Playing Painkiller on Linux

Painkiller is a little-known gem in the first-person shooter (FPS) genre. I’ve played through it many times, but my most recent playthrough had something different: I did it entirely on Linux (Kubuntu 20.04 LTS).

The view from the Old Monastery.

I recently wrote about how Warcraft 3 runs (almost) flawlessly on Linux. In this article I’ll give Painkiller a similar treatment.

Installing Painkiller

All along, I’ve been using the Painkiller Black Edition from GOG.com, which has a Windows-only installer of close to 4GB that you can download after purchasing the game.

Downloading the Painkiller installer from GOG.com.

Once downloaded, we can install the game by opening a terminal, navigating to the directory where it downloaded, and running the installer with WINE, as I’ve shown many times before in previous articles (note that that’s a single filename… the spaces should actually be underscores):

cd Downloads
wine setup_painkiller_black_1.64_lang_update_\(24538\).exe

This brings up the GOG installer for Painkiller, so you select the installation language, tick the box accepting the EULA, and optionally choose the folder to install to.

The GOG installer for Painkiller.

Click the Install button to begin the installation, and the installer runs into a snag towards the end:

This problem has happened to me with several GOG games before, and each time, I thought all was lost. So it was to my great surprise that, when I clicked the Launch button after closing the error, the game ran perfectly fine anyway.

I was able to play through the entire game without problems, so if you get this error while installing Painkiller (or another GOG game) with WINE, just ignore it and try playing anyway. Chances are it will be fine.

Playing the Game

You can run Painkiller by double-clicking the handy desktop icon it sets up for you. At that point, all that’s left is to enjoy the action and stunning visuals.