Max Payne

Max Payne is a third-person shooter video game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published in 2001. It is set in modern New York and follows the eponymous DEA undercover agent who investigates the source of the designer drug Valkyr that caused deaths of his wife and daughter three years ago. At the beginning of the game, Max's cover is blown and he goes on a killing spree, targeting the distributors and masterminds behind Valkyr. The game borrows many stylistic elements from film noir and heroic bloodshed movies. A sequel, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, was released in 2003.

Written by Sam Lake.

Max PayneEdit

  • [Opening narration] 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. To make any kind of sense of it, I need to go back three years. Back to the night the pain started.
  • Life was good. The Sun was setting on a sweet Summer's day. A house on the Jersey side across the river. The smell of freshly cut lawns. The sounds of children playing. 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.
  • [Max walks in the baby's room] No, no, please, God, no!
  • The table was scattered with notes of demented arcane nonsense written in rusty blood, a mishmash list of demons, devils and dark gods evoked.
  • He [Jack Lupino] was after that old Faustian deal- your soul for power and fortune. "Just sign on the dotted line with your blood".
  • My cover had been blown. The doors slammed shut behind me, and then I was dodging bullets like raindrops.
  • [After finding a telephone switchboard] It wasn't hard to picture a fat pimp sweating with headphones on, listening to his hookers talk dirty and fake orgasms over the web of party lines; the blood veins of New York.
  • The sun went down with practiced bravado. Twilight crawled across the sky, laden with foreboding.
  • I went undercover, infiltrated the worst mafia family in New York.
  • The NYPD was closing in. I could hear the sirens. Their wail was a crescendo.
  • I didn't like the way the show started, but they had given me the best seat in the house, front row center.
  • 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.
  • Turn around, walk away, blow town. That would have been the smart thing to do. I guess I wasn't that smart.
  • There were enough corpses to put a mass murderer to shame.
  • Vladimir was one of those old-time bad guys with honor and morals, which made him almost one of the good guys. None of us was a saint.
  • The night groaned with cold. The garden lights flickered nervously. In their light the falling snow was dead white before the darkness ate it up.
  • A bomb went off, turning snow into liquid gold. A pillar of fire lifted the remains of a car straight up into the air.
  • The headlines were screaming bloody murder. The storm was a screaming duet with the approaching prowl of car sirens. It was all a scream, when you were down for the count and wanted for murder.
  • The cops arrived, sirens singing in the off-key harmony of a manic-depressive choir.
  • [After firing at Vinnie Gognitti] He could run, but with a bullet in his stomach like a broken bottle of Tabasco, he was quickly running out of time.
  • This was my second train ride of the night. The way it started didn't promise anything better than the last one. Freezing wind tearing at my face like sandpaper and razors. Ice hard and slick under my hands and feet, and somewhere in the background the wail of sirens, the city howling after me.
  • New York sped by on fast forward, dark rooftop water towers and a dead forest of antennas and chimneys, all a blur.
  • 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.
  • The hot air inside was like an invisible wall, thick with incense and something else, a sickly sweet smell that made you gag. This was the rotten core of the big apple. Lupino lurked somewhere ahread, like a spider at the center of his web waiting.
  • Lupino thought he could get to us by taking out Alex and leaving me to take the fall for it. All he had gotten was my attention.
  • It was a lucky break. The goons inside were spooked, but luck always came with a price tag.
  • [After listening to a radio report accusing him of murdering his colleague] I had just gotten my 15 minutes of fame.
  • One thing you could count on: you push a man too far, and sooner or later he'd start pushing back.
  • {Whispering] You play, you pay, you bastard.
