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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

Max Payne is a 2001 third-person shooter developed by Remedy Entertainment and the first entry in the Max Payne series. The game spawned two sequels, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne and Max Payne 3, as well as a film adaptation directed by John Moore. The story 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 game unashamedly borrows many cinematic and action elements from the films of John Woo, notably Hard Boiled (an in-game difficulty setting is even named after the film), in the way it uses slow-motion "bullet time" gameplay (one of the first video games to use this as a major game mechanic), the widespread use of dual-wielded guns, and the slow-motion "Shootdodge" 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. and Red Dead Revolver series, along with the John Woo-directed Stranglehold. 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 originally set for a 1999 launch, before being pulled back for a revamp and release in 2001.

Another major gimmick in Max Payne (at least for the time when the game was released) 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 in-game projectile 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 characters' in-game models and appearances in the graphic novel-style cutscenes 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, Tuula Järvi.

The following weapons appear in the video game Max Payne:



Reck Miami 92F

Although supposed to be a Beretta 92FS, the "Beretta" in the game is actually based on the Reck Miami 92F, a German-made blank-firing replica. It is the first firearm available in the game as Max already has one in his inventory in the Prologue, and is also Max Payne's signature weapon, as it is used in any cutscenes he shoots in; the Beretta is also used by all NPC factions in the game. It is one of the two weapons in the game that can be dual wielded. The in-game pistol has an 18-round magazine capacity as opposed to the correct 15 for a Beretta, or 11 for a Reck. It is worth noting that the Beretta 92FS isn't an authorized service weapon of the real-life NYPD or DEA; the gun's presence most likely comes from the influence of John Woo movies on the game, as the 92FS is well-known to be Woo's favourite handgun.

Reck Miami 92F - 9mm P.A.K. blanks
Beretta 92FS, for comparison - 9x19mm
Closeup of Max firing his Reck Miami 92F. Note the obfuscated markings on the slide, denoting it as a "Ckeck Miami Mod. 9", although the Reck branding is still visible on the grip panels. This is a pre-release screenshot and shows Max with a different-looking jacket and shirt; other screenshots also show unmodified Reck legends on the slide.
"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 Reck Miami 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 I

Another common weapon in the game is a chrome or nickel plated Desert Eagle Mark I. The gun first shows up in the hands of some of the very first gangsters that Max faces at the Roscoe Street Station, and is the weapon that is used 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, both of which play more prominent roles in the next game. Unlike the next game, this weapon cannot be dual-wielded. The Desert Eagle in the game unrealistically holds 12 rounds in its magazines.

Desert Eagle Mark I with nickel finish - .357 Magnum
Max's Desert Eagle cycles, ejecting what appears to be a steel casing. Note the shorter cocking serrations as well as the lack of scope rails; although hard make out due to the texture's low resolution, the pistol also has the early "teardrop" safety, indicating it is modeled after a Mark I variant.
"I don't know about angels, but it's fear that gives men wings."
Vinnie Gognitti fires his Desert Eagle at a pursuing Max.
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, so she is never seen using her weapon in-game. The distinctive safety of the Mark I is also more visible here.

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 rear of the receiver and disk-shaped charging handle, though, the receiver appears to be heightened to a size similar on the MAC-10. Max first obtains the Cobray M11/9 from 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. Nicole Horne also uses one in the last level. It shoots in full-auto if the fire button is held down, but a four-round burst if tapped. The Cobray M11/9 in-game has an incorrect 50-round magazine capacity.

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. The receiver appears to have been scaled roughly to the size from that of a MAC-10's, but the ejection port is shorter.
Max blazes away with two M11/9s while Shootdodging. This angle gives a clear view of the M11/9's cocking handle, elongated rear receiver, and sights.


Winchester 1300 Defender

Max's primary shotgun is the Winchester 1300 Defender. It is first seen in-game in a first-floor closet in his New Jersey home during the Prologue level. The Winchester is a powerful, but slow-firing weapon used by all NPC factions, but it loses effectiveness in the third part where Max begins to face many enemies who wear body armor and pack assault rifles. Boris Dime, the captain of the gunrunning cargo ship Charon, also uses one in his boss fight. It has a correct 7-round tube magazine capacity.

Winchester 1300 with extended magazine tube - 12 gauge
Payne with his Winchester 1300 Defender at the ready.
Rico Muerte rigged his hotel 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 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 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 a character.
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 way to use 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, the Jackhammer is capable of fully automatic fire, and has a detachable cassette cylinder that incorrectly holds 12 rounds instead of the 10 on real Pancor Jackhammer prototypes. For some reason, ammunition for this weapon is not interchangeable with the other shotguns in the game. The Jackhammer in the game is something of a hybrid between the toolroom prototype and the Mk3-A2, being mostly based on the toolroom example but with the Mk3-A2's heat vents, barrel and forend.

