MAD MAX! I first heard the name in the 70's I guess when Mel Gibson took on the role of the Survivor; this was also the first time I had heard of Mel Gibson, the actor. Mel Gibson went on to make bigger and better movies while Mad Max went on to a pretty much near the same sequel, a meeting with the Queen of Thighs (Tina Turner) in the Thunderdome, and more recently another outing at the cinema with barbaric atrocities, multiple excruciating deaths (for the characters and the viewers), mental explosions, brutality and damned near no story.
Thankfully Avalanche Studios, along with their designers and some (I guess) some not-too-shabby financial assistance from Warner Bros, have looked at the wave of excitement the Tom Hardy driven film has created and decided to ride it out on a storm of non-stop action spread over the excellent backdrops and animated terrain of the dusty, sandy, rocky plains of the near future. They have taken Mad Max and turned him into someone the player cares enough about to want him to survive the violence and turmoil kicking up around him.
Max is no farmer who is out for revenge after having his crops destroyed by some tobacco spitting bullies; and long gone is the Max of the original movie, the cop whose wife and child were killed by the evil gang he then went on to decimate piece by piece. This Max is a survivor. He shoots first and doesn't bother to ask questions afterwards. He fights every battle as if his life depended on it (it does) and he drives like he is driving a piece of garbage on wheels, fit only for getting from A to B and running over everything inbetween.
This Max has a story, has many missions and has the help of an injured hound and a hunchback named Chumbucket. Chumbucket is an engineer the likes of whom Fords or General Motors has never seen. Give him X number of pieces of scrap and he can jerry-rig just about anything as well as keeping the vehicle in driveable and rammable condition. Make no bones about it, this is a really good, fun, action game, let down only by the fiddly-ness of the controls, at least it is on the PC version if you use the keyboard. WASD move the car (most of the game I have played, and I haven't finished it yet, but I will) or Max when he is out on his own two feet. E is the main action key, though R X Ctrl Tab and the number 4 also come into use, as well as the three mouse buttons and the wheel - it's really just a matter of learning the controls before starting to play and let's face it, whoever does that ? Controls are standard in most games, but Mad Max isn't most games and I died several times discovering this.
Once you save the dog, befriend Chumbucket, get some fuel and kill a few Scrotus War Boys the first real test and adrenaline buzz comes along in the shape of a dramatic car run through the twisting, turning chasm with hazardous falling rocks, War Boys in vehicles and swinging explosive traps, you locate a new skin (body) for your vehicle. There are a number of rusty parts hanging over the gulley and all you have to do is climb up, zip down a couple of handy lines and make your selection. The sporty Furnace, semi-sports Shovelface, Sports saloon Wild Hunt, Die Rolla (with its ornate hood ornament, and ornate hood) or the popular Al Capone style Death Rattle. They are all much of a muchness as far as being hardy and driveable and Chumbucket can fix, repair and build up any of them.
With your new car all prepared at Chum's lair and using the spare parts he has and the looted scraps you have collected, it's off to see what you can smash up. All goes well until you discover the Scrotus War Boys camp complete with Sniper and War Crier. This now becomes a race to stay alive and kill the sniper and the War Crier before the defences are in position and you will die whatever. It isn't specifically clear how you are to achieve these tasks and so I have found that doing and dying until you discover the correct path is the only way.
There is a lot of doing and dying, especially the dying part, and the game autosaves when it wants to not when you want it to. Thus if the wife calls you for dinner and you are halfway into a sequence/ battle you have to decide who is more likely to kill you, and trust me it isn't a good idea to put the wife on hold for too long.
Overall my first impression of MAD MAX is good. it is a fun, tough action game. You cannot just go through it blastingf everything in your way because you just don't have the ammunition or the fuel (or food or water, both of which heal you by the way) I had one shotgun shell and I managed to fire it while trying to find out how to do something else and unfortunately it isn't built into the game that you can use the shotgun as a club, more's the pity as all it appears to be at the moment is an unnecessary weight I (Max) is carrying.
If you enjoy crazy combat games where some applied thought beforehand can go along way, or brute force and ignorance can achieve the same result, then this is a game you should really look out for.