What was once a cutting edge console game is now a thing that you can play on your phone. Such was the case with Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto III that hit the iPhone last year, and such is the case with the Max Payne mobile app that’s arriving on iPhone and iPad this week.
This is not a cell phone tie-in game that has little in common with its inspiration, but rather an attempt to port the first Max Payne game in its entirety right over to mobile platforms. Long-time fans of the series should be both pleased and surprised by the fact that this classic has found a new home on mobile devices.
While this sort of gritty shooter is common today, at the time it was originally released both the gameplay and story were revolutionary. Back in 2001 when Max Payne first arrived for PC and last-gen consoles, it was the first game to make extensive use of the “Bullet Time” mechanic in which players could slow down time for the characters in the game, but still aim at a normal speed. This simulated the fast-reflexes of a Hollywood action movie star, and when combined with the ability to dive around the battlefield like characters in a John Woo film, plus the use of “Kill Cam” animations that showed enemies dying in theatrical ways, Max Payne let gamers experience tense gunfights in a new way.
While game stories in 2012 often use adult themes, Max Payne was ahead of its time with its story of a hard-boiled DEA agent-turned-vigilante who relentlessly pursued drug dealers through the streets of New York City. Filled with sex, drugs and murder, it used the sort of themes that Rockstar has since become famous for.
The iOS version will use some new features, including customizable controls (Always a blessing in iPhone games), but it also has HD graphics and high-resolution textures to take advantage of the superior displays found on an iPad (When compared to the sort of 480p TV sets that were used back in 2001). Max Payne mobile also works with Rockstar’s “Social Club” which didn’t exist when the original game was released.
The available screenshots indicate that this mobile port will do a good job in recreating the look of the original game. The controls will no doubt be another matter, as the iphone frequently has trouble with games that simulate the twin-stick control set-up of console shooters. The screenshots show the use of virtual buttons, but gamers can always hope for gyroscopic aiming as well.
Third person shooters are easy to find on the iPhone, but Max Payne has earned its place as a classic of the genre, and looks to be a fine addition to the iOS stable. Max Payne will be compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch 4, iPad 1, iPad 2 and the new iPad when it comes out for iOS on Thursday the 12th. It arrives for Android two weeks later on the 25th. We’ll have our thoughts on the game later this week after release.