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Ah, Max Payne. It’s been over a decade since you were introduced to the gaming world, and I nearly forgot you even existed, but I’m glad Rockstar has brought you to the App Store to remind me. After the massively successful Grand Theft Auto III port, Rockstar followed it up with Max Payne Mobile, a port of the original game in celebration of the soon to be released Max Payne 3.
It is an extremely well done port with tons of customization options, and the action packed revenge tale is just as fun as ever. After his family and best friend are murdered in cold blood and he’s framed for a crime himself, undercover officer Max Payne becomes a fugitive hell bent on dishing out some vigilante justice to those who ruined his life. But first he has to find them, and destroy anyone that gets in his way. The dark and stereotypical story is very well presented, with fine voice acting and plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor.
The gameplay is also just as solid as ever. Levels are very linear as you move through each firefight set piece, and the famous Bullet Time slow motion combat is great. Although, some levels are insanely frustrating, and I didn’t really miss those laser trip-mines at all. This game was also worked on by Remedy and 3D Realms, the people behind Duke Nukem, so it comes as no surprise that the environment is full of interactive objects, from switches and computers to water coolers and cabinets to toilets.
The controls will be your first hurdle in the game. They can seem very clunky at first, but one trip to the options menu reveals a ridiculous amount of control customization. All buttons can be resized and rearranged to your liking, camera sensitivity can be adjusted, different levels of auto-aim can be enabled, and much more. Just experiment with the controls a bit, and you’ll find that the game is extremely playable. There is also a helpful tutorial to utilize as well. While Gameloft’s Max Payne clone 9mm was not a bad game, it’s just endlessly amusing to see Rockstar release these games that blow the clones out of the water. It doesn’t help that Max Payne has great writing, and uses profanity like a fine garnish rather than dropping an F-bomb every single other word, but I digress…
The updated graphics are of course dated, but crisp and still great looking nevertheless. The game’s soundtrack and sound design are top notch as well. One feature that I was very glad to see was the inclusion of cheats that allow you to jump to any mission at any time. It means old fans can skip around if they so choose, and it made giving this game a balanced review far easier since I could test out various areas of the story in less time. Rockstar’s online network, the Rockstar Social Club, is also supported, providing stat tracking, unockables, and more. The game is also iOS Universal, and it runs smoothly on both devices. It can be hard to read the various bits of text on an iPhone screen, and the virtual control stick seemed to be less responsive on the iPad, but thanks to all those tweaks I mentioned, both are very functional. This is a brilliant way to get people excited for Max Payne 3. I know, because I wasn’t before, and I am now. For only three dollars at the time of this review, I can’t recommend Max Payne Mobile enough, and I can’t wait to see what Rockstar ports next!