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Video Game / MadWorld

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"It's a Mad, Mad World, and you caught in the game.
You put yo' life on the line, I put a HOLE IN YO' BRAIN!"

This Comic Book-style tale (published by Sega) follows Jack Cayman, a chainsaw-wielding contestant in the world's goriest game show: Death Watch. Contestants, with sponsors, compete in a vicious bloodbath to see who will emerge as the victor. The show has temporarily taken over a Manhattan-like metropolis island, leaving authorities in a panic. Jack is one of the contestants under the hand of sponsor "XIII," and his boss has high hopes for him. There's more to Jack than there appears on the surface, however...

A notable feature is the game's distinctive graphical style, which utilizes cel-shading and features only three colors (black for shadows, white for anything that's not shadowed, and red for the tons and tons of blood). This game was the first title made by PlatinumGames, which includes some of the developers from the now-defunct Clover Studio, creators of Viewtiful Joe, Ōkami, and God Hand. The game was written by Yasumi Matsuno, of Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story fame, along side Ken Pontac and Warren Graff (of Happy Tree Friends fame) and JP Kellams (Platinum's American Producer from its founding until 2015.)

A game was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, called Anarchy Reigns (Max Anarchy in Japan), featuring Jack and a few other characters from this game, in which they show their true colors.

In no way related to either the 1963 ensemble-cast comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World or the 1982 Tears for Fears' song.

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Jack's chainsaw. So sharp as to slice cleanly through flatbed train cars and military vehicles. Shipping containers too. And bones. So many bones.
  • Acrofatic: Yee Fung, who is almost perfectly round yet is one of the quickest and most agile mini bosses.
  • Action Commands: Counter moves and many of the finishing moves. Also for "Power Struggles", similar to counter moves. The ending even gives you one last Action Command in order to kill Leo.
  • Action Survivor: Kreese, if anything he says is to be believed. In some cases he technically did not survive.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The first level of the final area features a lot of returning setpieces and traps from earlier levels in the game.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • The commentators are named Howard "Buckshot" Holmes and Kreese Kreeley.
    • The Black Baron is a title example, since his real name is unknown.
  • Ambiguously Gay: The second boss, Jude the Dude, a Dual Wielding, kung-fu kicking, rollerblade-wearing Killseeker in a cowboy costume, is referred to by the commentators as "the Ambiguously Gay cowboy" and "the Brokest Back in the West" (the latter of which is also used on posters scattered in the walls of his arena). A deleted execution of Jude also involves sodomizing him with his own pistols.
  • Amusing Injuries: Some of the stuff that happened to Kreese in Death Watch are mentioned in some of the announcers' lines. It's usually extremely humorous.
    Kreese: (referring to Jude the Dude) Howard, I hate that prick. When we fought, that dirty bastard kicked me with his spurs and tore my scrotum.
    Howard: Hmm.
    Kreese: You know, my nuts unraveled like two balls of yarn — you know how fuckin' long two balls of yarn is?
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Deathwatch had its origins in Aztec-era power struggles in Mexico, where people decided to stop wasting huge armies when they could just get the best of the best to slap each other silly over power struggles. Since then, it's often been used to settle wars, feuds, and other such stuff.
  • Anime Chinese Girl: RinRin, "The fan-tastic Kung Fu Queen", is a Chun-Li-esque fighter who battles with enormous hand fans.
  • Announcer Chatter: The commentators talk over everything you do, act as a sort of subtle Exposition Fairy by offering you hints on how to score more points, but mostly make crude yet hilarious comments that act as a Crowning Soundtrack of Funny.
  • Anti-Hero: Jack doesn't help people. He kills them. Jack never smiles or displays genuine satisfaction in his work, and even left Deathwatch after he got tired of the killing. He doesn't target civilians, excusing it away that he came here to kill people who actually put up a fight. He's disgusted at Deathwatch's latest choice of venue – and how they acquired it (murdering all the civilians with a lethal virus and letting the psychos do the rest, while also promising a cure to the civilians on the condition that they become participants themselves).
