Get ready to literally paint the town red with Madworld for the Wii, brought to you by Sega. Madworld has a total regard for violence, offensive language, and complete mayhem--but that's what you want in a video game, right? Sega has never been afraid to unleash uniqueness to gamers, and with Madworld, the tradition continues; Sega shows us that the Wii doesn't have to be a kids' machine, a family entertainment box, or something you need to play with others all time. Madworld teaches us that it's perfectly fine to sit alone in your living room killing virtual bad guys, rescuing scantily clad Geisha girls, and watching a Pimp strut his stuff.
In the middle of the game's mayhem is Jack Cayman: a big brute who knows only how to kill. He is brought to Varrigan City, an island which has been overtaken by terrorists and that is without roads or communication to the rest of the surrounding city. The terrorists have released a toxic gas over the island and have informed the citizens that they are now in "a game for the survival of the fittest." All they have to do is kill or be killed, which is the theme in the in-game TV show, DeathWatch. With thousands of cameras stationed around the city, every movement is monitored and each death recorded.
Jack is thrown into the mix with a sponsor, Agent XIII (voiced by Jim Ward), in high spirits. Agent XIII hopes to make a lot of money off Jack, who's only instructions are to follow Agent XIII's orders and to kill as many people as he can in the most creative ways he can. Soon, though, you learn that Jack is there on other pretenses and isn't just fighting for his sponsor and money.
The storyline may seem tame to some, but it's the gameplay that will shirk that thought, within seconds of starting the game. You progress through levels in linerally. Sometimes you have to perform certain tasks within a time limit or reach certain areas to activate special games. In all the levels, however, you must obtain points, which unlock weapons, bosses, and Bloodbath Challenges in a tiered system. For instance, when you get 70,000 points, you can get the Double Blades; then at 125,000 you will unlock the Bloodbath Challenge; and finally, at 2,500,000 the level boss is available.
And guess how you will get points: That's right, by taking lives. Jack has a chainsaw cybernetically installed on one arm, which is one of your main ways to kill. During the game, other weapons become available, but you will always have your trusty chainsaw to use by swinging the remote. Unfortunately, it does have a limited life and needs to be recharged, but it's nothing that will hinder your violent side. If you get bored of slicing and cutting and punching, then there are other ways to dispatch opponents: You can impale street signs into people; subdue guys by roping them in tires; or toss them into something called a Rose Bush, which is basically a wall of spikes that you can jam an opponent onto over and over again. Rose bushes appear on buildings, fences, and even on the side of buses. For more points, you can combine attacks to get higher audience approval. No matter how you kill, the more creative and more violent you are, the more points you receive.
Since the bosses need what seems like an impossible amount of points, each level has Bloodbath Challenges. These are mini-games within the levels that can net you a healthy score. These are just as brutal as the main gameplay and will definitely elicit a chuckle or two. One of the first games you'll play is "Man-Darts"--and yes, it's as much fun as it sounds. With a baseball bat, your goal is to hit bad guys onto a building-sized dartboard. Another game is called the "Death Press." With the Death Press, you must throw as many opponents underneath a heavy slab so they can be smashed. The more you throw in at once, the bigger the combo and the more points you'll score; also, the more blood that splashes in the room...if you like that sort of thing.
Eventually, you'll unlock the boss fight. Each level has a specially ranked boss that you must defeat in order to move on. Sadly, the bosses' weaknesses are easy to figure out. You can either win by fighting them like all the other bad guys--which takes longer--or you can trigger an event phase. At some point, when the boss attacks, you have a split second to counter. A picture of the remote pops on the screen indicating the movement you need to react. The fight is controlled a little bit by the game, where your only objective is to pay attention to which actions you have to initiate. Eventually, once you beat the boss, you take his or her spot in the rankings.
The gameplay is nothing without the unique graphics Madworld sports. The game is entirely black and white except for the red that dots and smears the screen and gameworld when you slay a person. Despite the simplicity, the graphics are sleek and stylistic. Characters still have good detail and the backgrounds offer nice 3D environments to explore. The one downside to having no color is in some instances areas blend together: buildings have no separation; floating items (health, weapons) are camouflaged against the floor; and edges of buildings tend to be hard to find at times.
Blending issues aside, When you're between mass killings, you can enjoy a television style presentation. Level introductions, Bloodbath Challenge instructions, and conversations with terrorists and Agent XIII are all portrayed as if you were watching an episode of American Gladiators or an old game from the XFL.
Finally, if you try to turn your eyes away from the constant blood and brutality, the music and announcers bring you back for more. A great combination of hip-hop and heavy metal provide good enhancements to the gameplay. Another treat are the two announcers, whom you may recognize from their voices alone: Jim David Greg Proops. Both have worked on animated films before, and their chemistry is natural in the game. Wii owners with young ones should be warned--if the bloodbaths alone weren't enough for the rating--however, since their language is coarse and littered with F-bombs.
After creating mass graves in single-player mode, you have the ability to move on to light multiplayer action. The most disappointing element of Madworld is that with huge potential for online or four-player action, multiplayer is near non-existent. Basically, you and another player can load up a mini-game to see who can rack up the more points by killing the most amount of enemies.
THOMPSON'S TWO CENTS
Even with the pathetic multiplayer, Madworld shines in almost everything else. Slick graphics, unending brutality, and a decent storyline keep you going for more kills and getting to that number one ranking. Madworld is very deserving of the Mature rating, but there's more to this game than the violence. No wait, violence is the game.