Max Payne

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SDAlogo runner.png This game has a run page on SDA!

Important Notes for Speedrunners


1. The game resets your ammo and health at the start of the following levels:

  • Part I, Chapter 1
  • Part II, Prologue
  • Part II, Chapter 1 (you are assigned about 2/3rds health)
  • Part III, Prologue
  • Part III, Chapter 1
  • Part III, Chapter 7

2. It is recommended that the game be played at 30fps. Anything lower is pushing it a bit quality wise; also playing at 25fps, enemies start to be a bit slower. For example, at the start of p1c7 the first two enemies are slower at chasing you down. Playing at 30fps has enemy behaviour consistent with 60fps or above, but it also allows the super jump to be done with a decent level of consistency.

3. Activating bullet time does not alter time based events, the game seems to rely on the in-game timer for them. An example is you can cause the end of a level to fade out quicker if you use bullet time, but the timer runs right up until the start of the loading screen for the next level so you would just spend longer in the black to make up for it.


When it comes to editing runs which focus on best real time, i.e all but New York Minute runs, then the following is important to note:

Quick Saves

Every time a quick save is performed, the game lags for a few frames (seems to vary from 1-5, but usually 2). It's unclear what determines the amount of lag, but PC performance plays a part, therefore the lag should be edited out. Note that Max Payne will never lose frames, if it encounters a problem with available memory or processing speed then the game will freeze for a few frames (though audio can continue as normal).

A typical quick save will be as follows: Quick save on frame 100, frames 101-102 will be frozen on frame 100, movement continues at frame 103. The game saved will appear in the bottom right hand corner on frame 105. Where the game saved appears is exactly the frames that you will be respawned at when you quick load. The 42:41 segmented DoA run included both the game saved frame and the starting frame, so essentially a repeat frame. The reason for this is you have to get to a save to continue from it, so it should be A-B B-C C-D, not A-B-C-D. This was not done in the 25:34 NYM run, but there the in-game timer is used and this is not an issue.

It is likely that frames 103-104 occur under the cover of the loading screen, with visible gameplay starting at frame 105. Therefore, to edit the video continuously, the following should be done for the above example (as it would look in the SDA editing program Anri-chan):

Range#1/Frame#1: 0

Range#1/Frame#2: 100

Range#2/Frame#3: 103

Range#2/Frame#4: 105

Complex Cutscenes

There are 3 cutscenes in the game where it is not clear exactly where the game is being saved if a save glitch is performed. Through a combination of logic and analysing the audio track in Sony Vegas, the positions of the saves were analysed. A quick save makes a sound and so you can pin point the frame it was done and work out the correct editing from there. However, save glitching itself varies and sometimes the save sound is inaudible. Therefore, using concrete results, a universal standard has to be applied to all three cases (all three are save glitches of a comic strip, thus the same as far as the game engine is concerned). The general rule is 10 black frames until the save occurs and then x black frames before fade-in after reloading the save. The following shows what was done for the 42:41 segmented DoA run:

Part II, Chapter 1 - Segment 1 (up to the first comic strip): A total of 14 totally black frames. Note that upon reloading the save, there can be varying amounts of black frames, though 4 is normal. It's important to include all frames after loading the save, therefore have 14 minus the number of black frames after loading as the number of black frames after fade-out.

Part II, Chapter 1 - Segment 2 (up to the boss fight comic strip): A total of 12 totally black frames. Note that upon reloading the save, there can be varying amounts of black frames, though 2 is normal. It's important to include all frames after loading the save, therefore have 12 minus the number of black frames after loading, as the number of black frames after fade-out.

Part II, Chapter 5 - Segment 2 (up to Punchinello's room): A total of 10 totally black frames. There are no black frames after loading, therefore just have 10 black frames after fade-out.

For the following it's clear where the save is taking place, though save lag affects the fadeout and so the following should apply:

Part III, Prologue - Segment 1 (up to the first cutscene): After fadeout there should be 11 black frames before fade in and from there it's clear where the relevant game saved pops up.

New York Minute Mode

  • Rolling is the fastest method of travel in New York Minute Mode and should be used at all opportunities. Though, for going up stairs it's often quicker to super jump.
  • The game does record 100ths of a second for all the level times even though it only shows the time to the nearest second at the start of each level. So each level should be played to the nearest 1/100th of a second, not the nearest second.
  • There is one glitch that is banned. The first time the game loads up a level, the timer will be about 0.2s above what it should be and it will pause for about 16 frames. Playing on 30fps means you can gain about 0.5s because of this. Doing this effectively neutralises the save penalty meaning you could make a run of infinite segments paying no price for it (except having to restart the game for every attempt!). Clearly this can't be allowed so in order to avoid this you simply do a quick reload (so two reloads in total) of the save and then the timer will match up fine.

