Madworld Review (Wii)

By Zott820Zott820


I rented this game. I have the tendency to do this when I hear games have a playtime of about 4 hours. I figure, if I can complete it within the 5 days I have it, with minimal investment, maybe an hour a day, must I really shell out the full 60 bucks, possibly 7 hours of work for that same amount playing? I think not. All this is beside the point, for now, I get to the review.

I beat the game once through on the normal difficulty. Took about 5 hours.

Story: You are Jack, you like to kill people. The End. There may also be some lingering voices telling you about honor and meaning in one ear, and duty and policy in the other, but these only get in the way of what this game is about. Killing, the announcers do a better job at narrating, but then, that’s what they are there for. Besides the one word answers, in Madworld you are killing people and participating in the game Death Watch, to figure out the location of the Mayor’s daughter and uncover the meaning behind the basterdized killing game.

The story isn’t super deep, and I mainly didn’t skip the cutscenes to get the full picture. On the other hand, I used the cutscenes as downtime, because most of the game is the same, outside of the narrative.

Graphics: Popping the game into my Wii, I clicked the start button on the Disk Channel and waited to be engulfed into pure blood and sweat. But wait…where’s the image? NO progressive scan?! Blasphemy, instant F, return to sender. The game is not worth playing.

After calming down, I hooked up the Wii to a regular CRT television, and got back to work. Still, this is the HD generation. I’m fine with people not supporting progressive in the GameCube era, though some great developers did, but how could you release a game on the Wii without progressive scan, it boggles the mind. I know there won’t be a super increase in quality, but my computer monitors, don’t support interlaced footage. I hardly thought I’d have to worry about this, but alas, I guess I did. Not sure why they didn’t include it, would there really have been that big of a slowdown in the game if it had been put in? I’m sure it could have been done, so consider me disappointed.

Now as for the actual graphics; Fantastic. I thought that black and white would never work. Well it did, I rarely found myself grumbling over the images being hard to see. A note on the developer’s blog reveals it isn’t all black and white; they used a method of yellow and increasing contrasts to improve visibility. I noticed it wasn’t pure white and black, but didn’t know how they were pulling off the visibility, now you know. In fact, it may have improved my eyesight, and visually acuity, simply by having to pick out the geometric shapes among the limited palette.


For a Wii game, the model details are quite good. For example, one enemy has a giant drill in which you can make out little gears on the motor, and all sorts of little intricacies.

The game suffers from slowdowns when there are a lot of enemies being crushed/ destroyed at once, but generally the framerate is good enough. One minor quirk I found is whenever you used a special kill, such as a catapult, all other enemies, except the one you are launching would disappear. This is good, because other enemies don’t block your view of the action, though at the same time, slightly disconnecting, having them disappear, then reappear.

Another gripe is the repetitious animations. For one example a boss pulls a helicopter out of the sky and tries to smash you with it. Once it was VERY cool, the 7th time, not so much. For boss power struggles you are sometimes found doing the same move 3 times to take down a boss. Not all bosses are like this, some you decapitate them in different ways (It wouldn’t make sense to take the same arm off, now would it?) but the majority do have reoccurring animations, which are a downer.


Enemies: Most of the time, they minded their own business. They hardly attacked, besides the boss characters, and on the normal setting could be dispatched with little effort. Though, you’d want to put SOME effort into it, you are on TV for a reason, and entertainment is your premiere objective.

There are varying types of enemies though. There is the usual common enemy, not worth mentioning. There tends to be a more supped up version, carrying a weapon, they can prove a problem, as they will attack, and can interrupt you when dealing with the usual garbage. Examples are the scissor guys on the Dungeon level, not only did they remind me of Clock Tower, but they were a slight pain on my abdomen.

Neat additions are the themed areas, where the enemies change with the areas. IE, on the Japanese themed levels there are Ninjas, while on the horror levels zombies occupy the spaces. Later on in a space level you get Martians and Space Troopers. These minions come equipped for their areas as well. The ninjas get their swords, and the Space troopers receive shields. Zombies come back to life if not handled fully.

