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Video Game / Mad Max (2015)

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"It is known that the world fell, and that most people in it died. The dead will not suffer the hardships of the terrible world which remains. Those born into this hell have no remembrance of anything else. Those who survived...Those who are the truly broken. For they know what was before."

Mad Max is a post-apocalyptic action-adventure game with vehicular combat elements, set in an open world environment and is heavily based on the Mad Max film series. It was developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and was released for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on September 1, 2015, with a macOS and Linux port provided by Feral Interactive on October 20th, 2016.

The general plot is that Max has run afoul of Scabrous Scrotus, a psychotic warlord and his War Boys. After a scuffle that left him half-naked and wounded, he got his beloved V8 Interceptor stolen and dismantled by marauders and he ends up reluctantly working with Chumbucket, a zealous, hunchbacked "blackfinger" (mechanic), to build a new car. Chumbucket sees Max as a saint sent by the Angel Combustion (Chumbucket's personal deity) to help him complete his car, the Magnum Opus. Max simply sees Chumbucket as a means of getting a replacement vehicle so that he can finally reach an area of the Wasteland called the Plains of Silence and find peace in a world gone mad, but not without going up against many of its savage inhabitants with the only way he knows: fists, sick wrestling moves and his trusty sawn-off shotgun.

The player takes on the role of the titular character, and features a variety of weapons which Max can use to defeat his enemies. Though the shotgun is Max's weapon of choice, ammo is scarce, so melee options are generally the easier and the smarter way to go. The 'thunderstick' is an explosive weapon that can be lanced into an enemy's chest, blowing the victim up. The harpoon can be used in-vehicle with Chum riding along. The Magnum Opus can be combined with a V8 engine and powerful ramming ability to destroy enemies' vehicles and weaponry. Weapons, such as a collapsible sniper rifle and under-mounted side burners, can also be added to the Magnum Opus.

With the PC release of Grand Theft Auto V coming earlier in 2015, and Mad Max being released on the same day as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, it was massively overshadowed by those two open world mega franchises. Despite this inauspicious start, the game launched to fair to good reviews and did enough to become one of the sleeper hits of 2015. It subverted the expectations of many people in the media and gaming community who thought it would be a rushed, zero-depth licensed game due to launching around the same time as Mad Max: Fury Road. In short, Mad Max was praised for its Arkham-style combat, driving mechanics and wasteland aesthetic, but received criticism for its graphical glitches and repetitive missions.

Not to be confused with the 1990 game of the same name, developed and published by Mindscape for the NES.

The game provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: The Magnum Opus starts out as a rusty frame on decayed tires, but can be upgraded and customized into a spiky rimmed, fire-breathing death machine.
  • Alternate Continuity: The game fits George Miller's view of Mad Max as a series of myths and legends about one figure, in which you can usually find quite a bit of inconsistency. The game references things found in all three films. The tie-in comics for Fury Road feature details from the game as backstory for the film, so the game fits best as a prequel to that film, but the film itself never directly references the plot of the game. Most notably, the difference between Max's backstory here and in the original films is that he now lost a daughter instead of a son.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Improving strongholds involves building various facilities in them, and for most of those, you need to find project parts, which can be scattered across different scavenging locations. These only become marked on the map once you've been in their vicinity at least once, which would make looking for missing project parts quite frustrating if it were not for the Survey Crew, the stronghold project that reveals all of the scavenging locations in a given region. This project always has its parts located in Enemy Camps (with exception to the Dump, since it possesses no camps), which can be marked on the map by visiting Vantage Points in the region. This means you always have the means to locate the required project parts without having to aimlessly drive around the map and hope you're lucky.
    • You can also track parts for a specific project by going up to it and holding the interact button, which will mark the location of each part even if you haven't discovered its location yet, allowing you to drive right to them.
    • When you need to use an explosive to get past a door, there is almost always a gas canister or Thunderstick rack somewhere nearby. Also if you blow up the gas canister before destroying what you need to proceed, another gas canister will spawn in the same spot. Just to make it even better, all destroyed doors and other debris eventually despawn, meaning that even if something gets stuck and prevents you from progressing, it will disappear within a few seconds.
    • Because of the minefield side missions, the player will have to take the Dog and Chum's Buggy out of the Strongholds very often. To compensate for the fact that the game is forcing you to use a car with no repair function or any weapons besides the shotgun, the Buggy travels relatively quickly both on- and off-road, has an excellent suspension that allows it to withstand most bumps and falls, alongside insanely high health that makes it all but indestructible. You won't really be able to fight driving it, but you'll outrun basically everything trying to kill you and can then circle back to deal with a minefield.
