Max Payne's wife and baby daughter were slain by junkies hopped up on a dangerous new synthetic drug. For three years, Max has worked undercover to find the source of these drugs and then, just when he's almost got it figured out, somebody ices his superior and pins the murder on him. Now, it's payback time as Max faces off against the Mob, the police and much, much, worse. Max Payne has jumped from the PC to the PlayStation 2, and there's going to be hell to pay. Max Payne uses extremely realistic graphics to showcase a gritty film noir-inspired New York City. Payne stalks subways, tenements, nightclubs and even government installations as he takes his vengeance out on a horde of gun-toting bad guys. Taking a page from the visual style of famed director John Woo, as well as The Matrix, Max Payne lets the player launch into a slow motion mode generally known as "Bullet Time", which makes dodging enemy fire and dishing out your own in return, while leaping side to side, a breeze. While this looks extremely cool to do, it also evens the odds and can only be used for limited amounts of time, making it a strategic as well as aesthetic option. And speaking of aesthetics, the game is packed with exciting moments, weapons and locations, even if the enemies get a little redundant after a while. The level design ranges from inspired (a multi-level parking garage) to humdrum (a warehouse) and several levels actually take place in the twisted wonderland of the hero's warped psyche. The graphics are state of the art, though admittedly the PlayStation 2 doesn't have the power to render them as well as the Xbox or PC, but most people won't notice the difference. The introduction scenes are painted photos presented graphic-novel style, which is a stylistic choice that pays dividends, even if the writing is hilariously bad and the voice acting is, if possible, even worse. Needless to say, all this is violent, disturbing and not at all for the kids. Pay attention to the 18 rating, it's not there for decoration.--Bob Andrews
- Max is back on the NYPD as a detective, still haunted by his dark, bloody past. Responding to a police dispatch at a warehouse leads Max down the same violent path he'd abandoned before, with old friends and new enemies along the way.
- Team up with the beautiful and deadly Mona Sax from the first game, as you control her intense sniping missions
- All-new Bullet Time features -- the more enemies you kill the faster Max moves
- New fighting moves and new weapons, like the MP5 and the twin Desert Eagles -- plus Max can equip grenades and Molotov Cocktails, and throw them while shooting
- Advanced AI and superior graphics bring this twisted tale of revenge and murder to life