Each of the enemy types is attracted to a certain object. Thugs like money, zombies like raw meat, and wait for it, ninjas hate pirates. Yes the pirate hat, internet meme for the win.


Besides the grunts, there are also minibosses. None of them are super challenging on the normal setting, though they will not wait for you to bother with the grunt enemies, they demand immediate attention. Some varieties include a hedgehog rolling enemy, a double chainsaw wielding foe, and a driller maniac. Of them, the driller guy is the worst, because he takes lot of damage, and then runs away, only to reappear and tackle you again. One more miniboss character appears on the level with the Ninjas, but he was taken out with 2 spear hits, so it could hardly be called a miniboss.

After slaying away at work, you come home expecting to relax, well not in Death Watch. After earning enough points, you make your way to the boss chamber, where a cancerous being awaits your presence. The majority of the time the arena bosses are challenging, even on normal. You may have to use a life to get through it. On that note, you have a certain amount of lives starting you. On normal you start with 2, and on Hard you get none off the bat. Dying lets you use a life and start where you failed. This means if the boss kills you and is down to ½ hp, he’ll still be at that much health when you are resurrected. A very useful feature; I’m glad they put this in; it made my life on bosses much less hell.

In terms of boss strategy: dodge, and attack. Do not get greedy with the attacking. For most bosses, you must attack, dodge, and then attack. Don’t try and get two or three in or else you’ll be doing an attack when the boss starts attacking, and take damage. This strategic assault will mean fewer lives spent, definitely required when you tackle hard mode and have none to back you up. Also, I never figured out what was the best weapon, punching does quick little damage, while the chainsaw takes a big chunk of health change, but is slower. I prefer the chainsaw, but I’m sure punching is good against the slower enemies.

Performing the proper waggle at the precise moment during a boss fight initiates a power struggle. Here you do some more Wii mote shaking and if you do it enough, you seriously weaken the boss, or take out a lot of health.

Ways to kill: Being the main function of the game, you have to have new and interesting ways to kill people or else the game would get boring fast. (True, it does get sort of mundane after a while, but these help offset that.) Starting off with the basics, Jack has a chainsaw arm, and fists of steel (well, at least one). You can beat down enemies with these simple destructive instruments or you can SUPERCHARGE your gaming experience. The chainsaw, assuming a direct hit, will usually kill in one hit. This is not what you want. Unless you are surrounded, and about to take damage, you should be conserving your foes. Not because you want them to live, oh no, you want them to die in the most gruesome way possible.

Here we have the finishers; there are B finishers, which utilize the chainsaw, and A finishers, in which you use your fists. Either is good. To be honest, I rarely used either. Environmental kills were my thing.

Now, when I first read online that you would be able to kill your enemies with countless weapons, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, there are not countless weapons, much to my disappointment, but they do a good job. Frankly, I guess anything could be a killing instrument if you fling them into it, but then it may just act like a wall.


I’ll start on the handheld weapons. Each level has about 1-2 of these. Generally it is either a club or the dual knives. I disliked both, the club was slow, and the knives didn’t seem to deal a strong blow, though they certainly decapitated the fodder’s limbs with ease. These bored me. Luckily, and unfortunately, there were level specific items. I give you an example of one of my favs, the spear. Not only can you stab, you can stack up to 4 peons on the end of the spear, and watch as they helpelessly shake about. If this wasn’t what this game was made for, I don’t know what is. Madworld’s engine won’t spawn any more enemies or let you continue till you clear out a certain number, so you can’t really get more than 4 on the spear, still it was entertaining. Though, the spear only appears in one place, on the Japanese level. Same for another cool weapon, the golf club. Thus, while there are more than two basic weapons, a few are relegated to only special maps. I would have liked to see these weapons appear all over. Can’t I fry spacemen with a torch? Can’t I zap ninjas with the magnetic gun? Why is the boring rocket launcher only available for a boss battle?

These things annoyed me. If you wanted me to kill everyone, why not give me the tools I want. How about, after beating a level with a cool level-specific item, the game lets me find that same weapon on an earlier/later stages?