  • Apocalypse How: The world has ended, but as is standard in the series, it's not really clear exactly what happened, though the evidence seems to point to "everything, at once." Global warming thawed the ice caps and flooded the world, while plagues and wars ravaged the population, nukes shredded the already tattered biosphere and dried up the oceans, and the governments collapsed completely as they failed to protect and provide. Most animals went extinct as people ate them to stave off starvation, and everything devolved into the Scavenger World it is today.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Historic Relics consist of pictures, letters, and other records from people before the world fell into ruin, from Max's old family portrait to distressing recounts about dwindling supplies.
  • Artificial Stupidity: If you're on foot and close to a road (as many scavenging locations are), then get spotted by a passing Scrapulance, the driver may stop, get out and fight you, instead of doing the more logical thing and driving away. One Curb-Stomp Battle later, you're left with an undamaged Scrapulance, ready for delivery.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Some of the cars Max can collect have cool and unique properties, such as "The Twelve"'s V12 engine and the "Drop Kicker"'s ability to dispense mines from its rear, and high ramming damage. However, without Chumbucket's repairing ability or the other weapons available on the Magnum Opus, they generally just aren't as useful overall.
  • Badass Driver: Max is primarily known for his driving skills, and people often call him "the driver."
  • Big "NO!": After Max discovers he is too late to save Glory (who dies in his arms) and her mother from the hands of Scrotus.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Max certainly isn't the "Saint" Chumbucket believes he is, but it's easy to root for him against the Ax-Crazy Scabrous Scrotus and his marauding War Boys, the barbaric Roadkill or the walking nightmares that are the Buzzards. Most of your allies are also warlords or slavers themselves, only not quite as murderous as Scrotus and his hordes.
  • Blood Knight: Tenderloin, the "fighter" (basically the person taking Chumbucket's place in riding in the back and wielding the Thunderpoon) you need to recruit for the Gastown Race loves fighting and killing so much that when she's not fighting and killing in the races, she's high as a kite from huffing nitrous oxide and gasoline fumes all day to pass the time.
  • Blood Sport: The Death Runs qualify, and a part of the game's main quest line even features a fight to the death in a Thunderdome.
  • Body Horror:
    • Scrotus survives having a chainsaw shoved straight through his forehead in the opening cutscene, bisecting his longitudinal fissure. Due to the fact that the blade can't be removed without killing him, he wears it like a crown for the rest of the game.
    • Jeet pushes razor blades into the raw, cancerous tissue that covers half of his body as a coping mechanism.
    • Deep Friah's body is almost completely covered in third-degree burn scars.
  • Book Ends: The game begins with Max looking at the photo of his wife and child as he drives in his black-on-black. At the end, after losing Hope, Glory, Chumbucket, and the Magnum Opus, Max gets back into his black-on-black, puts his photo of his wife and daughter on the dashboard, and drives off.
  • Border Patrol: Crossing the boundaries of the map leads to you entering the Big Nothing, a massive desert where rampant sandstorms and dust devils will cause you to continually take damage until you die.
  • Boring, but Practical: The most basic combo finisher is a vertical spinning backfist. It's nowhere near as flashy as some of the wrestling moves, like the suplex, but it's also one of the fastest, and it still does finisher damage. Considering enemies can damage you during the slower ones, and break your combo string, the backfist will be your go to.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: One of the Top Dogs is weak to fire, yet has a bunch of flame traps in his arena.
  • Breakable Weapons: The melee weapons you take from enemies break after a number of hits. Levelling up the "Intuition" ability allows them to last longer.
  • Bullfight Boss:
  • Car Fu: The main form of combat when driving around the wastes. Ramming, side-swiping, grinding, it all works. Combined with the boost and the Magnum Opus' other onboard weapons, and it makes for fast and brutal fights.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Max throws windmill punches, surprise haymakers, kicks opponents in the abdomen or the crotch when they're down, stabs them with shivs when they're stunned, slams their faces into nearby walls, and even blasts them in the gut with his shotgun. But, really though, in a world like this, people who fought with elegance and had codes of conduct have already been gutted by starving lunatics with rusty knives.
  • Companion Cube: Chumbucket is obviously in love with his Magnum Opus. His voice reveals a sexual thrill at some points when he talks about working on it. One character notes how he talks about it like he would to a girlfriend.
  • Continuity Nod: Like all of the Mad Max films, the game sort of makes nods at previous movies and stories, such as the War Boys, but they're also not exactly holding continuity:
    • Some enemies refer to Max as The Raggedy Man.
    • The highest legend rank is Road Warrior.
    • Max still wears his leg brace.
    • Finishing all the single-player story missions gives the player the ability to drive the Interceptor, wear Max's iconic leather jacket, and use his iconic sawed-off shotgun.
    • Max has a dog as a pet in the game, though he seems much less interested in it than the one he has in Road Warrior.
    • Max's primary food is Dinki-Di dog food, which we see him eat in Road Warrior.
  • Cool Car:
    • The Magnum Opus, due to being completely customizable and decked with a slew of utilitarian and combat equipment.
