The American Dream is the first part of Max Payne. It is the longest part in Max Payne, with nine chapters and one prologue; it also covers the longest period of time in the game, from August 1998 up to Winter 2001. The first part of Max Payne introduces us to many of the important characters in the story as well as several notable events in Max Payne's life, including the death of his family, the murder of his longtime partner, and when he first met Mona Sax.
In 1998, Max Payne was a detective for the NYPD. Alex Balder, being one of Max's closest friends, attempted to get him to work for the DEA with him, but Payne explained that undercover work would be too much for him and his family. Later that day Max arrived home and found his house ransacked, and when he went upstairs he discovered the bodies of his wife and baby girl, murdered by crazed, armed men. After the incident, Max contacted Alex Balder and notified him of his transfer to the DEA. It took them three years before they make any progress in the Valkyr Case, but Max finally received a tip that Jack Lupino of the Punchinello crime family was trafficking Valkyr. Max then began his quest for revenge on whoever sent Valkyr test subjects to his home.
When Max arrived at Roscoe Street Station to meet up with Alex Balder, he stumbled upon a bank heist of Roscoe Bank. Payne foiled the heist by killing the robbers, but after he met up with his partner, Balder was shot by an unseen assassin. Max was then framed for the murder, and despite being pursued by the New York City Police Department, he decided to go on a "nothing-to-lose" vendetta against the people who were responsible for Valkyr and the murder of his partner.
Max went to Lupino's Hotel where his undercover status was compromised, which forced him to kill numerous Punchinello gangsters while he looked for Jack Lupino, his prime suspect as Valkyr's main distributor. Notable Punchinello crime family members that were killed included Joey Finito, Virgilio Finito, and Rico Muerte. Unable to find Lupino, Max then worked his way through a Mafia-controlled neighborhood to get to Lupino's apartment building, but instead found Vinnie Gognitti. after a long chase across New York City's rooftops Max cornered Gognitti, who told him that Lupino was at his nightclub Ragna Rock
The Ragna Rock was stormed by Max, who shot down dozens of Lupino's men that occupied the club as he made his way through the nightclub. When he reached Jack Lupino's back chambers, Max discovered numerous occult artifacts, including books, pentagrams on the ground and sacrificial offerings in the form of dead bodies. Max also found Lupino in a manic, psychotic state due to heavy Valkyr usage. A gunfight then ensued between them and Lupino's remaining bodyguards, and even though Max was outnumbered, he was able to take them all down. On his way out of the club, Max met Mona Sax in the bar area, and they agreed to take down Don Punchinello together, but their meeting ended with Max being drugged and losing consciousness.
|Max Payne||Michelle Payne||Rose Payne|
|Alex Balder||The Finito brothers||Rico Muerte|
|Candy Dawn||Jim Bravura||Vinnie Gognitti|
|Jack Lupino||Mona Sax|
Complete Part I on any difficulty
Note: See here for the PS2/Xbox chapter list.