The havoc never ends in Mindware’s arcade-style first-person shooter that brings you to strange new worlds, introduces a host of new weapons, monsters, and multiplayer maps. If you’re looking for a new shooter game that doesn’t involve putting in a lot of time before getting to the fun, then look no further than Painkiller: Overdose.
It actually began as a game modification side job at Mindware, but once DreamCatcher found out about it they decided to support and fund the project. This game is actually a prequel to the eventual sequel that bridges the storyline. You play as Belial, the “tortured son of Heaven and Hell,” but the story’s not really important here; it’s all about fast-paced and challenging battles with demonic and alien monsters that never seem to stop.
|"...it’s all about fast-paced and challenging battles with demonic and alien monsters that never seem to stop. "|
The gameplay is similar to most first-person shooters, and in this game things are quite easy to get used to, since you basically just shoot anything that moves. The game offers a total of six new crazy weapons, out of eight total, that involve both shooting and weapons that hack away at enemies in an oh-so-torturous way. It offers everything from the Hell Cube that turns into spinning electric blades (?), to a crossbow with some fine shrunken head décor dangling from it, to a head that shoots a laser-like beam. Each weapon has two modes, and even though there really aren’t any descriptions of what exactly they do or how effective each one is, using them is straightforward. The big difference between this and other shooters is the collection of souls. Each time you slay an enemy, the soul remains for a matter of seconds, and your objective is to collect as many as possible. It increases your health, and each time you are able to collect 66 souls, you morph into a “demon” for a short period of time. In this mode, everything goes black and white, time slows down, and you basically become invincible; no enemy can harm you, killing them becomes a whole lot easier, and I found it to be very fun while in this mode to finally be able to fight back with the same intensity that the enemies are attacking.
The other main difference is the tarot cards. Each level gives you the chance to unlock a black tarot card. The conditions to unlock each one are displayed in the scorecard and it’s generally fairly difficult to unlock them. However, when you do unlock them you are granted either temporary or sometimes permanent special powers that come to be quite useful in the more difficult levels. You have to place the tarot cards that you want to use on the tarot card board that is available between levels. To do this requires gold, which is collected from various objects throughout the game. This may all sound a little complicated but it’s really not.
Multiplayer was never a huge part of the original Painkiller games and it really isn’t big in Overdose, either. I went to play online, and there really wasn’t anyone in the small amount of servers that were available. There are several multiplayer modes, but the multiplayer aspect of the series remains unpopular.
The game’s graphics don’t seem all that improved from the original Painkiller, but the maps are quite impressive, the weapons look adequate, and the monsters look vicious enough. The graphics aren’t the top of the line but does that really matter when you’re having fun? The Havok physics engine is, of course, still in place, and I’ve always been satisfied with that. Limbs and objects fly everywhere, as the physics certainly add to game’s intensity. Not only do the maps look great, but there is quite a large variety of them. You’ll battle your way through the desert, Asian dojos, swamps, outer space, hellish maps, and more.
The sound in the game is mostly the same as in the original game by People Can Fly. Music plays in the background and changes from map to map, the weapons sound accurate, the monsters sound frightening enough, and this all adds to the game’s intensity. Belial utters a few comments here and there but nothing really more than that. There’s nothing special about the sound, but it fulfills its purpose.
Most of this review has been quite positive so far, but I’ve got to get to the negative aspects. One of the main downfalls of this game is the load times, which are long, considering this is based on a game that was released in 2004. This was something that affected the scores back then, and it doesn’t seem to have gotten much better. The other main downside is the fact that the game is quite mindless. There really isn’t much of a storyline, and it’s basically just a shoot-everything type of game that I like to refer to as an “arcade style” shooter. This isn’t necessarily a negative aspect for some players, but to anyone who is looking more than just a shooter, you may want to steer clear of these titles.
That being said, though, I find Painkiller to be a fun and challenging game that is good to play for maybe a half an hour at a time. It’s an extremely intense game that provides several hours of entertainment. I wouldn’t consider it to be outstanding, but it certainly isn’t bad. Fans of the series would most likely be interested in picking this title up, and big shooter fans shouldn’t be disappointed.