Real Time Runs

  • Running is the fastest method of travel in real time. Strafing, either side to side or diagonally is exactly the same as running forwards. Running backwards or rolling is slower, as is jumping. Therefore, it's often quicker to run around an object than to jump over it. Though for going up stairs it's often quicker to super jump.
  • Any run done for best real time should take into account that quick saves cause the game to lag. However, since this lag can depend on you PC, it should be removed from timing. This effectively means that if you are trying to activate a save glitch, you can spam save and you will only pay the price of the 1 save for the save penalty, not the lag caused by quick saving. The lag can either be edited out or counted out when the run is timed.
  • Guns in general fire slower in bullet time, so bullet time should usually be avoided as much as possible. The following is a summary of the comparison of fire rates in bullet time vs real time and was tested at 30FPS:

Berettas, Deagle, Shotgun (pump & sawn-off), Ingram - Shots fired in bullet time are significantly slower than real time firing.

m4 and Jackhammer - First 2 bullets are faster fired in bullet time, subsequent bullets are 1-3 frames slower.

Sniper rifle - First 2 shots are 3 frames slower when fired in bullet time, subsequent shots are 5 frames slower.

  • The Dead Man Walking glitch is not a separate category as it can only be done in one place and does not last past part 1.

Single-Segment Runs

  • Since the games autosaves at the start of every level, you can start attempts using the prologue 1 autosave, there is no need to have to view the opening cutscene every time. This was approved since there is no arbitrariness about where gameplay and timing starts.

Useful Tricks/Glitches


Discovered by: Many people, but full effectiveness was realised by Shido.

Description: The games enemies are not well equipped to deal with a rolling target and so this can be abused in places. Additionally, in New York Minute mode it is quicker to roll than run.

Explanation and Execution: Rolling is a form of bullet time movement, similar to diving. Therefore, time moves slightly slower. Rolling is one of Max's basic moves.

Super Jump

Discovered by: ridd3r

Description: Ability to jump 2-3 times normal jump height.

Explanation and Execution: C_jump() commands stack, so the jump animation is being triggered twice (very quickly, because of the weapon switch), effectively doubling or tripling the jump height. In order to perform the glitch, select a weapon from the gun menu (default press 1-6), then select the weapon (default mouse 1) and a fraction of a second later press jump.

NOTE: See section below (Compatible Super Jumping Weapons) when choosing which weapons to switch between.

In order to get the timing down, use a metronome set to 180bmp to time the gap between choosing a weapon and pressing jump. It helps to be running the game at 30fps (with FRAPS for example) as this is a frame perfect trick, though it can be done at any fps rate. For further explanation of how to perform the trick see this video ->

Compatible Super Jumping Weapons

All the weapons are split up into two categories. If you try and switch between weapons in the same category, you won't be able to super jump. For example, if you have the Desert Eagle equipped and try to switch to the Sawn-off, you won't super jump. Below is a table showing which weapons belongs to which category:

Weapon Categories
Baseball Bat 1
Lead Pipe 2
Beretta 2
Dual Berettas 2
Desert Eagle 2
Pump-action Shotgun 1
Sawed-off Shotgun 2
Jackhammer 1
Ingram 2
Dual Ingrams 2
m4 1
Grenade 2
Molotov Cocktail 2
M79 1
Sniper Rifle 1

Put another way:

Category 1 Baseball Bat, Pump-action Shotgun, Jackhammer, m4, M79, Sniper Rifle
Category 2 Lead Pipe, Beretta, Dual Berettas, Desert Eagle, Sawed-off Shotgun, Ingram, Dual Ingrams, Grenade, Molotov Cocktail

Switch between anything in category 1 and anything in category 2 and as long as the timing is right, you'll super jump.

Save Glitch

Discovered by: ridd3r

Description: Maintain full control of Max during cutscenes.

Explanation and Execution: If you save the frame before a cutscene kicks in, then reload, you have control during cutscenes. If save is spammed just before the cutscene kicks in, a save can be done almost every frame making this a good method to guarantee the save glitch is activated. Due to the various types of cutscene there are all sorts of different results from using this glitch, such as being stuck out of bounds for a portion of, or all of the cutscene. This video will explain it further ->

Sequential Save Glitch

If the camera angle changes during a cutscene, as opposed to just showing the same thing, then it's possible to save glitch multiple times. By save glitching the "new angle" you then gain control in that cutscene and the camera will focus on Max. This has very limited use in Speedrunning, but a good example is the first series of cutscenes in the first prologue. By save glitching all 4 camera angles, you can save some time as you have control in the last part of the cutscene.

