When Painkiller Hell and Damnation was released I, along with many others, jumped for joy at the chance to finally play a game that had already proved to be such a smash hit on the PC. Mixing some fresh new HD visuals with the classic shoot’em up gameplay we’d come to expect from days gone by, Painkiller was a lot of fun. Disappointingly however, we’ve had to wait some time for the console release to catch up with the inevitable flood of DLC that Painkiller fans on the PC have enjoyed, but now that wait is over.
The first set of DLC on Painkiller Hell and Damnation’s rather large list is ‘The Clock Strikes Meat Night’ which is the only single-player DLC of the initial trio of content.
The Clock Strikes Meat Night adds one all new level called Town and expands upon two existing levels which are Asylum and The Bridge. Along with new maps to explore, a new pick up is available to grab which, for a short amount of time, grants you the ability to dual wield your weapons. Granted there is an exception, the soul-catcher, but every other gun in your arsenal will suddenly spawn a rather powerful twin (at least until the time is up). Imagine GOD mode from the original doom, well this is that only for the 21st century.
You’ll find three dastardly new enemy types littered throughout each level, the Leper Monk, Ninjas and the aptly named Loki, all of whom spend most of their time ruining your chances of survival. Thanks to a brand new Tarot card bundled with the DLC your chances of survival will vastly improve as ‘Health Stealer’ is as honest as a can of Ronsil. As you fight through each level with this bad boy equipped, you’ll slowly leech health off of all the ghouls around you.
Town is a map much like you’d expect from a medieval war epic, a large cobble street filled space with dilapidated and pillaged houses left burning. Fire rages on throughout the town, it looks suitably morbid and immediately puts you in the mood for some demon slaying, which is handy right from the moment you spawn hordes of zombies will begin the chase while throwing hunks of warm flesh your way. These zombies or ‘lepers’ add a nice mechanic by offering a rather unique kill-tool. Their heads. Slice off their cranium and give them a blast with the soulcatcher’s green beam then sit back and watch the fireworks. A neat, well actually really messy, but extremely cool addition to your already awesome arsenal which Nordic and Farm 51 have labelled ‘Meat Mine’.You’ll have a blast moving throughout Town and eradicating all it has to offer, even at a brisk pace, ignoring all the level secrets and collectables, it’ll take you a good twenty to thirty minutes to push through. I was however a little disappointed with the quality of the soundtrack throughout the map, it didn’t quite reach the same highs as previous moods within the game but we’re here for the action so that’s forgivable.
Asylum is another time gobbler of a level, starting off by placing you in front of a huge abandoned mansion, like something from a horror movie, this map builds a great atmosphere. The tension leads you to press on into a tunnel which after leading you into the heart of the asylum itself, quickly makes you realise the only way to safety is to make it out through the other side. Once you’ve made it through the asylum, thinking you’re safe, you’ll be thrown into a maze of mirrors, each of which leads to a different encounter and it’s up to you to survive each one until you find the right gateway to safety. When you finally find the mirror you need you’ll be transported outside the mansion and forced to fight one last epic wave of enemies. Asylum is a great level, with a great climax. You’ll waste a lot of time on this one, but I severally doubt you’ll regret it.
The Bridge is the last area left for you to experience in The Clock Strikes Meat Night, you’ll have experienced it briefly in the original campaign but this time around there’s a lot more wedged in there. Within the map itself you’ll now find a snow-covered town from the 40’s littered with what are essentially Nazi Zombies (Maybe my C.O.D addition is making me leap to that assumption, but let’s go with it) the biggest addition I found though was the boss fight, one that fit perfectly. Once I’d scaled the mighty snow-covered bridge, and thought I’d dispatched the last of the horde, that’s when I heard it. Then I saw it. The most gigantic demon Painkiller could offer, and he was a tough one, but this addition was simply fantastic. I always love a challenge, and with Painkiller always giving nods to shooters of yore, the bigger the better. There’s a cart chase thrown in later on, along with a cable car section for good measure, but I’m sure your fondest memories will be off battling hell’s biggest demon, miles above the water on an epic steel bridge, like something from Michael Bay’s wildest dreams.
Overall ‘The Clock Strikes Meat Night’ is a great addition for any Painkiller fan, offering up essentially what is more of the same just with some extra layers of death and destruction, and at 560MSP/£4.80 it’s great value for money (that’s roughly £1.50 per level!) the only thing I could really pick at is the choice to cap it at 3 levels in the pack rather than the standard four to five, perhaps an overuse of recycling older maps, but considering the work put in to freshen them up – it’s hard to be annoyed with this.
If you enjoyed Painkiller Hell and Damnation, then The Clock Strikes Meat Night is definitely worth looking at.