Madworld has attracted a lot of attention after its introduction at a Sega Europe launch event earlier this year, and it's easy to see why. The game features outlandish, almost hilarious graphic violence combined with a black-and-white palette, with splashes of red blood as the exception. Madworld creatively uses the Wii's control scheme to let you punch, kick, and wield your trusty chainsaw, as well as encouraging you to use nearby objects to decapitate, maim, impale, and generally cause grievous bodily harm to enemies.
For those new to the game, you'll take the role of Jack, a contestant in a killing game known as Death Watch. The idea behind Madworld has been done before (Smash TV, The Running Man, Battle Royale), but some of the ridiculous, and unique, executions that Jack can perform truly need to be seen to be believed and appreciated.
We last saw Madworld at E3 2008, and at that point Sega focused on highlighting Jack's basic combat moves, including punches, kicks, and his trusty chainsaw. At Leipzig, the company wanted to show how Jack can use his environment to blood-splattering effect. We started out in a nondescript area of the city, and Jack began with some wise words: "Time to kick some mother****ing a**." Inaba-san, the demonstrator for our presentation, got straight to business by throwing two enemies into a nearby Dumpster, which then split their torsos in half. After fighting a few more thugs, he strolled into a nearby warehouse, where he encountered a behemoth of a man who wore a bull face mask. Jack engaged in a chainsaw duel with him, and after shaking the controllers for a few moments, Inaba-san cut him to pieces and then disposed of a few other enemies by pushing them into conveniently placed spinning blades.
We were then shown how simple objects such as a spare tyre lying around can be used to good effect. After exiting the warehouse onto some docks, Jack picked the tyre up and threw it over a thug's head, pinning his arms. He then impaled him with a signpost and threw him into the river. Combining different environmental aspects will increase your score.
Some of the Bloodbath Challenge minigames have already been revealed in the past, including the hilarious Man Darts, and we were privy to a new challenge at Leipzig, the aptly named Death Press. In the one-minute game, Jack has to get a series of enemies into a nearby pit where a spiked ceiling drops every 20 seconds or so. At the end of the game, you'll be given some performance stats, including your overall ranking--in Inaba-san's case, an A rank.
Although the chainsaw is Jack's default weapon, you'll be able to find and equip new weapons, including the daggers akimbo that Inaba-san demonstrated. You'll be able to use the twin blades to deal out some serious slicing and dicing. Each weapon in the game will be able to perform multiple finishing moves, and in the daggers' case you'll be able to slice off heads, plunge them straight into an enemy, and more.
Given that Death Watch is a contest, it wouldn't be complete without a commentator, and this particular one is full of amusing sayings such as "He should've seen the signs" when you're using a signpost to impale an unlucky enemy. The commentator will speak up throughout the game to offer numerous corny one-liners, which suits the light-hearted yet violent nature of Madworld.
A new level was introduced to us at Leipzig in which Jack could travel around the city on motorbike. From what we could tell, the game doesn't have an open-world design, and you'll need to select your destination before jumping onto your motorbike. Although there was no one else on the road with us, you'll encounter other vehicles in the game and have to fight them on your bike while getting around the city. After a few moments we arrived at an abandoned street in which several tornados dominated the landscape. Pieces of debris and even cows could be seen flying around above our head. This particular part of the game requires platforming and timing skills to get past the tornados unscathed, and from what we were told, there will be other similar parts in the game that will require you to do more than just beat people to a pulp. Once Jack reached the end of the street, he encountered a boss battle. Inaba-san briefly engaged with the huge, hulking, tornado-controlling creature before our demonstration came to a close.
Taking questions after the demonstration, Inaba-san said that there may be some multiplayer aspects in the game, but that the single-player experience will be the focus. Madworld will be making its way to the Nintendo Wii sometime in 2009, and we look forward to getting our hands on the game for ourselves at a later date.