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Game Review

Don't be expecting the likes of Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron or even Mel Gibson to pop up in this game! WB Games' Mad Max is not an official movie tie-in title. But there's still plenty to recognize for anyone who's ever even heard of a certain cinematic Maximillian.

Gamers wade through a sunburned wasteland filled with walled-in enclaves, burning tires and blowing grit. This is a desolate place of no fuel, no water and no food. But it's teaming with marauding War Boys who drive inexplicable gas-guzzling hot rods that roar and leap from sand dune to cracked pavement and back again.

A guy named Max is soon spotted by the crazed minions of a muscly master named Scrotus. Max is beaten down and then relieved of his car, his leather jacket and even his boots. He's left for dead. All of which, of course, makes Max … mad. And so this fuming fellow starts looking for a way to strike back and reclaim what little he had.

He finds his chance through the help of a hunchback mechanic named Chumbucket. That mumbling crazy guy regularly spews out some form of car-engine-as-god nonsense while heralding Max as a long-awaited prophet. The two go about gathering the necessary bits and pieces to build a proper supercar, then they scale down the size of those War Boys and work to take the fight straight to Scrotus.

Slam Down on the Gas (and Gut)

Gameplay-wise, that sort of anarchic action boils down to exploring this open world, kitting out and customizing your ride, and a whole lot of battling. You meet up with a bunch of grizzled, burned, blistered and otherwise nasty characters, and you receive scores of pulverizing quests involving slam-bam car races and vehicle smash-ups; also a jumbo bucketful of blade-swinging, shotgun-wielding, hard-knuckled kills.

The fights involve battling mechanics much like those used in games such as the recent Batman: Arkham series. It's an intuitive combat system of timed attack and defense moves that allow Max to wade into a whole crowd of growling uglies and still come out on top.

Max, however, isn't reticent about any crimson-hued wet work along his warpath like Batman would be. He's all about survival of the fittest. So for him, a dead thug is better than a unconscious thug, and Max generally finishes his smackdowns with everything from bloodlust (where he's turned into a one-man wrecking crew), to execution moves (that feature finishing neck snaps and a shiv repeatedly jammed into any fading foe's gut).

Kill-or-Be-Killed Grinder

That equals quite a bit of hack-and-spew bloodletting in addition to cutscenes that showcase messy throat slashes and a boss guy's head getting torn open by a chain saw. Men, women and children are murdered and nailed up like doomsday scarecrows in this kill-or-be-killed grinder. And a grubby unfortunate is hung up and used as a transfusion-delivering blood bag. Piles of the dead lie rotting on the sun-bleached sands.

Your skimpily dressed "concubine" adds digital fleshiness to mix. And drugs come along in the form of inhaled nitrous and gasoline fumes. Dialogue features f- and s-words, along with uses of "d--n," "a--," "h--" and "b--ch."

Suffice it, then, to say that although this may be a completely different storyline from any of the past or present Mad Max movies, it's definitely not difficult to recognize the, uh, bloodlines.

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