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 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.
The government of the United States commenced and funded a classified research program, dubbed Project Valhala, 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.
Nicole Horne, a member of the Inner Circle and the head of the medical drug development company Aesir Corporation, secretly took over Project Valhala 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 in a 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 crime. Later that year, Payne overhears some of Vinnie GognittiTemplate:'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 - a caporegime of the Mafia, 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 believe 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 disturbingly finds out that he is in a graphic novel and inside a computer game. Max wakes up from his nightmare in a pool of his own vomit but alive.
In the Max Payne film, valkyr is a blue, glowing drinkable liquid drug. The Aesir Corporation alone researched and produced valkyr as a plan to create an army of soldiers impervious to fear or pain. Their project had only a 1% success rate.
Valkyr produces strange hallucinations of flying Valkyries of Norse Mythology. The difference between becoming an addict or a super soldier appears to be a matter of willpower.
Jack Lupino is a former US soldier and an Aesir test subject during the trials of valkyr. Now a vicious mobster, he forces others to take the drug this way "building his army" with those who manage to survive the hallucinations and brutally killing those who fail.
Max Payne drinks two vials of valkyr after getting out of freezing water. The drug evidently combats the effects of hypothermia with remarkable efficacy. Payne then is overcome with the V-induced rage and power and goes on a killing spree in the Aesir HQ building searching for B.B. Hensley, although suffering from Valkyrie hallucinations. In the end, Max Payne manages to resist and survive the side-effects of V.
Other users of valkyr are three junkies at the Roscoe Street Station who attempt to mug Max Payne. One of them is crushed by a subway train when his hallucinations make him disoriented and flee on the train tracks.
Another addict jumps down to his death from a derelict building through a hole in its wall during his Valkyrie illusions when Payne and Mona Sax attempt to question him.
Lisa Punchinello is a heavy V user as well.
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 wine 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.
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 an injectable, nondescript-looking substance to a blue, glowing ingestible "drink" has been described as "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 Valhala is never mentioned and the government conspiracy theme is eliminated in the motion picture.
- Lisa Punchinello is portrayed as a miserable Russian valkyr addict selling her body as a prostitute while in the game she is a 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.