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     " ...Dreams are not difficult, they're usually just disturbing. "

      Title: Max Payne by Rockstar

      Format: Action for PS2

      Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

      The Hype: Max Payne and undercover DEA agent has infiltrated the largest Mafia family in New York to trace the source of the newest drug, "Valkyr." Now he finds himself in the middle of a Mob war and must use all of his abilities to defeat the Mob and leave with his life intact. But he has the advantage of being able to slow down time so he can aim at the bad guys while dodging their shots.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: I have to say I am a big fan of Max's leather jacket. It suits him really well and it looks awesome, for that matter all of the textures in this game are awesome. And the textures, but also the characters, the weapons and the environments, everything in this game was made with tons of detail and turned out great. I have heard that there were some things left out of the PS2 version that were in the PC version, but it didn't seem to negatively affect the game. Also it should be noted that the frame rate really isn't very good and there is some noticeable slowdown (aside from the bullet time feature) when a lot is happening. 4 out of 5.

      Sound: The little music that is in the game is well suited to the style of the presentation and helps the players get more immersed. But the really cool part is all the voice acting and sound effects. First of all the sound effects are great. They are clear and crisp and nicely varied and since almost everything in the environment interacts somehow, there are tons of them. The voice acting is good, not just by virtue of the voices, but also because of the script. The bad guys say the coolest things in this game. I especially liked when I heard them talking about the greatest movie endings of all time, or the part where the one guy said, "I for one am going to pump the S.O.B. so full-a led they'll need a forklift to carry the coffin to the grave." 4.5 out of 5

      Game Play: This game just gets better and better. If you have heard anything about this game it probably had to do with bullet time. This is a feature which allows you to slow down time so you can more effectively dodge bullets and still have good aim on the bad guys. It's damned cool, but it isn't the only reason to play. In fact I rarely even used the feature (only when I was in a real pinch). The game is great for many reasons including good A.I. and great control. The levels and puzzles are well thought out, in fact the only time I wasn't having fun in this game was during the dream sequences, which are often just tedious (hint: dreams are not difficult, they're usually just disturbing). Also one really nice feature is the automatic adjustment that the game makes depending on your ability to play, if you are good the game gets more difficult and if you are horrible the game makes it easier for you. The only real problem is that the game tends to get choppy when a lot is going on. 4 out of 5.

      Level and Environment Designs: The environments are not the most diverse that you've ever seen, but they definitely look good and are appropriate to the story , in fact I was impressed with how many different locales they were able to include. The best part of the level design is that they will test all of you skills weather it be your accuracy, or your jumping and dodging skills. 4.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer: Unfortunately there is no multiplayer support, although if you think about it, multiplayer would be impossible to implement the bullet time for multiplayer support.

      Replayability: Even though the game is long it is definitely fun enough to play through. On top of that the programmers added some incentive for people to play through. For example, when you first play the game you can only choose the lowest difficulty and the others will be unlocked in progression as you beat each mode. I personally don't like this because I always like to play the games on the second hardest setting my first time through. Also there is a mode called, "New York Minute," where you must beat the game in one minute, but each person you kill stops the clock. 4 out of 5.

      Story/Dramatics: By far the best part of this game. You as Max Payne are an undercover DEA agent who is trying to get to the source of a new drug called, "Valkyr." To get closer to the source of the drug you had to infiltrate the largest Mafia family in New York. Now you have been asked out of the blue to meet with one of the two people in the DEA who know who you really are, but instead of finding your DEA buddy you find a bunch of thugs and dead bodies, now it is your job to find out what the source of the mayhem is and perhaps find out more about the source of the, "Valkyr," on the way. Through the course of the game the story will take various twists and turns and really is the driving force in the game. 5 out of 5.

      Instructions and Learning Curve: The instructions give you all the information that you need to play the game, although I must say that they talked the game up too much for my taste "we bought the game already, we don't need you do advertise it to us". The game is easy to get the hang of and there is a tutorial mode to make sure you know what you're doing before you start playing the game. 4 out of 5

      Installation and Real System Requirements: This game has good load times and uses the PS2 capabilities fairly well, I feel that it could have been implemented better though. It doesn't take up a whole lot of space on your memory card and it supports the Dual Shock function. The big things that it is lacking are support for a mouse and more analogous control (it would be nice to be able to walk instead of running all the time). 3.5 out of 5.

      The Verdict:

       This game is a good third person shooter. The story is the best part and will make you get through those tough spots. The only problem is that it could have played smoother if it were better implemented on the PS2.

      The Good: Story, graphics, sound effects, voice-acting, level design, just about everything.

      The Bad: Not a really good frame rate, the game gets choppy too often, you should be able to play on whatever difficulty setting you want to from the very start.

      The Overall Ugly: This game has a cool feature called "bullet-time" that is nice, but this game doesn't really change the genre overall.

      What it's Worth: Market, if you don't have a PC that is good enough to play the PC version, otherwise get it for PC.

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