Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Max Payne

Go To

    open/close all folders 

     Max Payne 1 
  • Max clearly took steps to disguise his identity for his undercover work in the first game, except he used his real full name, which is still connected to his past life as an NYPD officer. Granted it was most likely so the player didn't get confused when the police & news are naming the "wrong person" in their manhunt but how was it that neither the Punchinellos nor the police realized he was really a former NYPD cop or DEA agent? Did Max make no friends going through the academy or on his police beat that would realize the criminal on all the news broadcasts looks suspiciously like, and has the same name as, someone who went through police training academy and had served the NYPD among them? Regarding the Punchinellos, Max's dream sequence showed he & Alex Balder had made headlines a few times: wouldn't the criminal cartel perform some sort of cursory background check on Max before accepting him into their ranks? There's also the question of how exposed and high profile the story of the murder of cop's family (and a wife who worked in the DA's office) would be, which would have given Max a great deal of public exposure and even more opportunities for the crime family's background check to pick him up as "That guy whose family was killed by Valkyr addicts and has a major reason to want to screw us up big time".
    • Perhaps they did realize it, but just figured he'd gone off his rocker after his family was killed.
    • Just make it look like he got "fired" after his family died, and desperately needs the money. Happens a lot in real life.
      • According to the manual Max had his entire background changed by Horne into that of a felon so that it was easy to frame him, and his cop buddies probably wouldn't have said anything since he's supposed to be undercover. As for the Punchinellos, we don't get anything specific about Max's undercover work, he could have had a alias or something, but it was dropped after Alex was killed.
      • He didn't use an alias because every gangster in the game calls him "Payne", and the Finito brothers even make puns out of it. The "He got fired" guess is a good one.
  • Okay this is very minor but there's a bit where Max finds a guy killed with a wooden stake, he tried to identify his killer as know where this is going. It was actually Faith who killed someone that way in the show, shouldn't she had been used instead? Or might that make the reference a little too obscure?
    • Max Payne began development in late 1996, the team that worked on it was entirely from Finland, and the episode with Faith staking that guy aired in 1999. It's entirely possible that the in-joke was put into the game before the episode aired, or that it's a joke specifically referring to the Kristy Swanson movie, where vampires didn't simply blow up into ashes upon death.

     Max Payne 2 
  • Okay, this is a pretty strange one but why exactly is Vlad targeting Max? Max has no real issue with Vlad and while he tore a hole through the Boss' cleaners in the first level, he's under the mistaken impression Vlad is the lesser evil by the second level and even saves Vlad's life. So, WHY?
    • Max is Alfred Woden's high face card, he has a history with Mona, and Vlad knows that Max doesn't let things go. Vlad knows that in order to kill Woden, he needs to kill Mona, and that means he needs to kill Max. He'd obviously prefer otherwise but knows there's no way around it.
    • Also, just before Vlad shoots Max in the funhouse he says that a true gentleman must always avenge the crimes done to his lady, and Max did kill Winterson. Max killing Winterson marks the point at which it becomes an It's Personal affair.
  • So was Vlad actually trying to kill Max in the funhouse, or was he just an extremely terrible shot? How do you fire a gun at someone less than ten feet away and still miss?
    • The bullet did strike him, but failed to kill him. Vlad underestimated just how tough Max was (and also didn't plan on Mona finding him in time).
    • If you aren't an above-average shot, the human head is a hard target to hit when firing a high-caliber pistol with one hand.
  • What part of Vlad's plan required him to take out Annie Finn?
    • If a gunsmith known to be working for Vlad is among those attacked and killed by the Cleaners, Vlad's off the hook.
  • "Woden sent the Project Valhalla file to the D.A. to put a scare on him." As a reasonably intelligent individual with an A.S. degree in Video Arts and Technology and someone who upon discovering the news of both MP 2 and MP 3 pre-ordered both, the premium edition of the latter, I after 16 years still cannot grasp the message here. What is Vlad talking about?
    • If he'd said "Put a scare on ***her***", I'd understand it to mean he used the Project Valhalla files to set someone onto Nicole Horne's scent. It could be interpreted to mean the D.A. was in on it and Woden was trying to implicate him, but there isn't anything in the game to support that.

