Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 at 8:00 AM by Drew Pontikis
For those who are not particularly religious or who paid little to no attention in religious studies at school; brace yourselves, you’re about to learn something. Between Heaven and Hell there is the plain of Purgatory. Purgatory is the home of countless souls who are awaiting judgement to see if they are good and go to Heaven, or bad and go to Hell. It is a time of reflection and circumspection; probably one of shitting your pants as well. My dad once described to me that to be in Purgatory is to be watching the film of your own life, through your own eyes and perspective; in a cinema filled with everyone you ever met during your life. Frankly, there are some times between the ages of 13 and 16 that I imagine would be a little bit squeamish. Clearly, Purgatory is not a comfortable place to be.
Now we have completed the theology lecture, you are in a much better position to appreciate the setting for Painkiller: Hell and Damnation, the new title being released by Farm 51 and Nordic Games. This is a follow up to Painkiller, originally released in 2004 on the PC and Xbox and, having been released on PC back in October last year, is due to appear on consoles in April. For those (like me) who did not play the original, you play Daniel, a man stuck in Purgatory after he and his wife (who gets straight into Heaven) are killed in a car accident. Daniel is offered a deal by an angel to kill 4 of Lucifer’s generals in exchange for entry to Heaven, which leads him to eventually killing Satan (the natural conclusion obviously). Tricked and betrayed, Daniel finds that one of the generals he thought he’d killed had used him to assume control of Hell, and he is left alone fighting off the hordes of darkness. In an interesting move, it is only by completing the game on its most difficult setting that Daniel emerges from Hell victorious and is reunited with his wife in Heaven.
In the sequel we join Daniel in a graveyard, having not been reunited with his wife. Clearly, he did not manage to complete the original on the most difficult setting. He is offered a deal to meet his wife again, this time by Death, in exchange for 7000 souls. So off Daniel goes on his quest to be reunited with his lost wife, back into the seven circles of Hell to battle daemons and devils.
I’ll be honest; the first thing that caught my attention with this game was the launch trailer. There’s no other way of saying this; it’s the rapture. There is no stronger religious setting for a game, and it had me wanting more information. Further investigation shows that gameplay looks fairly frenetic; with skeleton’s running at you in their dozens, its looks a little like left 4 dead where the dead have been in the ground for just a bit longer. In my mind this makes me think of the film Jason and the Argonauts, which is still one of my favourites so any excuse to think about it is welcomed.
The second thing I noticed about this game is the Soulcatcher gun that Daniel uses to battle his way through the games. Forget your 50 cal’s here boys and girls; this gun is so powerful it KNOCKS YOUR SOUL clean out of your body. That’s some serious hardware right there. This is obviously your means of collecting souls to achieve the games ultimate aim, and what a way to do it! The game appears to be spread across countless eery looking settings; I’ve seen gameplay in graveyards, darkened monasteries, spooky castles and abandoned funfairs (I made that last one up – I got distracted and was thinking of Scooby Doo); all the places you would expect to be set upon by daemons and skeletons.
While I’m yet to play the game, I’ve certainly seen enough for Painkiller: Hell and Damnation to catch my interest. I’m prepared to give my time to any game taking place within such an emotive setting such as the realms between Heaven and Earth. Plot lines across films, books and games which are loosely wrap around religious figures always carry an extra sense of intrigue for me, and I’m sure that I can’t be the only one who feels this way. If this article has caught your interest, YouTube will be your friend to check out what the PC version is like.
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