Although Painkiller Battle out of Hell (BOOH) follows the same general pattern and game play as Painkiller, upon the opening cut scene you will immediately notice the poorer quality of graphics. Daniel and Eve no longer look quite like the Daniel and Eve we came to know. As one of the truly outstanding features of Painkiller is its environments, this badly crafted introduction had my heart sinking wondering if this was going to be a very cut-rate expansion.
In the end, it was not as bad as I expected, but it does differ from the original in certain ways. Where the expansive surroundings of the original give you a sense of freedom, Battle out of Hell does the opposite. You are mostly working in cramped tight spaces full of obstacles. Although the graphics were not as bad as I feared, there was a certain inconsistency to the levels with some showing better than others.
Other than the initial and concluding cut scenes, it's also disappointing that there's little continuation of the story and as you move from level to level there is also very little sense of being in hellish places. The requirements for obtaining the tarot cards are also ridiculously hard, although I don't know if this was a result of my playing on nightmare mode. For instance, the first level requires you to take zero damage. In many instances, the only way to survive let alone meet these requirements was to quicksave every two seconds and I don't really hold with this method being used to replace good tactical measures. The long load times also make this a particularly painful process as well.
There is a hint of strategy involved in this game, but not to any great degree. There is also more painkiller jumping and secret finding within the levels. The bosses are totally unremarkable and quite a departure from the original, but the hordes of demons are more difficult to kill. One kind of enemy can kill you simply by stabbing itself and the Leningrad soldiers have a deadly aim with their grenades - sometimes ridiculously so.
Although this all may sound somewhat negative, I can't say it was a bad game because it wasn't. It may be a consequence of my moving straight from playing Painkiller into Battle out of Hell that made it hard not to notice how it wasn't quite in the same league in some ways. It does have its moments, though, and the roller coaster ride in the Loony Park level is simply amazing. At no time are the graphics ever as bad again as the game's introduction would suggest. They just lack consistency.
For actual gameplay, it plays exactly as Painkiller with a few new weapons thrown in. This full size expansion came packaged with my Painkiller Black Edition, but if asked if I would buy this expansion, I would say yes. I don't think it received much attention however, and it was hard to find background and support material for the PC. This may be a result of timing as it came up against releases of the more remarkable FPS' Far Cry, Half-Life 2 and Halo 2. However, in retrospect, which is what this site is about, Battle Out of Hell is just a nice bonus that now comes bundled with Painkiller Black. On the plus side, keeping the same settings as Painkiller, there were no technical issues.
I haven't played the sequels, but apparently there is no further sign of Daniel till Painkiller Redemption. In Overdose and Resurrection, you take on different characters. Painkiller Wars is a version of both Painkiller and Battle Out of Hell remixed for the Xbox edition released in 2006. Also, all other Painkiller games had different developers.Note: There is some confusion between Painkiller Gold and Painkiller Black. The only difference is in the media it was released on. Eg: CD or DVD.