     Max Payne 3 
  • At the end of the game you basically have Becker, who's had a grenade go off in his face and is clearly not going to make it, and if you shoot him he died. But, if you don't shoot him then he dies anyway from his wounds. What was the point to having a choice to shoot him or not if the outcome was more or less the same?
    • He suffers in agony for a bit and that extra suffering unlocks his skin for multiplayer.
  • Victor Branco sends Passos to go recruit Max in order to make him the fall guy. The problem is, really, I can't think of why. Why did they need to blame a foreigner when there were crime syndicates and paramilitaries already in place to do the job.
    • Max is the Fall Guy for Rodrigo's murder. They would presumably say he went postal after Fabiana's death, killed his boss, and blew up the building. Everything Max does before and after that is him screwing with the plan. They assumed he'd just be an easily killed psycho ex-cop.
      • That or they could easily pin the blame on him for Rodrigo's death. It'd be easier for people to swallow that Rodrigo got killed and Fabiana kidnapped because the guy guarding them was an incompetent, old, drug addicted drunk who liked killing people a bit too much and drawing attention from all the wrong crowds.
    • Public opinion would automatically be against a foreigner, and so it would be easier to blame them for something big without anyone looking really deeply into it. The foreigner in question was just a big schmuck, or so they thought.
      • Plus, since after killing well over a thousand people in the previous two games, Max is probably pretty famous as an extremly violent and unstable man. That, coupled with the fact he's so obvioualy fucked up on alcohol and painkillers all the time, it'd be trivial to place the blame on him.
  • How exactly did Max escape punishment after the end of the second game? After killing a fellow detective who had a blind son and the only person who could have helped him, Alfred Woden, being dead, it's hard to think of how Max didn't get at least ten years in prison.
    • I can't recall if it's brought up in the tie-in comic series, but I imagine Winterson's ties to Vlad would have been uncovered during the investigation (phone messages, etc), which would have made it less of a slam dunk to convict Max. The Police may have preferred to sweep it all under the carpet and "heavily suggest" Max take this fine opportunity to retire.
      • The tie-in comics show that Bravura does survive, but is ultimately forced to kick Max off the police force with half-pension because, while he did take down a crime syndicate and uncover corruption at a really high level, he still went off the reservation and broke more than a few rules. While Bravura painted him as a hero for what he did, he still had to let him go, which is why Max is spending his time drinking: he has absolutely nothing else to do.
  • Is there a Watsonian explanation for why Passos suddenly forgets how to use a gun when you're covering him in the sniper segment of Chapter 3?
    • He says he's nearly out of ammo when you start the section.
      • And we can of course assume that all the guns dropped by the Mooks that Max kills five inches away from Passos are empty.
    • Or it may have been because he was panicking. Extreme stress and terror has a way of making you forget vital skills.
  • If they wanted Max to be the fall guy, why did they keep sending him into situations where he could have gotten killed? Or, if they fully expected him to survive, why did they think they could stop him once he was turned into the fall guy?
    • They were reasonably certain he'd survive, given his record of having shot his way through half the gangsters in New York and an entire building of paramilitary agents. Also, IIRC the more dangerous missions (just about anything after Max balds himself) were Max's own initiative.
  • Why doesn't Max bother to learn Portuguese after moving to Brazil?
    • Portuguese is a complex language, maybe he thought it was too hard [especially with how angst-ridden the man seems to be].
      • Plus, his employers are fluent in English, so he may not have felt the need.
    • Learning a new language in adulthood is often a difficult proposition. Max can be seen making the occasional effort to speak the language in the latter half of the game, though he is nowhere near any form of fluency. Passos has an excuse because his first language was most likely Spanish, which is much more grammatically similar to Portuguese than English is, and uses a similar set of pronunciations—not to mention also the fact he's probably worked much longer in Brazil than Max.
  • It seems glaringly unrealistic for Max to kill as many people as he does in the course of this one game - easily topping a thousand. The Comando Sombra would have to number hundreds of members, as would the Cracha Preto and the UFE. That would have to be every gun-toting favela thug, every dirty cop and every Hoboken mobster. I guess I can believe that life in Sao Paulo is tough enough to make joining a favela gang desirable, but where does one find that many corrupt cops to turn into a special police unit of that size? Or where does one find that many ex-cops and soldiers willing to form up an organ-stealing ring?
    • It's not unrealistic for these groups to have membership numbers in the mid-to-high hundreds, especially in a city as large as San Paolo (L.A.'s Metro Division numbers about 300-400 officers, for example, and several American militia movements have memberships in the high hundreds). The real suspension of disbelief comes from Max killing them all single-handedly.
    • It's heavily implied Max is an Unreliable Narrator and the sheer body count he racks across the three games is an exaggeration caused by his guilt complex .
  • What's the deal with the yacht Max is on getting attacked by Pirates/Terrorists/Thugs in the Panama Canal? The Panama Canal is a vital economic artery between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean and thus is very heavily patrolled. It's probably one of the safest waterways in the world as far as pirate attacks are concerned. Even if it were to be attacked, the local law enforcement would be on the attackers like flies on honey once the alarm went out.
    • The men were on the take by corrupt authorities. They would just claim it was a gang dispute and there was bloodshed. Marcelo and Victor may had to play a cleaner to make everything look like that but as Da Silva said, Daphne had a messy divorce and it was easy to cover up the murder

  • Why IS everybody hallucinating the same thing (the demonic Valkyries)?
    • Likely a subliminal result coming from early instances of the drug's use, as well as its name. Hallucinations aren't 100% random, and Valkyr would bring up memories of the Valkyries. If a few people testify that they had those hallucinations, it would lead to other users thinking of the same thing and thus influencing their brain into having that hallucination.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: