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Video Game / Anarchy Reigns

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We don't help people. We KILL THEM!

Anarchy Reigns (known as Max Anarchy in Japan) is a multiplayer online beat 'em up game by PlatinumGames for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. It is a pseudo-sequel to the Nintendo Wii game MadWorld, using several of the same or similar characters in a separate canon.

The story begins when Maximillian Caxton, an enigmatic cyborg and the mentor of Leonhardt Victorion, is suspected of murdering several people. Leo is charged with bringing Max to justice, while Max's daughter pleads with Jack Cayman to save her father.

Anarchy Reigns is the first title by PlatinumGames to contain multiplayer features. There are over ten different modes of play, including Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Battle Royal (16 Player free-for-all), and Deathball.

This game was released on July 5th, 2012 in Japan, but did not get a Western release until January 8th, 2013. In April of 2013, DLC was released, allowing players who didn't preorder the game to unlock Bayonetta and adding two more multiplayer modes, Mad Survival and Dogfight.

This game features examples of:

  • After the End: World war has devastated the land, and frenzied industrialization by the surviving powers has polluted everything else, leading to rampant illness and mutation. Nanomachines and cybernetics are used to treat diseases as best as possible, but while order is being reestablished, anarchy reigns in most of the world.
  • Alien Blood, Black Blood: Generally, most player characters bleed dark red blood while mutants bleed blue.
  • Artificial Stupidity: If certain events are ongoing, such as a microwave array or a slot machine, bots will completely ignore everything else around them in favor of heading straight towards the relevant area, giving players as many free hits on them as they can land.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Multiplayer matches can involve attacks by massive bosses, such as the Kraken or Cthulhu.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Doing an infinite loop or an extend combo online; while if you pull it off, you have the bastard's life in your hands, lag and other players will most likely get in the way of doing it. The only practical place to do one is a Cage Match, but even then, lag will most likely get in the way.
  • Badass Boast: 90% of the dialogue. 100% of the soundtrack.
  • Bad Guy Bar:
    • The title screen is a bar where the playable cast hang around and do various things; Mathilda is the bartender, two of the Rin sisters play poker (Ai Rin is playing on a handheld instead), the Baron is watching a virtual poledancer, Bayonetta (if unlocked/downloaded) is shown from behind on a big screen, and Gargoyle (when unlocked) shows up there as well in its flight form with the text "Are you a bad enough robot to join the Gargoyles?" next to it.
    • The same bar is used in the opening scene of Story Mode located in Altambra. It's officially called Asylum.
  • Battle in the Rain:
    • In story mode, every time the map starts raining, all the low level Mooks high tail it out of there, while tougher enemies arrive.
    • Also happens in the story mission The Young Lion/The Wily Crocodile.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In some free missions and at least one story mission, allied characters may appear during the battle to help you out (Normally these missions involves a lot of mutants or armies of mooks).
    • One odd example, however, is one where pre-insanity Max literally appears out of the blue air to help Leo out against giant mooks and mutants. After the battle, he just simply disappears the same way he appeared. The mission description of "Awaken memories of Max from a better time" doesn't make things any less bizarre.
  • Boring, but Practical: Big Bull's Killer Weapon, the Jet Hammer, doesn't have any of the cutscene/throw style attacks other Killer Weapons are famed for, but its simplicity doesn't hinder the Bull from tearing off half an enemy's health with one good swing. The fast attack is also excellent for closing the distance to an enemy, going a long way towards balancing out Bull's lack of speed.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Normal Bar-bots are mostly known for being cutscene Butt Monkeys and cowering at the sight of 3 generic mooks. However, Cybrid Bar-bots are ridiculously tough, pose a huge challenge even for a team of 3 human players, and are never fought outside of Survival and Mad Survival.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Each character has a 360 attack which involves them spinning around. These attacks will drain the user's vitality a little when they are used.
  • Catch and Return: If someone fires a rocket at you, it's possible to grab it in mid-air and use it as a throwable object.
  • Character Blog: Blacker Baron has an official one. It's used mostly for promoting Anarchy Reigns, but he will respond to anyone who tweets to him, including Madworld RP'ers.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: If an enemy hasn't exploded in a gory, blue mess, they aren't truly dead.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Zero, Sasha, and the Rin sisters all wear nanonmachine-enhanced suits. Zero and Sasha are also the only characters besides Oinkie (who relies on a Super Serum for his powers) who completely lack cybernetic enhancements.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Hardly surprising, with this game being a follow-up of sorts to MadWorld.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The way the multiplayer works, you are encouraged to be an unfair combatant and attack weakened enemies from behind, kill steal, or even shoot your opponents with a sniper rifle or rocket launcher while they are busy fighting each other. There's no rules in anarchy, after all.
  • Combos
  • Combo Breaker: The 360 spin gets you out of a ground combo and sends your enemies flying away at the cost of some of your life (except when someone equips the spin master perk)
  • Competitive Balance: An unusual form of it. At the basest level, all characters fall into categories of light, medium, and heavy characters. All characters have "Killer Weapons" which are Purposely Overpowered and do ludicrous damage to other players. Adding to this is that a primary feature of the game is well, complete and total chaos. When players in a Battle Royale are of about equal skill, the top space on the scoreboard is constantly shifting as random nuclear submarines nuke the stage, large groups of mutants run on a rampage, Cthulhu isolates the top three players, players are marked for death (bonus points), and various other events constantly ensure that equilibrium is nonexistant. It's possible to have multiple events occur simultaneously, making things even more chaotic.
    • This orgy of chaos is even displayed in the campaign, where every 20 kills in the hub areas spawns a formidable enemy or something dangerous enough to both scare off the roaming enemies and give the player a significant challenge. In missions, though, the player experiences more tightly-scripted versions of these events.
  • The Corruption: Maaaaaybe. It's not addressed, but several cyborgs gain glowing red eyes when they are about to do something drastic and unwise. In Max's case, it is explicitly homicidal insanity (schizophrenia that resembles a split personality), that is attributed to his medications but never addressed directly. Jack gets red eyes when he starts acting violently out-of-character and later snaps out of it very suddenly. Nikolai also displays them in a similar situation, and Leo's blue eyes occasionally glow in contrast to signify his focus.
    • Notably, the Baron seems to have the reverse issue Jack has; His eyes glow red when he's acting rationally instead of playing up his antics.
  • Crapsack World: A world full of wastelands filled with mutants; and ruined cities populated by psychopaths called Killseekers.
  • Cross Counter: Between Max and Jack.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Oinkie. He's fat, greedy, perverted, and acts moronic, but is in reality an extremely accomplished physical fighter and a brilliant scientist.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Not massively present (any mental or personality dysfunctions are credited to other, more rational things). However, touched upon by "This Is Madness" and "The Hand of Science" from the soundtrack.
  • Cyborg: Nearly every character is this due to replacing one or all of their body parts with weaponized versions.
  • Darker and Edgier: This game takes itself much more seriously than MadWorld: The player has a limited variety of ways to kill their enemies, there is less humor, most deaths are played out seriously, there are no announcers cracking jokes, electrocution is portrayed realistically (instead of having the victim's skeleton be visible), and there are also some Tear Jerker moments during the story.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Yeah, many characters get their moments, but Leo seems most prone to it.
    Oinkie: Whoa, whoa! Time out! Time out! That's two against one! No fair!
    Leo: I take it you're not counting your small army?
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: When a Drone enemy's health is depleted, there is a few seconds of them collapsing before they explode, which hurts the players if they are near. Laser Drones even give off a mini-nuclear explosion when they are killed. Of course, the players can use this to their advantage...
    • It is implied that Zero does this the second time he is defeated in the Black Side campaign.
    Zero: I am ashamed.
    * beepbeepBOOM*
    Jack: No. You're a douchebag.
  • Downer Ending: Averted. See Gainax Ending below.
  • Dropping the Bombshell: In the second confrontation with Max in story mode.
    Jack(Black Side)/Leo(White Side): Did you kill her?
    Max: ...Yeah.
  • Dual Boss: Several.
    • In the only one for the Black Side, Jack has to fight two Gargoyles at once after fighting three others separately.
    • In the final battle of the first White Side act, Leo teams up with Sasha to fight Durga and Garuda.
    • In the first battle of White Side's act 3, Leo teams up with Sasha once more to fight Fei Rin and Ai Rin.
  • Fake Shemp: Bayonetta's lines are all sound clips taken from her game.
  • Fantastic Measurement System: Again with Bayonetta, where her height and weight in a cage match's stats screen are displayed as 'uwh' and 'uww', which stand for "Umbran Witch height" and "weight", respectively. These seem to be made up solely for the purpose of this game's height and weight statistics, however.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The Rin Sisters.
    • Every other character is also one of these, with Poison being the 4th one: this mostly comes in play with level 3 characters, who can inflict the respective status aliment on their opponent with some of their attacks, and in Deathball, where Superstar Shots can normally only be blocked by characters who share the shooter's element.
  • Flat "What": Jack gets one in during a scene that is freaky even for the game's standards.
  • Flunky Boss: In the Black Side's first encounter against Zero, he'll have a load of ninja drones to help him out.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Jack and Leo. A lot of it from Jack's side, oddly enough.
    Jack: What's a standup guy doing in a dump like this?
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Sometimes massive bosses will show up during a fight. Most of the time, it's a giant robot called Cthulhu; and yes, you can punch him out.
  • Gainax Ending: Subverted. During the Red Story, where both characters work together to kill Nikolai after he had gone mad, they win the battle. Just as the finishing blow is about to be landed, Nikolai ends up stabbing and killing both Jack and Leo, talking about how the winners write the rules to their corpses, and how he was the winner. Oh no, it's a Diabolus ex Machina and it was all for noth- PSYCHE... Nikolai was daydreaming before he got cut in half horizontally. They really end up bringing Max and the upper half of Nikolai back.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: During the ending of "Black Fire, White Ice" Sasha manages to knock Baron and Matilda out long enough to walk away from the battle. During the opening assault, Baron runs in swinging wildly and barely putting up any defense before getting swept aside. In-game when fighting lighter characters, a medium or heavy character skimping on defense and rushing in after missing the first hit usually gives the light character the opening they need to knock heavier characters around pretty hard.
  • Global Currency: Evidently, the Dinar is the currency used in this setting.
  • Ground Pound: As well as using the Strong Attack while descending from the jump, if a character falls from a high-enough distance, then they quickly pick up momentum and can cause heavy damage if they manage to land on an enemy.
  • Guest Fighter: Bayonetta, who is playable if you pre-ordered the game, or have a first-edition copy of the game. She was eventually made $1.00 DLC.
  • Horrorcore: Like its predecessor Madworld, most of the soundtrack consists of rap songs about gruesomely murdering people.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The signpost from MadWorld returns!
  • Improvised Weapon: From Signpost and tires to CO2 tanks and cars.
  • It's Raining Men: If someone jumps off of something high enough, they will start to catch fire and land on the ground just fine, damaging anything or anyone they land on, next to, or on the way down.
  • Jiggle Physics: If someone has something that should move on its own, it will. An odd example is Sasha's hair, which has a tendency to clip through her body during her attacks.
  • Kill Sat:
    • The Satellite laser. Instant death for the target, but can be dodged with strict timing.
    • The Microwave Array event, which kills everyone in the stage who hasn't rushed to the safe zone once it goes off.
  • Knight Templar: Nikolai. Although he, Leo, and Sasha were ordered to kill Max when they find him, Leo (and technically Sasha) want to bring Max in instead in the hopes that he'd keep his life. Nikolai, however, is all too eager to follow orders.
  • Lighter and Softer: Downplayed. While the hallmarks of the previous game are still present - brutal melee combat and hyperviolence, tons of swearing, Horrorcore for the soundtrack - it's subtly but noticeably less intense. The blood and gore aren't as visible, and said blood tends to come from the mutants, which tend to be blue. And while the mooks can get ripped apart easily, named characters like the playable cast will never be dismembered in gameplay. The story is also more dramatic instead of darkly comedic, with a Bittersweet Ending that leans more on the sweet side than the bitter. And finally, the vocals in the soundtrack, while still full of lyrics about gruesomely murdering people, are backed by music that opts for more jazz or electro-sounding fare instead of the rough rock backing that MadWorld had.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Anyone can qualify with the Sprinter perk, with the heavy class of characters being the most appropriate example of the trope. For context, Sprinter lets a character get to their top running speed quickly, as opposed to needing to run for six seconds or so before the sprint starts. While it has a noticeable effect on light and medium characters, one of the primary weaknesses of the heavy class is that they take longer to sprint (eight seconds of running), and Sprinter removes this weakness entirely.
  • Limit Break:
    • Rampage Mode, which makes you invincible and gives you unlimited Killer Weapon usage, as well as make it that your regular attacks quickly transition into Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs on whatever enemy you hit. This can quickly deal huge amounts of damage to other characters... But considering the sheer effectiveness of blocking and dodging, you're more than likely to not be able to kill anything.
    • In Deathball, if a character holds onto a ball long enough, they can execute a Superstar Shot that can only be blocked by a character that shares the shooter's element or is in Rampage mode. Heavier characters' Superstar Shots usually involve quickly charging towards the goal while holding the ball and can't be blocked at all, but they have limited range and can stop before the character reaches the goal, wasting both the Shot and the scoring opportunity.
  • Made of Iron:
    • While this would normally be self-explanatory to some degree, one of the videos has shown that the most often-used way to brutalize mooks in Madworld, impaling them with a pole, has made it into this game as well. So in other words, you can throw traffic signs at other characters, they firmly lodge themselves through the target's head, and all they do is cause a minor amount of damage and dizzy them.
    • Not to mention when it comes to Killer Weapons. Apparently, every character can survive being cut vertically by Jack's double chainsaw without as much a scratch. Even when a character loses their health from a Killer Weapon attack, they'll still be in one piece afterwards.
  • Made of Plasticine: On the other hand, almost all Killseekers (the generic mooks) are incapable of dying without having at least their upper torsos (if not their head or even entire body) explode from the force of several weak punches. A few specific Killseekers, as well as the Drones, are Made of Explodium instead of Plasticine.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Gargoyles. Same robot model as Garuda, but with plasma arms instead of drills. Also an unlockable character.
  • Moveset Clone:
    • The Rin sisters have very similar movesets, with the only major difference being their Killer Weapons.
    • The same kind of similarity and major difference also applies to Garuda and the hidden character, Gargoyle. Makes sense, since Garuda is of the same model as the latter.
  • Nanomachines: Sasha and the Rin sisters use these to operate their Killer Weapons. In fact, it's implied that everyone in the world who isn't a Cyborg has nanomachines in them to counter the plagues caused by the war.
  • Ninja: The playable character Zero is one, and he shows up with ninja mooks. He has a bounty on him. Baron takes his chance to rip this apart by first asking "My Ninja! Why don't you draw me up some wall scrolls, you know, some of that brush stroke shit?" and after the battle, we get this fine little gem from Baron.
    Token ninja character is big money walkin', and this token black guy ain't losing that paper, baby!
  • Noodle Incident: When Jack Cayman fights the Blacker Baron in the Black Side, he refers to having to help The Blacker Baron with a "pyromaniac sex freak", the flaming gloves of which The Blacker Baron kept (to Jack's mild disgust).
  • Palette Swap: The Rin Sisters are the same character model with minor variations in physique. Even their faces are exactly identical.
  • Psycho Serum: Edgar Oinkie injects himself with a home-brew version, and it's had a marked effect on his overall behavior. He also distributes a much smaller dose to his own minions.
  • Power Trio:
    • Leo, Sasha, and Nikolai are part of the same unit. Jack also ends up forming one with Baron and Mathilda.
    • Jack also forms another trio with his "super friends" Big Bull and Rin Rin.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Rampage Mode lets you kill opponents by pummelling them to death at high speeds. That is, unless your opponent also activated Rampage Mode...
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: People with cybernetic eyes will have them glow red when they're thoroughly pissed off.
  • Pummel Duel: If you're in Rampage Mode and attack someone who's also in Rampage Mode, you'll enter one of these. If you don't mash a specified face button faster than your opponent, you're likely to get killed instantly when it ends.
  • The Rival: Jack and Leo. Also referencing Madworld's ending, as Leo was revealed to be the one behind the whole plan all along.
  • Secret Character: When you complete both White Side and Black Side, you unlock Gargoyle.
  • Sequel Reset: The game is not a straight-up sequel to MadWorld, story-wise, though it contains some of the same characters, and characters whose designs are at least inspired by its predecessor. The game's engine, however, is basically a souped-up Madworld with a combo system and additional attacks, the underground Hip-Hop soundtrack is back (with several artists returning from Mad World), and the game is riddled with nods and throw-backs to that game. Jack is still with the Chasers, along with his contact Amala, who references a prior rescue of Mayor Borras's daughter Naomi. Mathilda is, apart from a new robotic body, also the same. The Black Baron is back, and Blacker than ever, and Big Bull, Leo, and Rin Rin also make return appearances. Garuda's design also echoes Herr Frederick von Twirlen killer, especially his arms, while Oinkie is an obvious nod to Yee Fung in many ways.
  • Shout-Out: Plenty, not just to many of the other games PlatinumGames has made, but to a bunch of other games as well:
    • One of the events that can occur during a large-scale match, on a couple stages, is an orbital Microwave energy blast (if you don't find cover, it will instant-kill you without exception, and even being in its targeting area when it charges up rapidly drains your life).
    • During one wonderfully cheesy-in-every-single-aspect mission, Zero, at one point while watching you fight more mooks, he says "the combat rating is 8... no, Over Nine Thousand!"
    • The line "Must be hard out here for a pimp." is one to the movie Hustle & Flow.
    • During the VERY FIRST Black side mission where you meet Big Bull, he recognizes Jack Cayman, who replies "I feel like a fucking celebrity in this town."
