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I owned a box copy of Painkiller Black back when it had been released, but for an unknown reason, it wouldn't work with sound, so I quickly resold it. Now, with the year-end bargain on GOG and having changed my rig, I decided to try it again. Miracle, this time it worked with sound!! So I was in for a ride through hell.
Or so I thought. Don't get me wrong: Painkiller Black is far from being a bad game. Fast-paced action, lots of enemies, lots of secret areas, what could people ask for more? Well, in my case, it was obvious very quickly: Painkiller Black lacks an identity.
The game is quite dark. It's normal, as you're basically a soul fighting his way towards the 4 generals of Hell. But sometimes it's too dark and well, you start by not paying attention to the surroundings anymore. The feeling that made me sometimes stop in Serious Sam games, in HL², even in NOLF games and just watch the scenery is absent in Painkiller. Only stays the feeling of "what, I still have to kill some monsters somewhere to open the next door?", which in my case is not a good thing.
The ennemies are not very impressive, also. I mean, they are okay but some points annoy me : in the Asylum, I found the ghosts quite interesting, but they are the only ennemies you can't kill! You just have to avoid them and wait until they dissipate... Talk about frustration! And the Ninja! Oh I'd so much like to cut their tongue so they can't utter this very very annoying sound they make when they attack you! At first you laugh because it's ridiculous, then you can't stand it anymore.
Weapons are also a problem for me: they are a little unimpressive, except the Painkiller which is truly an interesting idea. The system of Tarot Cards is also interesting. But frankly, I couldn't care less about the shuriken-thrower and all the other weapons...
So, blandness is what came to my mind after completing a little more than half the game. I just didn't care about being able to beat the game or not. So I uninstalled it and put it back in my virtual shelf ; I have more interesting games to play first.
So Painkiller Black didn't click with me at all. It's also true that I've never been a real fan of Quake or Doom. And maybe I shouldn't have tried it just after Duke Nukem3D High Res pack (thank you GOG for the deal on Duke3D ;) ). Bland is the most accurate adjective I could use to describe my Painkiller experience.