The Nintendo Wii has gotten a lot of flack for its lack of real games, abundance of crappiness, too much family oriented and variety of other statements detailing of the lameness of the system that I can come up with. There's been a resurgence of mature games as of late mainly coming from Sega. As mentioned in my other review, House of the Dead Overkill had so many f-bombs in it that it was placed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most cussing in a game. Madworld has its share of cussing but its focus is on violence. While the violence is extreme and over the top, it still caused concern for those that have given the Wii a moniker of being "family friendly". Hell the Germans are pissed about it and they don't have to go that far back to read up on extreme violence in that country.
Madworld takes place in Varrigan City where a terrorist group known as "The Organizers" who released a virus within the city. The only way to receive the vaccine to the virus is to kill another person. Because of this, the city was transformed into a stage for a game show called "Death Watch". Contestants participate in the game to prove themselves to be the best and win cash for achieving this goal. Jack Cayman is the newest contestant seeking to be number one, but there are those who believe his motives are much more than killing for the sake of attaining the top rank.
In the game, you start off at an introductory area eventually unlock more areas within the city. Each area has a boss that will have to be defeated in order to advance. To reach the boss, you will not only have to kill a bunch of bad guys, but you'll have to achieve a certain score. The scoring system in the game is all based on how violent you get. Kill an enemy through traditional punches and chainsaw will offer minimal points. To achieve the highest score, you'll need to combine attacks making use of weapons that are scattered throughout the levels. These weapons include tires, street signs, and environmental weapons like a wall of spikes or speeding train. An example of this combination is using a tire to stun the enemy, stab a street sign right into the poor guy's skull, and then slamming the bastard repeatedly into a wall full of spikes. Melee weapons are also available that will dispose of multiple enemies within a few hits giving you more points than just defeating them with your fists.
Points really begin to fly when you reach certain parts of the level that feature, what could be described best, as a mini-game...a fucking bloody, ultraviolent mini-game. These games consist of some ridiculous mechanism that does nothing but obliterate a person that comes in contact with. In the first level, you're introduced to a huge airplane engine that will suck in enemies if they get to close. Your goal is to throw as many enemies as possible, hopefully at the same time, to accumulate the highest body count with the time allowed. The next level has possibly the most entertaining, and frustrating version of the game, calling itself "Human Darts". Using a bat, you have to strike the enemies into a giant dartboard receiving points of whatever section on the board they smash up against. As you can see, the brutality knows no bounds.
Controls for Madworld are fairly simple with a lot of variance making great use of the Wii motion controls. It's simple in that there's an attack, jump, lock on, and chainsaw button along with using the dpad to pick up items and activate switches. The motion controls are used depending on the situation. Using the chainsaw is an instant kill for more enemies, and can be accomplished by holding down the chainsaw button then swinging the controls either horizontally or vertically to inflict punishment on the enemies. Diminishing the enemies' health lets you perform a finishing move that may require you to swing the controller around in a circle or moving the controller up and down rapidly. Bosses make the most use of the motion controls consisting of doing a certain motion at just the right time to interrupt the bosses' attacks for maximum damage. Including the motion controls, and making it more than just the simple repetitive movements is an excellent change from majority of Wii games that lack imagination in regards to the controls.
Possibly the biggest attraction to the game for most people is the art style. Inspired by Frank Miller's "Sin City", Madworld plays in an almost completely black and white world. Red will be seen quite a bit throughout the game since blood will stay its natural color. Black and White graphics may not be pushing the envelope when it comes to the Wii graphic power, it does provide a stunning artistic perspective making your forget how weak the Wii is compared to the 360 or PS3. All character models are detailed, and done to a point where they don't have that ugly blockiness that other Wii games have. With so much action going on, movements are crisp and rarely cause any slow down that can be seen with some Wii games. Safe to say, that graphically, there is nothing to nitpick on.
You could say the same for the audio because there is simply nothing bad about it. There are voices of the main characters that work, but don't have that much to say anyways. In a way, that's probably a good thing being that the more they say, the worse the experience could have been. Voice acting truly shines in regards to the color commentators voiced by comedian, and Who's Line Is It Anyways regular, Greg Proops and the hardest working voice actor in the business, John DiMaggio. Proops, as Howard "Buckshot" Holmes, provides a traditional sports commentator voice that's a fast talker with a slightly high pitch voice while DiMaggio offers the insider opinions, being a former contestant to the show Kreese Kreeley, along the lines of a Frank Gifford on old Monday Night Football. The banter between these two improves on the overall experience. They both lighten up the abundance of violence and add some funny as shit comments while playing. From the exchange of "fuck you" to the sheer hatred from Kreeley over bosses that defeated him in the past, you can listen to just the commentary alone and be entertained.
Music is prevalent throughout the game and maybe to a fault. When you realize the comedy gold of the commentary, you wish to just hear it and enjoy all the hilarity. Problem is that the music is a bit on the loud side causing a traffic jam of noise with the music, commentary, and sound effects all coming together at once. With hip-hop being the majority, the soundtrack plays well with the action going on screen. This is a weird situation where nothing audio-wise is bad, but how it's implemented is a bit of a problem.
If there's one, blaring problem with the game, it would be the length of the game. Gamers have reported at clocking in the game in less than 4 hours from start to finish on normal difficulty. With some unlockables and a fun split screen multiplayer letting two people play through the mini-games, the replay is there but at a minimum. It's the enjoyment of the game keeps you coming back.
A game like Madworld is a perfect example of fun gameplay, amazing art style and great audio. Add it up, and you get a great game. Put it on the Wii, and it stand head and shoulders over the rest of the shit on the system. Games like Madworld and House of the Dead: Overkill came at the right time for those people over the age of 16 who great tired of the stale games of the Wii.