    • Max makes reference to a serial killer whose MO is ripping out cybernetic nerve-bundles.
    • One of Jack's nicknames is Deathwatcher Jack.
    • "Aww, no play makes Jack a very dull boy."
    • "Ain't you got eyes man? That's a motherfuckin' plane comin' down on yo ass!"
    • Max can perform the Shun Goku Satsu as one of his Secret A.I. Moves.
    • Rampage Mode itself seems to be inspired by the Black Baron's second phase in Mad World. The animation for going into Berserk is similar to the Baron's power-up sequence, and the dueling sequence initiated when two Berserk characters clash is straight out of the final Power Struggle against the Baron.
    • When playing Mad Survival in the Excavation Pit, Wave/Round 4 pits you against Jack, Baron, Mathilda, and Rin Rin, all of whom are 100% monochrome black and white. Now where does that sound familiar...? For bonus points, the Subtitle for this wave is "Madworld" and even plays a song exclusively from that game's soundtrack.
    • In a multiplayer game, if the Baron is on the winning team, or is the winner, then he'll say "It's a celebration, bitches!"
    • After hijacking a copter drone, you can choose to send it crashing to the ground with a pile driver. The helicopter pile driver was one of the Yokuzuna's moves in MadWorld.
    • One of Big Bull's many bull-pun based taunts is "Where's the beef!?"
    • One of Bayonetta's lines is "Say hello to my little friend."
    • Cybrid Joes are largely reminscient of the enemy Tiger Joes from God Hand, both in name, overall fighting style, and being the toughest human-sized enemies fought during the main storyline.
    • On the Station Map in Survival/Mad Survival, you can see a poster for The Gates of Hell behind some rubble. This is a Call-Back to The Gates of Hell being advertised in the subway in Madworld.
    • One of Rin-Rin's lines is "You want to touch me? Come on".
    • One of Bayonetta's colors looks like Bruce Lee's Game of Death suit, while one of Mathilda's looks like Vanessa Z. Schneider.
    • Blacker Baron's Killer Weapons are the eagle bracelets made famous by Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah.
    • A potential Call-Forward to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: when Max makes his presence known at the end of the second area, he throws an uppercut aimed at Jack's chin that he barely manages to avoid by bending backwards. In Rising, Raiden (whose real name is also Jack) attempts to do the same thing multiple times, although he's usually not as successful at it, causing his metal chin to take at least some damage in the process as a Running Gag.
    • A few character attacks are borrowed from Capcom games:
    • Garuda and Gargoyle's appearance resembles that of characters from The Transformers. Their ability to change into a small vehicle is even punctuated by a sound very close to the G1 transformation sound effect.
  • Sniper Rifle: One of the items the player can pick up. Yes, sniping enemies while they're busy fighting each other is a valid strategy.
  • Stock Scream: Blacker Baron's introduction scene in the Main Campaign, the Killseeker he pushes down utters the Wilhelm Scream.
  • "Super Sentai" Stance: In the third Survival level, the tenth round has five multicoloured Gargoyles that do one of these, complete with background explosion, no less!
  • Testosterone Poisoning: In a development blog, the director referred to the "macho percentage" of the average male in game as 300%. Including the women, the average character is only 200% macho.
  • Time-Limit Boss: When the Blacker Baron is near death in Black Side 1-3, a cargo plane explodes in mid-air, threatening to squash everyone in a few seconds. If the Baron isn't defeated in the ensuing time limit, an instant mission failure ensues, regardless of how many tries the player has left.
  • Title Drop: Two-fold title drop. The American title gets dropped in-game (see the quote below).
    Nikolai: Look at all these lawless people! Anarchy Reigns!
    • The other title drop is the Japanese title with the Max Anarchy trophy/achievement.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: Happens during the final battle against Nikolai.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: None of the game's story mode would have happened had Max not gone rogue.
  • World of Badass: The main cast of the game are an example of this.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Everyone can do throws, from a standard power bomb to some more complex moves: each character has at least 3 basic throws depending on if they're done from front, behind or on grounded enemies and some Killer Weapon attacks work like throws when they connect.
    • To get into specific character detail, Jack can do a Power Bomb and a German Suplex for his front and back throw, The Blacker Baron does a Backbreaker for his front throw, Leo performs a Frankensteiner for his back throw, Nikolai does a Cobra Twist and a Vertical Suplex for his front and back throw, and Douglas can grab two foes and perform a Wild Swing on both of them.
  • X on a Stick: The Execution with a Flame Hammer, which is actually a car on an I beam on fire.