MadWorld

The Wii has earned itself a reputation as being a "kiddie console" thanks to its cutesy design and its library of family friendly titles.

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Sega MadWorld
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  • Sega MadWorld

Pros

  • An amazing take on the beat 'em up genre, hundreds of ways to butcher enemies, awesome boss battles

Cons

  • Two-player mode feels cheap and tacked on, play-by-play commentary gets old, motorcycle levels are clunky

Bottom Line

When Pat first booted up MadWorld, the ensuing screams of chainsaw mayhem brought editors and staff members a-running from every corner of the building. Every single person in the office crammed into the test cube to watch the bloody spectacle and holy hell were we impressed. Dark, brutal and hilarious in just the right way, MadWorld is a title that has rocketed to the top of every staff member's must buy list. Don't let the fact that it's on a "kiddie console" fool you-this is one title every "hardcore" gamer needs to play, provided you're over eighteen years old, of course. Is it any wonder that it earned GamePro's coveted Game of the Month award in our May issue?

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The Wii has earned itself a reputation as being a "kiddie console" thanks to its cutesy design and its library of family friendly titles. Gamers have lamented the lack of "hardcore" titles ever since the console debuted--well, their prayers have been answered with the release of MadWorld. But don't think for a moment that it's just a mindless gore-fest: MadWorld has the brains to go with the brawn. So read on for our review of this amazing title and take note because today is the day that the Wii stops being just a "kiddie console" and becomes a legitimate player in the "hardcore" gaming market.

Nintendo's little white console sometimes gets a bad rap, usually by elitist game snobs who think anything that's not Call of Duty is beneath them. They label the Wii as being something only babies, grandparents, and the rest of the "casual gaming" lot can enjoy. MadWorld disembowels this small-minded Wii stereotype with its jaw dropping level of brutal violence that rivals just about everything out there from God of War to Manhunt. Its relentlessly gruesome nature and hardboiled Sin City-visuals makes it a game that perfectly fits the "mature" niche that the Wii has sorely been missing. Granted, the gore in MadWorld is presented in an over-the-top graphic novel way, but it's still quite shocking.

Don't get me wrong though -- MadWorld is more than just one of the bloodiest games ever made. It's a must-play action game that breathes new life into the festering Streets of Rage-style beat 'em up genre and has the potential to be this generation's Mortal Kombat. It definitely flies in the face of the Wii's family oriented vibe but it's a title that "hardcore" gamers should definitely embrace.

Nintendo Chainsaw Massacre

It's a rare occurrence that I'll play though a video game in its entirety and be anxious for those damn end credits to finish rolling so I can immediately jump back into the game. Being a game editor eliminates such luxuries as having the time to complete a game more than once, but with MadWorld I had a tough time ripping myself away from the black and white bloodbath on the TV.

I'm not exaggerating in the slightest bit when I say that my experience with playing MadWorld was not unlike playing the original Mortal Kombat for the first time: I was both shocked by the gruesome violence but I was also thoroughly sucked in. If you're someone who likes to have options when deciding how to kill enemies, you're going to enjoy MadWorld in a big way as the game even goes as far as encouraging creative mutilation. The chainsaw affixed to your hand in the game is only a fraction of the tools you can use to tear enemies to bits.

Improvising when causing bodily harm to enemies earns you points. You do this by stringing together a variety of torturous attacks. For example, you can sock an enemy in the face, then push a road sign through his skull, slam a garbage can on top of him, and finally turn him into ground beef by throwing him into a jet engine turbine. This is just one of hundreds of combinations you can complete when ripping enemies limb from limb.

The Running Madman

A lot of people have compared MadWorld to another carnage-rich Wii game, No More Heroes. I've played both games extensively, and I think MadWorld did a number of things better than NMH, which suffered from repetitive gameplay and sound effects that grate on your nerves. I'll admit that when I initially booted up MadWorld, I was impressed by both its art style and its viciousness, but I was also fearful that it would bombard me with mind-numbingly repetitive enemy encounters, something NMH was guilty of. Boy was I wrong.

One of the reasons MadWorld works so well as a reinvention of the old school beat 'em up genre previously ruled by games likeStreets of Rage and Double Dragon, is in the way all of its levels are structured. The immense murderscapes are designed like set pieces from Arnold Schwarzenegger's classic, The Running Man: they consist of the actual level itself where you're competing in a murderous game show, a bonus round, and a boss fight.

Disneyland for Gore Fans

MadWorld's levels start out with you putting hundreds of lower level enemies through the grinder, doing everything from snapping their necks, skewering them on spikes, and using your chainsaw to savagely cut out their beating hearts. After you've taken apart a sufficient number of adversaries, new melee weapons spawn around the level like baseball bats with nails embedded in them and flaming torches; you then use these implements of mayhem to demolish more foes. Roughly halfway through each level a mini-game is also triggered. These ridiculous challenges have you doing things like using a golf club to decapitate enemies and using foes as human fireworks that explode into red splatters that litter the floor with body parts.

All the levels in the game conclude with a boss fight, which are themed according to the particular city you're fighting in. For instance, in the horror-themed city you face bosses such as semi-nude vampire with massive breasts as well as a goliath-sized opponent named Frank who resembles a certain iconic Universal Monster. There's also a sumo wrestler boss, a Helghast-look-alike who emits tornados, and several other memorable foes you'll clash with. My reason for focusing so much on the ways levels are structured is because its multi-faced nature is what make the game such a blast to play. There's a lot going on within a single level

Not All Fun and Games

While I'm convinced that MadWorld, from beginning to end, is one of the best games you can get your hands on for the Wii, there are a few things I didn't like about the game. My biggest beef is with the game's flimsy multiplayer support. Instead of offering a cooperative campaign, which would have made the game infinitely better, you can play the game's bonus rounds with a second player. The multiplayer mode as a whole seems thrown in there just so they can state that the game does have multiplayer support of some sort. As the saying goes, something is better than nothing, but that's not so true in MadWorld's case. Honestly, they shouldn't have even bothered putting this last-minute two-player mode in the game.

Another nitpick I have is the fact that the play-by-play commentators in the game, voiced by Greg Proops (from Whose Line is it Anyway) and John DiMaggio (Marcus Fenix from Gears of War), constantly repeat themselves to the point where it becomes distracting. There were times when I heard the announcers say the exact same thing six or seven times within the same level. It's not that the commentator's raunchy jokes aren't funny -- it's just that the humor just loses its effect after you hear the same thing over and over again.

The Wii Grows Up

Despite these minor issues, MadWorld is without a doubt one of the most stylishly cool game's I've played in years. It's artistic but insanely brutal at the same time and a hell of a lot of fun. Come this March, Wii owners are definitely going to want to pick up this gory treat. The rest of you haters who've picked on the Wii since its release will just have to drool and be jealous.

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