Red, White & JACK!

12 Mar

MadWorld is No More Heroes meets Jet Set Radio meets Sin City.

bold-mad-world-jackAllow me to explain.

MadWorld‘s gameplay revolves around over-the-top melee combat, much like No More Heroes‘. The most significant difference between the two is NMH‘s reliance upon its Z-targeting system. MadWorld is much more free due to the excellent motion controls.

The same killer blows mapped to swings of the Wiimote and nunchuk are there, but they’re much more common and usually up to you in MadWorld. Of course, the same gratuitous violence is present as well.

When I first started out, there were moments where I literally shouted things like “Oh, man!” at the screen. Some of the executions are so over-the-top that I just couldn’t help it.

Yeah, you can pummel your foes to death or just hack them up with your wrist-mounted chainsaw! (which definitely fills you with this “Take that, chainsaw-Ganado from RE4-vibe), but the real fun is in the executions. When you approach a wounded enemy only to have a “Murder!” icon pop up, you know it’s gonna be good. My favorite so far is when Jack approaches an enemy kneeling in pain to snap him in half by bending him backwards so that his head is below his crotch. It’s brutal.

If violence isn’t your thing, you will hate MadWorld, and if vulgar language isn’t your thing, you will absolutely loathe MadWorld. The two announcers who go back and forth over Jack’s rampage had zero restraint when it comes to offensive language. They discuss everything from oral and anal sex to recreational drug use and domestic violence. F-bombs fly frequently, but if you’re not sensitive to this sort of language, some of it can actually be pretty funny.

MadWorld branches off from NMH in its lack of adventuring between missions. While this takes some of the suspense and drama away from the boss battles, MadWorld does an excellent job with its major enemies. It’s interesting how similar their presentation and even purpose is to the bosses in NMH. They’re both ranked killers participating in a league of murder. There are far more bosses in MadWorld, but that doesn’t take away from their appeal. Many of just as well if not better designed than those of NMH, and the fights themselves are way more fun.

While boss fights in NMH were drawn out affairs where you might occasionally luck into a decent hit, MadWorld‘s bosses feature over-the-top maneuvers requiring quick gesturing with awesome results. If you plan on playing MadWorld do yourself a favor and ignore any videos you come across. You’ll want to be in control of the action when you first witness some of these ridiculous scenes of violence.

Where MadWorld reminds me of Jet Set Radio is in the execution of its levels. I was under the impression that they would be fairly linear, and while a few are, they’re mostly just playgrounds for your serial murdering.

Much like JSR, each level takes place in a themed section of the city where a certain gang of thugs run rampant. Your goal is earn enough points to earn an audience with the level’s boss. Of course, you own those points by killing. The more “creative” the death, the more it’s worth. Basically, you’re encouraged to use objects found throughout the levels such as street signs, tires, garbage cans, jars, barrels, etc. to inflict worlds of pain upon your enemies before sending them to hell via the plethora of death devices lying about.

These range from beds of spikes, affectionately referred to as “Rose Bushes”, to electric chairs. You can hurl an opponent into a spike, or you can get up close and repeatedly ram them into it, each motion requiring a visceral swing of Wiimote of course.

You can get away with weak gestures, but where’s the fun in that. I had a friend play the game for a little while, and he just twitched back and forth for the executions. He only seamed moderately amused by the game. I, on the otherhand, occasionally find my arms aching from swinging so hard.

There was some fear early on that this over-the-top violence would wear off after a while, and I was right, but coming up with high-scoring, creative kills has replaced the shock factor for the major source of fun. I am a bit disappointed with the length of the game (looks like I’m already at the last a area after little more than two hours) and I find myself cursing the map every now and then.

Still, the game feels like a better No More Heroes in so many ways, and that’s a very, vary high compliment.

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