There’s no dancing around it: El Paso, Elsewhere, the new action game from Strange Scaffold, is an unabashed homage to the 2001 seminal pulp-noir action classic Max Payne. It’s an obvious influence that writer, director, and voice actor Xalavier Nelson Jr. isn’t shying away from, but is hoping to elevate for a modern audience. During my hands-on preview of the game, he told me, “I’m not interested in recreating Max Payne; I’m interested in seeing what Max Payne could be next.” And for eclectic developer Strange Scaffold, that means a supernatural neo-noir blood-stained journey through a dimension-shifting motel to stop the world from being overrun by vampires.

You play as James Savage, a folklore researcher and drug addict on the hunt for his ex-girlfriend, Draculae, who has shacked up in a motel where she plans a ritual to destroy the world. That doesn’t sound like your typical noir story, but all the pillars are there: a stoic and flawed protagonist spouting out fourth-wall-breaking quips in poetic prose; a femme fatale at the center of melodramatic plot of love, loss, and betrayal; and lots and lots of gun shells, violence, and substance abuse. “We’re trying to adapt those pulp sensibilities for a modern audience,” Xalavier told me, with an emphasis on shifting it into neo-noir.

I’m a hardcore fan of the first two Max Payne games, and if there’s one thing El Paso, Elsewhere nailed, it’s the familiar feel of its movement and shooting. The way James Savage was front-and-center in frame; the slightly elevated camera angle; and the flow and motion of his trenchcoat as I strafed through guns blazing–these are small details, but their subtle nuances were represented in a way that satisfied me as a Max Payne enthusiast. I sprinted through the halls of a maze-like motel that twisted and transformed around every corner, making it feel more like something out of an evolving nightmare. I followed a blood trail into a bathroom stall door that opened into a blood-soaked industrial kitchen. A hall transformed into a graveyard, bathed in green and purple neon lighting. I was able to explore these spaces while rolling, diving, and jumping through the air in slow-motion, firing off guns akimbo at werewolves and vampires to the pulsating beats of a horror hip-hop soundtrack. The controls were intuitive to me because of my intimacy with Max Payne; I knew if I hit the Tab key, I’d take painkillers to restore my health, or if I right-clicked, I’d go into a bullet-time dodge through the air.

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