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  Preview: Painkiller
On 10/14/03 by James 'Sweetjimmy' Long

Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developer: People Can Fly
ESRB Rating: Mature
Release Date: Q1 2004

I've heard relatively little of Painkiller (PK), but if the 3 level "teaser" I fired up a few days ago is any clue as to what the game will consists of, PK is going to be worth further investigation. One of the best things that
:: painkiller ::
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jumped out at me while blasting at axe-wielding ethereal goons was the general attitude of this game. While it's not really spoken anywhere, you know that you are a badass. It's just assumed that you must be pretty damned cool to be able to take on monsters 20 times taller than you. Yeah, you've got to be pretty cool to blast through unending mobs of ghostly villains. Not only that; while you walk you can hear the resounding 'clink' of the spurs on your boots. Nice�

So here I am, a badass with spurs, blowing away countless robed lunatics sporting gigantic cleaving devices. Let me just say this: walking through endless corridors and darkened hallways with my trusted rapid-fire pistol hasn't felt this good in a long, long time. It brings me back to the glory days of Doom, in fact.

As the story would have it, you are dead. For whatever reason you got stuck somewhere between heaven and hell amidst a spiritual war. The whole affair is one "HELL" of a cool premise (ba-dum ching!). Whatever dimension you were cast into is chock full of angry robed men with sharp objects that desperately want to cut you. Fortunately, someone in this strange place has fashioned high rate-of-fire ballistic type weapons for you to use against said angry men.

If I were going to compare Painkiller to a modern PC title it would have to be Serious Sam. There are a number of striking similarities: waves of enemies attacking simultaneously, striking visuals, and gigantic bosses. Fortunately, PK leaves out the clich� Egyptian Sci-fi theme. *Whew*.

Painkiller makes use of the Havoc engine for some incredible in game rag-doll physics. To give you an idea how popular this engine is, there are a few other games out there
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in development using it. One goes by the name of Max Payne 2, and the other has a tentative title of "Halflife 2". Suffice to say the bodies will fly.

The Havoc engine doesn't only affect airborne carcasses; it actually affects every piece of non-static environment. At one point in the preview I came across a steel drum lying on its side at the top of a sloping bridge. With a little push the drum rolled down the bridge toward an oncoming slew of enemies. The barrel was highly explosive (as all barrels in any good FPS are) so once it had reached the nightmare biker gang I shot it. The drum blew up taking mine enemy along with it. Groovy.

The second level I stood before a large open area full of ruins. Old pillars, walls, and other structures were situated all around the map. Oh yeah, and there was a 100-foot tall badguy in there somewhere, too. After the first .02 seconds I finally spotted him. Not only was he slightly tall but he also carried a modest hammer. By modest I mean larger than my two-story house. Well, even though I knew my character was pretty cool I did start to feel a little insignificant. Especially when this giant began thrashing around and the ruins began to collapse. Running around frantically it was all I could do to keep from getting smooshed by 50+ ton blunt objects. After a fashion, the giant had unwittingly trapped me with collapsed stones the size of automobiles. It wasn't long after that when I met my demise� maybe they'll let me into heaven this time?

What's to like about Painkiller in its current state:
  • Excellent architecture/mapping stylizations
  • Rag-doll/physics engine does much to enhance the environments.
  • Commendable texture work
  • Great tech-metal sound. Not too hard, not too soft.
The build I played only included 2 different weapons so it's impossible for me to know what kind of arsenal Painkiller sports. I started with a sub-machinegun type weapon that fired automatic bursts and had a grenade launcher attached as a secondary fire. In the second and third levels, I was blessed with a chaingun-like weapon that featured an attached rocket launcher for its secondary fire.

If you're the type of guy that looks at a new shooter on the store shelf and thinks, "Meh, not another FPS" you probably won't get into Painkiller. This early in the game, I'll chance a guess that innovation isn't exactly PK's strong suit. Solid, frantic action and violence are all very present, though.

