Games: A hard drivin' beast from Down Under

Neil McGreevy

Mad Max (Multi)

By Warner

WATERWORLD for aquaphobes, Mad Max is perhaps the greatest film franchise to come from a land down under as gasoline enthusiast Max races cannibals on dune buggies in his supercharged Ford Falcon.

To think it came from the man behind Happy Feet and Babe beggars belief. While the original trilogy was all big hair n' headbands, back when action movies were off their nut and Tina Turner was badass, the latest, Fury Road, is a glorious reboot.

A 110-minute-long car chase with practical effects and stunts that cock a snook at today's CGI-washed claptrap, Fury Road even shows how old women can be sharp and useful, like some apocalyptic Driving Miss Daisy 2.

And if you felt that the two glorious hours you spent in the desertscape with Tom Hardy and co wasn't nearly enough, the game has got you covered, pal, stuffing players into the grubby boots of Mr Rockatansky as they take to the wastelands to reclaim their beloved ride from Scabrous Scrotus and his cronies.

Like everything in its world, Mad Max is hewn from the grubby parts of other titles, pilfering its open-world from Far Cry, the ambience from Borderlands, GTA's vehicular combat and the down n' dirty combos n' counters combat from the Arkham games.

Filled with bizarre characters and factions, players will spy distant fortresses from a hot air balloon before going in for the kill. Scarce ammo means resorting to fisticuffs, but it's when you get behind the wheel that Mad Max really earns its oily stripes. The cars feel heavy and powerful and come bristling with weapons, such as the grappling gun that lets players tear the doors off rival autos and yank their drivers from within.

You can also customise Max's car till your heart's content, aided by grotesque sidekick Chum Bucket, who can fix and upgrade your filthy wheels. Like all open-world games of its ilk, Mad Max skirts dangerously close to slog, with occasionally repetitive open-world fetch quests and mucho backtracking.

It's also hampered by some sloppy mechanics and a snug camera doesn't give the panorama required to dodge incoming attacks. However, these grumbles merely add to the B-movie vibe.

The lure of the wastelands is powerful, plus any game that lets players eat the larva-ly maggots off human corpses for sustenance has to be worth a look. A post-apocalyptic actioner with tons of muscle-car-based violence, Mad Max is a hard-drivin', dust-fartin' beast of a game that makes the competition look like petticoat-wearing pansies.


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