Results of Save Glitching

Ability to move in the cutscene - This is the most common one, usually occurs when save glitching a cutscene that is triggered by reaching a trigger point (NOT a door). Also occurs when save glitching a "kill cutscene", a 5s cutscene triggered when you kill certain enemies. In some cases your position will be reset when the cutscene ends, but a lot of time it's not. Whether or not the camera will focus on you depends on whether the cutscene camera changes perspective at all. Thus you will always be able to see what you're doing at the very start of the cutscene, but as the cutscene progresses the camera will often shift view.

In Level Out of Bounds - This refers to when Max is placed off the map, usually between walls and sometimes with untriggered enemies present. This usually occurs when you save glitch a cutscene that is triggered by reaching a door AND there's no comic strip before the cutscene starts. Sometimes you will be able to move around (e.g. p3c6), other times you will be frozen (e.g. p1c2). In both cases your position is reset after the out of bounds scene. Killing any enemies out of bounds doesn't result in any less enemies when the cutscene ends.

Out of Level Out of Bounds - This refers to when Max ends up in the loading screen. It can occur when save glitching a cutscene that is triggered by reaching a door AND there is a comic strip before the cutscene starts (e.g. p2c1).

End of Level Save Glitching

There hasn't been any use found for save glitching at the end of levels, however there are some strange occurances worth noting. There are basically three types of ending to levels:

1. A cutscene ending e.g. p1c2, save glitching results in stopping the level from ending - Result 1. In p1c2 you can roam around outside the subway indefinitely.

2. A fadeout e.g. p1c1, the save ends up at the start of the next level, allowing you to save glitch the opening cutscene and move around - Result 2, but your position will be reset anyway. In NYM mode the timer will not be displayed, however the game is still tracking the time.

3. A boss fight e.g. p1c9, the result is the same as with 1., so the level just won't end.

Currently (8th July 2011) not all the levels have been tested, however the levels can be categorised as follows:

Type 1. pro1, p1c2*, p1c4, p1c8, pro2*, p2c5, pro3, p3c2, p3c3, p3c4, p3c8*
Type 2. p1c1*, p1c3, p1c5, p1c6, p2c1, p2c2, p2c3, p2c4, p3c1, p3c5, p3c6, p3c7*
Type 3. p1c7*, p1c9*

Levels marked * have been tested. So far they all behave as expected except for pro2, where the level does end and the quick save carries over to the next level. Therefore, the following table lists all tested levels and the resulting behaviour of save glitching:

Result 1 p1c2, p1c7, p1c9, p3c8
Result 2 p1c1, pro2, p3c7

No Fire Damage

Discovered by: Many people

Description: Ability to pass through fire at certain points.

Explanation and Execution: A lot of the flames in the game are just special effects and so don't harm you if you know where to go. As the fire builds up though, it will start to burn you.

Fall Cancelling

Discovered by: ridd3r

Description: No falling animation upon landing from a significant height.

Explanation and Execution: When Max falls from above a certain height, there is a landing animation. It is often possible to cancel the landing animation if you spam jump as landing occurs and continue holding strafe so that you land in a roll. Normally it requires an almost individual approach each time and seems to be frame perfect, making it very difficult to do.

Quick Roll

Discovered by: ridd3r

Description: Perform a very fast roll as a cutscene fades out.

Explanation and Execution: This can only be done after a cutscene is triggered showing you a slow-mo view of the deaths of certain enemies you kill or after a scripted slow-mo sequence. If you roll immediately after the cutscene, as the game is transitioning from bullet time to real time, the roll is performed as if no bullet time were in effect. In other words, this shows how fast you are actually moving from enemies and the games perspective (real time) when rolling is normally done (in bullet time).

Out of Bounds

Discovered by: ridd3r

Description: Travel into/through walls, floors and ceilings.

Explanation and Execution: Generally access to out of bounds is done with the super jump, though it can work with anything that gives you significantly greater than normal momentum. Simply super jumping underneath a door frame can work (very rarely though). However, if you manage to get into a wall you will die instantly due to the way the physics works. A noticeable example of being able to do the trick without dying is part 3, chapter 6; it is possible to glitch through the floor by jumping into the corner of the staircase before the room with the falling pillar. Another example is in p1c5, you can jump on the travelling canister which propells you through or into the wall opposite, killing you on impact. This is shown in this video ->

Shotgun Rapid Fire

Discovered by: ridd3r

Description: Ability to fire multiple pump-action shotgun shots in very quick succession.

