Max Payne

2001 third-person shooter video game

Max Payne is a PC third-person shooter written by Sam Lake, developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Gathering of Developers in 2001. The game is set in the early 2000's of New York City and follows the eponymous avenger, a DEA undercover agent, gone vigilante. Max Payne received positive reviews for its bullet time gunplay and storytelling graphic novel, drawing inspiration from Hong Kong action cinema, film noir and hardboiled detective fiction. The series is currently owned by Take-Two Interactive and developed by Rockstar Games. It has inspired one sequel by Remedy (Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne), one sequel by Rockstar (Max Payne 3) and a film by 20th Century Fox.

Something wicked this way comes.

Part I: The American Dream



  • They were all dead. The final gunshot was an exclamation mark to everything that had led to this point. I released my finger from the trigger. And then it was over.
  • See? My last smoke. It's bad for the baby.
  • Life was good.
    The sun setting on a sweet summer's day, the smell of freshly mowed lawns, the sounds of children playing--
    A house across the river, on the Jersey-side. A beautiful wife and a baby girl.
    The American Dream come true.
    But dreams have a nasty habit of going bad when you're not looking.
  • The sun went down with practiced bravado. Twilight crawled across the sky, laden with foreboding.
    I didn't like the way the show started. But they had given me the best seat in the house. Front row center.

Chapter One: Roscoe Street Station

  • The feeling hit me like a point-blank shot straight in the face: something was not right about this.
    My Beretta stirred nervously under my coat...
    But the train doors had already shut behind me, and I was in for the ride.
    Next stop: Roscoe Street Station.
  • So much for being subtle.

Chapter Two: Live from the Crime Scene

Max Payne: We come to you now live from the crime scene.
Jim Bravura: Who is this?
Max Payne: Right back at you.
Jim Bravura: This is deputy chief Jim Bravura from the NYPD. You are to cease your criminal activities and surrender immediately.
Max Payne: Sure thing, Jim. Me and the boys have been talking, and everyone's real sorry. They'll never do it again.
Jim Bravura: Who the hell is this?
Narrator: Being placed in the middle of the scene in the crime wouldn't have tipped the odds in my favor.

Chapter Three: Playing It Bogart

Joey Finito: Ladies and gentlemen, it's the pain in the butt.
Virgilio Finito: Pain to the max!
Max Payne: You're killing me. Did you make that up yourselves, or did you get some wino downstairs to come up with it?

Chapter Four: The Blood Veins of New York


Chapter Five: Let the Gun Do the Talking

  • A bomb went off, turning snow into liquid gold. (...)
    It was a lucky break. The goons inside were spooked, but luck always came with a price tag.

Chapter Six: Fear That Gives Men Wings

  • Gognitti bailed. I made like Chow Yun-Fat.
  • I don't know about angels, but it's fear that gives men wings.

Chapter Seven: Police Brutality

Vinnie Gognitti: Police brutality!
Max Payne: I rate pretty high on that.

Chapter Eight: Ragna Rock

  • Ragna Rock was as inviting as a headache, flickering and flashing to a machine gun beat.
    The belly of the nightclub was a gothic theme park that began with bondage games, and led to the nasty stuff from there--
    As subtle with its dark message as a cop killer bullet through the heart.
    Like father, like son. Just like Jack Lupino.
  • Ragnarok, the end of the Viking world with a terrible winter that covered the Earth in ice, when vile crimes were rampant and all humanity lost.
    I could see how someone impressionable might get it into their head that we were at the end of time.

Chapter Nine: An Empire of Evil

  • The flesh of fallen angels.
  • Beelzebub, Asmodeus, Baphomet, Lucifer, Loki, Cthulhu, Lilith, Hela... Blood given to you all...
    He was after that old Faustian deal - your soul for power and fortune, just sign on the dotted line with your blood.
  • After Y2K the end of the world had become a cliché.
    But who was I to talk, a brooding underdog avenger alone against an empire of evil, out to right a grave injustice.
    Everything was subjective. There were only personal apocalypses. Nothing is a cliché when it's happening to you.
  • Secrets... living under the skin of reality. I've seen it, the corruption of flesh!
    I'm the wolf! Yeah! I am the wolf!
    It's close. It's coming. You have come. The witness to the end of time. It's now! I will rise to her side!
    I don't need the words!
    I'm beyond the words!
  • I had known there'd have to be a catch in it somewhere, and this one was the Empire State Building of catches.
    [...] Lupino was pumped up and dying to go 15 rounds with a mutant alligator.

