Last years Painkiller was a shot in the arm for a genre that some had accused of taking itself too seriously. We're talking about PC First Person Shooters here. All those squad commands, vehicles to clamber in and out of, intricate storylines and a desire to ground games in realism has perhaps made the genre stray away from what its always been all about: blowing the bloody guts out of big ugly monsters. The story was simple enough, if rather dark: you and your wife have been killed in a car crash and while she gets a direct ticket to heaven, you arent so lucky: youll have to take the battle to an assembling army of demons if you are to win a place on the right side of the pearly gates. Cue much Doom-style blasting of a seemingly endless supply of lovingly-rendered hideous beasts.
Painkiller: Black Edition is a celebration of the games success more than anything else. As well as the original, fast-paced demon-blasting action, you get the expansion pack (released separately in 2004) Battle Out of Hell. Also included are all the downloadable patches of recent months, up to v1.6. Just like the original, this version offers bloody and disturbing gameplay so fast you wont have time to think about its gorgeous graphics and lighting, and as far as physics go it has a rather impressive rag-doll thing going on, best displayed by the use of the stake gun which pins foes to the wall. No hostages, no objectives, just impressive levels and an unstoppable horde of monsters to blast. Lovely!