  • Area 51: The fourth area, called Area 66 in game, is based on sci-fi movies. One of its bosses is an alien.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil:
    • The upper class of Varrigan City bribed Deathwatch to not only keep them safe during the madness, but to also give them front-row seats and simulate a Distressed Damsel plot using one of their own as an actress for their entertainment. Furthermore, one of these seemingly innocent upper class, Leo, is the main reason Deathwatch even took place in the city, just so his family could regain losses of money; they even helped install the death traps.
    • Lord Gesser is an avid supporter of Death Watch prior to the game starting, and he isn't working to stop the current event because of moral qualms about depopulating Varrigan City, as he's in full support of the rich abusing their power; the only thing that bothers him is seeing Deathwatch reduced to a contest for mere gambling. He wants to see the grand clash, and destruction, of ideals and ideologies.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Howard's marriage to his ex-wife can best be described as a complete trainwreck from everything he says about it.
    Howard: Jack lobs those losers like they were like my ex-wife tossing my belongings out the second story window of our house! ...without even so much as a warning, like I asked her why, but all I got was the same old "I want to be treated like a woman!" and "You never put the lid down on the toilet!"
    Kreese: Aaannnddd we're back from the sad epic that is Howard's life to rejoin Deathwatch!
    Howard: "Why can't you get it up like your brother?"
    Kreese: Shut yer trap!
  • Back for the Finale: Every mini-boss except for Death Blade and the Cyber Slashers return in the final level for one last go at Jack. Big Long Driller is a notable example, appearing in the first stage of the final world after making his debut two worlds ago and being un-killable back then.
  • Badass Biker: Jack is a motorcycle enthusiast and even carries a few wrenches with him.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: In the ending, Noa orders some gun-toting mooks to off Jack after the latter has won the games. However, the gunshot belongs to none of the mooks. Instead, it was Leo's pistol that shot through Noa's head. Played with in that A) Jack was too badass to shiver at the shot, and B) Leo was one of the actual villains all along.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Zig-zagged; one of the female bosses is simply thrown out a window to her death, but the other is very messily crushed to death by a giant animatronic.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: The Money Shot minigame has the player shaking bottles filled with a fizzy drink and jamming them into enemies' throats. Once the cap pops from the air pressure, the stream catapults the mook into the air, with the player scoring points if the enemy is impaled in one of the spikes spread throughout the arena.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Almost everyone in the game is a horrible person in some way, even Leo. Especially Leo. Jack is only barely better than most of the people surrounding him.
  • Black Face: Black Baron is hinted to be a white man covered in blackout tattoos by the commentators. Due to this, his appearance in Anarchy Reigns is called "Blacker Baron" in reference to him actually being a black man rather than a white man in blackface.
  • Blood Sport: Death Watch, a brutal game show where the participants fight to the death while the audience places bets on who will win. A description of Deathwatch in the instruction manual notes that the game is a purely underground event that is sponsored by above-ground millionaires, crime lords, and "Neo-aristocrats" of global conglomerates.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Some of the deaths, such as the swirly of doom, really must be seen to be believed. And laughed at. Unfortunately, many of the more ludicrous methods are only available in one or (if you're lucky) two stages (the pirahnas, the catapault, the swirlie mentioned above, flash-frying, flash-freezing, gong-ringing, firecracker snacking, soda gouging...)
  • Blow You Away: Von Twirlenkiller has jet turbines for arms, and he's not afraid to use them to create tornadoes during his fight (Howard mentions in one line that he created a hurricane that sank New Orleans). Expect to gain some air during Power Struggles.
  • Boastful Rap: Basically the whole soundtrack for Madworld is someone rapping that they're the best and they're about to rip everyone apart, with "Ain't That Funny", "Look Pimpin!", and "You Don't Know Me" in particular standing out.
