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Max Payne (video game)

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Max Payne
Max payne.jpg
Offical Boxart
Release Date: 2001
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Series: Max Payne
Platforms: Xbox
Nintendo Gameboy
Genre: Third-Person Shooter

For the movie, see Max Payne (2008)

The first entry in the best-selling Max Payne series of video games, this game revolves around the story of the eponymous NYPD cop whose wife and daughter are murdered by junkies high on a then-unknown drug called Valkyr or V, a hallucinogenic substance that also makes its users prone to extreme violence. Vowing revenge on the one who sent the junkies, Max Payne joins the DEA and goes undercover in the New York criminal underground. Three years later, Valkyr is more prevalent than ever, but Max finally gets a break in the case, only to be framed for the murder of his partner Alex Balder. Now a fugitive wanted dead by all sides, Max must carve a shell-casing-strewn and blood-soaked path through the unrelentingly violent night in order to clear his name, uncover the purveyor of the drug, and find some measure of absolution for his tormented soul.

The following weapons appear in the video game Max Payne:



The game unashamedly borrows many cinematic and action elements from the films of John Woo, notably Hard Boiled (an ingame difficulty setting is even named after the film), in the way it uses slow-motion "bullet time" gameplay, the widespread use of dual-wielded guns, and the slow-motion "shoot-dodge" moves Max can use to simultaneously dodge and return fire. These elements would later turn up in the sequels and other unrelated video games, such as the F.E.A.R. series, the Red Dead Revolver series, the John Woo-directed Stranglehold, etc. Incidentally, it does NOT borrow from The Matrix, a film that would reignite interest in slow-motion action sequences, despite being released after the first movie in that series, as the first game was in development since 1996 and was supposed to be released in 1999, before being pulled back for a revamp and release in 2001.

In order to give the bullet-time mechanic more use and to make gameplay more cinematic, many of the fully-automatic weapons in this game have unrealistically low rates of fire. One major gimmick in Max Payne is that rather than the weapons using instantaneous "hitscan" traces where the impact is calculated in the same instant the shot is fired, all weapons fire modelled projectiles with defined muzzle velocities. However, all ingame muzzle velocities are unrealistically slow, to the point that Max can dodge most gunfire just by moving slightly to the left or right in bullet-time mode despite not gaining any movement speed in that mode. It is likely that this was a conscious choice on the part of the developers for gameplay purposes, since realistic muzzle velocities would leave no room for dodging, even with the bullet-time mechanic; it is rather like the unrealistically slow gunfire in "bullet hell" shooters in this regard.

With no budget to hire actors, the character textures in the first game are digitised from photographs of the dev team, their families, and even random people who walked past Remedy's offices during development. Most famously, Max Payne is Sam Lake, the lead writer, while Nicole Horne is Lake's mother.


Beretta 92FS

The Beretta 92FS is Max Payne's signature weapon (they are used in any cutscenes he shoots in), and is used by all NPC factions in the game. It is one of the two weapons in this game that can be dual wielded. The textures used in the game reveal that the actual model of Beretta 92FS was a West German "Miami" model from Reck International (A blank-firing only type, which is indicated by the PtB, or Physikalisch technische Bundesanstalt sign, that is required in Germany for legal sale). The in-game Beretta 92FS has an 18-round magazine capacity instead of the correct 15. It is worth noting that the Beretta 92FS isn't an authorized service weapon of the real-life NYPD or DEA: mostly likely it comes from the influence of John Woo movies on the game, as the 92FS is well-known to be Woo's favourite handgun.

Beretta 92FS - 9x19mm
Reck Miami 92F - 9mm P.A.K. blanks
Max fires his Beretta 92FS. Note the markings on the slide, which match those of the Reck Miami 92F (Although some letters appear to have been changed or omitted, probably for legal reasons).
"Give a guy a gun and he's Superman. Give him two and he's God!"
Max fires at a fleeing Vinnie Gognitti with his Beretta 92FS'. Incidentally John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat are mentioned by name in this game.
"Do you have any idea why this is called Operation Dead Eyes?"
Two Killer Suits executing an uncooperative Mercenary.