  • 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, and Alex.
  • Collecting evidence had gotten old a few hundred bullets back. I was already so far past the point-of-no-return I couldn't remember what it had looked like when I had passed it.
  • I might have laughed, if I had remembered how.
  • The word was out. A deadly virus released into the City's corrupt circulatory system. Something wicked this way comes. Max Payne at large.
  • Snow fell like ash from post-apocalyptic skies, but that was outside. Things would soon get hot in the Don's restaurant.
  • 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. And then he started this spooky monkey talk. Straight from a bad dream... mine.
  • V was a bad monster, turned them into freaking zombie demons from outer space.
  • In stepped this knockout femme fatale, holding a gun to my face. I returned the favor.
  • 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.
  • No such luck. No luck at all.
  • Fear was rusty needles poking at my brain. Cold and scaly, it slithered down my chest.
  • He had a baseball bat, and I was tied to a chair. Pissing him off was the smart thing to do.
  • I couldn't bring myself to be pissed at Mona. Guess I had a soft spot for a pretty face, but when somebody decides to play baseball with your head, you tend to get sore.
  • I don't know about angels, but it's fear that gives men wings.
  • Gognitti ran out of steam in a dead end alley with steam boiling out of the sewer grates like all the fires of hell were burning high beneath us. It was shakedown time.
  • There was no glory in this. I hadn't asked for this crap. Trouble had come to me, in big dark swarms. The good and the just, they were like gold dust in this city. I had no illusions. I was not one of them. I was no hero. Just me and the gun, and the crook. My options had decreased to a singular course.
  • [Finding a book in Jack Lupino's nightclub, Ragna Rock] The paperback was entitled “The Age of Murder and Storm”. The blurb on the back mentioned Norse mythos and 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. I was also beginning to see what the nightclub and its owner were all about.
  • [Examining books dealing with the occult and witchcraft in Ragna Rock nightclub] The room was stacked with light reading such as "Necronomicon," "Witchcraft," and "Paradise Lost"...Old exotic titles like 'Malleus Maleficarum' and 'De Umbrarum Regni Novem Portis'... Books with pentagrams on their covers, all dealing with the occult and the infernal, lying between stacks of horror videos and a couple of Ouija Boards.
  • [After examining some of Jack Lupino's satanist literature and videos] The only thing I could take seriously was the thought of Lupino taking it seriously. He had been spending a lot of time getting intimate with the guy downstairs.
  • 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.
  • Alex and I had a few moments of glory between us. Crime fighting comrades, the best in NYPD-DEA collaborative team … good-hearted macho bullshit like that. I would have given anything to have him here as my back up. No such luck. No luck at all.
  • [Getting up from a broken chair he was tied to a moment ago] I felt like the chair I had broken to get free.
  • All I had was Niagara's bat, sticky with my own blood.
  • Without a gun, I'd be no match for Frankie's men, I would have to play hide and seek with them.
  • Vlad was one of those old time bad guys with honor and morals, which almost made him one of the good guys. None of us was a saint.
  • The Brooklyn riverfront was a maze of rusty containers, sharp-boned cranes looking up from the snowstorm. On a night like this you couldn't help but think of the dark army of dead men, sleeping with the fishes, cement shoes in line. 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, like the ferryman of the river Styx.
  • Punchinello was burning to get me. The feeling was mutual. He was trying to put out my flames with gasoline.
  • It was colder than the devil's heart, raining ice pitchforks as if the heavens were ready to fall.
  • You'd find that Lady Luck was really a hooker, and you were fresh out of cash.
  • 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.
  • I could hear Punchinello on the phone, begging for help. He should have been saying his goodbyes.
  • He was trying to buy more sand for his hourglass. I wasn't selling any.
