Codex Gamicus

Max Payne is a video game series developed by Remedy Entertainment and recently, Rockstar Vancouver. The series is named after its protagonist, Max Payne, a New York City police officer.[1] The series's story and script is written by Sam Lake. The first game of the series, Max Payne was released in 2001 for Microsoft Windows and 2002 for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Apple Macintosh. A sequel entitled Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne was released in 2003. A version of Max Payne was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. In 2008, a movie adaption of the original game entitled Max Payne was released. In 2009, Rockstar announced Max Payne 3, developed by Rockstar Vancouver, would be coming Winter 2009 to the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. However, the release date was later changed to 2011.

The franchise is notable for its use of "bullet time" in action sequences. The series has achieved varying levels of success. Both Max Payne and Max Payne 2 were well received by critics, although the sequel's sales were considered underwhelming.[2][3] The film rendition, which featured Mark Wahlberg as Payne, was the opposite, in that it received criticism and was given negative reviews but was commercially successful.[4]


Max Payne[]

Main article: Max Payne

Max Payne is a third-person shooter video game developed by the Finnish company Remedy Entertainment, produced by 3D Realms and published by Gathering of Developers in July, 2001 for Windows. Ports later in the year for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 were published by Rockstar Games. A Macintosh port was published in July 2002 by MacSoft in North America[5] and Feral Interactive in the rest of the World. There were plans for a Dreamcast version of Max Payne, but they were canceled due to the discontinuation of the console.[6]

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne[]

At the ending of Max Payne, Max was being led away in the back of a police car, about to face charges for his two or three night killing spree in which he killed upwards of 625 people, even though they all had criminal records. However, Max was eventually cleared of all charges, thanks to his relationship with a very influential member of society, Senator Alfred Woden. A few years have passed, and Max has returned to work for the NYPD as a homicide detective. However, during a routine murder investigation he finds himself face-to-face with the fugitive Mona Sax, a woman he thought was dead. Max and Mona team up to solve the answers to Max's past that left his wife and child dead. Between them and the answers they seek rests an army of scum and murderous thugs in New York City's underground.

Max Payne (Game Boy Advance)[]

The Game Boy Advance version of the game was developed by Mobius Entertainment Ltd, now known as Rockstar Leeds. Since it was developed on a far less powerful platform, the GBA version differs greatly from the PC versions and its Xbox and PlayStation 2 ports: instead of a 3D shooter, the game is shown from an isometric perspective, and uses extremely low-polygon models over a static pre-rendered background. The gameplay features have remained mostly the same, however, and is actually very similar to the original, the perspective change aside. The story also remained the same as in PC and console versions, though some levels from the original are omitted. The game even includes quite a large part of the original's graphic novel sections, complete with voice-overs.

Max Payne 3[]

Main article: Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3, developed by Rockstar Vancouver, will find Max in a "downward spiral" following the events of the second game, according to a press release from Rockstar Games. He is now 12 years older, has left the NYPD and New York itself and after being double-crossed, finds himself in a "city full of violence and bloodshed". The game is scheduled for release in 2011 on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[1] Max now works for a security firm in Brazil, and his appearance is considerably different from that of the title

Film adaptation[]

Main article: Max Payne (film)

Early in 2003, it was confirmed that 20th Century Fox had bought the rights to adapt the game to film.[7] The Max Payne movie went into production in 2008 and was directed by John Moore. The movie was produced by Collision Entertainment and Firm Films in Toronto,[8] and began filming in the Toronto Transit Commission's unused tunnel.[citation needed] Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis[9] play the roles of Max Payne and Mona Sax respectively.[10] Beau Bridges, Chris O'Donnell, Nelly Furtado and Rapper Ludacris have roles as B.B. Hensley, Jason Colvin, Christa Balder and Jim Bravura respectively.[11] On July 10, 2008, an official teaser trailer was released, featuring an instrumental version of the Marilyn Manson song, "If I Was Your Vampire".[12] The film was released to theaters in the USA on October 17, 2008 with a PG-13 rating.[13] While it was ranked first on its opening weekend, grossing US$18 million at the box office,[14] the film received mainly negative reviews, having an 17% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 119 reviews.[15]


Character Appearances
Max Payne Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne Max Payne 3 Film
Max Payne James McCaffrey TBA Mark Wahlberg
Mona Sax Julia K. Murney Wendy Hoopes   Mila Kunis
Jim Bravura Peter Appel Vince Viverito   Ludacris
Vladimir Lem Dominic Hawksley Jonathan Davis  
Vinnie Gognitti Joe Dallo Fred Berman  
Alfred Woden John Randolph Jones John Braden  
Jack Lupino Jeff Gurner   Amaury Nolasco

Recurring characters[]