    • Max's V8 Interceptor. Intro action scenes aside, the car doesn't seem to die against all odds. Despite being shown to be broken down for parts at the beginning of the game, Scrotus managed to acquire it as his backup vehicle/trophy after having the car reassembled with extra modifications on top. This is followed by a final boss battle that damages the car enough to strip Scrotus' mods off, but not enough to totally destroy the car as Max casually drives it away.
  • Crapsack World: The game does a very fine job of showing how the wasteland sucks balls, even more so when war tribes own everything. Corpse-infesting maggots, rats, lizards and expired cans of dog food are considered a delicacy and the main sustenance to the common people. You'll see a few people wandering the desert dying of thirst, people begging for a Mercy Kill and desiccated bodies being hung on the gallows from here and there.
  • Creepy Doll:
    • Areas inhabited by Buzzards sometimes have mannequins placed in a manner of ways, usually giving the impression that you are being watched. This is most obvious in the Underdune where most Buzzards seem to live, but some of their outposts have them as well.
    • The "Rubba Baby" and "Demon Doll" hood ornaments are this, being a damaged doll's head and a shadowy-eyed doll respectively that can be mounted on the Magnum Opus.
  • Cutting the Knot: Unlike a lot of other games of this type, there are no rules governing the Death Run races. Nothing is stopping you from deviating from the marked track and beelining off-road to the finish line, or from destroying your competitors with your quad-barrelled shotgun or (if you're driving one of the Archangels) a Thunderpoon courtesy of Chumbucket.
  • Dark Action Girl: Tenderloin, the "fighter" who mans Max's Thunderpoons during the big race. She eventually turns on him and puts up a hood fight when the two are forced to fight to the death.
  • Darker and Edgier: Somehow manages to be this even for the likes of canonical Mad Max. Max's sanity and altruism are at his lowest, the War Boys and Buzzards are shown to be even worse than in the movie, and the combat is absolutely brutal as Max will mercilessly shank, snap limbs, break jaws and eviscerate combatants with a shotgun as scare tactics.
  • Deadly Dust Storm:
    • Sandstorms will occasionally kick up, turning the visibility down to near zero. You must find some form of shelter or stay in the car, lest you get hit with the large chunks of scrap flying through the air. Though if your car's armour is weak this won't do you any good. Worse, there are sandstorms that bring lightning storms within them, striking the ground with electricity blasts that can total most vehicles in a single hit. However, Sandstorms can also yield Muthaloot containers, which can give you a ridiculous amount of scrap provided that you survive.
    • In a smaller form, dust devils will also arise in the wastes, stripping health from anything caught in them. Minor nuisances in the Magnum Opus, but if you're on foot, they can be lethal.
  • Despair Event Horizon: One mission Pink Eye gives you is to make sure some of her people make it to a dock where they can use their landship to cross the Big Nothing. If you come back to this dock later, you'll find one of her men, completely depressed because he wasn't able to leave with them. Declaring that his life has no other purpose, he asks you to kill him.
  • Dog Food Diet: Dog food is actually the most palatable food available to Max. The other options are critters that he's just stomped on/run over and handfuls of maggots.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": As with the film, Max never gives the dog a name and refers to it only as "dog." Chumbucket calls him "the Dinki-Di," referring to the brand of dog food found in the game.
  • Downer Ending: This game somehow manages to have an ending even more depressing than the end of the first movie. You know, the one where Max's family is killed and leaving him a broken shell of a man? Hope and Glory end up getting brutally murdered by Scrotus, triggering the voices that Max starts hearing, and Max ends up destroying the Magnum Opus while trying to kill Scrotus, killing Chumbucket in the process. The only consolation is that Max gets his Interceptor back, so he's right back to where he started.
  • Eldritch Location: Any of the places where Griffa appears, rocky mazes that only Max can enter, where the air turns into an unearthly purple or burgundy tone that gradually turns red as he approaches Griffa. Ethereal screams fill Max's mind and the walls are covered in strange, chalky Aboriginal glyphs seeming to depict corpses and atomic blastwaves. Not only does the atmosphere clear after speaking with Griffa, but the drawings disappear as well, further deepening the mystery of just who, or what, the hell Griffa actually is.
  • Enlightened Self-Interest: Completing the various Stronghold projects makes it easier for the factions based there to survive in the Wasteland. It also grants Max various advantages when he does things in the area or visits the stronghold.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: As might be expected, every car in the game explodes in a massive fireball when you kill it. The Magnum Opus is only slightly less volatile; when it runs out of health, you get a five-second timer to bail out and let Chumbucket repair it, and it explodes if you don't.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Driving Chumbucket's dune buggy in minefields is the only way to find landmines to defuse.
  • Face–Heel Turn: While already a Punch-Clock Hero, Tenderloin fights Max after the Gastown race in the Thunderdome, though she doesn't appear to have much choice in the matter.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Pretty much everyone living in the world after the apocalypse is suffering this. Some people suffer from constant pain caused by the environment, while the rest suffer from dehydration, slavery, insanity, and just being stuck in this Hell-hole of a world while destined to die a very nasty death.
