Max Payne, I Can Happily Say I Don’t Share Yours.

“Baghdad with g-strings.”

Max Payne in Max Payne 3, describing Sao Paulo.

Max Payne has scars as deep as the Grand Canyon on his face, and within his mind. If his name doesn’t provide you with an idea of the heartache of his life, read on. Max Payne has been the protagonist in the Max Payne series, with its third installment developed by Rockstar Games (of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption fame), that takes its dialogue and cinematics right out of the pages of a Frank Miller graphic novel. The games are dark, gritty and full of blood, booze and pills – not a game I would suggest to someone who is depressed. Max Payne 1 and 2 took Max’s wife, infant child, and anyone that was remotely close to him. Max’s life encapsulates every bit of his destiny driven name.

Three bottles of pills (see red circle) for when Max looks like the guy in the chair.

Max Payne 3 is supposed to be a new start for Max, but we all know that is doomed from the start. Who wants to play a FPS [first person shooter] where the protagonist faces no adversity or threat to his life? That would just be Nintendo’s Duck Hunt. Sorry Max, but your life was only meant to be painful, and Max Payne 3 has yet to disappoint.

My favorite kills so far? Dropping these Jersey Shore knock offs with a smile.

A week ago I had no intention to exposing myself to what I knew would be a depressingly fun shooter. I required games that put the pace at my control. Like Max, I was searching for a change, a career change, and I was finally presented with the opportunity – sadly for Max, my new start will work out better than his. With the fortunate news I received last Sunday (from my future employer), and finally sunk in the following Tuesday, I was once again ready to embrace games that were frantically fun. I could once again wrap my hand around a FPS, like Max wraps his hand around his pistol.

If I were Max I would be less concerned about being killed by a bullet, and more concerned about dying from cancer, liver failure, or an overdose from painkillers. Max is constantly drinking and smoking in cut scenes. He heals himself in-game by popping pain killers that are generously spread throughout the environment. He is a mess. It makes me wonder if the Max Payne franchise wasn’t originally developed by the marketing department of large drug conglomerate. I can only imagine playing this game a month ago when I felt stuck in my lack of employment. I could have seen myself being tempted to raise a glass every time Max took a drink of his favorite cocktail (2 parts whiskey, 1 part painkiller and 2 parts cigarette). Now, I can enjoy the game and Max’s captivating depression, while enjoying a laugh and a Leffe.

Max’s future, if the booze, bullets and painkillers don’t get him first.