Pancor Jackhammer toolroom prototype - 12 gauge
Pancor Jackhammer Mk3-A2 - 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.


Colt Model 733

Max first gets ahold of the Colt Model 733 "Commando" when he raids Boris Dime's weapon stockpile on his cargo ship Charon, but is initially seen used by NYPD SWAT officers in Part I. It's a powerful weapon that often shows up in the hands of Nicole Horne's mercenaries and Killer Suits in the third part "A Bit Closer to Heaven". The muzzle flash is shown as if it came out of an early 3-prong flash hider, rather than the proper 6-slot "birdcage" flash hider. The Commando has a magazine capacity of 30 rounds and is restricted to fully-automatic fire, but fires unrealistically slow, making single shots easy to pull off. One brief sequence in the Asgard building shows a mercenary with a laser-sight-equipped Model 733 emitting a visible beam, but this is purely a scripted effect, as it disappears immediately afterwards and the gun wielded by the NPC is no different from the other 733s in the game.

Colt Model 733 - 5.56x45mm NATO
Max with his Colt Model 733 Commando. Note his carbine is almost the same configuration as the image above, as it has a Canadian-spec A1E1 receiver (forward assist and shell deflector but retaining A1-style sights) but with a fiberlite stock (identifiable from the two small ridges on the side) instead.
Max stands smug with his newly acquired Colt Commando.
Max runs from the self-destructing Cold Steel foundry 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 quip is a reference to one of Max's suggested names during development and would also be used as the title of a TV show in the next game.
Max Payne rains lead and brass with his Colt Commando in the lobby of the Asgard building, demonstrating the incorrect muzzle flash. As in many videogames, casings don't move at realistic velocities, allowing Max to outrun them by strafing to his right while shooting as seen here.

Steyr SSG 69 PII

Max and some hostile NPCs use the Steyr SSG 69 PII, simply named the "Sniper Rifle". The rifle is modeled with a ten-shot detachable magazine which only holds 5 rounds in-game. For some reason, the rifle is shown as self-cycling, and no characters actually work the bolt action in the game; the bolt animation also doesn't need to be finished for the rifle to fire again, being able to do so around the point where the bolt is fully open. However, the 1998 beta trailer shows Max cycling the bolt. In-game, the Steyr has an adjustable scope zoom level, controlled by holding down the button to use the scope, and then releasing at the desired amount of zoom. When the rifle is equipped, Max cannot Shootdodge. This sniper rifle is first seen in the game's intro, but is not available for use until the second chapter of Part II, "An Offer You Can't Refuse".

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 looks at the first Steyr SSG 69 in the game, a briefcase of money, a box of "Sniper Ammo", and a letter addressed to the late assassin Rico Muerte.
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.
Max Payne is among the first video game titles to feature the "follow-the-bullet killcam" view, which is triggered whenever Max fires a shot that is likely to hit while looking through the scope. Here, 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.


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, as well as the player if they aren't careful enough, which is made more difficult since the weapon has a steep trajectory for its projectiles. More enemies using this weapon show up in Part III, albeit very rarely.

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. Like the Sawed-Off Shotgun, it is shown as broken-open when not in use.
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.


Mk 2 Hand Grenade

Max can also find and use Mk 2 hand grenades throughout the game. However, due to technical constraints, the fragmentation grooves are simply represented by a flat texture. They are used by all factions in the game.

Mk. 2 hand grenade
A Mk. 2 grenade and some ammunition on a shelf in the Cold Steel foundry.

Cut & Unusable Weapons

Heckler & Koch MP5SD1

The Heckler & Koch MP5SD1 was meant to be featured in the game, but was cut before release. The gun can still be found in the game's files. It appears to have been replaced with the Colt Commando at some point during development, as the Commando is referred to as the "MP5" internally.

Heckler & Koch MP5SD1 - 9x19mm
The render of the removed MP5SD. Note that the magazine is ribbed like the early straight "waffle" magazines, but curved like the standard-production ones.

Norinco Type 56

Boris Dime is seen holding a Norinco Type 56 in a graphic novel cutscene. When he is actually fought in-game, he wields a Winchester 1300 instead.

Norinco Type 56 with under-folding bayonet - 7.62x39mm
Boris Dime showing off his Type 56 in a graphic novel cutscene. Despite the rough art of the image, the 'pig-sticker' folding bayonet seen on PLA-issue Type 56 AKs is clearly visible.


Max Payne, Jack Lupino, Nicole Horne, Horne's bodyguards, and NYPD officers carry full-size IMI Uzis in graphic novel cutscenes.

IMI Uzi with buttstock collapsed - 9x19mm Parabellum
Jack Lupino with an Uzi in a graphic novel sequence. As seen above, he uses a Sawed-Off Shotgun as soon as the gameplay actually starts.
Nicole Horne with an Uzi as Max confronts her on the top floor of the Aesir Corporation tower. In the only time she directly fires at Max, she uses a Cobray M11/9.

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