Previewed by Burt Carver
I had an opportunity to have a peek at Painkiller, a FPS from Dreamcatcher Games based on the Havok 2.0 Engine. While there are a glut of FPS’s on the market, Painkiller is refreshing in that it takes the genre in a whole new direction. Most FPS games have gone towards the squad based play or ultra realistic, simulated sweat-running-into-the-eyes type gameplay. Painkiller, on the other hand, goes to the other end of the spectrum. The physics are exaggerated, the maps are gothic, and some of the monsters are gargantuan. In one particularly frightening level, a creature about 60 feet high wants to puree you into ground meat (apparently they have mad cow disease on this world as well… otherwise he could just go down to the grocery store for his fix). Whenever he hits the ground with his hammer, depending on how far you are away from him, your world gets rocked. Gameplay is fast and furious, and the weapons are plentiful.
One of the most striking features of the game are the graphics. I am not talking about crazy use of DX9, I’m talking about beautiful art. The levels are richly coloured, and well deisgned. Obviously they aren’t going for photorealism but if you want realism look in a mirror. The game has a decidedly dark feel to it, and it fits with the theme.
Painkiller, while coming out around the same time as as HalfLife 2 and Doom3 (fall ’03), is a completely different game and should appeal to the ‘hordes of monsters’ crowds. In addition, the eye candy and monumental proportions of the game look like this game is going to be different enough from the other FPS’s out there to warrant a second look.