Poles, barrels and rose gardens can be found on every level. You can fit up to 5 poles into someone, as long as you act quickly, but often I had trouble getting the poles together, let alone smashing 5 into someone’s head. Barrels are fun; you can either throw someone in, or throw it onto someone. Some barrels have flames. Dump people into them to fry those suckers, you can even have a clipping pole go into the barrel. You can then take this barrel with carcass and dump it on another guy. Repeat. Then dump it all into a chopping garbage can. One of the many ways to kill in Madworld.

The rose gardens are an annoyance to me. It is a pleasure to throw people onto the thorns, but holding them as you repeatedly smashed them into the spike was a major annoyance for me. Mainly because you couldn’t stop at just one smash, you had to go all 3, and finish the job. Not only that, but since it is the same animation, it gets old quickly. If the developers had added a timeout time for the canceling of the rose thorn smashes, I’d be happy being able to cancel at 1, but seeing all 3, over and over gets boring.


On a side note, being able to throw the enemies into things is a major plus in my book. Not just into grinders, another citizen of death, or 747 engines but into barrels and onto spikes too. A major convenience, I’m glad the developers put this in. It makes traveling time so much shorter, and better yet, you can even push other enemies into the spikes when throwing. Now that’sa spicy combo.

Well, besides the equip-able weapons you can also kill people using the environment. Generally, I found this to be slightly more satisfying. Whether you are holding someone over a saw blade or catapulting a zombie into the moon, there are ways to die. One fun extreme is the slice and dice bar assistant. Throw them in, and order up. Another similar, but no less fun, is throwing enemies into an open flame. (I think it is some kind of deep fryer) and watching them sizzle, then picking up their sizzled bodies and throwing them around. Havok physics help complete the picture.

Let me just say, while there aren’t lots of equip-able items, there are certainly lots of fun ways to kill the enemies.

Black Baron and the Bloodbath Challenges: This fine potty mouth deserves a section of his own. Let me just say, reputably that he his the best character in the game, and a reason to keep playing. Like the GLaDOS commentary in Portal, the challenges are the draw that keep you playing the first time through (The killing I guess keeps you there afterwards).

For those that don’t know, The Black Baron, stop staring, is a pimpin' pimp, whom appears for the Bloodbath Challenges. He gives a little lecture about his awesomeness, the awesomeness of his game, and swears so many times the censor had the work overtime. Let’s just say one part had him saying Mutha*kers like 6 times in one sentence. Rude and I enjoyed it.

After his spiel, his sexy assistant kills Black Baron in his own Bloodbath Challenge. I applaud the developers for this reoccurring gag. For one, you learn how to play the game by example, and not with a boring tutorial either. Two, it makes the Black Baron seem much cooler, reappearing each time, laughing in the face of death. You never really know if he actually exists, or what he is. (Until later, *wink wink*)


The Bloodbath challenges are the second greatest part of Madworld besides Black Baron himself. They are relatively simple in ideas, kill people a certain way, but their creativity surpasses most other games. IE Moneyshot: Impale enemies on moaning women billboards after shaking bottles of “cola” and smashing them into the enemy’s faces, only to have them rocket off into the distance. Definitely unique. A few of the challenges make multiple appearances, IE the Moneyshot one, and the human dartboard, though the developers change enough, whether by landscape, or the enemies involved, to keep it interesting. My Personal favorite would be the golfing Bloodbath challenge, where you had to smash enemy heads through goals. The game even told you the distance the head traveled. FORE! Little details like this, made the mini-games entertaining. Another good one is the fireworks one. How fitting for the 4th of July. Both of these examples however, are unique to particular stages, which is acceptable, unlike the equip-able weapons.

