Valkyr was originally intended to be a performance-enhancing drug used by the military. The substance then became illegal and found itself sold on the black market as a highly addictive recreational drug. Valkyr, colored green, is shown to be consumed via an injection and is found in syringes.
Physical and mental effects of taking valkyr include nausea, long and vivid hallucinations, and partial to total mental deterioration.
In 1991, the government of the United States commenced and funded a classified research program, dubbed Project Valhalla, to invent a pharmaceutical agent which would strengthen the effectiveness of military personnel. Alfred Woden was involved in the project. However, due to unsuccessful results, the supply of money for the program was discontinued and it was shut down in 1995.
Nicole Horne, a member of the Inner Circle and the head of the medical drug development company Aesir Corporation, secretly took over Project Valhalla and continued developing, testing and producing valkyr, namely in a bunker under the Cold Steel foundry in New York City.
By 2001, V is routinely sold by the Punchinello Crime Family of Italian Mafia to junkies looking for a fix. Jack Lupino officially oversees the distribution of V, although he is nothing more than a middle man for Don Punchinello who in turn is controlled by Nicole Horne.
A few years later, after the destruction of Cold Steel, the crippling of the Mafia and the death of Horne, all results of Max Payne's vendetta, V is mentioned to be on the decline with dealers and users only inhabiting the poorest neighborhoods of NYC.
Mentions of Valkyr
Working the case of the Cleaners at the police station, detective Max Payne can listen to a murder suspect talking about how his wife injected him with V and killed herself to frame him for the crime. Another night that year, Payne overhears some of Vincent Gognitti's men saying they have once peddled valkyr, confirming that they are part of the same group of dealers he fought in 2001.
- Jack Lupino - an underboss of the Punchinello Crime Family, Lupino is a mentally unstable and disturbed mobster addicted to valkyr and apparently, consuming large doses of it. The hallucinations of the drug might have helped strengthen his belief and fascination with the occult and Norse mythology. Valkyr could also be responsible for his extreme aggressiveness.
- Max Payne - an unwilling user, he is injected with an overdose of valkyr by Nicole Horne after being apprehended by her forces in the Punchinello Manor. Payne then has some lucid dreams and hallucinations in which he sees himself in a graphic novel and inside a computer game. Max wakes up from his nightmare in a pool of his own vomit but alive.
Behind the scenes
The mystery of Mona Sax's drug
At the end of the chapter An Empire of Evil of Max Payne, Payne meets Mona Sax for the first time but Sax spikes his glass of whiskey with an unknown hypnotic that makes him lose his consciousness and dream nightmares. The drug makes Payne hallucinate (including green-colored visions) and lose his consciousness (both known effects of valkyr), but it is never really explicitly stated the substance actually is Valkyr. Supporting the theory the drug was not V is the fact that is was introduced via the oral route whereas valkyr is always shown to be an injectable narcotic.
Nightmare and the 4th wall
Differences between valkyr in the games and in the film
Valkyr's depiction in the Max Payne film has drawn considerable criticism:
- Changing the drug from its form as a green, injectable, nondescript-looking substance to a blue, glowing drinkable substance has been described as unnecessary and this way "dumbing down" its nature and making it appear less dangerous to the audiences in order to achieve a more lenient movie rating. Neither is it particularly scientifically plausible for an orally introduced drug to create such rapid effects on the human body as shown in the film.
- Project Valhalla is never mentioned and the government conspiracy theme is eliminated in the motion picture.
- Mona Sax's sister, Natasha Sax, is portrayed as a miserable Russian valkyr addict selling her body as a prostitute, while in the game where she is named Lisa Punchinello she is the physically abused wife of the Mafia Don Punchinello and never once mentioned to be a drug addict or even of Russian nationality.
- However, the most bizarre and despised by fans design idea of John Moore's film direction are the visions of Valkyries that are depicted constantly haunting the valkyr users. Valkyries as such do not appear in a single graphic novel panel or game scene in the Remedy's 2001 video game. In the film, though, the mythical creatures are shown extensively with much of the movie's visual effects budget having been spent on their production. The idea that a chemical substance would be able to create an adverse effect of a highly specific and always identical hallucination of a Norse mythology creature to all of its users is scientifically absurd.
- Max Payne
- Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (Mentioned only)
- Max Payne 3
- One Card Left to Play (Mentioned only)