Serious Sam fans: this could very well be your next favorite (just don't get your hopes set on cooperative play). According to the official website PK's only multiplayer experiences will be death-match, team death-match, and possible variations of either.

Slated for the first quarter of 2004, PK may have difficulty selling well if it's released the same time Doom3, Halflife 2, and/or Halo 2 ship. I wouldn't wish that fate on any game in development. The very same thing happened when Legend's awesome Wheel of Time game went to press, though. That great (yet ill fated) title had to go up against the likes of Unreal Tournament and Quake 3. Guess who lost? Let's hope that Painkiller is not instantly forgotten in the wake of hype machines like Halflife 2.

:: painkiller :: :: painkiller :: :: painkiller ::

#1 - HappyNoodle - 10/14/03 @ 02:27 AM EST
Umm Yeeesssss, I want this game now.. Ok, thank you!
#2 - Anon@ - 10/14/03 @ 06:16 AM EST
hehe.... zajebioza , czekajcie i oczekujcie wiecej... PainKiller will crush yours west fpp games :_)))
/ /
#3 - PFC_Hudson - 10/14/03 @ 06:42 AM EST
Jesus, where did this game come from??

I want it!
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#4 - E-Z-STREET - 10/14/03 @ 07:25 AM EST
joey, do you like movies about gladiators?
/ /
#5 - GtaManiac - 10/14/03 @ 08:05 AM EST
God, that looks so sweet. I definitely want this.
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#6 - nemarsde - 10/14/03 @ 08:47 AM EST
Holy Mary Mother of God!
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#7 - [SOF]Blade_986 - 10/14/03 @ 09:05 AM EST
Excellent review!!
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#8 - sweetjimmy - 10/14/03 @ 09:30 AM EST
7- very thank you. :)
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#9 - Anon@ - 10/14/03 @ 11:40 AM EST
FYI the multiplayer is inspired by QuakeWorld, so those of you who dig that sort of "OMG FAST" gameplay should look into it...if DC/PCF don't screw it up it could easily be the Next Big Thing.
/ /
#10 - Cool_Cow - 10/14/03 @ 12:48 PM EST
I saw a video of this on techTV a few months back. It looked sweet then and guess what....It looks sweet now. I want this game
#11 - Anon@ - 10/14/03 @ 01:28 PM EST
" Umm Yeeesssss, I want this game now.. Ok, thank you! " LOL

same here.

/ Super_mike
/ /
#12 - Anon@ - 10/14/03 @ 01:36 PM EST
since this is a no-name developer and not a very well known publisher a few links would be nice.
#13 - Anon@ - 10/14/03 @ 02:10 PM EST
Chlopaki pokazcie swiatu klase!!!
/ no-name developer is called People Can Fly and is team of knowlage ppl of polish gaming buissnes, so im hold my fingers!!!
Polish fan :D
#14sweetjimmy - 10/14/03 @ 02:49 PM EST
btw, the pics were taken on my system and it ran VERY smoothly at 800x600. NOT A WORD OUT OF YOU, SHAATAN!

polomino xp 2100+
512MB DDR 3200
Ti4200 128MB
SB Live!
/ / /
#15 - sweetjimmy - 10/14/03 @ 02:50 PM EST
...can't edit 14....

no AA or AF.
/ / /
#16 - Anon@ - 10/15/03 @ 06:56 AM EST
Great preview, great writing style :)

However there is no word of the slomo mode (bullet-time-thingie). I saw a video once with some robe dude doing a backflip in slomo with a woodstick in his face, now THAT looked cool :P
#17 - sweetjimmy - 10/15/03 @ 09:35 AM EST
yes, I saw that too, but I was unable to activate that feature in the build I played on.