Control: The developers had a nice balance between need and want. In this way, you DO have to shake the Wii mote, but you don’t have to shake it very precisely. Thus you can lie back on the couch and play it like an Xbox360 title, except with a motion twist. Shaking the Wii-mote is reserved for special A punches, chainsaw swipes, and onscreen quicktime events. Not too many things thankfully, but enough that I felt they used the system’s capabilities. One problem I had however, is that while shaking the Wii-mote to do a B attack, while holding B, the game might register it as an A special punch, since you don’t have to hold A for the special punches and uppercuts. Thus, I did this on bosses a few times; giving them hardly any damage and my desired effect was not reached. Furthermore, if this happened, and you kept shaking, the game would keep registering A moves even if you were still holding B. You had to stop, wait a moment, then hold B and do the shaking. A little annoying, but not a deal breaker as far as controls go.

A few missions have Jack on a bike. Here, the game was limited. You could either grab people with your left hand, chainsaw them with your right, or land on top of them to kill. I felt a lot more could have been done at these parts, giving Jack more control, perhaps having Mario Kart elements, where Jack could throw things at the other drivers. A missed opportunity.

There is a taunt button, where you flip people off with your giant throbbing chainsaw. Wished that there were more than one taunt, but I hardly used it. If only they had added in a taunt bonus, I’d be doing it a lot more.

Sounds and Music: Sounds were decent; I didn’t find any that I simply screamed at. Sounds coming from the Wii-Mote, while some would claim a gimmick, I saw as a seized opportunity, and it works. Even with the sound muted, I can hear the fine whirl of a 3000 rpm chainsaw cutting through bone.

Now, I’m not a fan of rap or hip-hop, and this game had both. So, some levels ground on me constantly. None of the music is as cacophonic as Sonic Adventure 2’s Knuckle stages thankfully. Not all of the rap was bad, there were a couple that were well garnished with catchy background tunes such as the Asian levels, with their stereotypical Asian instruments and beat. For those catchy tunes, I didn’t mind the lyrics as much, as I could tune them out, and just kick ass with a fun beat.

Here’s an example of one of the better beats.

Whenever I see SEGA on a box I have to be wary of voice acting. Luckily Platinum Games did a good job at choosing appropriate voice actors, both for the cutscenes, and especially for the commentary. Whew, that was a close one. The characters don’t have much to say before they die but the commentators certainly do.

Commentary: Not laugh out loud funny, but the witty and careless remarks do tug at the side of your mouth, and curl that dull face into an evil smile. Greg Proops and John Dimaggio do an amazing job at commentating. I bet there were times they just improved some of it, but I wouldn’t know, they make it all flow and believable. There is commentary for frankly everything in the game, every weapon, and every way you can kill your enemy, they have words. The only other games I see with as much witty dialogue tend to be RTS games for the units.

The problem with the commentary is not what they say, but saying that same thing again, and again. I was expectant of this flaw, though Madworld did throw it in my face earlier than expected. The problem lay with the pickups. Power pills for one. Since you need health so readily, and pills are the way to do this, the commentator must say something, but he only has like 3 things to say. Over the course of the game, you are sick of hearing the same pickup line. The deaths do not repeat as often, since the ways to kill change readily for each level, and the commentary with it. It is just these pickups that are annoying. I frankly don’t care that you turned into a roach for the 12th time, give it a rest! Thus, my words of advice for the future are to put many more lines for pickup items. You’ll have to pay more, but you’ll stave off bleeding ears.


Conclusion: Madworld is a Good game. Not the best game I’ve ever played, but certainly worth playing, if not only for the commentary and Bloodbath Challenges. There are some minor issues, mainly too many reoccurring animations, and sounds. I wish that all weapons were available on every stage, and that driving missions were deeper. Voice acting is especially worthy of mention, and the Black Baron overshadows Jack as the best character in the game. Normal’s grunts are dumb, but bosses prove a challenge, Punchout like dodging and attack patterns. A clean graphical game, though lacking the all important progressive scan. Short but with varying landscapes, enemy types and ways to kill enemies. Rap/hip-hop music is a fitting choice for the game, isn’t TOO distracting. Some small control issues.


Check out that link for an unofficial version of the script. Check it out if you want to see what the commentators are actually saying.

* Pictures from the Madworld Flickr Pictures and from the official wallpaper from Sega.

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