  • Flamethrower Backfire:
    • Scrotus "Fire Raiders", Roadkill "Flamegamers" and Buzzard "Charbones" come with rear-mounted flamethrowers, which are vulnerable to having their tanks shot. The resulting explosion usually won't total the vehicle it's mounted on, as those tend to be armoured, but it can take out other vehicles (or you) if they're close together, especially in convoys.
    • A variant: The big fuel storage tanks mounted on the back of the "Teeny Hauler" and "Bantam Hauler" lead convoy vehicles will also start spraying flames when heavily damaged, which frequently causes the demise of their escort vehicles (or you, again).
  • Freak Out: Max near the end, in which he starts hearing voices, possibly leading to his mental issues in Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes:
    • Inverted. Max makes some allies through the game that eventually become the closest things to friends he has. However, he is in so much denial about it that he can't see it. Dog in the dream sequence even points out that it is a bit too late for Max to not make friends.
    • Played straight with Chumbucket, as he seems to annoy every faction leader. The only reason they keep him around is that he is a very skilled mechanic.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Max has a bad leg from getting shot in the first film. That said, he can't jump very high and some falls cause him to limp temporarily.
  • Genius Cripple: Chumbucket, who is hunchbacked and deformed but a savant of a mechanic and a sure shot with a harpoon or Thunderpoon.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Everyone, the closest you'll get to martial arts is Max breaking limbs with leg locks and armbars.
  • Guide Dang It!: A fair amount of the items in camps or scrap locations found through Survey Crew projects are still rather tricky to run down as they might be tucked away in non-obvious corners or underneath stairs/ramps, etc. A few locations don't become available until much later in story missions. For those seeking 100% Completion this can be quite frustrating indeed.
  • Handicapped Badass: Max still has his busted knee.
  • Hate Sink: Scabrous Scrotus is a brutal wasteland warlord and the son of Immortan Joe. Introduced kicking his own dog to get it to attack Max, Scrotus also runs a substantial portion of the wasteland. Out of spite, Scrotus not only attacks Max after he legitimately wins a race, and finally, decides to murder Max's new family, Hope and Glory, leaving Max lonely, insane, and dedicated to vengeance.
  • Hearing Voices: During the final mission, Max hears the voices of himself, Hope, Glory and later Chumbucket urging him to kill Scrotus.
  • I Love the Dead: Dead bodies splayed in sleeping areas which are still populated pop up from time to time. The most lurid and direct example comes from the Top Dog Stump Grinder, who not only proclaims his intention to use Max's twitching corpse to pleasure himself with, he also has a king-sized bed in his quarters with a freshly used corpse resting atop it. His bio reveals that Stump Grinder is castrated and he is overcompensating with violence and necrophilia for the sexual chip on his shoulder.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Multiple enemy factions have turned to cannibalism as a means for survival. Even Max himself in a roundabout sense, as he can eat maggots feasting on rotting corpses. One photo found even recalls a person meeting with an old friend who "can't recall the last time they had such good barbecue... shame that their other friend disappeared suddenly."
  • In Name Only: Ultimately averted. Avalanche initially dropped the Australian accents and the setting, admitting to treating it as an entirely new story instead of a Mad Max game, resulting in something that appeared as nothing more than a generic post-apocalyptic game rather than anything resembling the Mad Max series. Although a combination of a petition to have Max voiced by an Australian (eventually revealed to be actor/martial artist Bren Foster), George Miller himself intervening to set down some ground rules for creating the Wasteland, and even had his production company create all the characters, did a great deal to alleviate the concerns of the fans.
  • Informed Attribute: The Top Dogs. Each is given a rather colourful bio, and many of them feel like they'd make great Mad Max film villains on their own with such background material. In practice, the only difference their personality makes is how they taunt you pre-fight; otherwise, they're just Palette Swaps of each other, who use the same fighting style and whose boss fights, therefore, play out almost identically.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Let's see; Max plans to go to Gastown and acquire the "Big Chief V8", thus ending the game when he drives off via the Plains of Silence. What are the chances it works out that way when the V8 has its own large upgrade category?
    • The fact that the Interceptor is listed as one of the other vehicles you can collect and drive in a Death Run tells you that you will get it back at some point.
  • Joke Item: One of the unlockable vehicles is the Kaboom Bug. It's as durable as paper, and its gimmick is that it's a drivable bomb.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Scabrous Scrotus. He begins as a (relatively) normal warlord, but something happens to him that turns him into a bloodthirsty monster who can only find solace from his own pain through the suffering of others. Turns out that he survives the chainsaw to the head, albeit taking severe brain damage in the process.
  • Kick the Dog: Literally in this case. Scrotus sends a dog after Max, but when Max fends off the dog, Scrotus kicks it off of his truck for his failure.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Magnum Opus can be equipped with two side-mounted flamethrowers and other vehicles come equipped with them as well. One of the Top Dogs is also weak to fire and has flamethrower traps in his arena.