Explanation and Execution: Equipped with the pump-action shotgun, if you fire while falling off an obstacle (e.g. a desk) two or more shots will be fired in very quick succession. It is possible to fire at least three shots using this method, depending on the terrain. This has limited use, but a good example is at the start of p1c3 - you can jump on the chair in front of where you start and kill both mini-bosses with two quick shots.

Dead Man Walking

Discovered by: ridd3r

Description: Enemies don't shoot at you as long as the glitch is active.

Explanation: It is thought that the glitch is activated by a deathline passing through you in a cutscene. A deathline is an invisible trigger than prevents you from getting too far ahead of scripted events (if you try to get past too early, you are instantly killed) - a good example is p3c4, where you can't get ahead of the van for a while. The idea of the glitch is you die in the cutscene, but since you can't die in a cutscene the game gives you full damage, something that is not normally possible. Enemies no longer shoot at you, they only react by moving.

Alternative explanation: Another possibility is that you prevent a scripted event from occuring in the cutscene, something that must happen. In order to overcome the problem, the game teleports you to a new location - as seen when performing the glitch. At this point the game assigns you a default amount of health (or you were teleported through a deathline). Even if this theory is correct, there is an example in p1c7 where you can super jump into the lift with Gognitti, preventing anything from happening and trapping yourself in the cutscene. Here this would be a similar situation, but you are not teleported.

Execution: Currently there is only one known place this glitch can be activated - in the train cutscene in p1c1. The glitch gets reset at the start of part 2 where you health is removed for a level and then a set amount of damage is given in p2c1. In order to activate the glitch, save glitch the train cutscene in p1c1, then stand in front of the train or run out under the falling wooden barrier when the train crashes. Note that while you are effectively invincible as far as enemies are concerned, you do have literally no health. Therefore, even the smallest of incidents, such as a fall or the impact of a grenade hitting you, will kill you. See this video for further explanation and examples of the glitch in action ->

Glitches to avoid

There are several glitches in the game that quite simply screw you over and aren't useful under any circumstance. Here are the ones you should be aware of:

The Ledge Glitch

Discovered by: ridd3r

Description: A simple jump onto a railing can end in you dying.

Explanation and Avoidance: If you're very unlucky, when you jump on a ledge or railing, Max will 'stutter' his landing and before you know it you're falling - on the ledge. You will then hit a supposed floor and die. Despite having hardly any time to react to this, there's no known way to get out of it once you're in it. Here are a couple of examples of the glitch:

It seems the glitch is caused by landing right on the edge, so a clean landing should mean there aren't any problems. No matter how it happens, it's rare. Places to watch out for are p1c6 at the start and jumping through the window as seen in the video.

Weapon Selection - Double Select

Discovered by: Many people

Description: When selecting a weapon, instead of going to the first weapon on the list, the 2nd weapon down is selected (even though it's only pressed once).

Explanation and Avoidance: Again this glitch is rare, but it does happen! If you press a number corresponding to a set of weapons - e.g. 3 for the shotguns, instead of selecting the pump-action, the sawn-off can get selected. Since these weapons are in different super jumping categories, this can cause problems. Not even considering that weapons are often very useful in specific situations, so you don't want a sawn-off against 3 enemies! The only way to mitigate this glitch is to just be aware of what is selected in the drop down list.

Weapon Selection - No Equip

Discovered by: Many people

Description: After selecting a weapon, sometimes nothing can happen when you try and equip.

Explanation and Avoidance: Thankfully this is rare, but it can again really mess things up, especially when trying to super jump. If you select a weapon in the menu and then try and equip it, sometimes the menu is simply cancelled instead. There is no known way to avoid this.

Weapon Jam/Misfire

Discovered by: Many people

Description: When firing (mainly seems to happen with the pump shotgun and deagle) the gun can click and not shoot. Also the bullets can not fire at all, despite the explosion (mainly pump shotgun and sawn-off).

Explanation and Avoidance: This is just one to be aware of - sometimes when trying to fire the gun can click instead of firing. This mainly happens with the Desert Eagle and Pump-action shotgun. Just keep clicking and it will fire eventually! In very unlucky situations the weapon will misfire (Pump-action and Sawn-off) and there will be a cloud of smoke at the barrel, but no bullets.

Comic Strip F1 jam

Discovered by: ridd3r

Description: Usually F1 is pressed to skip through the comic strip. In rare cases, if you press F1 on the wrong frame F1 can jam and seconds will be lost.

Explanation and Avoidance: If you spam F1 in preparation of skipping the comic strip, it's possible to press it at the wrong frame and lock the button up in-game. You'll be stuck on the comic strip for a couple of seconds before you realise what's happened and the damage is done. Wait until you hear and see the comic strip appear before you spam it, or spam at your risk!

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