Painkiller - PC

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Also for: Xbox
Viewed: 3D First-person Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Adventure: Survival Horror
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: People Can Fly Soft. Co.: DreamCatcher
Publishers: Mindscape (GB)
Released: 16 Apr 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 16+
No Accessories: No Accessories


Eastern Europe seems to play home to quite an impressive amount of FPS developers - this latest frag-fest originates from Poland, from the brilliantly-titled start-up devco People Can Fly. Unfortunately not in any way related to Rob Halford's glass-shatteringly high warblings on the Judas Priest track of the same name, Painkiller for the PC offers all the usual fast and frantic Quake-style shoot-em-up action amidst a dark and sinister survival horror setting.

The concept of the game sees you explore an assortment of grim environments, shooting anything and everything that moves, before consuming the souls of the dead in order to increase your health. Once you've blasted seven bells out of them, certain objects leave gold coins behind, which enable you to purchase new weapons and things like upgraded speed, as well as maps and numerous other power-ups between levels.

There are a total of 19 levels to be undertaken in the single-player game, packed with 20 different enemy monsters, each in possession of its own unique behavioural patterns and attacks. Have no fear though, as the game sports a specially-designed weapon system that provides the ideal number of weapons, each boasting both primary and secondary modes that, for the more advanced Painkiller player, can be used in rather spectacular 'combo' attacks.

Obviously no game such as this would be complete without a range of LAN/online-based multiplayer modes - the fact that the game's developers are Quake world champions ensures Painkiller doesn't disappoint. As such, up to 32 players can battle it out across a total of five different modes, including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, People Can Fly, Voosh, and The Light Bearer.

On the visual front, Painkiller is pretty darn impressive, boasting a proprietary 3D engine that claims to deliver 100 times the polygon count of the most recent FPS titles, while simultaneously adding high-quality textures and advanced lighting and shadowing techniques. Coupled with the renowned Havok 2.0 physics engine, which allows for realistic simulation of breakable objects, collisions and explosions, and it all makes for quite a beautifully-realised game world.

We're all still waiting for Half-life 2 and Doom III but, for FPS fans, Painkiller is definitely another reason to reach for that wallet.