  • Large and in Charge: Much like the Lord Humungous, Blaster, and his brother Rictus Erectus, Scabrous Scrotus is absolutely huge. This also applies to all Top Dogs, who are the head of their own encampments and are all gigantic.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
    • The various car bodies for the Magnum Opus are all based on real car bodies, changed just enough to avoid copyright infringement.
      • The Furnace is based on the Perentti, an Australian kit-car inspired by the Chevrolet Corvette and based on a Holden truck chassis.
      • The Shovelface is based on the 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback (The car from Bullitt)
      • The Wild Hunt is based on the 1973 Ford Falcon XB, which is the same kind of car as Max's V8 Interceptor.
      • The Death Rattle is based on the 1934 Chevrolet Master 5 Window Coupe.
      • The Die Rolla is loosely based on the body of a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III.
      • The Ripper is based on the 1965-1967 Pontiac GTO.
    • Virtually every other vehicle in the game is based on a real-world counterpart. There's even a 1959 Oldsmobile 88 coupe utility called "Hardball", although Olds never made a Ute.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Because the game is set in Australia, all of the cars are right-side drivers. If the player gets into the left side of the Magnum Opus a few times, Chumbucket will ask if he's forgotten where the driver's seat is. This is obviously a poke at players who are accustomed to entering cars from the left side in real life and/or video games set in the United States like Grand Theft Auto.
  • Lighthouse Point: Jeet has built his stronghold by an old lighthouse, although the stairs to the tower are blocked off by debris. There are several lighthouses occupied by enemies. At least one of which is used as a lookout and sniper position.
  • Machine Worship: Chumbucket believes that auto mechanics is a holy pursuit. He worships the "Angel Combustion" and believes his goal in life is to make the greatest car ever, with Max being the Saint sent by the Angel to help him in his sacred work.
  • Made of Iron: Scabrous Scrotus takes a chainsaw to the head at the hands of Max at the beginning of the game, and survives. Albeit with severe brain damage.
  • Magikarp Power: The Magnum Opus goes from a hunk of junk to the most powerful and fearsome vehicle in the game.
  • Magnum Opus: In-universe this is Max's car to Chumbucket, literally referred to as the 'Magnum Opus'. What starts off as nothing more than a chassis with tied-together wheels and a pitiful V6 engine eventually evolves into a blown V8 monster capable of turning anything within the game into a smoldering wreck with brutal effectiveness.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • Did Chumbucket really receive visions of Max's coming or is Max just taking advantage of a poor lost soul? Sure, badass drivers aren't exactly rare in the wasteland so Chumbucket was likely to run across one eventually, but he did know Max's nickname for the Interceptor, the Black on Black, which makes it more ambiguous.
    • As well as Griffa, who seems to be able to "unlock Max's full potential" and is always found in a mystic-like area that turns back to normal after talking to him. Doesn't help that it seems like only Max is able to see him.
    • Did the events of the game even happen? Due to ending up exactly how you started the game there is a good chance that everything that happened is entirely in Max's mind.
  • Meaningful Name: Hope and Glory represent the potential for a better tomorrow. So in the wasteland that's already lost these things, of course they end up dead.
  • Mind Screw:
    • The areas where Griffa is found. The rocks covered in cave drawings and a strange aura surrounding the area. After Max wakes up all of that is gone.
    • Max's hallucination from blood-loss: Dog appears with a human body, Chumbucket wearing a top hat, and Dog acting as a preacher to Max and Hope's wedding. You will be wondering what the heck is going on.
    • After Hope and Glory are killed, Max's mental health is clearly failing.
  • Mook Chivalry: Nope. Enemies in this game will swing at you whenever they feel like it, and certain attack animations (particularly Heavy Strikes) leave you unable to parry should an enemy try to sucker punch you during it.
  • Molotov Truck: One of the vehicles you can come across when driving about the wastes is the Roadkill "Kaboom Bug". They're nothing more than a buggy with zero armour and oil barrels worked into the roll cage. They have sets of fireworks all over that the driver lights simultaneously as a makeshift fuse, making a nicely hellish 'WHEEEEE' noise to let you know the car is about to go off.
  • Mythology Gag: The game has a couple of little nods to the movies:
    • Some enemies refer to Max as "The Raggedy Man".
    • The highest level wheel grinders on the Magnum Opus are identical to those on the War Rig.
    • The Dinki Di brand dog food from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior appears as a healing item.
    • One of the wasteland missions has Max investigate the ruins of a War Rig. Bonus points for it containing the final upgrade for the sniper rifle.
    • Some stronghold settlers refer to Max's Super-Reflexes, as the Gyro Captain did from the second film.
    • Griffa bears a strong resemblance to the Gyro Captain in both looks and attitude, albeit with a decidedly supernatural bent to his motives.