Part II: A Cold Day in Hell



Mona Sax: Mona Sax. Lisa's evil twin.
Max Payne: Your safety's off, evil twin. You might hurt somebody with that gun of yours.
Mona Sax: Lisa's the damsel in distress. I'm the professional. I'd blow you away without batting an eye.
Max Payne: Sure, and you can check out my credentials splattered all over this joint.
  • The nightmare was always the same.
    Violent shapes moving in darkness, old and ugly. The killer's mad laughter was a riddle filled with wicked innuendo.
    Somewhere the baby was crying.
  • Shoot 'em fulla holes, blow 'em to bits, vaporize 'em, disintegrate 'em, no matter whatchu do, they'll still be back, good as new.

Chapter One: The Baseball Bat

Narrator: I woke up in a bad dream. My head felt two sizes too small for my brain.
Frankie Niagara: Max Payne, I envy your name.
Narrator: And the killer was smiling.
Frankie Niagara: Pleased to meet you. I'm Frankie "The Bat" Niagara.
Max Payne: Niagara, as in you cry a lot?
Narrator: He had a baseball bat, and I was tied to a chair. Pissing him off was the smart thing to do.

Chapter Two: An Offer You Can't Refuse

  • None of us was a saint.
  • No minotaur lurked in this labyrinth, but somewhere out there, on the clanking deck of his cargo freighter, the skipper of the Charon was waiting...

Chapter Three: With Rats and Oily Water

Vladimir: This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Max Payne: You really get a bang out of this big time gangster act, don't you?

Chapter Four: Put Out My Flames With Gasoline

Angelo Punchinello: Payne! You're a dead man.
Max Payne: That's what everybody keeps telling me.

Chapter Five: Angel of Death

  • The numbing cold of the broken night had followed me in.
    Upstairs the trio tangoed down the manor halls to the silent rhythm of their murderous hearts, the blood of their victims rust on their lips.
  • Punchinello was a pushover.
    The moment I stepped into the room he folded like a deuce before a royal flush.

Part III: A Bit Closer to Heaven



  • Take me to Cold Steel.
  • I was in a graphic novel. Funny as hell, it was the most horrible thing I could think of.

Chapter One: Take Me to Cold Steel

  • Staggering on the mill roof in ice and snow and wild wind, I was a ninja. My kung fu was strong.
    I wasn't kidding anyone.
    At best, I was Superman on kryptonite, about to fall through a skylight, down to where it was all going down.

Chapter Two: Hidden Truths

  • I was close enough to hear the secrets just beyond the next doorway.

Chapter Three: The Deep Six

  • I had taken on the role of the mythic detective: Bogart as Marlowe, or as Sam Spade going after the Maltese Falcon, to unravel all the mysteries.
    Following a path of clues to that final revelation, even if it would take me down to the cold, cavernous depths of a grave.
  • Project Valhalla.
    V for valkyr, V for Valhalla.
    All of a sudden it read like a crackpot conspiracy theory.

Chapter Four: Backstabbing Bastard

  • I hadn't slept in a million years.
  • When the darkness fell, New York City became something else, any old Sinatra song notwithstanding.
    Bad things happened in the night, on the streets of that other city. Noir York City.

Chapter Five: In the Land of the Blind

Alfred Woden: Mr. Payne, I would like to introduce you to my colleagues in what we call The Inner Circle.
Max Payne: You've been watching too much X-Files.

Chapter Six: Byzantine Power Game

  • I had dreamed of revenge.
    Those dreams were always nightmares, of coming close and then failing.
    Now I was close. I had a name to guide me. Nicole Horne.
    I had nothing to lose.

Chapter Seven: Nothing to Lose

  • Mine wasn't the most original approach to the problem, it wasn't as if it hadn't all been done before--
    An eye for an eye, the first principle of revenge, old as dirt, still going strong.
    The cardinal rule in going after someone with an intention to kill was not to make it personal, which it almost always ended up being anyway.

Chapter Eight: Pain and Suffering

  • Valkyr had been meant to be a white-winged maiden who would lift you to a warrior's heaven.
    But it had turned out to be a one-way demon ride to hell.
    The devil was in the drug. I knew. I had met him.
  • It's ridiculous you've made it this far.
  • No begging, no bribes. She knew better. Honor among killers; we who are about to die. Both of us knew how this would end: in pain and suffering.
  • They were all dead. The final gunshot was an exclamation mark to everything that had led to this point. I released my finger from the trigger.
    And then it was all over. The storm seemed to lose its frenzy. The ragged clouds gave way to the stars above.
    A bit closer to heaven.
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