Mad Max (NES)

Mad Max Box Art

Mad Max

System: NES

Release Date: July 1990

Developer: Eastridge Technology

Publisher: Mindscape

Genre: Action

Traverse the post-apocalyptic wasteland in Mad Max! Survival is the name of the game now that civilization has come crumbling down. You have to head through six levels of driving, scavenging, and murdering before you come face to face with Lord Humungus himself. Do you have what it takes to survive? Hop into your supercharged muscle car and give it a shot!

The game starts on an overworld map with you in your car. Movement is handled purely with the d-pad, accelerating in the direction you press. You can brake with the B Button if you need to stop quickly, and you throw dynamite with the A Button. This is used to blow up barricades, enemy cars, and gang fortresses. You can’t throw with reckless abandon, because you have a limited amount. Keep track of your inventory by pressing the Select Button.

Food and water are currency in this world. You need to collect enough to buy an Arena Pass and keep your car gassed and repaired from service stations. To find food and water, you have to come across caves, of which there are four in each level. These take you to a top down exploring section. Enemies constantly come at you and you have to expend ammo to kill them. Gray guys are weaker than green ones. You’ll often come across closed doors that have to be opened with keys you find. A lot of rooms end up being empty and just exist to waste your key.

After you buy the Arena pass, you can head to the end of the overworld and into the Arena. Here, you have to kill a set number of vehicles by pushing them into pits or exploding them against a wall. After you’ve killed enough, you have to find the exit of the arena while avoiding the retractable pitfalls.

I didn’t have the patience to go through the levels enough to learn where everything was, so I skipped level 2 and used a password to go to level three. You have to play through the overworld to find the crossbow so you have enough ammo to kill the final boss. After you slog through that and kill 50 enemies in the arena, you are challenged by Lord Humungus. He takes ten shots per unit of life, meaning you have to hit him 80 times while he only has to hit you 16 to drain yours. Don’t fall off the ledge.

Graphics: 1.5

There’s no variety in the graphics. It doesn’t look bad, but it’s not impressive.

Sound: 1.0

The overworld is engine noise and explosions. There’s only one song that isn’t very good.

Gameplay: 1.0

The overworld isn’t very responsive. The caves are look and finds. The Arena is sort of interesting.

Difficulty: 1.5

The fortresses chuck dynamite at you way too precisely and way too far for my liking. The final boss is a pain because he’s a bullet sponge.

Fun Factor: 1.0

It wasn’t fun. Despite three different modes of play, none of them are enjoyable.

Overall Rating: 1.2

Mad Max earns a D+. The original film may have been the most profitable movie for 20 years, but this game is a real dud.

Mad Max Video Review on YouTube