    • For those disappointed at not being able to drive the Interceptor at first, the "Wild Hunt" car body for the Magnum Opus uses the same Ford Falcon body as the Interceptor. The player can even complete the look by using the black paint job and stock V8 engine.
    • As with his previous film appearances, Max wears a leg brace after getting kneecapped. If you fall from a significant yet nonlethal height, Max will limp on his bad leg for a few moments.
    • The second half of the Gastown Race where you're pitted against your wingman Tenderloin is basically just the Thunderdome without bungee cords or weapons being given to you by the crowd. The Outcrier even gets the crowd to start chanting "Two men enter, one man leaves."
    • After the Gastown Race, Max's life is saved when Hope takes him to a doctor who provides him with a blood transfusion from a War Boy named Scab, who is forced to act as a "blood bag". This is an inverse to Max's situation in Fury Road, where he had been forced to act as a "blood bag" for Nux.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In spite of taking place in Australia, the game's cast is mostly composed of Americans who use their native accents. Most notable is Chumbucket, who mispronounces the Australian term "Dinki-di" as "dinky dee" instead of "dinky die."
  • Notice This: The colours yellow and (to a lesser degree) red are used as markers. Climbable ladders are yellow, ledges you can balance on are marked with a yellow streak, doors that can be kicked open have a yellow frame and a small red spot in the centre, doors that can be opened via an explosion have a larger red splash in the middle, exposed fuel tanks are always red and so on. In general, yellow means "Go there", while red is "destroy this". Additionally, objects that can be picked up, like fuel canisters, shivs, melee weapons and scrap, are marked with flat yellow icons floating above them because depending on lighting and background, they might be less-than-conspicuously coloured otherwise.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Aside from different color schemes, dialogue and biographies, all the Top Dogs are basically the same giant Lord Humungous lookalikes with identical makeshift bladed maces who all fight the same way and share the same voice. The only one that deviates from them are Roadkill Top Dogs, yet even their only differences are that they're an exceedingly rare enemy fought in standard encounters, as opposed to being a designated boss enemy.
    • All three of the enemy factions are this to each other, each having functionally identical analogues for both on-foot and vehicle units. For example, there is nothing different between Scrotus Bucklers, Roadkill Roadbucklers or Buzzard Nightbucklers beyond cosmetic differences.
  • Parachute in a Tree: A variation where Max finds a skeleton hanging from a parachute hung up on the mast of a shipwreck, done as an Easter Egg referencing Rico Rodriguez, the protagonist of the Just Cause video game series made by the same developer.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Due to the WB Play servers shutting down as of the 2nd of November 2020, players are no longer be able to earn scrap from Scrap Crews. While players can still earn enough scrap through other methods, they will be unable to complete the challenges related to Scrap Crews. Since these challenges are also classified as non-repeating, this effectively makes it impossible to attain the "Up to the Task" achievement.
  • Photo Mode: Called Capture Mode with camera controls and filter settings.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Max starts the final beat down of each Top Dog by smashing the handle of his shotgun in his face.
  • Playable Epilogue: Following Max's final defeat of Scrotus and the deaths of Hope and Glory, as well as Chumbucket's death with the destruction of the Magnum Opus, the game appears to revert to having all of the characters still alive, as well as the Magnum Opus still intact. However, there is a strong implication that this is merely Max's grief-shattered mind hallucinating in a desperate attempt to assuage his guilt.
  • Player Headquarters: While they're not actually controlled by Max, the various allied warlords' strongholds function as this, being areas where you get most of your major quests as well as giving you various benefits such as refilling your ammo/health, passive scrap generation (up until November 2, 2020) and automatically collecting scrap from destroyed vehicles with the right upgrades.
  • Product Placement: West Coast Customs designed many of the car parts in this game. The DLC offers a car and hood ornaments made from Rockstar drink cans.
  • The Promised Land: Max is trying to make his way to the Plains of Silence when he is accosted by Scrotus's War Boys. Ultimately subverted. Max's character bio reveals that the Plains of Silence don't exist: Max is so mentally broken that he created a mythical place in order to escape from his demons. That said, it might be double subverted. Griffa tells Max at one point in the game that he is "already there," at the Plains of Silence. The Plains of Silence are actually the result of Max wiping Scrotus' influence from the game map. After all the convoys, fuel pumps, and transfer stations are destroyed, the wasteland does seem to be noticeably quieter, and emptier. At the end of the game, after the credits roll, Max stands on the edge of a cliff overlooking the wasteland, proclaiming that his mission is done and that the Plains of Silence await. The game then presents you with free roam mode, inviting you to continue exploring... or "crossing the Plains of Silence," as it were.
  • Punch-Clock Hero:
    • Up until the final mission, Max is only interested in helping anyone so long as there's something in it for him as well.
    • Tenderloin is convinced to fight for Max because he pays off her debt.