  • Book Dumb: Kreese was smart enough to (technically) survive Deathwatch, but has trouble understanding "big" words, cannot read, and has a violent reaction whenever Howard mentions math.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: When "The Strip" stage is first shown, the camera begins with a shot of Jack riding his motorcycle down a typical neon-lit casino street, then pans out to reveal more casino-themed decorations such as pinball bumpers, flashing lights on attractions, and... a wall of bloodied spikes.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The announcers roast the game's developers during the end credits.
  • Breast Attack: In the QTE against Elise, Jack gets momentarily distracted by her breasts. When she tries to take advantage of the situation to bite him, he snaps out of his trance and responds by headbutting her chest.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Black Baron, main host of Death Watch, is constantly thrown into his own death traps by his girlfriend. Even when it turns out he's the Final Boss, every time he recovers from a power struggle down to the end of the battle, it's still pretty hilarious.
  • The Can Kicked Him: In Varrigan Station's bathroom, you can kill mooks by shoving their heads into the toilets, which are more like blenders. "Death by swirly. Harsh."
  • Captain Ersatz: The Masters are totally not taken from any existing movie franchise. This is obviously lampshaded by the announcers.
  • Car Fu:
    • The entirety of the boss battle against Kojack revolves around slamming him with your bike, while preventing him from doing the same against you.
    • Whenever you ride your bike on your way to smash a boss, your enemies come after you in cars of their own.
  • Catchphrase:
    • The Black Baron's always says "Aw, hell naw!", followed by him dying from one of his own minigames.
    • If you listen to enough of the commentary, we also get Kreese's "I blame our schools!"
    • Jack constantly reminds others that he doesn't help people. He kills them.
  • Chainsaw Good:
    • Jack's main weapon is a cybernetic, artificial arm with buzzsaws attached to it.
    • Rank 71, Shogun, has a version of the double bladed spear that is actually dual chainsaws.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: There are maybe three conversations between Howard and Kreese that don't involve at least three instances of vulgarities.
  • Combat Commentator: Since the entire game is supposed to be a TV show, every level is peppered with commentary from two former Death Watch players, who crack jokes at Jack, his enemies or the circumstances at hand.
  • Combat Hand Fan: Rin-Rin's weapon of choice are two massive sets of blades stitched together in the shape of a fan.
  • Comedic Spanking: Jack defeats Elise by pulling her over his knee and slapping her behind four times, with the fourth hit sending her flying through a window. It's likely supposed to be comedic because of the game's overall tone, but considering Elise's design, it could also be considered a Kinky Spanking.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • During the boss battle against Elise, one of the commentators will occasionally comment how deadly or terrifying she is, only for the other one to reply that she has an "awesome rack, though".
    • After witnessing a decapitation, Kreese makes an off-hand comment that a cockroach can live for a week without its head. Howard will then complain that he went through eight years of marriage without any head.
    • After Jack throws a Mook into a meat grinder back-first, Howard will ask Kreese if he heard the joke about the butcher who backed into his meat grinder and got a little behind in his work. When Kreese doesn't get the punch line and says no, Howard furiously tries to explain the joke, but gives up mid-sentence.
    • When Kreese asks when is lunch, Howard simply says it's after breakfast.
  • Crapsack World: A world where not only can Deathwatch, a Blood Sport where hundreds are made to kill each other in creatively gruesome ways, be set up on a kidnapped island by one pharmaceutical company, but a world where apparently this has been going on for centuries. On the other hand, Deathwatch is explicitly for settling conflicts that would lead to a lot more people dying in war, instead of dozens of elite fighters and hundreds of mooks. The current Deathwatch competition not having any real motive besides the mere spectacle of it all (plus advertisement and profit for the pharmaceutical company's viral cure) is what inspires Lord Gesser to help Jack bring the competition down.
  • Crate Expectations: Usable as throwing weapons, or simply destroyable if they're in your way, and heavily lampshaded: "Varrigan City is the crate capital of the world!"
  • Creative Closing Credits: After spending the entire game mocking and insulting the characters in the game, Howard and Kreese turn their wrath to the developers.