  • The shadows rushed me, bruised mug-shot faces hungry for revenge. They knew my weak points and closed in for the kill. The floor turned into a vortex of green blood. I fell.
  • [In a dream, when it is revealed to him that he's in a graphic novel] The truth split my skull open, a glaring green light washing the lies away. All of my past was just fragmented still shots, words hanging in the air like balloons. I was in a graphic novel. Funny as Hell, it was the most horrible thing I could think of.
  • [In a dream, when it is revealed to him that he's in a computer game] The truth was a burning green crack through my brain. Weapon statistics hanging in the air, glimpsed out of the corner of my eye. Endless repetition of the act of shooting, time slowing down to show off my moves. The paranoid feel of someone controlling my every step. I was in a computer game. Funny as Hell, it was the most horrible thing I could think of.
  • The bullet holes were rubies on her chest, blood glowing on her ivory skin. She was so beautiful. The killer was smiling.
  • I knew the appetites of ghosts intimately. They hungered for revenge.
  • You piece together a jigsaw and the final picture is you finishing that same puzzle, a mad green-eyed killer standing behind you. An urban legend come true.
  • Just when you thought you had reached the deepest depths of horror, it suddenly got worse. How to turn off that small voice inside your head that started to whisper that you should be glad; that now, if not before, your revenge was justifiable on any conceivable moral scale. That small voice proved, beyond any doubt, that I was damned.
  • Valkyr was meant to be a white-winged maiden that would lift you up to a warrior's heaven. Instead, 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.
  • So what does B.B. stand for? Backstabbing Bastard?
  • B.B. turned out to be another cardboard cut-out bad guy. A bad cop on the take. A cowardly right-hand man fleeing from the scene, leaving his paid thugs to do his dirty work.
  • It was an impressive floor show, but I decided to leave early anyway. It was only a one story fall. Lucky me.
  • [About Alfred Woden] In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • 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.
  • Mine wasn't the most original approach to the problem: 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. It did with me.
  • I had a bullet with Nicole Horne's name on it. I had ten thousand bullets with the hag's name on them.
  • A gunshot boomed and she [Mona Sax] fell down in slow-motion. She was a nice girl, not really a stone-cold killer, and now she was stone-cold dead.
  • Hacking through Horne's computer would have unearthed files of criminal plans, strategies for world domination, spy helicopter reports, illegal wire tap recordings, Internet porno, all of the above. Take your pick, I really didn't care anymore. [Shoots the computer, breaking it] I had seen too much of it already.
  • [After killing Nicole Horne] 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.
  • So much for being subtle.
  • [At the beginning of the final level of the game, chasing Nicole Horne] And now I was going to kill her –; the queen of the underworld who had tried to lift herself a bit closer to heaven with her drug money. 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.
  • Somewhere, the baby was crying.
  • Vinnie Gognitti, just the man I'm killing to see.
  • Colder than a walk-in fridge. Cold as a gun.
  • In the quiet air of the night, the club stood firm, like father like son, all thanks to Jack Lupino.
  • Lupino ran his racket of sex, drugs and contact killings from a sleazy hotel and a slum block of tenements.
  • I walked straight in, playing it Bogart, like I'd done a hundred times before.
  • The trick in my situation was that there was no trick, no matter what the movies tell you. No rules, no secret mantra, no road map. It wasn't about how smart or how good you were. It was chaos and luck, and anyone who thought different was a fool. All you could do was to hang on madly, as long and hard as you could.
  • [Closing narration] Woden was there in the crowd, standing by the sidelines. It wouldn't be over till the man with the patch would say so. He'd say the right words. I knew he would. He'd better. Woden grinned smugly. It was the grin of a winner. [Max is pushed into the police car] That made two of us.

