Trapped in a dark and unwelcoming world, awaiting purification for your earthly sins, you must fight through an endless number of enemy warriors, as you attempt to stop the imminent Unholy War and overthrow Lucifer.
But even if you win this insane battle, you must still take out hordes of howling devils, eager to avenge their master. You are the angels' only prayer.
Best the legions of hell and kick some serious devil butt in this classic action-focused FPS that pays homage to the times when shooting demons with tons of bullets was the synonym of fun!
Multiplayer notice: online multiplayer mode is available after registering your unique CD-key for the game. For details see: Support.
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: MATURE with Blood and Gore, Intense Violence. PEGI Rating: 16+ with Violence.
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1.5 GHz Processor (2.4 GHz recommended), 512MB RAM (1 GB recommended), 64 MB DirectX 8.1-compatible graphics card with hardware T&L support (128 MB DirectX 9 recommended), DirectX 8.1-compatible sound card, 1.2 GB HDD, Mouse, Keyboard.
Posted on 2009-02-06 17:39:23 bySirKicksalot:
Giant review incoming! Wanna know why Painkiller is a cult hit that everybody needs to play? Read this!
The original Painkiller came out of nowhere in April 2004. It was released just three weeks after Far Cry, and this, I think, helped it a lot: after the ultra-difficult and maddening Far Cry, it was only natural that gamers would want something... relaxing, something that wouldread more allow them to go medieval on someone’s ass and let off the steam accumulated in the jungle. They basically wanted a painkiller...
This game is exactly that. It’s a throwback to the golden age of FPS, when simple gameplay / quirky design was the leading industry tendency.
Many compare Painkiller to Doom, but I think it’s closer to Quake and Heretic – explanation later in the text ;)
The premise is that your character, Daniel, and his wife die in a car accident; she goes to Heaven, but he is trapped in Purgatory. Daniel becomes „Heaven’s hitman”, as the tagline says; he’s got to kill four of Lucifer’s generals, in order to prevent a war between Heaven and Hell, and if he succeeds he can go to Heaven too.
Daniel receives a board that resembles an Ouija board, to help him guide through the world, and that’s your in-game menu!
There are 24 levels, split in 6 chapters. Every level is unique, there’s no correlation between them. You play in cemeteries, medieval towns, castles, an opera house, arabian castles, caves, swamps... Each level has a great design – it’s beautiful, it’s majestic, it has a somewhat gothic feel, it’s imaginative, challenging and obviously made by a team with a lot of good taste.
You fight a few dozen enemy types, and they always come in horde. Most of the time the enemy count is way over 200. Their visual design is also amazing: skeletons, ninjas, WW1 soldiers, monks, witches, necromancers, crusaders, zombies, giants... They also each have different attack types, and almost all the time you’ll fight multiple enemy types. Despite their simple AI (they only attack you, nothing else), this offers a great challenge, you have to learn their behaviour and prioritise your targets in order to beat the levels. Also, the boss fights are incredible. The bosses are huge, maybe the biggest you can find in a shooter, and the fights are a puzzle themselves.
In most shooters, you’re used to being able to run away from a fight and recover – maybe find some supplies you left back, or somehow trick the enemy. That’s not the case in Painkiller. When the enemies spawn (they actually teleport in the level), you’re simply locked in the area by walls placed at every entrance. You have to kill all the enemies to progress further. This just adds to the challenge: you have to use the limited environment to your advantage, and you must constantly be on the move. When you’re locked in a medium-sized area, the carnage is incredibly fast and furious.
The health system is also quite unusual for a shooter. When you kill an enemy, it disappears after a few seconds in a smoke cloud and leaves behind his beautiful, green soul; each soul is worth 1 health point, but some enemies have red souls that are worth more. You can collect all the souls you can (they also disappear after some time), because your health counter goes all the way up to 999. There are also some power-ups to find, including armour. If your health is lower when you enter a new area, it’s raised to the default value of 100. This helps in keeping the fast, arcadeish pace.
Now, let’s talk about the weapons: they’re awesome. There are 5 weapons, each with at least an alternate firing mode. There’s the PainKiller, a mechanical close combat weapon... that can also be used as a ranged weapon... or as a laser trap. You have a shotgun, that either freezes or, well, shots the enemies. The stake gun fires huge wooden stakes that impale enemies to the walls (FEAR’s Penetrator is lame compared to this), or grenades. The chaingun is also a rocket launcher, and you can use it to pull off the famous Quake rocket-jumps. Finally, the Electrodriver is that weapon you’ve all heard about: the one that shoots shurikens and lightning. Simultaneously, if you want!
When you collect 66 souls, you morph into a demon for a short period; you’re invincible and can kill anything with just one click.
Now you can see why I think it’s closer to Quake than Doom? Amazing gothic level design – check. Smartly designed enemies that aren’t just sci-fi demons – check. Fantasy weapons – check. Heavy, furious, violent music and sound effects? Check, dammit! The soundtrack is 90% heavy metal, and 10% generic, but effective ambiental music.