  • Cross Counter: The Action Commands in the final boss fight has Jack do this at the end of a series of Pummel Duels (with a variety of punches, including an uppercut, and a headbutt), though it arguably hurts the other guy even more since Jack's using his mechanical arm.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Oh ho ho, yeeeees. It is practically the spirit of Madworld, seeing as giving mooks a horrible end nets Jack more points. The bosses are no exception to the rule, and arguably get worse than the Killseekers. It starts with Little Eddie getting his face beaten in with his own mace and then smashing his entire head into his neck as a coup-de-grace, and it only gets worse from there. This comes with an actual in-story reason for the sadism; the fans want a show, and giving them one earns Jack more support from Sponsor XIII as his ratings increase.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: A minor one. When facing the Shogun in a power struggle, Jack does a Barehanded Blade Block first, and then a regular block with his right arm and knee. Jack cannot block outside of that quick time event, as he can dodge only.
  • Combos: Bonus points are awarded when you make mooks suffer before delivering the coup da grace.
  • Death World: Inverted. Everything in the environment is out to kill, yes. However, most of it is there to kill the opponent. Most of the stuff involved doesn't actually hurt you, and the traps that do usually are easy to avoid and fling foes towards.
  • Deconstruction Game: Of the very type of entertainment it displays. The story does not hesitate to point out how completely unethical and depraved Deathwatch actually is, with the people that enjoy watching it shown to be cruel and almost outright amoral (the closest thing to an exception is Lord Gesser, and it's only because Deathwatch has become a spectator sport for gambling, not because of the innocent people that die to set it up), and the cutscenes outside the plot slowly revealing to the player just how horrific the events that had to take place to set up Death Watch were and how terrible the people setting it up really are.
  • Defector from Decadence:
    • Jack, the former Grand Champion of the games who left after getting tired of killing.
    • XIII (aka Lord Gesser) could count for his efforts at trying to destroy the current Deathwatch due to it not filling any real agenda besides money.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The entire game is done in black and white, with only red splashes for human blood and light blue for aliens, and the occasional patch of yellow to identify a goal.
  • Demonic Vampires: Elise, the ninth boss of the game, is supposed to be a vampire. This is obvious from the fact that she's accompanied by a swarm of bats, has fangs, and tries to drink Jack's blood during their power struggle. However, she also has a large set of horns on her head that can make her look like a succubus.
  • Destination Defenestration: Jack can do this to mooks, limited mainly by there being few areas with windows available for it. More notable is the finishing blow against Elise, where Jack sends her through a high-up, stained glass window by spanking her.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Elise's power struggle. Jack catches Elise's wrists and forces them apart, giving him a good eyeful of her chest. Either the player fulfills another QTE (an upward stroke with the Wiimote) to snap out of it and headbutt her, or she takes the opportunity to reverse it and drain your health.
  • Distressed Damsel: Straight on with the three Geishas. Subverted with Naomi. She was never in any danger at all, and the whole thing was only set up as entertainment for her and her friends. When Jack finds out, he not only pimp-slaps the girl so hard that it sends her flying and knocks her out, but actually regrets not killing her.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind:
    • Rank 1 turns out to be The Black Baron and his hoe, and it makes for an amazing final boss.
    • Leo, who appeared to be just an innocent survivor of Varrigan City, turns out to have been responsible for the creation of the virus that wiped the city out, not Noa.
  • The Dreaded: Lord Gesser is apparently such a powerful man that even Leo and Noa were more frightened of him than Jack.
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted in the Bloodbath Challenges. Kreese taunts Howard about his weak sex life and encourages him to kill himself. Howard starts sounding more and more distressed as the Challenge progresses, then proclaims "Game is over!" when the clock runs out, which is followed by the sound of a gunshot. However, it's revealed that he shot Kreese instead.
    Howard: What did you expect, fucktard? Did you think I was gonna shoot myself?!
  • Dual Boss: The Masters, though they share the lifebar and tend to stick together.
