'La-Mulana' was originally released for free in Japanese in 2005, and the remastered commercial version was released in Japanese and English earlier this month. There's a translation patch for the (fantastic-looking) original if you poke around. You can buy the new one at and, right now, nowhere else. I don't like writing paragraphs like this, but hey, this isn't gonna show up in a commercial or on Steam's frontpage.

So. 'La-Mulana.' It's pretty much the best. The guys that made it knew exactly what they were doing all the time, which is remarkable because frankly that's just not it usually goes. It is pushing as hard as it can in every direction and it is almost totally successful.

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There are giant words all over the screen during every cutscene. In the first hour some rich guy makes a joke about trickle down economics; the screen gets split in half, one piece gets slid over, frozen and black-and-whited, and 'TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS' pops up in it while the action continues in the other half. Guy Ritchie is adapting a book all over my screen, and I don't really get it. I guess the punchline is that it's kind of refreshing to see giant words after playing so many games that are obsessed with putting giant numbers all over my TV!

I can think of one other game where giant words all over the screen was a selling point, and it's whatever Splinter Cell game that was. I played that Splinter Cell game splitscreen, sitting on my friend's futon in his cheap apartment and getting sweaty. Not because of the game; it was summer and all he had was one of those great plastic window fans. Well, whatever. My hands never sweat when I'm playing videogames, anyway. Ever. That's a real genetic advantage, right there. I guess that Splinter Cell game was pretty fun. The big words were stupid.

Anyway: I like my big-budget action-movie videogames to be mechanically straightforward and aesthetically confident. Ideally, their stories are dirty and hopeless. 'Max Payne 3' is all the things that I like, so I guess I will go ahead and like it.

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