By Sarumarine 1 Comments
In my continuing mission to write about a game I've played recently comes MadWorld for the Wii. I've been writing a lot about Wii games, mostly because it's pretty easy to find decent games for a low price on that console. Today we'll take a look at a stylized black and white game that specializes in style and violence... and not much else.
MadWorld (Have Chainsaw, Will Slaughter: The Game) I like MadWorld, but it definitely has some problems. There's a lot of little issues that come together over the course of the game that really bring the experience down. Most of this can be defined by one word: repetitive. I like the setting of an over the top reality TV show that markets death as entertainment like the world has come full circle back to the Roman Gladiator games. The presentation hits some great beats with a handful of stereotypical characters you'd expect from a bad television show. And if reality TV is about watching ugly people do uninteresting things, MadWorld has taken it to the extreme of watching ugly people kill each other. A subtle example with the expectations of the audience can be found in the points rankings for killing. Chainsawing a man in half (as extreme as that sounds) is considered "Routine Violence." Routine. Standards are tough.
Most of the things I like about this game have nothing to do with playing it. Gameplay wise, MadWorld spreads itself pretty thin and variety dries up quickly. But I'll get to that later.
To start on a high note, my favorite part about the game is the two Deathwatch combat commentators Howard Holmes and Kreese Kreely. They talk about all the mayhem you cause while playing as Jack, and what makes them so great is that they have Greg Proops (Whose Line is it Anyway?) and John DiMaggio (Bender from Futurama, Marcus from Gears of War) providing the voices for the two chatterboxes.
They make a team that is a joy to listen to. Both of them turn in some great performances and play off of each other well. In accordance to the theme of MadWorld their characters are complete dirtbags- but they're entertaining dirtbags. Best of all, you never see them in game so you can foster the mental picture of Bender and Greg Proops talking with each other. HOWEVER: Repetition, the major problem with this game, hurts these guys in the long run. Since there is no programmed limit to their commentary, they will often say the same thing over and over again as you slam soda bottles in a guy's mouth, or throw dudes into a circular saw, or do anything that involves killing. What starts out funny the first time will quickly die as they tell the same joke about Mad Juice for the hundredth time. Still, to hear Greg Proops and John DiMaggio work together is very cool.
Surprisingly enough, I really enjoyed the soundtrack to MadWorld. I'm no connoisseur of rap or hip-hop, but the posturing and boasting usually associated with hardcore rap works well with the all the shit going down in each level. They do some cool stuff like a guy rapping to Japanese instruments, your basic rap-rock fusion, and fun with trumpets and other brass. Most of my favorites are the stage themes, but the boss battles are also pretty good. I imagine most of these are guilty pleasures as I'm pretty sure people who listen to rap regularly probably won't be impressed. Even still, I listed some of my favorites below if you're really interested.
It's a Mad World
HOWEVER: Each song only has two verses and they're kinda short. It's obvious they were designed to loop over and over again (fitting with the repetitious theme). It's kind of a bummer they aren't proper songs like something you'd find in No More Heroes. And that has some amazing music.
The gameplay is hardest hit with the lack of variety. The entire game can be summed up by one basic murder combo and a few unique execution set pieces. The flat tire + signpost + rosebush combo will be burned into your brain by the time you finish the game. Most of the joy of moving on to a new level involves finding the new environmental weapon that you can jam a guys face into and the Bloodbath Challenge mini-games. Now, the mini-games are pretty good. They usually involve timed challenges where you throw men into speeding trains, a gigantic jet turbine, turn people's heads into a golf ball with a golf club, and more. But even this runs out before the final area and you'll start revisiting challenges you've played before. Not even the good ones either.
It's also damn unfortunate that movement controls are worked into basic moves like dodging and throwing an uppercut. The game is insanely picky about what qualifies as a vertical motion and a horizontal motion. Most of the time I want to do a backhand (horizontal motion) I do an uppercut. This is especially bad on a few quick time events during boss battles. Jude the Dude and The Shamans are a standout. Both of them require vertical and horizontal movement that the game will inevitably fail because it can't tell the difference. It requires pretty damn deliberate movement that is hard to pull off when you're busy fighting for your life. Luckily, MadWorld isn't so technical that it makes ore breaks the game. It's just fucking annoying.
And the... What the Fuck?
If you don't know about this guy, all these cutscenes will tell you everything you need to know about The Black Baron. In game, he's the host of Deathwatch and introduces all the Bloodbath Challenges with the help of his woman, Mathilda. And as you've probably noticed, he's a stereotype of a black pimp with enough slang to choke an English professor. ...yeah.
But... he's so blatantly offensive that I don't know how anyone could possibly take him seriously. Every time he shows up and opens his mouth he's quickly killed in a variety of ways. The game goes the extra mile to kill him over and over again. If that's not enough, he's also the final boss so you can beat him up once and for all. They take this stereotype and destroy him again and again until there's nothing left. And if to make matters worse (better? more complicated?) the announcers suggest he's actually a white guy in black face.
If anything, the Black Baron is too absurd for his own good. He does work for the purpose of cementing a TV show so terrible that the people who take part it in are indifferent to everything, everyone, and even themselves. It will be really interesting when Anarchy Reigns comes out and the Black Baron makes another appearance.