  • Rags to Riches:
    • At the beginning of the game, each settlement is pretty much only barely existing because it has some form of shelter and everyone is miserable. After Max comes along to offer assistance, he can transform them into thriving societies where the people now believe there is hope that things can change.
    • Max starts the game literally having everything stripped from him, by the end of the game he has a suped-up car, a garage filled with other cars and more scrap than he could ever spend.
  • Real Dreams are Weirder: As Max is being operated on, he has a rather weird dream of Chum with a top hat and Dog as a Funny Animal talking about friendship. Then Max's deceased wife shows up and implores him to not give up helping people. She then turns into Hope and Dog performs a wedding ceremony between her and Max. As they embrace, the Interceptor speeds towards them but crashes on an invisible wall, tumbling over the couple. And then he wakes up.
  • RPG Elements: In addition to a fully customizable car, Max can unlock upgrades via a combination of completing story missions, side quests, and accumulating Wasteland Legend reputation. You can even gain upgrade tokens which you can "trade-in" with Griffa in order to upgrade Max's abilities.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: The play area before you cross The Jaw is littered with these. Notables include Chumbucket's sanctum, Gutgash's ship and many enemy bases and encampments. Fully justified as the area south of the Jaw was once a seabed, populated as it is with towering oil platforms and long-dead coral reefs.
  • Scenery Gorn: In disturbing detail for the post-apocalyptic setting. As a result of acute desertification, what was formerly a coastal region has been reduced to an arid wasteland of dried undersea mountains, rockfaces and sand flats, jagged and blackened rockfaces and sulphur fumaroles surrounding a formerly underwater volcano, lifeless chalk-white landscapes littered with long-dead coral reefs, scores of rusting shipwrecks and aircraft, dried tree husks and decaying buildings swallowed up by desert dunes, and oil sludge lakes and massive mounds of rubbish surrounding Gastown.
  • Secret Character: On top of the vehicles that can only be unlocked through story and side missions, there are three gold-coloured vehicles - "Golden Tuska", "Hardball", and "The Twelve" - that can only be unlocked by finding them in certain scavenging locations and returning them to a stronghold.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Max destroys the Magnum Opus and kills Chumbucket by using the vehicle to knock Scrotus' Landmover off a cliff. Not only does it not knock over (till it explodes), but Scrotus survives by escaping it before it falls by using Max's Interceptor stored in the Landmover.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Max carries a jerry-rigged, single-barreled pipe shotgun as the only firearm you get in the game besides the car-mounted weapons, but it's amazingly powerful nonetheless. Ammo for it is rare but it's a guaranteed kill against almost any enemy and can often be used to blow cars up instantly if their gas tanks are exposed. Max can upgrade his shotgun as he progresses through the game, adding up to four barrels and increasing its base damage. He also receives his original, "real deal" sawed-off shotgun as a reward for completing the story missions.
  • Shout-Out:
    • You can unlock blue facepaint for Max. This is a reference to Film/{{Braveheart, starring the original Mad Max, Mel Gibson.
    • Possibly a coincidence, but one mission involves stealing a subway car from the Buzzards, who are of Russian descent.
    • One that is so out of left field considering the general mood of the game that it becomes hilarious:
      Random wanderer: [upon checking a rather recent wreckage] Surely this must be your doing?
      Chumbucket: Yes it is! And don't call him Shirley!
    • In a nod to one of the franchise's most famous imitators, War Boys will occasionally taunt you by shouting "You Are Already Dead!"
    • The achievement for destroying all scarecrows is No Brainer.
    • The challenge for destroying 50 red barrels is named "Set Up Us The Bomb".
    • Chumbucket says the Buzzards "mostly come out at night. Yes, yes, mostly." This paraphrases Newt's line in Aliens
  • Sigil Spam: The flaming red insignias of Lord Scrotus are spread all over his camps, and there's an achievement for destroying them all. As revealed in Fury Road, this is actually the sigil of Immortan Joe's army, and Max would be branded with it at the beginning of that film.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Scab, a former War Boy turned into a human blood bag after he had failed Scrotus. It's thanks to his blood that Max is saved and then later gives Max the information of where to find Scrotus out of spite towards his former master.
  • Spikes of Villainy:
    • The Buzzards faction are obsessed with covering stuff in rusty metal spikes, whether it be their cars, their barricades or even, strangely enough, the interiors of their hideouts.
    • The Magnum Opus can be upgraded with Boarder Spikes, which are used to skewer the enemies that jump off pursuing cars and onto yours. Each level increases the coverage of the spikes, reaching the point where the only safe area for boarders to land on is the windshield frame.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Lots. There's the gas tanks on enemy cars, landmines, the fuel tanks of flamethrowers, gasoline cans that you light on fire and throw to take out gates/enemies, Thundersticks (spears with contact-fused grenades on the business end), the Thunderpoon (Thunderstick caps shot out of the Magnum Opus' harpoon launcher like heat-seeking missiles), enemy vehicles in general, etc.