I have to make a special mention here. The last level is the single greatest level in gaming history. It’s a collection of moments from our history – the world wars, medieval sieges, the atomic bomb and many others. The level is huge, and all these setpieces are frozen in time – you can walk right through an explosion that’s tearing down a house, for example. It’s visually amazing... When you get close to these setpieces, you can hear their distant sounds, like the constant machinegun fire and explosions in the trenches of the wars or the medieval battle’s cacophony.
Oh, did I mention the enemies are turned to almost invisible, surreal ghosts and that you also fight Lucifer?
Now, something about the expansion. It’s obviously shorter, less than half of the main game’s length. It adds new enemies, some new graphic enhacements and two new guns: a submachine gun/flamethrower and a sniper crossbow that can also fire a number of bouncing grenades. This last one is absolutely fantastic.
The new levels are good, but unfortunately in a weird design decision, some bad platforming sections were added – these sections break the pace! It’s a good thing there are only a couple, but they still stand out. Worse though is that the last two levels are almost similar – just some caves... But I gues the amazing Leningrad levels makes up for all this:) BOOH is a worthy addition to the original, and it's better than most expansions that are usually launched.
Both games have some challenges: each level has optional objectives – things like ”kill with only one weapon” or „find all the secrets” or „don’t collect souls” and many others. Completing them grants you tarot cards; you can use tarot cards while playing a level to grant you some bonuses. Using them costs money, and money is gathered by destroying objects that leave behind golden coins and by finding valuable items. This aspect of the game grants another layer of replayability.
The multiplayer is highly competitive, again in the vein of Quake, with crazy maps that require a lot of skill. It was even used in CPL competitions in 2005.
One last thing to talk about: the graphics. They’re awesome. The ragdolls and dismemberment are extremely entertaining to watch, there’s gallons of blood, the colours are beautiful, the special effects still look good today, there are hundreds of destructible objects... You’ll never get tired of the carnage. This is an amazing engine, it’s a shame that it was overlooked. It easily trashed Unreal 2 at it’s time, and I dare to say that the physics were even better showcased in PK than in HL2. The Black Edition includes an easy to use editor.
Time for the conclusion now. Painkiller is an essential purchase for any shooter fan. There’s no excuse for not playing it – it’s a simple, rewarding and fun game, with gorgeous design and production values. The Black Edition for 9.99 is a fantastic deal. I guarantee this game will always stay on your HDD – you know, for those moments when you get tired of the regular shooters and just want to kick some serious ass.
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Posted on 2009-01-29 06:45:18 byAlmak:
I am overjoyed to see this deserving game being added to the catalogue of GOG. Truly well crafted shooters that are clear about the direction they want to take are few and far between.
Painkiller is a game of a now dying breed. It isn't saturated by combinations of gameplay mechanics and quick time events. There are no escort missions or timed sequences. There is however a wallread more of "meat" between you and your inevitable antagonist which you brave with a variety of surprising combinations of weapons.
There are a few things of note in Painkiller. Firstly its masterfully designed environments. In no other shooter have I been as immersed in a setting of an abandoned dock or streets of war torn Stalingrad, the musical accompaniment of which goes a long way to help those locals come alive.
The second and a most entertaining aspect to me personally were the gargantuan boss battles. Structured as a classical first person shooter as Painkiller is, you can be assured that at the end of every level there will be a phantasmagorical boss for you to slay. In any other game any of those encounters could easily qualify as the end game culmination. Which if you are persistent enough to reach you will guaranteed be astounded by.
Lastly a worthy of note mechanic of tarot cards and soul collecting makes for interesting gameplay scenarios. I will not go much into this mechanic as I am sure those new to the game will appreciate discovering its benefits and multiple combination on their own. Needless to say however it is the icing on the cake that is Painkiler.
In summary if you are searching for a well crafted and orchestrated FPS shooter experience that is as straightforward as it is entertaining, look no further as Painkiller is most reassuringly a game for you.
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Posted on 2009-01-27 15:11:36 byinstant:
Oh boy! Do I remember my moments spent playing Painkiller with fondness. The best way to describe it, would be to say that it's a shooter distilled to be, well, pure shooting fun. The pace and the underlining music, as well as the fact that the game just *feels* solid and fun, make this the perfect shooter to pick up from time to time, have fun for an hour or more and come backread more to it in a few days, still enjoying the gameplay.
I like the fact that Painkiller doesn't pretend to be anything else rather than an old school arcade shooter in the heritage of Quake, and like the latter, the story is just a pretext to blow up, slice in two and/or nail the bad guys to the wall.
If like shooters without too much story depth and if you prefer a more toned down palette and a darker style, compared to the Serious Sam games, then you'll find Painkiller delightful, and since this is the original game bundled with the expansion, you should jump right on the occasion, as Painkiller Black edition gives you a lot of bang for the buck!
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