Half a decade on from the first rage through hell that was Painkiller %26ndash; which, even then, was proud to be a throwback to the simpler days of Doom %26ndash; a new chapter is being opened, but in a rather bizarre manner. Original Canadian publishers DreamCatcher, in tandem with JoWood, have farmed out development to Homegrown Games, a gang of committed amateur Austrian coders who insist that the old Painkiller engine (with only a few tinkerings) is still up to the job, and are working around the clock to deliver the game for PCs by the end of the year %26ndash; with a 360 port to follow.
Anyone who completed the original Painkiller will know that the successful hero ended up quite happily floating around in heaven, so a brand new protagonist has had to be created %26ndash; step forward %26lsquo;Wild%26rsquo; Bill Sherman, a kind hearted CIA assassin blown up by his own car-bomb after a desperate attempt to prevent it from accidentally blasting a school bus to smithereens. Thankfully, seeing as Dante%26rsquo;s busying himself around the seven levels of Hell, Bill finds himself instead in a twisted purgatory, compelled to fight for and against the forces of both heaven and hell as a pawn in their eternal war. So it%26rsquo;s a good job that one of the very first things he picks up is the eponymous Painkiller %26ndash; a blade-spewing gun that carves right through demon flesh and can be upgraded to fire off lasers, or boomerang blades for melee action.
The plot may sound a bit pseudo-smart arse for a series that once prided itself on its basic, old-school FPS action (no puzzles, little exploration, just endless bad guys, endless bullets and some top notch physics), but we%26rsquo;re betting committed gore fans Homegrown will be striving to deliver ramped-up no-nonsense battling worthy of the name.
With a few next gen graphical flourishes helping out the ancient engine, nobody can be trusted to please the fans better than... a bunch of other fans, so we%26rsquo;re hopeful that this will be a worthy sequel. It%26rsquo;ll definitely be out on PC this year, but the 360 version has been confirmed as hot on its heels.
Aug 12, 2009