review
The real joy of Max Payne is in looking cool while killing people. The game delights in this simple staple and there is infinite replay value in every door-busting, bullet-dodging, frozen moment of airborne muzzle-flash, whistling tracer and diuretic brass ejection. The same room of gun-loving criminals can be cleared in so many individually cool ways, that there are barely enough glorification-of-violence scenes in all of modern film history to draw upon for reference. You have to invent a few moves of your own and that's just fine.
Film noir narration from Max carries the plot forward between episodes in one long flashback, leading to how he ends up sniping above the city. It's familiar film technique all the way, but the splicing is carried off with such solid production skill that the game feels completely different in texture to anything you will have played before. Frankly, it makes the best of past efforts seem clumsy and amateur.
Max Payne is exactly the type of game that we needed right now to convince the world that this is a maturing market that should be taken more seriously. They say that a media (and ours is still young) takes 30 years to establish itself. We are now in the 30th year of the games industry ( Computer Space was in 1971) and to mark this significant milestone, Max has dragged us by the unmentionables down Hollywood Boulevard and set his Berettas in concrete for all to admire. Never has a darker game made the future look so bright.
Max deserves such an accolade not only for the raw enjoyment it will bring you, but for being the most significant game in this industry so far in terms of closing a massive gap between what we expect from a modern film and a modern game.