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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

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Game Profile
Game Boy
Rockstar Games
Mobius Entertainment
GENRE: Action
December 16, 2003
Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

More in this Series
 Written by Jeff Milligan  on February 25, 2004

Review: The only Payne you'll be enjoying in this one is the headache you get from the camera work.

Max Payne; one of Rockstar Games' most popular and controversial series has enjoyed great success in its relatively short console life. With tons of weapons and non-stop run-and-gun action, the series has flourished into one of today's best action series available. Now making its debut on the Game Boy Advance, Max Payne is looking to continue the success it's had on console with the portable gaming crowd.

It's not very often you see the big "M" rating on a Game Boy Advance game. However, the scarce number of mature games on the GBA didn't make Rockstar shy away from releasing a dark and scandalous game for the system. May Payne is based in Hell's Kitchen itself, telling the tale of an underground cop being framed for murder. Being hunted by both the police and the mob, Max Payne is living a life bent on revenge, and a life that may not last very long. With lots of bloody action, plenty of violence, and the occasional drug and/or sex reference, Max Payne definitely earns the mature stamp. Not that we're complaining.

The action itself within Max Payne, which is basically the bread and butter of the entire game, is relatively well done. Max is offered numerous weapons, and must face off against lots of bad guys. Walking into a room with guns a blazin' is commonplace in Max Payne, and is entertaining; for about 10 minutes. After you've killed your far share of mobsters, there's really no variance in action the rest of the game.

Another weak point within Max Payne is the fact that Max is vulnerable to enemies that he cannot even see. With the camera system Max Payne utilizes (which is another problem all on its own); enemies can shoot at Max while being off the screen. This not only makes the game unfairly cheap, but also frustrating. While still on the topic of the camera system, players will realize that the system used is quite bad. The camera shifts views every time Max turns in a different direction, and is a direct recipe for an instant headache.

Max Payne however does have a few redeeming factors. The first of which is the now infamous Max Payne bullet time system. By tapping the R Trigger, bullet time can be initiated, which slows down time and gives Max the opportunity to fire off shots before his enemies can react. This technique, while not being the amazing tactic it is in the console versions, is entertaining in itself. Walking into a room crowded with enemies, turning on bullet time, diving into the room and firing off shots in different directions is quite the experience.

The story behind Max Payne becomes unfolded throughout gameplay, and is told through the use of still screens with voiced dialect. While the voice acting is nothing impressive, the graphical engine behind the still screens and the normal gameplay itself is well done. Barring the annoying camera system, Max Payne features a fine graphics interface, and is another one of Payne's more redeeming features.

Bottom Line
Although Max Payne has some spiffy features and techniques, the overall package falls short of what you would expect from the Max Payne series. With a gameplay system that become repetitive, camera angles that give nothing but headaches, and an overall short experience, Max Payne does not bring to the table what its console brethren did. The one thing that Max Payne does live up to is its M rating, but obviously that's not enough to warrant a buy. A possible rental if you want to checkout the bullet time effect on the GBA, but nothing more.

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