I pressed a number of different buttons all to no avail. There were no key mapping options either. This was a very VERY early (and crippled) build of PK that I received. I have no doubt that the feature is in there or will be in there at least, I just didn't think it was right to comment on it if I didn't see it firsthand.
#18 - sweetjimmy - 10/15/03 @ 09:37 AM EST
bulldog, please fix the edit function!!! :P
#19 - Bulldog - 10/15/03 @ 12:02 PM EST
Whats wrong with it?
#20 - Houdini - 10/15/03 @ 12:05 PM EST
GG needs a frantic DM style gaming server.
does GG have a Wolf ET server yet?

i hope someone mods this game and put in a grappling hook to help you move around in the game.. like Quake1 :)

TDM vs u GG bozos would be a blast.
#21 - sweetjimmy - 10/15/03 @ 12:08 PM EST

"Comment Editing Error:
Plain and simple, you're trying to edit someone elses comment.
/ Or we screwed up. Either way, you ain't going to be editing this comment anytime soon. "
/ /
#22 - -Cerberus- - 10/15/03 @ 01:57 PM EST
Looks bad ass. I'm only played the demos of serious sam; this has inspired me, I may go buy SS today to season myself for this game!
/ /
#23 - EyeLikeP00 - 10/15/03 @ 03:32 PM EST
#22.. i'm in the same boat you are.. :P
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#24 - sweetjimmy - 10/15/03 @ 03:47 PM EST
serious sam is best when you have a friend to play it with, imo
/ /
#25 - magistyk - 10/15/03 @ 06:03 PM EST
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#26 - Anon@ - 10/15/03 @ 06:30 PM EST
only bang-bang games now?
- -Cerberus-- 10/15/03 @ 08:37 PM EST
Serious sam is incredible with a coop friend.

/ Jopefully this game will be coop, that's what we all want, and it would be very fun.
/ /
#28 - Jesse Edmunds - 10/16/03 @ 08:10 PM EST
I loved Serious Sam. This looks similar.

Without co-op though it will lose a lot.
/ /
#29 - Anon@ - 10/20/03 @ 06:36 PM EST
im back here
coop coop coop coop

no...bye bye game
#30 - Anon@ - 11/09/03 @ 05:57 PM EST
Oh my god!!!! is all i can say, this game looks magnificent. when i watch the video clips, the sounds oh the sounds. and i sence just alittle of the matrix but thats ok this game is looking like one of the coolest games of 2004 (besides doom 3 with i have allready preordered thankyou very much) see ya gamers if you want to email me just pop in i love playing games DO YOU?!!!!
#31 - Anon@ - 11/13/03 @ 11:00 AM EST
Polish games RULEZ !!! Sniper was a big shit, Chrome was a good game... but Painkiller will rock the world !!! My Polacy nie gęsi i mamy swoje gry. Pamiętajcie o tym.
/ / / /
#32 - Anon@ - 11/15/03 @ 01:02 AM EST
damn, damn, damn this game looks really sweet. This game just caught my eye in a
copy of Computer Gaming World. - Man this game looks really awesome. I mean look at the screen shots! If its comming out the beginning of 2004, im sure getting it!!!

This game looks and probably will play like
it has a doomish feel to it. And we all know thats a good thing. Another Doomish game. Cool. This game looks too sweet to pass up, now i cant wait to play it.

To quote PC Gamer: " Intruiged... yes we are.

Man, this game sure looks killer.
/ / /
#33 - Anon@ - 11/15/03 @ 04:31 PM EST
painkiller will be the best european game of year 2004
/ /
#34 - Anon@ - 11/20/03 @ 01:29 PM EST
this game will prowe that polish games can be very good.(niewiem czy napisalem to poprawnie ale wazne ze jest).PAINKILLER RULEZ
#35 - Anon@ - 12/03/03 @ 11:21 AM EST
Viva Polonia!!!!!! Chłopaki skopcie dupy zachodowi!
Jestem z wami.
/ /="2" height="7"> /
#36 - Anon@ - 05/02/04 @ 02:36 AM EST
Yeah Anon! That's right ^_^
Euroean union will love us for that game ^_^
ppl can fly rules!
Przez tą gre zostałem patriotą :-P

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