Time hasn't been kind to Max Payne, the New York cop who used to woo us - or perhaps 'Woo' us - by diving around in slow motion blasting organised crime to pieces. In one of the bleakest game intros I've ever seen, Max begins his latest adventure by arriving at his new Sao Paolo apartment, getting the shakes, then draining a bottle of bourbon, chain-smoking and smashing a photograph of his dead family against a wall in his torment. Press Start.
If Max Payne 2 was The Fall of Max Payne, then Max Payne 3 is Max at rock bottom. He starts the game in a purgatorial funk, bodyguard to a Brazilian industrialist and his family of rich playboys and politicians, drinking his way through the days - the end of chapter one sees him lurching around his apartment, throwing up in the kitchen sink and then crying himself to sleep - while we listen along to his internal monologue. Poor old Max.
For a while though, it seems as though time has been surprisingly kind to Max Payne, the third-person shooter with Bullet Time that first graced our screens in 2001. It hasn't changed much since then, even with the transition from Remedy to new developer Rockstar Vancouver, and when paramilitaries start violently abducting Max's employers that turns out to be just fine. Max may have piled on the pounds and lost his self-respect, but his iconic Shoot Dodge hasn't aged badly at all.