One of my favourite things about Remedy’s first two Max Payne games was their winking, self-aware style. That vibe was perhaps best encapsulated by the scene in which Max has a drug hallucination and realises that he’s the protagonist of a video game.
Rockstar’s take on the character is much more gritty and dark, and often feels weighed down by over-seriousness. But occasionally, the game will toss a nod to the series’ roots by making an absurd reference.
My favourite of these is the moment in the video above, when Max discovers a trashed, out-of-tune piano in a run down building in Brazil. The piano could be a metaphor for max — beat up, broken, but still playing that same old tune. I particularly love how the game’s actual soundtrack (which is astonishingly good in its own right) plays a lead-in chord to the piano solo, with Max resolving the unresolved cadence.
And what does he choose to play? Why, what else but the classic theme from the original game.
“And, for a few seconds, came harmony. Finally.”