Shootdodge is Max Payne's signature maneuver, which allows him to dive through the air using Bullet Time to avoid enemy fire, while also returning fire. It is also used by other characters in the series as well, such as Mona Sax, Raul Passos, and characters of the Max Payne 3 multiplayer.
The act of a Shootdodge is essentially a dive used to evade enemy attacks by moving quickly and becoming a more difficult target to hit, performed by pressing the Shootdodge key while your character is moving.
Shootdodging also automatically reloads your equipped weapon(s). This can be exploited to nearly double a weapon's magazine capacity without having to reload; Max can fire 29 rounds with a Kalashnikov, then perform a Shootdodge, instantly giving him access to 30 more rounds. This tactic is not as important in Max Payne 2 due to Bullet Time reloading feature.
One overall tactic to make ample use of the Shootdodge, regardles of whether playing single player or multiplayer, is to generally never dive forward towards a target who can see you. This puts your head forward, perfect for taking massive damage from a headshot, and generally keeps you within the enemy's crosshairs, with little need to adjust their aim. The same can be said for diving directly backwards as well, so moving to the side can get you out of the enemy's iron sights. Make use of open areas and tall structures to get the drop on enemies, and use the Shootdodge to round corners to surprise them with slow-motion gunfire.
Revisions Between Games
In each game, the execution of the Shootdodge has been nearly the same, but each new installment has changed certain effects of the action, making each Shootdodge unique by game.
In the first installment, performing a Shootdodge will consume a small amount of Adrenaline in order to enact a slow-motion dive using Bullet Time. The effect only lasts for five seconds until time flows as normal, so Shootdodging from a higher position will not have one diving in slow motion for the entire action. The player is also forced to rise to their feet at the end of a Shootdodge, which forces the action to be used in a much more defensive way in order to prevent taking extensive damage while getting up.
Shootdodging while Bullet Time is activated will automatically bring you out of it, the Bullet Time Combo is utilized. Using the player-defined Bullet Time Combo key allows the player to Shootdodge and activate Bullet Time at the same time. In this way, Bullet Time will continue as you get up from the dive.
While performing a Shootdodge, Max is also immune to death until he lands on the ground. He will still take damage, but he will not die. This can be useful when using the M79 to clear a room quickly and haphazardly.
The second version of the Shootdodge is similar to that of the first game's, but with a few minor, yet key differences.
Unless the Bullet Time Combo key is utilized, a Shootdodge no longer consumes Adrenaline, and actively imparts Adrenaline to the player for kills. Shootdodging in Max Payne 2 also allows the player to remain prone after landing from the dive if they continue to fire their weapons, allowing them to take out any enemies left standing. However, Max will automatically get up if you run out of ammunition or you otherwise stop firing.
Improving upon Max Payne 2, the third revision of the Shootdodge allows the player to remain prone without actively having to fire their weapon, allowing them to aim 360° around them to dispatch remaining enemies before getting up. The player can still aim and fire their weapons while in the process of getting up, but it puts them at a severe disadvantage.
Even though Adrenaline is consumed when performing a Shootdodge in this iteration, it is still possible to perform the same slow-motion dive if your Adrenaline meter is completely empty, much like Max Payne 2.
It's also possible to preamturely end the Bullet Time effect of a dive by pressing the Bullet Time/Burst key mid-dive, in order to preserve Adrenaline. One will also remain in slow-motion for the entire duration of the Shootdodge, so diving from high positions serves as a great tactic to prolong Bullet Time when Adrenaline is low.
One main difference between the games that preceded it, when a weapon runs out of ammunition, it is not automatically reloaded, and Max simply holds the weapon up when it's empty.
All players also have access to the same single player Shootdodge in the multiplayer. However, the mechanics work more similarly to previous iterations. In order to prevent overuse of the slow-motion effect, the Multiplayer version of the Shootdodge requires half of a level of Adrenaline. If they don't have sufficient Adrenaline, the player performs a simple dive without entering Bullet Time. Falling from great heights while Shootdodging will also not prevent excessive damage as it would in the single player.
Taking out enemies in Multiplayer while using Shootdodging will also reward more XP with the "Like In the Movies" bonus. The bonus is also given if a kill is earned through a regular dive, as well.
- The act of a Shootdodge is reminiscent of choreography used in many of John Woo's action movies, where characters would move about, diving and sliding while shooting for cinematic flair
- Attacking enemies in Max Payne 3 while they are shootdodging can result in some humorous effects, such as explosions from grenades and rockets launching them high into the air, and hitting opponents in the right spot sending them spinning out of control
- Enemies in the early games can be seen diving too, but all these events are pre-scripted and only a few are shown firing their weapons while doing so
- In the Dream Sequences of the first two games, Shootdodging speeds up time instead of slowing it down
- Out of all three games in Max Payne 3 you lose the least health when dropping from extreme heights.