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Bring on the Pain!
Published on February 24, 2004 By mittens In Action
And, no, for once I'm not talking about the [many] joys of Darvocet or Vicodin but, rather, the game Painkiller. The demo, released earlier last week by Dreamcatcher, is downloadable all over the 'net (I, personally, downloaded it by using one of the torrents over at Now, you may be wondering, how did it stack up to the numerous other FPSs on the market right now? Well, to be honest, I think it's going to be one of those games where you either like it, or you hate it. It's far from being a "deep" FPS like Deus Ex: Invisible War (which I'm playing through right now, so I'll have a review of that up later this week) or an award-winning FPS like Call of Duty; but Painkiller is definately a decent FPS worth your attention.

To begin with, the game's story is, apparently, about some guy named Daniel Garner who died, and is now "Heaven's Hitman." Yeah, the story could, most likely, be one of the worst I've ever seen (this is simply a demo, I got the game's story from an ad in a magazine), but this is an old-school FPS, in the same vein as Doom, not a plot-driven game like Deus Ex. So, in this case, the importance is all about action, and that's what the game provides. Granted, this isn't the pulse-pounding action I got from Call of Duty, but I'm going to wait to pass judgement until I play the full game on the actual amount of action I receive overall. For now I'm going to just focus on the technical aspects of the game.

The game's graphics are, without a doubt, the most impressive I've seen in a while (see the screenshots at the bottom of this post). And the blood effects (oh yeah, quick warning, this game deserved every aspect of it's "Mature" rating, as the screenshots will also show) are some of the best I've seen in any game. Bump-mapping, extensive particle effects, amazing-looking blood-splats, shadows and lighting make for a visual tour de force. The game also has an amazing physics engine which made me cringe in enjoyment. The 2nd weapon you get in the game (which you get seconds into the first mission) throws stakes at very high velocities, and these stakes puncture enemy's torsos and nail them to the wall, leaving the lifeless corpse to dangle there. You can also shoot more stakes through various parts of the corpse's body to make the corpse dangle a bit less. I had endless amounts of fun with the physics in this game.

Some of the more annoying parts of the demo are all related to the gameplay. You have to kill all the enemies the game throws at you in order to advance to the next part of the map, and you're supposed to "collect" their souls by running over the green "soul" that remains moments after you kill an enemy, but these souls evaporate far too quickly; and, often, you're so busy dealing with enemies that you don't have time to wait for the soul to appear (it takes about 5 seconds after you kill the enemy for the soul to appear) to capture it.

Anyway, the game looks like it is going to be a great mindless game, filled with blood, violence and good 'ol zombie-killing for the whole family. I'm looking forward to seeing the final product, though I'm definately betting this game won't be very memorable or have a whole lot in terms of replay value (in terms of the single-player game, think Quake I).

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