  • Super Mode: Fury Mode, which accumulates as you land large attack combos. Once it's active, Max's attacks hit harder and he has access to various different attacks, such as performing a lariat on an enemy so hard that they do a backflip, utilizing suplexes and even doing dropkicks and powerbombs on enemies.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • While non-lethal falls won't kill Max outright, falling a pretty long way down is still a bad idea. If he survives, Max will limp for a few seconds before being able to even stand upright again.
    • One codex entry explains that the slave trade is a specialized business, as most people in the wasteland are already perfectly willing to work in slave-like conditions just in order to stay alive... so the only people actually worth enslaving and selling are either beautiful, have particularly useful skills, or have bizarre mutations, and their clientele are only powerful warlords or raiders that can't be bothered to enslave these kind of people themselves.
    • Stank Gum, being way skinnier than the Top Dogs or Scrotus, is way easier to fight on foot than during a race. While he is fast, Max is stronger, trained as a police officer and is armed with a shotgun.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: After Hope and Glory's deaths, everyone Max talks to across the wasteland constantly calls him out on their deaths or even turn into Hope or Glory and berate him, with the person talking's voice unchanged. All of this is clearly going on in Max's head.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Like in the Road Warrior, ammunition for any firearm is hard to come by, forcing Max to use melee weapons. Even the largest bandoleer only lets you carry a pitiful amount of ammo. Once Max builds an Armory project one or two of his bases, however, it becomes easy to completely restock his inventory.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Glory's snow globe. Refused by Max when he rejects Hope and Glory's offer to stay with them, then taken up again after Hope and Glory are killed. He keeps it with him during the showdown with Scrotus, but ultimately casts it aside as he drives off in the Interceptor, effectively ridding himself of the last testament to the whole sordid events of the game and returning to the state in which he started it.
  • Trailers Always Lie: One of the Loading Screens shows Max taking on a Top Dog (specifically, Gaspa Grope) out in the open world. Scrotus Top Dogs never spawn outside of their boss fight, with only Roadkill Top Dogs being the ones seen fought any open-world capacity.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • Tenderloin can be found after the Thunderdome match back in The O-ring where Max first met her, despite having lost an apparent fight to the death. She can be found there before the post-game, in fact.
    • Hope and Glory can be found in Deep Friah's Camp post credits, though they are likely illusions on Max's part.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: After finally getting his V8 engine, Max all but states he is going to abandon Chumbucket and steal the Magnum Opus from him. Then he gets mad at Chumbucket for "stealing it" in a panic.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You will sometimes drive by a group of people wandering through the desert desperately needing water. You can go up to them and offer some of yours.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Rather than help those in need, you can stay in your car and run them over if you're feeling particularly evil.
  • Violation of Common Sense: The sane thing to do when faced with a sandstorm of Biblical proportions is to get into a shelter and wait for it to pass. However, venturing into the sandstorm and exploring can provide you with very lucrative amounts of scrap from the Muthaloot crates that blow in from the winds.
  • Waif-Fu: Tenderloin is awfully scrawny for such a competent fighter.
  • What a Piece of Junk: The Magnum Opus. No matter how much you pimp it in the early game, it still looks like something that's been smashed together with scrap metal and chewing gum, which it is. Once it's fully upgraded, however, it is quite the beast of a machine.
  • What Year Is This?: Non-Time Travel variant. At one point, Griffa asks Max if he has any idea what year it is. Max's inability to answer, other than serving to poke at the series' Ambiguous Time Period, highlights at Max's shattered sanity and near-feral state of mind after years of wandering as a Road Warrior.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Max can perform moves such as suplexes, power bombs, lariats and even armbars in melee combat when Fury Mode is activated.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child / Would Hurt a Child: Zig-zagged with the Buzzards. When they capture people, they kill off adults and take the children to use them as dig slaves. If the children survive and grow up, the Buzzards take them as one of their own through unknown means (given Buzzards are heavily implied to be Humanoid Abominations). They also don't seem to have much interest in raping or torturing their captives, which is a rarity in the Wasteland. In the end, it is unclear if a child captured by the Buzzards is better or worse off compared to the other children in the Wasteland.
  • Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • While the game gives Max other benefits for levelling up, one benefit is the ability to choose different faces for Max, giving him longer hair and/or various combinations of accessories such as racing face paint, an oil smear, goggles and a bandanna.
    • Defeating Top Dogs gives you access to new paint jobs for the Magnum Opus. The Raw Steel paint colour is required to complete the main storyline, as it is needed to complete the "Speed Demon" Archangel used in a story-critical Death Run. Additionally, the only paint job that gives the Magnum Opus any additional perks is the red and black "Primer" paint job, which gives the vehicle a 50% reduction in fire damage.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mad Max


Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves!

Max may have won the Gastown race, but he must overcome one final opponent to claim his prize.

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5 (7 votes)

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Main / TheThunderdome

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