The Wii is a console that is seriously lacking in solid titles for those of us who aren’t targeted in Nintendo’s blue ocean sales plan.
Thankfully, MadWorld, another title published by Sega, is a game that doesn’t require you to stand around and move like a rhythmless child.
Tony Hawk's Pro Murderer, or MadWorld as it is officially known as, has you playing as Jack, an enigmatic tough nut who appears out of nowhere to fight until he is the last man standing in a televised sporting event known as Death Watch.
I make the reference to the Tony Hawk series of games because the games share a lot of similarities. In MadWorld, each level is a large arena in which you aim to rack up a high enough score to unlock new objectives so that you may advance. The difference here is that instead off nose grinding your skateboard, you are grinding the nose off of your opponent using a passing train.
And much like in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, the combo is king.
Tossing someone into a giant metal fan will net you a few points, but no where near as many as you get from trapping a foe inside a tire, impaling their head on a spike, setting them on fire and then tossing them into a giant metal fan.
Each stage has a timer and to progress to each new area, you need to accumulate enough points to attract the level boss. Each zone has temporary events known as bloodbath challenges. These are unique events that have knocking foes into a giant spiked steal press, or using a baseball bat to send dudes flying on to a massive dart board. They add some variety, but ultimately they are more funny than fun.
Visually, the game is rocking a style all of its own, with the Frank Miller inspired monochrome world making much of the violence stylized rather than graphic. It takes a little while to adjust your eyes, as you separate objects from the background and foreground, but once that passes, the lack of colour (other than the red of blood and the attention grabbing yellow) isn’t an issue.
The sound design is solid with the sound effects serving their purpose. The real star though is the soundtrack, which has a hip-hop influenced score and the excellent voice work of by Steven Blum, John DiMaggio and Dwight Schultz who are better known as Spike Spiegel, Marcus Fenix and Murdoch from the A-Team.
The control system is streamlined with use of both the wiimote and nunchuck. Most fights are controlled by the buttons and analogue stick on the controllers, with their motion sensitivity allowing for quick flicks to initiate key moves. Everything works well, with only a few execution moves that require rapid shaking of the controllers feeling awkward.
Short motorbike sections between levels, and an average but entertainingly-told plot help to add some variety and motivation to more forward through what is a very solid title. Like a lot of single-player action games, it can become repetitive once you are used to the combat and combo mechanics, and the humour is used to gloss over this shortcoming. If sweet over-the-top cartoon violence isn’t you thing, then neither is MadWorld.
For everyone else, it is one of the best games on the Wii not to feature Link or Mario.