Painkiller: Overdose

Painkiller Overdose

Painkiller Overdose

Dire strafes.

Overdose. It's a suggestive word, dripping with the promise of lethal excess. The original Painkiller was a glorious throwback of a shooter, a game that followed the likes of Serious Sam in favouring relentless violence and ludicrous gibbing over narrative sophistication. When you apply the phrase "overdose" to such a prospect, the result should be pure gaming adrenalin.

So why does this belated semi-sequel pack a punch like a sickly gerbil?

It talks the talk, at least when it comes to press release bullet points. Forty new monsters. Sixteen new levels. Six new weapons. What more could a growing boy need? In theory, nothing. In practice, the array of newness is hobbled by some lumpy design decisions and a generally underwhelming feel. Chief among Overdose's shortcomings are the weak new weapon-set and some amateurishly hamfisted pacing. Not only is the new arsenal rather vague in purpose and effect - monsters tend to explode messily regardless of what weapon you use - but none of them really pack any oomph. Tradition dictates that FPS weapons follow an escalating arc of destruction, usually from a weak but accurate pistol (or equivalent) to something stupidly explosive, usually based loosely on a rocket launcher.

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