Desert Eagle Mark VII

Another major weapon in the game is a chrome or nickel plated Desert Eagle Mark VII. The gun first shows up in the hands of the very first gangsters that Max faces at the Roscoe Street Station, and is the weapon that B.B. uses to murder Alex Balder, Max's only contact while undercover. In addition to many bad guys, several named characters also use the gun, among them Vinnie Gognitti and Mona Sax, who plays a more prominent role in the next game. Unlike the next game, this weapon cannot be dual-wielded, though several game mods exist that allow Max to do so. Nicole Horne uses one to try to shoot Max when he comes halfway up the stairs in the last level. The Desert Eagle in the game is noted as .44 Magnum caliber and unrealistically holds 12 rounds in its 8-round magazines.

MRI Desert Eagle Mark VII with nickel finish - .44 Magnum
Max's Desert Eagle cycles. Note the shorter cocking serrations as well as the lack of scope rails, indicating the Desert Eagle is likely modeled after a Mark VII variant.
Max Payne: "I don't know about angels, but it's fear that gives men wings."
Vinnie Gognitti aims his Desert Eagle at a pursuing Max Payne.
Mona Sax and Max Payne aim at each other with their weapons. Mona Sax is a character who only appears in the graphic novel sequences in this installment of the series, so she is never seen using her weapon in-game.

Submachine Guns

Cobray M11/9

Incorrectly referred to as an 'Ingram' in-game, this machine pistol is not a Gordon Ingram-designed MAC-10 but its well known stand-in, the Cobray M11/9. This can be seen by the elongated back receiver and disk-shaped cocking handle. Max first obtains the Cobray M11/9 in the shootout with Rico Muerte the assassin in Jack Lupino's hotel early on in the game. It's the only weapon other than the Beretta that can be dual-wielded, and often shows up being wielded this way by enemies, including Frankie "the Bat" Niagara during the second major bar shootout at Lupino's hotel. The Cobray M11/9 in-game has a 50-round magazine capacity and is restricted to fully-automatic fire--even the lightest presses of the "fire" button will spray no less than 4 rounds per press if the ammunition is available.

Cobray M11/9 - 9x19mm
Many of the thugs who use only one Cobray M11/9 fire it while holding it sideways, and Rico Muerte is no different while trying to gun down a dodging Max. Rico's pants are around his ankles courtesy of the hooker Candy Dawn, seen in an earlier graphic novel sequence.
A good side view of the M11/9 as it lays on a table.
Max blazes away with two M11/9s while shoot-dodging. This angle gives a clear view of the M11/9's cocking handle, elongated rear receiver and sights.


Jack Lupino, Nicole Horne, and Horne's bodyguards carry full-size Uzis in the graphic novel cutscenes. Neither they or Max Payne actually use them in the game.

IMI Uzi with buttstock collapsed - 9x19mm
Jack Lupino with an Uzi in a graphic novel sequence. As seen below, he uses a Sawed-Off double shotgun as soon as the shooting actually starts.
Nicole Horne with an Uzi as Max confronts her on the top floor of the Aesir Corporation tower.


Winchester 1300 Defender

Max's primary shotgun is the Winchester 1300 Defender. It is first seen ingame in a first-floor closet in his New Jersey home in the Prologue level. It is a powerful but slow-firing weapon used by all NPC factions, but loses effectiveness in the third act where Max faces many enemies wearing body armor and packing assault rifles. Boris Dime, the captain of the gunrunning cargo ship Charon, also uses one when you fight him. It has a correct 7-round tube magazine capacity, but no front sight due to the limitations of the game engine.

Winchester 1300 with extended tube & rubber butt pad - 12 gauge
Payne with his Winchester 1300 Defender at the ready.
Rico Muerte rigged his motel room's door with a shotgun booby trap, essentially a weight attached to the trigger via a rope that would drop when someone opened the door.
"Tell the Devil that Dime sent you."
Boris Dime with his Winchester 1300, taunting Max before his boss battle.

Sawed-Off Double-Barreled Shotgun

The Sawed-Off Side-by-Side Double Barrel Shotgun first makes its appearance during the "Live at the Crime Scene" stage, in the hands of a punk who guns down his buddy during an argument over who was supposed to bring a detonator to clear their escape route. Unlike most sawn-off double-barreled shotguns in movies and games, this weapon can only be fired one barrel at a time, but like its movie depictions is always used in a one-handed grip in this game. Jack Lupino uses one during the showdown with him in his inner sanctum at the Ragna Rock nightclub. It fires more quickly than the pump-action shotgun, but is obviously limited to two shots.

