Review: Painkiller



Platform: PC
Developer: People Can Fly
Publisher: Dreamcatcher
Players: 1 + Internet multiplayer

A return to the origins of the FPS, namely, the all out fragfest. A quick storyline around the hero being killed in a car crash and is now in Limbo atoning for some unknown sin and doing the Lord’s work… namely mowing down seas of demons. They just keep coming in a frantic, gory killing spree. The Havoc graphics engine allows the new school ragdoll physics to be in full effect so bodies (and body parts) are flying everywhere. Expanding on the continuous killing levels, secret areas and (giant) bosses, Painkiller adds replay-ability by giving ‘secondary’ challenges to each level (collect all coins or use a single weapon) that will give access to bonus tarot cards you can use to modify your game play (start with more health, do double damage, etc). Environments are expensive and varied, all most all very ‘scary’. Where this game succeeds is in its honesty. With all the advances in the FPS genre, this game is a throwback to the ‘if it moves shoot it’ kill-fests of Doom and Quake. The game play is so fast and frenetic, the higher level of details are almost missed, but when the game drops into slow time, the true evil of the demons is displayed in most gory of details. It’s a dark splatterfest with a great spooky ambient background score and effects. There is actually a ‘metal’ edge to the score when the fighting kicks in making the mood fit the action. It’s a mindless gory shooter, and pretends to be nothing less, and fully succeeds on all levels. Let the harvest of souls begin.