I will try to keep this specific to this game and not go into the general state of gaming (as that is another whole article for another day) suffice to say that those of you lamenting the current state of gaming really have nobody to blame but yourselves.
I have never been one to buy into the bullshit criticism of “There are not enough mature games on the Wii” as I am more concerned about there being good games available on the various platforms rather than types or genres of games, but scan through any gaming forum and taking out the dipshit 8-15 year olds and their asinine comments, you will still find a somewhat valid criticism that there are not enough games on the Wii catering to adult gamers specifically.
I say somewhat because looking at violence/gore standard for the Wii, 2009 saw the release of Madworld, House of the Dead: Overkill (a take on the grindhouse style of cinema from the 70’s - which holds the record for the most amount of swearing in a videogame), Dead Space: Extraction, and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, and three of those games are on-rails shooters.
So along comes Madworld, something totally different and unique, and most people overlook it. Well no more.
Madworld is a great game. A most distinctive visual style, tight controls, juicy sound effects, and best of all, horrific and gory violence woven amongst a damn fine and intriguing story, something generally completely foreign from these types of games that usually end up using the violence as a substitute for story and gameplay.
A group of terrorists known as "The Organizers" take over Varrigan City, releasing a virus and claiming that any person who kills someone will be given an antidote thus setting the stage for the Death Watch games, a Running Man style game show where contestants fight to kill and maim each other, one eventually being declared Death Watch Champion, that happens every few years.
You take on the role of Jack, who appears to be working with officials to rescue the Mayor’s daughter. You gain a sponsor who organizes the betting on your good self and off you go but as the game progresses, it is revealed that Jack has his own agenda for being there, as does your sponsor, and indeed even the whole set up and purpose of these particular Death Watch games is different to what has traditionally been the case.
Backstabbing, secret societies, and government conspiracies all get included and in quite a satisfying way.
The most noticeable feature of the game is the Sin City inspired, black and white style graphics. At first I was sceptical about it, thinking it was just a gimmick at best, at worst would make the game almost unplayable as characters and items blend into the background. Thankfully this is not the case and it totally suits the over-the-top, out there nature of the game. In fact I just can’t picture the game keeping its utterly unique character were it in full colour. Plus, it makes the red blood stand out a whole heap more. And there is a whole lot of red being splashed around.
To progress through the levels you need to earn set amounts of points and these points are awarded for killing opponents. While you could just use the chainsaw on your arm to cut right through them, you will not earn a whole of points per kill, and thus will need to kill a whole heap to progress. The way to earn big points is to get creative with your kills, such as slamming a tire over someone, sticking a few poles through them, then throwing them in a dumpster or onto a spiked wall. There are numerous environmental items that can be used to score points, and if you choose to soften an opponent up first, you can finish them off with a special finisher move, a compilation of which is below:
Throughout the levels you will also unlock minigames called Bloodbath Challenges. These involve you requiring doing things like smash guys into a giant dartboard with a spiked bat, hitting someone’s head off their neck through floating rings with a golf club, throwing them into a jet engine or in front of a train etc. The more you do in the time limit, the more points you score. All these Bloodbath Challenges are introduced by the highly amusing Black Baron and his lovely assistant, Mathilda.
And of course, in keeping with the whole insanity of the game, the collection of bosses you encounter are a wild and crazy bunch. There is a Nazi with tornado fans instead of arms, a robot, a giant Sumo wrestler that occasionally attacks you by throwing a helicopter out of the sky at you, a werewolf, Frankenstein’s monster, a cowboy with ice skates, and everyone’s favourite boss, the vampire Elise:
While most bosses can be defeated with standard attacks, the way to do big damage is to enter and win power struggles with them. Power struggles involve shaking the remote and nunchuck and/or moving them in the direction indicated on screen. Do this successfully and you will take a huge chunk of health off the boss.
Doing prescribed movements could have been fraught with danger and utterly ruined the gameplay experience but thankfully the controls are smooth and responsive and the game will correctly interpret your movements. While most critical during power struggles, the controls are just as tight throughout the rest of the game meaning that you do not have to fight the controls as well as your opponents.
So we have a distinct visual style, excellent controls, an intriguing story, over the top violence, lots of blood, and great bosses, but the standout for me is the commentary of Jack’s exploits. Sports announcer Howard “Buckshot” Holmes, voiced by Greg Proops (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and former Death Watch contestant Kreese Kreeley voiced by John DiMaggio (Futurama’s Bender the Robot) provide utterly hilarious commentary throughout the Death Watch games. Rude, crude, and utterly piss funny, part of the reason I kept going back to the game was to see what other insights they had into life, death, and Death Watch:
It is not a perfect game. It can be rolled through pretty quickly (on Normal mode anyway – Hard mode is an altogether different story that will have swearing in frustration) and more than once while jamming multiple road signs through an opponent I would turn away to pick up another sign then turn back only to have had my victim apparently disappear into thin air, requiring me to turn around and back again a few times until he reappeared. But those are minor problems/glitches in what is otherwise an original, highly amusing game, and the thread of manic insanity running through this entire creation makes for a thoroughly entertaining experience.
For those of you bitching about the lack of mature gaming experiences on the Wii,
go out and buy a copy and support the companies that are giving you what you are
claiming you want.
And yes, a wonderful bonus of this game is the numerous new ideas it has given me to try on leftists