MadWorld • Page 2

The Hurting.

Motorbike sections provide a short break from all the killing. They turn up between levels or on the way to boss fights - you select your destination and embark upon an old-school, obstacle-dodging few minutes of high-speed action. This hasn't been fully implemented yet, but in the finished game there will be other bikers to fight on the road, no doubt resulting in some pretty extreme high-velocity deaths. MadWorld is really quite traditional at heart; there are charmingly old-fashioned twitch-gaming sensibilities lurking behind its slick, modern exterior.

SEGA also gave us a first glimpse at MadWorld's boss battles, although our demo was sadly curtailed before Atsushi Inaba got into the fight proper. After arriving at a desolate street and hopping off the motorbike Inaba spent a few minutes dodging past tornadoes, which sent bits of buildings, furniture and the obligatory few cows spinning overhead, before coming face-to-face with the massive monster that was causing them. It's all quite platformy; getting caught up in a tornado sent Jack spinning back to the level, which brought back some nostalgic memories.

Visually, MadWorld looks really impressive, but it's difficult to make any further judgment when we have no idea how subtle the controls are. They certainly look satisfying - stabbing, impaling, punching, kicking and decapitating all seem to be performed with appropriately violent Wii remote movements - but we don't know how big the move-set is going to be, or how much variation there will be for more dedicated players. As hilarious and spectacularly violent as it is, MadWorld won't get by on visual spectacle alone.

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He's throwing him into a turbine! Children and families and mini-game enthusiasts might see that!

There are also times, usually when the American announcers are throwing around swear words and breast jokes like Sid James reading a copy of Nuts, when MadWorld comes across more like a puerile, parent-baiting teenager than a dark, disturbingly violent adult. Somehow, though, the game gets away with it - it's all so comic and so tongue-in-cheek, and probably intentionally stupid. You never get the impression that MadWorld is trying to be big and clever. It just is what it is.

MadWorld won't be released in Germany - evidently it's just too violent, although frankly we've seen worse things in 15-rated films than we have in this consciously OTT, cartoony third-person action game. It's still on track for 2009 in the rest of Europe, America and Japan, though, despite various campaigners voicing their concerns over how at odds MadWorld is with the Wii's family-friendly image.

As far as we're concerned, it's genuinely refreshing to see something inventive and adult-themed on the console. Although 'mature' is not a word we'd use to describe this kind of gleefully blood-spattered, über-destructive fun, MadWorld is interesting, and that's what really matters.

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About the author

Keza MacDonald

Keza MacDonald

Contributor

Keza is the Guardian's video games editor. Previously she has been the UK editor for Kotaku and IGN, and a Eurogamer contributor.

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