  • Max Payne - Max is a New York City police officer. In Max Payne, following the murder of his wife and child by Valkyr junkies, Max transfers to the DEA and goes undercover in the Punchinello Mafia family in order to monitor the trafficking of Valkyr. Two months into his investigations, Max is framed for the murder of Alex Balder, a fellow DEA agent, the NYPD issues an APB for Max and heavily pursues him, forcing him to become a fugitive while in search of the truth behind Valkyr and the murder of his family. In the first game, Max was portrayed by Sam Lake. In Max Payne 2, set two years after the original game, Max is an NYPD detective investigating a series of murders by contract killers called the Cleaners when he encounters Mona Sax, a hired killer. Max becomes romantically involved with her as they uncover a conspiracy. In the film he was portrayed by Mark Wahlberg.
  • Mona Sax - Mona is a hired killer. In Max Payne, she first encounters Max after he kills Jack Lupino. She laces his drink with a sedative and leaves him for the Mafia to forcibly interrogate him. They meet up again later while she looking to avenge the murder of her sister. However, she is shot and assumed dead. In Max Payne 2, Max encounters her while investigating contract murders. They become romantically involved while investigating a conspiracy. In the film she was portrayed by Mila Kunis.
  • Jim Bravura - Jim is a veteran of the NYPD. In Max Payne, he is the deputy chief of police, and along with the NYPD heavily pursue Max after he is believed to have murdered a DEA agent and become a fugitive. In Max Payne 2, Jim was self-demoted and serves as Max's superior in his precinct. In the film he was portrayed by Ludacris.
  • Vladimir Lem - Vlad is a suave, old-fashioned Russian gangster. In Max Payne he is at war with the Mafia, outnumbered and outgunned, yet still manages to strike back at Jack Lupino. He forges a deal with Payne, to gain possession of a freighter full of military grade weaponry that had been seized by Max's adversary, Don Punchinelo. In Max Payne 2 he shown to be trying to go legit, opening a trendy new restaurant called Vodka.
  • Vinnie Gognitti - Vinnie is a mobster in the Punchinelo family. In Max Payne he is Mafia Captain Jack Lupino's lieutenant, he is depicted as intelligent but cowardly, with a penchant for abusing sexual partners that include underage call girls. Max wounds him and chases him for several city blocks to learn of Jack Lupino's whereabouts. In Max Payne 2 he has ascended to the rank of capo, presumably due to the high number of losses in the family. He is less threatening this time around, and is again at war with the Russian mob.
  • Alfred Woden - A one-eyed US Senator. In Max Payne he is presented as a high-ranking member of the Inner Circle, and agrees to see that Payne avoid prosecution for his crimes should he neutralize a common enemy. In Max Payne 2 he returns, now stricken with cancer and a wheelchair user, and is embroiled in the conspiracy around which the game centers.
  • The Inner Circle - A cabal of powerful figures who control everything from organized crime to the highest levels of government, said to have dated back to the time of the masonic cults. Known members include Senator Alfred Woden, Senator Sebastian Gates, Vladimir Lem and a Mr. Corcran.
  • Kyra Silver - While never interacting with any of the characters, she is crucial in being the player's contact with the outside world. She in an Anchorwoman who can be seen on TVs during both games reading news pertaining to Max Payne and his actions. The news she reads often present the public view of Max and his actions that are not the same as what actually goes on.

Max Payne characters[]

  • Jack Lupino - A major capo of the Punchinello family, He is shown to be insane as he believes in occults due to frequent use of valkyr. In the film he was portrayed by Amaury Nolasco.
  • Alex Balder - Another DEA agent and Max's best friend
  • B.B. Hensley - A corrupt DEA agent and a friend of Max. Receiving pay outs from Horne, he radios Max telling him to meet agent Alex Balder(another DEA agent and Max's best friend) at the train station and then shoots Balder dead, framing Max for his murder. Towards the end of the game he meets Max and is revealed as a traitor working for Horne. Payne kills him in a gun fight.
  • Angelo Punchinello - The godfather of the Punchinello crime family. A sadistic wife-beater, he is nevertheless a pawn of a far more powerful figure.
  • Nicole Horne - A business tycoon and the key figure behind Project Valhala, initiated around the time of Operation Desert Storm to develop drugs to enhance morale and stamina, when the project failed to yield the desired results, she refused to shut it down, and years later began distributing it as a designer drug.

Max Payne 2 characters[]

  • Valerie Winterson - A respected NYPD detective and able investigator, Bravura seems to favor her over Payne. She is a divorcee and a mother to a blind child. She is secretly in an affair with Vladimir Lem.


  1. The noir of Max Payne. Retrieved on 2008-12-10
  2. Max Payne on Metacritic. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2008-11-29
  3. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne on Metacritic. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2008-11-29
  4. Film: Max Payne on Metacritic. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2008-11-29
  5. Rick Sanchez (June 14, 2002). Max Payne Ships to Stores July 16th. Retrieved on 2007-06-07
  6. IGN (July 27, 1999). Max Payne Dreamcast details. Retrieved on 2007-06-07
  7. IGN Filmforce (2005-06-27). Max Payne Movie. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-06-24
  8. Max Payne Movie Update. IGN (2007-10-31). Retrieved on 2007-11-09
  9. Killer role for Kunis in 'Max Payne. Variety (2008-03-09). Retrieved on 2008-03-10
  10. Fleming, Michael (2007-11-08). Mark Wahlberg to star in 'Max'. Variety. Retrieved on 2007-11-09
  11. Max Payne (2008) - Cast and Credits - Yahoo! Movies
  12. "First Max Payne Movie Trailer Released". Shacknews. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  13. Gamepro, Issue #234, March 2008. pg. 30
  14. Weekend Box Office Results from 10/17 to 10/19. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2008-10-21

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