Sawed-off Stevens 311R - 12 gauge
Max aims his Sawed-off Double Barreled Shotgun.
"The transparent cylinders glowed green, full of Valkyr."
Max muses to himself while he looks at some cylinders of Valkyr, a suitcase full of dirty money, and a sawed-off shotgun on the table. For some reason, break-action guns like the sawed-off shotgun are always depicted as open when not held by an in-game character in this video game.
Max Payne guns down a gangster rounding a corner inside the Ragna Rock nightclub. Thanks to the two-shot capacity and long reload time of the weapon, shooting from cover so you can quickly reload in safety is the ideal use of this weapon.
Max reloads his Sawed-Off Shotgun while staring at a poster for Freaking Zombie Demons from Outer Space!, a title that would be combined with Captain Baseball-Bat-Boy for the next game in the series. Unlike the sequel, there is no way to speed up the reloading process, so a bit of tactical discretion is necessary for this weapon's use.
"DIIIEEE! You'll die! You'll die, now, all die! AWWWOOOOO! THE WOLF!"
A high-on-Valkyr Jack Lupino spouts nonsense in the inner sanctum of the Ragna Rock nightclub, sawed-off shotgun in hand, ready to make another blood sacrifice to the imaginary demons in his mind.

Pancor Jackhammer

The last shotgun available in the game is the Pancor Jackhammer. Max doesn't get the Jackhammer until the "Backstabbing Bastard" chapter where he faces off with B.B., his corrupt former partner in law enforcement, who also wields one of these. It primarily shows up in the hands of Nicole Horne's Killer Suits in the final stages of the game, and is extremely deadly at close range. Unlike the other two shotguns in the game it is capable of fully-automatic fire, and has a detachable drum magazine that incorrectly holds 12 rounds instead of 10 like the real Pancor Jackhammer. For some reason, ammunition for this weapon is not interchangeable with the other shotguns in the game.

Pancor Jackhammer - 12 gauge
"Take him down. Shoot to kill. Let's finish this!"
A Killer Suit with a Pancor Jackhammer, looking to cut Max off at the exit to the Asgard Building with his cronies.
Max Paynes fires his Pancor Jackhammer in the lobby of the Aesir Corporation tower.

Rifles / Carbines

Colt Model 733

Max first gets ahold of the Colt Model 733 "Commando" when he raids the arsenal of Boris Dime in the aftermath of a shootout with him onboard the gunrunning cargo ship Charon. It's a powerful weapon that is used by many NPCs in the third act "A Bit Closer to Heaven," and often shows up in the hands of Nicole Horne's mercenaries and Killer Suits. The muzzle flash is rather inaccurate -- it looks as if it came from an old-style M16 three-prong flash hider, rather than the more modern 6-slotted "birdcage" flash hider. This ultracompact carbine has a magazine capacity of 30 rounds and is restricted to fully-automatic fire. One brief sequence in the Asgard building level shows a mercenary with a laser-sight-equipped Model 733 emitting a visible beam, but when this particular NPC is seen later no laser sight is visibly mounted on his weapon, nor is there any graphical effect to represent the laser.

Colt Model 733 "M16A2 Commando" - 5.56x45mm NATO
Max with his Colt Model 733 Commando. Note his carbine is modeled exactly after the one in the gun image above, with Canadian-spec A1E1 receiver (Forward assist and shell deflector with full magazine fencing but retaining A1-style sights).
Max stands smug with his newly acquired Colt Commando.
Max runs from the self-destructing Cold Steel foundry, a front building for the Deep Six army bunker, with a Colt Commando in his hands.
Two mercenaries with Colt Commando carbines in the Cold Steel plant discussing the ridiculousness of sleeping with and naming one's rifle, when one of them reveals that he dubbed his "Dick Justice." This would later be reused for an in-game television series in the next game.
Max Payne rains lead and shell casings with his Colt Commando in the lobby of the Asgard building, demonstrating the unrealistic muzzle flash even though the 6-slotted bird cage flash hider is modeled. Given the fact that shell casings, like bullets, don't move at realistic velocities in this game, it is possible for Max to outrun his own shell casings as seen here, by moving to his right while shooting in bullet-time mode. This also happens in many other video games, even without "bullet-time".