Nicole HorneEdit

  • All this, because your wife stuck her nose into things that were none of her business. It's ridiculous that you've made it this far. You won't be alive when they get here.
  • Max Payne, face it, you're up against an unbeatable force. You have already lost. You have lost. Only death will set you free from your pain.
  • [To her thugs] What do you mean he's unstoppable? You are superior to him in every way that counts. You are better trained, better equipped, you outnumber him at least 20 to 1. Do. Your. Job.
  • [To Mona] It will be a cold day in hell before I let a narc cop stop me. Ms. Sax, do your job.
  • Game over Max Payne.


  • Vinnie Gognitti: [in a letter] Jack [Lupino]'s gone voodoo. The other day he shot Dino coz he wanted to see what his brains looked like splattered on the wall. He's a freakin' mad dog. We're runnin' out of men an' business fast …
  • [Repeated by many characters throughout the game] The flesh of fallen angels!
  • Jack Lupino: Mythic wolves let loose to devour the sun and the moon … Lupino is the wolf. I'm Mr. Beast, the big bad Fenris wolf, I'm The-End-of-the-World-Man, wearing the flesh of fallen angels …
  • Vladimir: There's this guy, Boris Dime, used to pull jobs for me. He's the captain of the cargo ship Charon. Now that bastard turncoat's gone over to the other side, Punchenello's. The ship's loaded with high-res hardware, guns, my business. If Punchenello gets a hold of that cargo, he's won and I have lost, and you'll have your work cut out for you. If you want to get to Punchenello you'll need heavy duty persuaders. I'm just the man to get them for you. Change the ship back under my flag, maybe pop two in the traitor Dime's head while you're at it … you'll have enough guns to start the apocalypse.
  • Random thug: You know what I'm talking about. In all the cool action movies, and I'm talking about the coolest of the cool, it always seems like time slows down in the middle of the action. You know, you can see the bullets flying through the air, the hero dodging in slow-motion. Oh man, it would be so cool to be able to do that. Bullet-time, that's what they call it. Bullet-time, yeah, heh, would be so cool.


Max Payne: [narrating] I was still on the force back then. NYPD, Manhattan, Midtown North Precinct. Hell's Kitchen.
Alex Balder: So, when are you coming to work for me, Detective Payne?
Max Payne: You'd make me work undercover in some hellhole. Sorry, Alex. Michelle and the baby come first.
[Max puts out a cigarette]
Max Payne: See? My last smoke. It's bad for the baby.
Alex Balder: That's you, Max. A regular Boy Scout.
Max Payne: See you, Alex.
Alex Blader: Still on for Poker Thursday night, right?
Max Payne: Like taking candy from a baby.

Max Payne: [after seeing the V tag on the wall] Listen! Someone's broken into my house! Call 911!
Nichole Horne: Is this the Payne residence?
Max Payne: Yes! Someone's broken into my house! They're still here! You have to-
Nichole Horne: Good. I'm afraid I cannot help you. [hangs up]
Max Payne: Who is this?!

Max Payne: [over a phone] 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: [surrounded by corpses he killed a minute ago] Sure thing, Jim. Me and the boys been talking, and everyone's real sorry. They'll never do it again.
Jim Bravura: Who the hell is this?
Max Payne: [narrating] Being placed at the scene of a bank robbery wouldn't have tipped the odds in my favor.

Alex Balder: Hold it … Max! Jesus, you almost gave me a heart attack! I nearly shot you!
Max Payne: Alex … am I glad to see you.
Alex Balder: What the hell's going on? There are more corpses here than at the City Morgue!
Max Payne: It's an armed robbery. A tunnel job straight through the Roscoe Bank vault through the old station wall. Is this why … this is Lupino's gig?
Alex Balder: This is Lupino's doing? Lupino's men? Really?
Max Payne: You sure know how to pick a place. Can you get through?
Alex Balder: No, it's locked. We've gotta get outta here. If it's Lupino, it's …
[An unidentified gunman shoots Alex and immediately leaves the scene]
Max Payne: Alex? Alex!
Max Payne: [narrating] There was nothing I could do. He was dead. I could tell by the empty accusing stare of his eyes.

Joey Finito: Ladies and gentlemen, it's the pain in the butt.
Virgillio 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? Don't answer that. A rhetorical question. I got something for the boss. Lupino around?
Joey Finito: That kinda depends who's askin' – a friend or a junk squad plant! But don't answer! It's one of them … ah … how'd you put it … rhetorical questions.
Virgillio Finito: Lupino ain't here, but he says: "Bye!"

Random Thug 1: Why are vampire movies always set in L.A. or New Mexico? They cant even get a tan! If I were a blood sucker I'd move to the North pole. Winter's one looong night.
Random Thug 2: What would you do for food? Suck blood from penguins?
Random Thug 1: Naw. Eskimos, man, Eskimos.

Max Payne: Where's Lupino?
Vinnie Gognitti: Screw you!
Max Payne: Bad start, Vinnie. [grabs him]
Vinnie Gognitti: Aargh! Police brutality!
Max Payne: I rate pretty high on that.
Vinnie Gognitti: Ya … ya can't just hurt me in cold blood!
Max Payne: Uh-huh. Just keep telling yourself that. Listen good, Candy Man. I'm not going to be anybody's fall guy. I want to know where your boss is hiding.

