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Rico Muerte is a gangster working for the Punchinello Crime Family. Muerte is hired by Nicole Horne to assassinate the mayor of New York City.


Rico Muerte is an infamous Midwestern hitman, who has occasionally worked for the Punchinello crime family. Despite his work for the mafia, it's unknown if he is a particular member of any family or if he works independently. He is also a violent sadist, as he once killed two men settling an argument by playing a kung fu style fighting game by strangling them both with the cables, due to his disappointment that they resolved their differences with a video game rather than a physical fight.

Muerte has been indebted to the Punchinello Crime Family, after Angelo Punchinello bailed him out from an incident involving a bad deal in Chicago. Shortly before his death, he arrived in New York on orders from Punchinello, which was to assassinate the mayor of New York on behalf of Nicole Horne, with the equipment waiting in a cargo container, along with the payment.

While waiting on the assignment, Muerte was placed in Lupino's Hotel under the care of the Finito Brothers, who were ordered by Vinnie Gognitti to cater to Muerte, which they did by providing him their services, and he became a regular of Candy Dawn. He also booby-trapped the door to his motel room with a rigged shotgun trap, in case anyone tried to sneak inside while he was away.

When Max Payne finds him, he is behind the bar with Candy, who is performing oral sex on him as he narrates the video game story. He is then gunned down by Max, along with Candy.

Equipment and Tactics[]

Muerte carries an Ingram machine pistol, being the first enemy encountered by Max who wields a fully automatic weapon. He has better accuracy than regular Punchinello mobsters, and is also considerably more durable than them, requiring a full 36 rounds of 9mm pistol fire from Max's dual Beretta pistols to kill, or 7 close-range shotgun blasts.

Muerte is initially encountered by Max in the motel bar alongside Candy Dawn and three Punchinello thugs. Due to being caught with his pants down, Muerte immediately flees through a back door as his three goons rush at Max, while Candy runs behind the bar to shoot at Max from. As soon as Max pursues him through the back door, Muerte will flee down the back hallway while firing his Ingram at Max. If he manages to reach the far end of the hallway, he will remain there and strafe back and forth while firing away. If Max attempts to approach him down the hallway, a couple additional thugs will come to assist him, charging at Max.

Due to the narrow hallway's lack of cover and Muerte's good aim, the hallway essentially becomes a killzone if he is allowed to reach the end and hunker down. The best way to kill him is to immediately open fire on him with dual Berettas as soon as you kill his three thugs and Candy and pursue him through the back door, this should stunlock him and prevent him from retreating; aiming at his head should cut down on the number of bullets required to kill him. Alternatively, you can snipe at him with the Desert Eagle from the far end of the hallway where you can dodge around the corner for cover.


  • Rico is an abbreviation for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a law that makes it easier to prosecute members of organized crime and give stricter penalties. The Spanish translation of his name means "rich death" (Rico=rich, Muerte=death).
  • Max Payne describes him as "the typical Keyser Soze". Keyser Soze refers to the main villain in the film The Usual Suspects.



  • Muerte shares many similarities with  Frankie "The Bat" Niagara . They both wear white shirts and wield Ingrams, and are both slightly rotund; they are both met and killed in the same room, the bar.
  • It is possible to spare Rico, in “The Blood Veins of New York”, if you have enough painkillers and leave the hotel without killing him.