'Madworld' encourages players to creatively kill
The brutality and violence of the game breeds comedy, not shock value.
Mar. 16, 2009
Let's weed out the adults from the children before we even get started here. If you find the idea of shoving sign posts through peoples' heads and then tossing them into meat grinders in a video game offensive, please stop reading now, as trying to convince you of this game's quality is a lost cause.
If not, then read on.
Yes, games don't get much more violent than "MadWorld," but the brutality creates a comedic effect, not shock value. Knowing some of these guys were responsible for creating "Okami," a peaceful and serene game that advocates finding beauty in life, helps put the gore into context. Contrary to most viewers' gut reactions, this game was not the brainchild of homicidal maniacs.
Describing the violence as comical also pertains to the game's visual style that replicates viewing the panels of a comic book. Aside from the buckets of bright red blood you'll be spilling, everything is either black or white with no shades of gray in between. Your eyes will spend a few minutes adjusting, but I ultimately found it a creative, ballsy and smart stylistic choice.
In "MadWorld," not all kills are created equal. You could instantly vivisect a guy with your trusty chainsaw and be done with it, but to speed along the process of amassing points, you'll have to be way more creative. Try shoving a candelabrum through the guy's jaw, slicing off both of his arms, wrapping a flat tire around his body and finally impaling him on a bed of spikes. "MadWorld" definitely encourages you to go overkill, making each notch on your kill count that much sweeter.
I'm a fan of the non-linear arena approach to the levels. Instead of trying to reach the end, slaughtering enemies (the game's biggest strength) was always my chief concern. Plus, the immediate reward for killing dudes is always a new way to kill dudes, so the action never grew tiresome or monotonous. The only things that grew tiresome were my forearms from the incessant controller shaking.
Most of the enemies don't pose a threat to main character Jack; in fact, they'll follow him around wherever he goes, as if to say "No, seriously. Please kill us." Combined with the inclusion of healing items and extra lives, players can blow through "MadWorld" in a relatively short amount of time. I was more than happy to re-play the older stages on the harder difficulty, but I also didn't want the ride to end so quickly.
Creating truly entertaining boss fights these days is a tall order. Bosses are the byproduct of the old-school gaming era. These bosses fit right in with the game's inherent old-school nature. Most of gamers' pet peeves with boss fights (aiming for weak spots, memorizing attack patterns, invincibility frames, etc.) thankfully don't appear here. A unique final blow also punctuates each fight that players won't soon forget.
All of the exaggerated death animations and blood effects are great, but the running commentary drives home the point that "MadWorld" doesn't take itself too seriously. These two guys comment on every little thing Jack does, usually while ribbing each other and finding a way to turn what the last guy said into a sex joke. Juvenile? Maybe. Hysterical? Absolutely.
"MadWorld" is the game I wanted "Dead Rising" to be. Instead of putting brain-dead enemies in the way of your goals and placing restrictions on your zombie-killing fun, eviscerating scores of baddies in the most absurd ways imaginable is the entire point of "MadWorld." Dear Wii developers: more of this, please.