Steyr SSG 69 PII

Max and various hostile NPCs use the Steyr SSG 69 PII rifle. The rifle is modeled with a ten-shot detachable magazine which only holds 5 rounds ingame. For some reason, no ingame characters actually work the bolt-action despite it being heard after every shot, and indeed the weapon is treated as semi-automatic ingame (the most likely reason behind this unrealistic aspect is because working a bolt-action would take too long in bullet-time mode, since the player can only slow time with that ability, not speed up Max's actions when that mode is active). This sniper rifle is first seen in the second act, "A Cold Day in Hell."

Steyr SSG 69 PII with Harris bipod - 7.62x51mm NATO
Max Payne holds his Steyr SSG 69.
"I doubted the letter was a receipt."
Max looking at a Steyr SSG 69, a briefcase of money, some 7.62x51mm ammunition, and a letter addressed to the late assassin Rico Muerte with just the word "Mayor" on it.
Apparently a gang-affiliated dock worker seen through Max's sniper scope thinks that firing a machine pistol sideways on full-auto is a good way to hit a distant sniper. These are notions that Max will soon lethally disabuse him of.
The first Max Payne game is among the first video game titles to feature the "follow-the-bullet killcam" view, which this title is triggered every time Max fires a sniper shot that is likely to hit. In this screenshot one is about to hit an enemy guard in a watchtower. As with weapon projectiles and shell casings, the sniper bullet seen in this camera view doesn't spin anywhere near fast enough to be realistic.

Norinco Type 56

Boris Dime is seen holding what appears to be a full-stocked Norinco Type 56 AK variant in a graphic novel cutscene. It's not usable in the game.

Norinco Type 56 (fixed stock variant) with under-folding bayonet ("pig sticker") which was standard on PLA-issue Type 56s - 7.62x39mm
Boris Dime showing off his Type 56 in a graphic novel cutscene - However, when the player encounters him in-game he is wielding a Winchester 1300 Defender instead. Despite the rough art of the image, the rifle appears to have the 'pig-sticker' folding bayonet seen on PLA-issue Type 56 AKs.


M79 Grenade Launcher

Max first encounters the M79 Grenade Launcher while storming mafia boss Angelo Punchinello's manor, in the hands of a bad guy who blows open a door trying to take him down. This single-shot weapon will kill any non-boss enemy in its blast radius, and will also kill you if you're too close to what you're shooting at, which is made more difficult since the weapon has a steep trajectory for its projectiles. NPCs using this weapon show up a lot in the third act, making Max's life extremely rough.

M79 grenade launcher - 40x46mm
The M79 grenade launcher in Max Payne's hands. The weapon lacks its folding leaf-sight.
An M79 Grenade Launcher in an arms stash located in a parking garage of all places. To the left are some Colt Model 733 carbines.
An Aesir Corporation guard drops an M79 Grenade Launcher after getting sniped by Max. Just to make the player's life more difficult, there are three of them all guarding the same passage from the entrance to the Aesir Corporation tower.
Max Payne reloads his M79 Grenade Launcher after blowing away two mercenaries in the Asgard building.

Hand Grenades

M26/M61 Hand Grenade

Max can also find and use M26/M61 Hand Grenades throughout the game. Though the ingame model's shape is that of M26/M61, it appears to use the texture of a Mk 2 "Pineapple" Grenade. They are used by all factions in the game.

M26 Fragmentation Grenade - The M61 is an improved variant of the M26.
A M26/M61 Hand Grenade and some ammunition on a shelf in the Cold Steel foundry.

Cut Weapons

Heckler & Koch MP5SD

Originally, the Heckler & Koch MP5SD was meant to be featured in the game, but it was cut before release. The gun can still be found in the game's files. The player also can still use the console command "GetMP5", but it will give him the Colt Commando.

Heckler & Koch MP5SD1 with 15-round magazine - 9x19mm
The render of the removed MP5SD.

See Also

Video Games:


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