Technophile

Fire, fuel and fury

Visvaksen P | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on September 16, 2015

bl11_tech_madmax (2).jpg

bl11_tech_madmax.jpg

Mad Max, the video game companion to George Miller’s Fury Road film, excels at recreating the manic dystopia

Merely killing people because you want their oil and things went out of fashion after the first Gulf War, so Max, the titular character in the Mad Max game, comes loaded with sufficient righteous justification for his violent ways: the game begins with the warlord Scabrous Scrotus and his ‘War Boys’ ambushing Max, taking his vehicle and leaving him for dead. This inevitably feeds a vicious cycle of violence, with Max now dead set on exacting revenge.

Lost in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with only a hunchback sidekick for company, there is precious little that one can do to preserve one’s sanity and stay focused on the task of mindless revenge.

Max attempts to solve this particular quandary by carving his name on the desert floor using the blood and guts of an assortment of war boys from various factions. In the process of creating this brutal masterpiece, Max puts together enough battered metal for his sidekick to build him a trusty gasoline-chugging steed equipped with a harpoon gun and enough nitrous oxide to tickle an army of giants.

The acquisition of this rig only serves to enhance Max’s murderous intent as man and machine come together to create a deliciously vicious symphony of violence in the end times.

Gameplay

Made by Avalanche Studios, the same developers that produced the Just Cause series, Mad Max features an impressive open world that can be roamed freely in search of quests, scraps and manic blood feuds. The premise is simple- kill everyone that you meet and check their pockets for scrap. Hand to hand combat follows the typically breezy style of the recent Batman games where chaining together multiple hits increases their effectiveness.

A sufficiently long streak will cause Max to enter Fury mode, which ensures a swift and brutal conclusion to the encounter. Vehicular combat is an intriguing addition with a number of unique elements and mechanics. Ramming other cars and objects is the obvious option, but there’s also a harpoon that can be used to bring down everything from cars to gun turrets and even giant metal gates. Max can take a pop with his trusty shotgun while driving or even pass the wheel to his helper, stepping out back for a jaunt with the sniper rifle. And a flamethrower is also thrown in for good measure.

Expansive world

The story progresses with Max defeating faction after faction of hostile war boys and slowly turning most of the territory in the map into a safe place. Allies make their entrance, helping Max get ready for his final showdown with Scrotus. Upgrades are an important part of the game: both Max and his car, the Magnum Opus, will need constant improvements in order to stay ahead of the curve in terms of killing power. Some of the missions do get quite repetitive, but you always have the option of abandoning the story line in favour of exploring the horizons.

Crossing the boundary of charted territory will take you into The Big Nothing, a vast desolate expanse prone to storms and randomly generated reliefs. Within the pre-fabricated world itself there are enough side challenges for Max to busy himself with - all involving variations of destroying cars or killing war boys or sometimes even both at once.

As you wander through the unforgiving terrain, you will be surrounded by bleak visual imagery that perfectly captures the death of hope that Mad Max stands for. The art department must get credit for knocking this one out of the park.

The way these visuals are incorporated into the gameplay, such as circling birds which indicate the presence of food, is the kind of attention to detail that makes the Mad Max universe a delight to interact with.

Not the film, but worthy of it

Mad Max the game has little to do with the story of Fury Road, the recent blockbuster film starring Tom Hardy. This becomes immediately apparent from the fact that Max frequently communicates with actual words rather than the guttural grunts that Hardy seems to prefer. Immortan Joe’s nubile young wives, Nux, the Vuvalini, and Charlize Theron’s Furiosa are also not a part of the game’s story arc. The last one is probably just as well; who wants to play a video game where you’re constantly upstaged by a supposed side character?

However, fans of the movie will find that its ethos has been kept intact in the video game reincarnation. The chrome-loving, gasoline guzzling dystopia is just as George Miller showed us and in this one, you get to set the acceptable standard for barbarian behaviour.

There are games which might offer much more detailed story arcs or advanced gameplay mechanisms but for the sheer amount of fun and variation it brings to the punch ‘em up genre, Mad Max is a tough act to beat.

Developer: Avalance Studios

Platform: PC, Playstation, Xbox

Price: ₹999 (PC) ₹3,599 (console)

Published on September 16, 2015

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