Half a decade on from the first rage through hell that was Painkiller – which, even then, was proud to be a throwback to the simpler days of Doom – 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 – 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 – step forward ‘Wild’ 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’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’s a good job that one of the very first things he picks up is the eponymous Painkiller – 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’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’re hopeful that this will be a worthy sequel. It’ll definitely be out on PC this year, but the 360 version has been confirmed as hot on its heels.
Aug 12, 2009