Retro Review: Painkiller

Jake Dubusker `15

I may be wrong, but I assume that most people reading are not very familiar with the Doom series of early first person shooters. The big names that most people know best are Call of Duty and Battlefield, whether you like them or hate them. Before the military shooter craze started and big name shooters took the route of cover based combat with 2 weapons slots, regenerating health, and cover mechanics, The Doom and Serious Sam series among others were popular as crazy and fun fast-paced games where you are one man taking on entire armies. Painkiller is a shooter that falls into this same category and is sometimes called the unofficial Doom 3, the actual Doom 3 having a much darker and serious tone compared to the earlier games in the series. The plot is insignificant and completely unneeded; you are a man journeying through purgatory because a car crash took his life and God needed him to defeat Satan’s army generals, who are planning an attack on heaven. There’s very little to the game other than the wide varieties of dude to kill, the greatly detailed scenery in which to kill dudes, and the creative assortment of weapons with which to kill dudes. The weapons are far different than the usual combination of shotgun/pistol/rifle/sniper, the default weapon is the titular painkiller, a melee weapon with high-speed spinning blades perfect for reenacting the lawnmower scene from Dead Alive that can also be launched far distances and pulled back like Thor’s Hammer. There’s a standard shotgun, a crossbow that shoots wooden stakes so huge you may as well be pinning enemies to the wall with entire trees, and the gun that shoots shurikens and lightning – that’s all you need to hear about the game, there’s a gun that shoots shurikens and lightning! As I mentioned earlier, there’s little to the game besides the killing of wide varieties of dudes and the environments and methods that accompany the action, but it’s all done so well what more could you want? Painkiller is available on Steam for PC, and the good thing about it being an old game is that you can almost certainly run it even if your computer isn’t powerful at all and it’ll still look nice, the graphics have aged rather well. It’s one of my favorite shooter games that I strongly recommend to anyone who has $10 to spare and enjoys shooters.

Next Week: No More Heroes

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