Game over too quickly? Want to prolong your experience? The mod community is here for you. Who can forget such classic mods as Windowless Room of a Dozen Enemies, or Exploding Barrels Spell Out My Girlfriend's Name (Please Come Back Edition)? Let's say you've always wondered what your favorite game would play like with some overly specific game-breaking feature. Some hard working modder has put time and effort into giving you that option. When you want to remove the feature, simply install someone else's incompatible mod, and repeat. Eventually, the constant crashing will force you to go outside for once and stare at a tree, wishing a stranger would decorate it for you. The beauty of the free mod is that it's always worth the money. Commercial releases can disappoint us just by setting an unrealistic price point. For example, if someone tried to charge forty dollars for a community mod by calling it an expansion pack or a sequel, any reasonable gamer would be surprised and dismayed.
On another note, did you know that Painkiller: Overdose, the $40 expansion pack/sequel to Painkiller, began life as a community mod project? Surprise! Dismay! The Warsaw development studio People Can Fly created the original Painkiller in 2004. The Prague-based Mindware Studios created Overdose as a "grassroots development project" which later received "full financial and publisher support" from publisher DreamCatcher Games. It's complicated but the important details are Warsaw, Prague, and forty dollars. Two of these are cities in Europe and the third is squirrel-chasingly crazy.
Overdose doesn't attempt to surpass the original Painkiller. Well, maybe it does but just fails. It's hard to tell really. Painkiller wasn't an especially ambitious FPS in 2004. Rather, it was a nostalgic throwback to the simpler era of Wolfenstein and Doom. Overdose throws back to the throwback, with even less sophisticated play. Enemies don't take cover, use flanking tactics, or even yell hurtful words. The smarter ones throw projectiles before they rush you. Some employ the clever tactic of having too many hit points. To defeat them you'll need to shoot extra hard while running backwards, which doesn't work in real shootouts.
While being attacked, you'll need to search all over for secret areas and collectibles, which give you special powers. This adds an element of strategy to the mindless shooting. If you're counting, that makes two elements in total. One will constantly get in your way as you try to enjoy the other. They take turns.
It's been a while, but didn't even Doom have some variety in level design, back in 1993? Not Overdose. In every level, you go into an arena, your exit is blocked, tons of enemies appear from nowhere, and once you've killed them all, the exit opens. That's brilliant enough, but the best part is killing that last enemy, who likes to hide. He's in a corner somewhere, writing his will. The only thing worse than running around a drab arena filled with ugly monsters is searching an empty arena wondering if you missed the exit. The art doesn't provide visual cues or even pretty distractions. Graphics aren't everything but an FPS level shouldn't look like the Logo turtle designed it.
Overdose is a prequel to the original Painkiller and fills in some details, in case you've been dying for more backstory since 2004. You play Belial, a demon who never shuts up. He whistles, chuckles, and tosses off quips like "Yummy," "Tastes like chicken," and "I love the taste of evil souls in the morning." We gain insight into his complex motivations with introductory speeches such as, "Ah, the American Civil War. Hope that bastard Grant isn't here." Really? Belial the demon hates Ulysses S. Grant? Does he resent Civil War era Grant, or the president who tolerated corruption in his administration and thus tainted the early Republican party? If so, he should say, "Ah, the American Civil War. Hope that bastard Vice President Shuyler Colfax isn't here."
The demo of Overdose is a tiring experience, but you should play through it at least once, as a preventative measure. It provides a real sense of the type of game you might otherwise purchase. And furthermore, forty dollars. Forty dollars! As a free mod Overdose would be a mild irritant. As a commercial release it's like being slapped in the face with your own dead cat, each paw clutching a little green portrait of that bastard Alexander Hamilton.