Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 24
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 24
  3. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. 100
    The sounds of Max Payne double the intensity of the game. From the beginning monotone opening to the deadpan, and deadly noirish conversations that Max has with the enemies, the game is a treat for the ears as well as the eyes.
  2. 100
    Payne’s finest feature on the Xbox, however, may be its controls...Every function in the game is perfectly placed for intuitive control.
  3. The PC version's visual quality--on a suitably good PC--managed to completely live up to the very high expectations produced by the early press, and the good news is that the Xbox version essentially looks just as good.
  4. One key improvement over the PS2 version is the lack of load times. Whereas levels had to be chopped up in that version the Xbox allows them to be loaded in the same way as the PC original, virtually eliminating any load times and keeping the sense of immersion high.
  5. Max Payne will quickly rank as a favorite for most action gamers. This one's not for the kiddies though, as it is loaded with blood, killing, and dead babies. Enjoy.
  6. It's far and away the best third-person action game I've ever played, boasting an involving (if occasionally cheesily-told) story and pulse-pounding gameplay.
  7. Playing through Max Payne for the first time is a little like watching Pulp Fiction for the first time: Five minutes after the opening credits you know it’s awesome, and you don’t want it to end. [Feb 2002, p.88]
  8. Controls are ultra-responsive, and you don't feel restricted by the controller at any time, which again is impressive for a PC port.
  9. Max Payne is a gritty, blood-filled, third person shooter from Rockstar. If you are appalled by slow motion and gory killings, then you should look elsewhere.
  10. It seems to be improved for being on a console - third person games have always worked better with a decent gamepad, and this one is no exception.
  11. 89
    10-12 hours of bullet ridden, shotgun loading, grenade tossing, lead pipe whacking, double gun wielding, fast reloading, pinpoint sniping, time stopping, third person shooting action. In short, get Max Payne.
  12. It doesn't have depth, brains, or complexity, but it does have killer looks and loads of style. [Feb 2002, p.67]
  13. Its pulp-novel story, gunfights straight out of John Woo's head, the incredibly cool Bullet Time gimmick, graphics that will stun the most jaded gamer.
  14. When you are in the middle of the action, it is intense and very entertaining.
  15. Payne doesn’t rely on a multiplayer mode, flashy graphics engine, or ultra-realistic gore to satisfy the masses… it just delivers in a way that so many other games don’t.
  16. Despite being filled with tired cliches Max Payne is one of the most engrossing games released this year for the Xbox.
  17. 85
    With no multiplayer modes at all, there's little reason to play after completing Max's rampage the first time. If this particular flaw doesn't bother you, however, Max Payne manages to deliver some of the best gunplay around, and is an involving and intense festival of urban decay, ultra-violence, and slow motion cinematic blood shed.
  18. This game doesn't only look great it also sounds amazing. The meaty gunfire and explosions will shake the very skin from your bones.
  19. It looks simply unbelievable and the gameplay and control is easy and intuitive. The bullet time alone makes it one of the premier action games on the Xbox.
  20. In slow-motion, it’s possible to catch every white bullet trail and crimson blood spray; we’d daresay it’s violence made beautiful. [Feb 2002, p.98]
  21. Get Max Payne if you never played the PC version, and try to get a good surround setup to really experience the game as it was meant to be played.
  22. 80
    Graphically it is almost impossible to notice any difference between the PC and the XBox version. While the PC can obviously run at higher (and prettier) resolutions, the XBox version seems to move along at a much more constant frame-rate and with a lot less stuttering.
  23. The game is preferable to the PS2 version as it has noticeably smoother frame rates and quicker load times, as well as the ability to Quick Save at any point.
  24. After the novelty wars off, the gameplay can get monotonous. [Feb 2002, p.166]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 50 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 28
  2. Negative: 3 out of 28
  1. ERB
    Nov 8, 2013
    Max Payne 1 is a game that you will never forget for many years.This game has awesome actions,good voice acting,mind twisting story and it has also it's most high lighted part called the bullet time.Now the bullet times makes the whole world of Max Payne go slower so that he can easily dodge those bullets then he will kill them.You can also see those bullets that are fired o you when you use bullet time.Now the adventure of Max Payne begins when one tragic night after he came from work then he went home to check on his wife and baby daughter.He heard screams from his wife and cry from his baby daughter.So he went up and saw a thug so he killed that thug.He opened the door and Max saw his baby daughter dead in her crib.He heard screams from his wife again so he ran to her room and saw another thug so he killed that thug as well.After killing that thug Max saw his wife dead in her bead.Max felt so depressed but he also swore revenge for the death of his wife and baby daughter.There the adventure of Max Payne will now begin.

    Now lets talk more about the game.This game has an awesome world and the environment feels realistic I mean when you shoot at those papers or maybe shoot at those televisions they are likely to be destroyed.I like that part.The game has an mind twisting story and you will feel like that you are in Max's world.This game is awesome and this game deserves a 10/10 score from reviewer ERB.This game is a legendary game so if you want to play an awesome game that is worth your time,try buying this game now or try downloading this game now.I am telling you guys this game is a legendary game.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 22, 2012
    Dark and gritty, this game is perfect for fans of noire cinema. Featuring a protagonist whom is powerful in all ways but still deeply flawed. The slow motion action sequences defines this series and is unique to the large variety of shooters out there. Full Review »
  3. Nov 12, 2011
    I remember first playing this game on Xbox about 7-8 years ago. It was my favorite game from the first time I played it, it is still my favorite game. Everything about Sam Lake's gritty, dark story hooked me instantly, and I remember buying the sequel as soon as it came out! There is almost no other 10 year old game I would rather play, the only reason I don't play it too often is to savor those precious memories of my younger days. I even wrote a poem about Max Payne! Full Review »