2007 Reviews

Painkiller: Overdose

  • Review Date: 2011-06
  • Release Date: 2007-10
  • Developer: Mindware Studios
  • Rating: 7.0

This was originally intended to be an unnofficial fan-made mod for Painkiller. And it that respect, it's pretty amazing. That was until DreamCatcher allowed the developers to turn it into a full stand-alone game. If that meant sequel then in that respect, it's doesn't live up to sequel expectations - considering the content it's still just an addon - a double-sized expansion pack.

It's still the same engine and same gameplay - nothing has really changed since the first game. Many of the same enemies make a return, along with some new ones, some new weapons and 16 new levels.

The only big problem with Overdose is that the gameplay isn't very balanced. For instance you get to the third (final) episode, and the first two levels are probably the easiest in the entire game. Then the next level is the hardest in the entire Painkiller franchise (in my opinion) minus boss levels. The first couple of episodes you would often be forced to switch to whatever weapon has enough ammo, then when that's out switch to whatever you have left! In other words ammo is in short supply. Of course I never ran out, but I was also often forced to use weapons I didn't really like. And the weapons are another problem in Overdose; they're all fairly average. The Bonegun (Shotgun) and Crossbow are great, but the rest are not very inspiring to use. The weapons are all very similar in damage, rather than the old-skool style of shooters where you get more powerful weapons as you go.

There are lots of new enemies, in fact almost every level has a new enemy set, much like the original. And this of course is fantastic that they can not only create 16 completely unique settings most with their own set of enemies. However, the enemies actual attacks are all fairly similar. Many of them probably have the same attack, just with a new model. 90% can be taken down in two or less shots with the Bonegun. Which makes them fairly repetitive.

The engine might be a few years old now, but because each level is nicely detailed and so creative, the game ends up looking good and (only just) up to 2007 standards. Let's just say the engine hasn't aged as poorly as, say, 2004's F.E.A.R.. There's a lot of imagination put into Overdose and the level design is almost up to the same high standards as the original - which is a decent feat considering this was originally just a mod.

End of the day, however, this isn't a mod anymore. It's marketed and priced as a full game. And as a full game it does nothing different to the original. The gameplay is slightly more unbalanced, the enemies are repetitive and the level design isn't quite as good as the original. I was always a big fan of the original

It's only worth playing if you can find it cheap, and don't go in expecting a true sequel. Two expansions packs down - two to go - at least DreamCatcher really supports it's community!