bill-swift - January 24, 2013
In 2009, the Wii was largely bereft of any notable ‘adult' titles. Its predecessor, the Gamecube, had finally deigned to haul its ass off the couch and take its hand off its dick in this regard; the fruits of which being the Resident Evil series coup (the Nintendo-exclusive prequel Zero, the blink-and-you'll-miss-its-exclusivity fourth iteration, the re-releases). There hadn't been a similar balls-out push towards dudely dude gamers in the Wii's fledgling life.
Until Madworld, perhaps the most inherently mature title the family friendly funsters at Nintendo had ever played host to. How gratifying to see somebody catering to that oft-neglected niche in the market: retro-tacular beat ‘em ups that see you impaling pissed off, lumbering criminals with body odor through the brain with a scavenged street lamp. Plus some light heart-removing (and brandishing, in a manner that resembles a small child with a macabre, blood-leaking Christmas present) capers.
Players assume the role of Jack Cayman, a competitor in hideous homicidal gameshow ‘DeathWatch.' He has, unfathomably, a chainsaw arm (in a recent poll we conducted outside Egotastic HQ, entitled: What's the least practical goddamn thing you could ever have grafted onto your arm-stump in the aftermath of an horrific industrial accident? A 'bigass chainsaw' was second only to 'a beaver's bollocks'. But let's not get pernickety), which will prove a great boon in the are those my asscheeks on the floor, bleeding all over the shagpile carpet? Yes, yes they arehijinks to come.
First and foremost, Madworld is an arcade brawler at heart. A linear sequence of sandbox-esque arenas are populated by all manner of miscreants, all of whom look like just the sort of assholes whose personality would be infinitely improved by a good disemboweling. Bonus points are accrued by dispatching them both horrifically and creatively (simultaneously). Incapacitating an assailant by jamming something over their heads, skewering them on one of the game's ‘rose bushes' (a wall of formidable spikes) and a swift decapitation (again simultaneously) is the canny player's method of achieving uber-scoreitude.
As such, it's not a title to indulge in with grandma, when you cruise over to the home to hose her down and change her piss-sodden sheets. Especially not if she's been taking that nerve medicine again.
Among our Ego-favorite franchises, Grand Theft Auto, Dead Space and suchlike, there's ample scope to murder many, many people and/or mutated abominations right in the face. It's unusual, nonetheless, for this to be an objective in itself, as is the case here. We'll concede, a dude with a chainsaw where his goddamn arm should be is unlikely to be the protagonist of something like Virtual Knitting for Old Bastards III: This Time, We're Bitching About Youths That Neglect to Offer Us Their Seats On Public Transportation. He's going to be a renegade badass that was expelled from the Underworld for breaking into the Kitchen of the Damned and shitting in one of Satan's saucepans.
You're damn sure, in summation, what you're getting into.
Lest we forget, also: Madworld is not just excessively violent. It is gleefully, exuberantly excessively violent. Nonetheless, the toontastic Sin City-esque art style renders it a mildly-outrageous Itchy and Scratchy episode. Which is not, we'd venture, cause to shriek in wide-eyed consternation and send your monocle crashing to the floor, a la old English dudes in cartoons.