Somewhere in Nevada the world has gone mad and you have chosen to fight back against injustice. The Sheriff is the ringleader of this circus but you’ll have to fight through hell and back to defeat him. Whether with your fists or scavenged weapons use your bullet time and perks to avoid harm and dish it out on the way to the Sheriff’s office.
The Madness series started off as an adobe flash animation series by the Newgrounds creator Krinkels. The Madness series started on July 25th of 2002, kicking off a series that would continue until July of 2013. Each one depicting the iconic cross-faced men fighting in progressively larger and larger melees — the benchmark for badass for every 14 year old on the internet. In between the 4th and fifth installments of the series Krinkels teamed up with game make, Flecko to create a game based on his series. Complete with the mindless violence that the madness series had been predicated on.
Madness Interactive was released on August 26th, 2003. It’s competition was Soul Calibur II (PS2, XBox, and GCN), Silent Hill 3 (PS2), and F-Zero GX (GCN).
I remember the days of sneaking this in during class in middle school. One eye on the bad guys and the other on the teacher to make sure I didn’t get caught. It was damn hard to play on a track pad but we did what we had to do to have fun during those dark times. Heck, I ended up playing the game before I saw the flash movies. Then came the mods. Most of them just had different weapon skins and backgrounds but a few changed the game significantly. I used to have the flash source files for a mod known as The Matrix: Rayne. Complete with dual wielding and multiple characters with unique stats. Sadly this sort of thing was lost to the ages, rediscovered but I haven’t been able to track down the browser independent version. I last found the full download 8 years ago but the link was dead. Now it’s time to go back to the original, let’s see if it holds up.
Madness Interactive is seperated into 3 basic modes, the campaign, experimentation, and challenges. Each mode is a 2-D side scrolling beat ’em up with guns that your player can recover from enemies. The player can also drop weapons while swinging them to hurl them at enemies with mixed results. When the screen gets crowded with fire-arm toting badies then the player can initiate bullet time to slow down gunfire and give the player more breathing room.
The campaign has you going through progressively more and more difficult levels with staged spawning enemies. Every level you complete gives you the option between one of three perks which can range from longer character reach to additional bullet time. Unfortunately the character only has 3 lives so you’d better make them count, you don’t have a lot of health.
The challenge modes are zombie attack, matrix mode, knife throwing, and laser dodging modes. They’re a little self explanatory but the point is that they offer a great change up to the normal gameplay. And they unlock cheats! Get all those cheat codes! You can use them during the campaign mode to make it a little less difficult but, you won’t unlock any campaign mode cheats with any other cheats enabled.
Experimental mode is how most people played the game. Full control, spawning in any weapon, spawning in bad guys, and just having fun.
The challenge modes manage to be fun without relying on combat expertise. Half of them don’t even have opponents. Why is it important that they’re fun without combat? We’ll get to that…
The music in this game is really good. Between the moody music of the main menu and the ongoing music of the campaign mode it makes me feel slick as hell. I only wish I knew where to buy these tracks, I’d put hard money down on them.
The game comes with a lot of cool costume elements you can use to decorate your character. It’s something small but it’s fun to create a goofy looking Jesus with an eyepatch in a suit.
Some of the perks like Golden Bullet are really interesting but others like First Aid (which restore the character’s incredibly low health) fall flat. It’s such a pain because the three available options are chosen at random so a run of bad luck can ruin your run.
The campaign is based more on memorizing enemy spawn points than quick reflexes and accuracy. The game moves so fast, the controls are so clumsy, and the bullet time is so limited that it’s goddam impossible to survive past the third level without knowing what’s coming.
What’t not fun about the combat? The incredibly clumsy controls. I can scarcely aim at enemies because the mouse controls are overly sensitive. In a world where one missed shot means getting riddled with bullets and ending up in a life losing fiesta these clumsy controls are unacceptable.
My Rose Tinted glasses have failed me. I did not enjoy revisiting this game. Playing the online version is damn near impossible because if your cursor slides off of the frame then the game won’t respond to any controls until you get back on. Things get better in the full flash edition but good luck finding a good download — Flecko.net has been defunct for a good long time. If I didn’t find the SWF file in my old computer’s folder then I would not have been able to find it. Overall the campaign’s limited lives systems makes it uncomfortably difficult. But it’s not all bad chum, at least it’s free.
Next Week: The Sonny series.