Getting wasted in a good way
Mad Max (opens in new tab) is all about the Wasteland. An expansive open world of faded brown that makes you positively thirsty just looking at it. Whether youre on foot or have your pedal to the metal in the Magnum Opus, theres always the distinct feeling that you could die at any moment in the most inhospitable environment on Earth. The game is an explosive love letter to George Millers dusty, petrol-headed post-apocalypse but, after Fury Roads almost effortless revival of action cinema earlier this year, can Avalanches Mad Max compete? The short answer, from what Ive seen, is yes.
Madness and explosives in equal measure await in the shimmering heat. A warlord called Scrotus rules over the area around Gas Town where, coincidentally, Max needs to go to get fuel. After waking up in the Wasteland, robbed and with nothing, he needs to reclaim whats his. Start your engine and get ready for the 17 things I did in Mad Max when I was let loose in the Wasteland for two hours. There really should have been a grown up present.
1. Got to grips with the Magnum Opus
Youre nothing without a car in the Wasteland, and your very own hunk of junk is known as the Magnum Opus. This is Maxs baby and its yours now too. Fully upgradeable in a hefty customisation screen, it can be fully tweaked to your diesel hungry desires. From gearboxes to intake valves, treads to engines, it can all be switched out. Whether you want to arm up with sideburners and as much armour as possible, or customise to travel fast and in style, its up to you. Theres no right way to upgrade the Magnum Opus, with a focus on different styles of play throughout. Plus, its a pleasure to drive. Responsive and suitably weighty. Add in the boost button for a cinematic surge forward, and it makes a worthy Wasteland steed.
2. Made a chum in Chumbucket
Who says a backseat driver is a bad thing? Especially one who thinks youre some kind of god of cars. Meet Maxs sidekick Chumbucket. Known as a Blackfinger in the Wasteland, Chumbucket is your mechanic wholl not only fix the Magnum Opus when you inevitably set it on fire, but bring the car to you if youve decided to go on foot. We dont all have a remote control for summoning our vehicles a la Bruce Wayne, so a totally insane chauffeur wearing goggles is the next best thing. Chumbuckets also on hand to berate you for driving recklessly so yeah, think the Wasteland equivalent of your gran. But bald.
3. Yanked someone through a windshield
Car combat in Mad Max is utterly chaotic. Vehicles of all types swerve through the sand, and rogue enemies patrol the Wasteland just waiting for someone to loot. Thankfully youre armed with an intimidating armoury of weapons, the most important of which is the harpoon. Hurtling along beside a car and tapping B will yank said car towards you, but aim specifically at certain areas and things get a lot more fun. Pull off bumpers, doors, and wheels, all while travelling at 100mph. But the most satisfying? Aiming at the driver of the offending vehicle and plucking them effortlessly from their seat, dragging them along behind your car. They deserve it. Honest.
4. Watched everything explode
Ammo is pretty thin on the ground in the Wasteland, meaning you need to get inventive with explosives. While flaming fuel canisters can be thrown for some BBQ time, bombs on sticks can be tossed or stabbed through to flamb foes. Whether youre on foot and destroying oil reserves in camps, or at the wheel and firing a well aimed, explosive Thunderpoon, Michael Bay has nothing on the carnage on offer here. With each car battle ending in flames no matter which way you play, every encounter becomes a cinematic bomb-fest.
5. Toppled towers of human bodies
Intimidating Wicker Man style scarecrows of wood and bodies loom across the Wasteland, representing the threat of the local warlords, so its a good thing youve got your handy harpoon. Speeding past one of these behemoths, yanking it down with the harpoon as you go, is ridiculously satisfying. The remains leave behind scrap that you can use for car upgrades and armour, but youll have to pick it out from amongst the body-strewn wreckage. The Wasteland might be vast but its little details and side distractions like this that ensure that it never feels empty.
6. Chowed down on dog food and maggots
So it turns out that you cant afford to be picky in the Wasteland, and that means cramming chunks of post apocalyptic Pedigree Chum into your mouth. Mmmm, eating tinned reconstituted mystery meat with hands that probably havent ever seen a bottle of antibacterial wash. Max doesnt seem too be worried about bacteria. Especially given the fact that you can also refill his health with fistfuls of squirming maggots removed from the ribcages of the unfortunate human corpses that litter the Wasteland. It might be a good source of protein, but Press A to scoff maggots is a delightfully vile prompt.
7. Took down convoys for loot
Discover a convoy route zig zagging across the world, and you can follow it for inevitable treats to pillage from Scrotus War Boys. Ferrying fuel and goods across the world, these oh so smashable convoys are ripe for the picking but wont go down without a serious fight. Some convoys also hold specific pieces of car youll want for the Magnum Opus. This is a perfect time to play with your harpoon and combine it with the Magnum Opus boost. Line up an enemy vehicle in front before letting fly with your harpoon and boosting into them. Boom. Literally.
8. Stopped for a drink
With all these explosions and a heat haze shimmering over the Wasteland, health-replenishing water is the most precious of soggy treasures when youre lucky enough to find it. Marked with a nice blue droplet on the map, wells and water taps are a welcome sight. So much so that when Max slowly fills his canteen via an oddly satisfying filling/emptying mechanic, its guaranteed to make you thirsty. Although wells and water sources do refill eventually, it takes time that you might not have, so youll need to be sparing with the old eau.
9. Flame grilled other drivers with sideburners
Ok, it might just be a slightly less exciting name for flame-throwers, but that doesnt matter when you turn on your sideburners mid-battle. There are few things more grimly exhilarating than spewing fire from both sides of the Magnum Opus at once, and hearing the opposition roar in fury. Your sideburners can be upgraded too, to make sure that youre always cooking your enemies well done.