Vinnie Gognitti: [after Max fires an empty gun to his head] Okay! I'll tell you, just don't hurt me no more! Lupino's at Ragnarock, the nightclub! Take me in! Book me! Haul me in to freakin' jail! Just don't hurt me!
Max Payne: [dropping the gun and latching a set of handcuffs on Gognitti as he leaves] Your rights will be read at your funeral.

Max Payne: [running into Mona Sax, Max's gun pointed] Lisa Punchinello?
Max Payne: [narrating] Lisa Punchinello was the Don's Wife.
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.

Frank Niagara: Pleased to meet you. I'm Frankie "The Bat" Niagara.
Max Payne: Niagara, as in you cry a lot?
Max: [narrating] He had a baseball bat, and I was tied to a chair. Pissing him off was the smart thing to do.

Vladimir: Bang! You're dead Max Payne.
Max Payne: [narrating] I would have laughed, if I could have remembered how.
Max Payne: What's this supposed to be, Cops and Robbers? Look, you want something with me, get in line.
Vladimir: Peace, man, relax. You know you are a real news item? "Armed and dangerous". I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse … [chuckles] I've always wanted to say that.
Max Payne: It's a bum rap. I've been framed.
Vladimir: That's a moot point. Whatever you did or did not do, I'm sure you've had a good reason for doing it. Want to hear me out?
Max Payne: I'm listening.

Angelo Punchinello: [on the Charon's ship phone] Dime? Angelo Punchinello here.
Max Payne: [chuckles] Angie! Tell me, how much did Dime cost you? I bet it was more than his name.
Angelo Punchinello: Max Payne?
Max Payne: Right the first time.
Angelo Punchinello: You're dead, punk!
Max Payne: You sure you're not confusing me with Boris here? But you are right, of course. Pretty soon we should get together and have a talk.
Angelo Punchinello: You son of a –!
[Max hangs up]
Max Payne: [narrating] Pissing Punchinello off was a dangerous game. But when people get mad, they make mistakes. I should know. That's where I wanted Punchinello, mad enough to trip over his own feet, preferably into a grave.

Vladimir: You get everything you need?
Max Payne: Check.
Vladimir: I owe you. Anything you need.
Max Payne: This is my solo. When I'm through, Punchinello won't be anybody's problem anymore.
Vladimir: Clear as vodka. But anytime you get between a rock and a hard place, just whistle. 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?

B.B.: You can't win this one, Max.
Max Payne: No, but I can make damn sure none of you do either.

Nicole Horne: It will be a cold day in Hell before I let a Narc cop stop me. Ms. Sax, do your job.
Mona Sax: Relax, Max. You're a nice guy. I don't kill nice guys.
Max Payne: You're not bad yourself.

Max Payne: Vinnie Gognitti, just the man I've killing to see.
Vinnie Gognitti: PAYNE! Freakin' fed! I knew from day one there was somethin' screwy 'bout ya! Whaddya think yer doin'? Yer a freakin' cop! You ain't got squat on us! Ya can't just come in here waving yer piece like it meant somethin'!

Max Payne: Rico Muerte. Big-time hustler.
Rico Muerte: Who the HELL?!!
Candy Dawn: It's that cop!

Max Payne: [narrating] I could tell when I was outgunned. It was time to take another beating. The mystery witch was a real barracuda, trouble on dagger-heels, a smoking assault rifle in her hands and an army of killer suits behind her.
Nicole Horne: How sweet. I get to kill two birds with one stone.
Max Payne: [narrating] Sooner or later it was going to catch up with you.
Nicole Horne: Mr. Payne, it's time to show the benefits of my brew. Be a good boy now. [she injects him with an O.D. of Valkyr]
Max Payne: [narrating] You'd find that Lady Luck was really a hooker, and you were fresh out of cash.

Voice actorsEdit

External linksEdit

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