  • Dual Wielding:
  • Dumb Muscle:
    • Little Eddie is easily several times Jack's size, wields a spiked ball bigger than Jack's entire body, and is gigantically muscular, but from his behavior, it's clear that he's more brawn than brains. Little Eddie loves his big bada-booms!
    • While the pre-fight intro text describes Frank as "brainy" in addition to brawny, this proves an Informed Ability; Kreese specifically points out that he's "dumber than a box full of blondes, but strong as shit and can zap the ass right off of you". He may even be dumber than Little Eddie — at least Eddie could put together complete sentences.
    • Kreese seems to be a case, being a former Death Watch contestant for the muscle part, with not getting Little Eddie's nickname being ironic (or even understanding the word "ironic"). He occasionally complains about Howard using big words (most of which aren't very complicated at all) and usually responds to him doing so with threats.
  • Epic Flail: Little Eddie's weapon of choice is a gargantuan spiked ball with a chain on it. In a later stage, if Jack smashes a spiked ball over a guy's head, Kreese will accuse him of stealing that move from Little Eddie.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Despite being a foul-mouthed violence-loving psycho, Kreese Kreeley makes it clear in several lines that some of "Buckshot's" quirks and kinks disgust even him.
    • Though Kreese killed multiple people while participating in Death Watch, he discourages animal cruelty, saying that it's a sign of sociopathy.
    • Jack is a cold murderer, but he isn't fond of Deathwatch targeting civilians population for their latest game.
    • Lord Gesser was disgusted by the fact that rather than actually deciding the fate of the known world, the current Deathwatch games were merely meaningless slaughter for fun and profit. As such, he helps Jack take down the games.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: as with Death World, surprisingly inverted, as the only elements of the game that can directly harm you are the mooks and bosses. The environment itself, with all the spike walls and explosive barrels and whatnot, won't actually harm you for the most part. Instead, you use the environment to aid you in making the mooks' deaths as spectacular and gruesome as possible so the crowd gets a show.
  • Evil Counterpart: Kojack only has one line, but he makes it clear that he's more crude than Jack. And Jack's barely even the good guy himself!
  • Evil Is Cool: In-Universe, Kreese thinks this of Kojack, and roots for him during his fight with Jack.
    Kreese: "Kojack is just evil Jack, and evil makes everything better!"
  • Exploding Barrels: While these don't score any points intrinsically, they can be used with lures to score some brutally epic combos.
  • Expy:
    • Big Long Driller is one of Big Bull Crocker. Essentially the same guy with a different mask and weapon.
    • Holmes is a very, very vulgar Expy of Fode, the Pod Race announcer from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. They are voiced by the same guy (Greg Proops), after all.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: Howard suggests he has already had sex with a donkey, an alien and an onion.
  • Finishing Move: Every boss battle ends with a QTE where Jack kills his opponent in a stylish, often karmic way.
  • Flung Clothing: The Black Baron throws his coat to the audience prior to the final battle.
  • Forced Prize Fight: The whole setup for the game revolves around Deathwatch, an internationally-televised event where murderers and fighters from countries around the world are sent to kill each other to settle diplomatic disputes. The Varrigan City Deathwatch has no actual reason to be going on beyond making the Organizers and the Fallmont company money, and is otherwise just killing for the sake of killing, which is why Jack showed up to compete in the first place.
  • Foreshadowing: The final Bloodbath Challenge is a repeat of Man Darts, which, as always, has the Black Baron get used to demonstrate how to play. Guess how Jack finishes off the Baron when he’s revealed to be the final boss.
  • Free-Floor Fighting: There are boss fights that are as simple as a plane, and others that are as complex as the entire castle of the last level you just played.
  • Fun with Flushing: One of the ways your enemies can be defeated is by stuffing or throwing them in the toilet. They get flushed seconds later, grinding them into a bloody mess.
  • Gang of Hats: Varrigan City is home to a bunch of gangs, and they're the source of basic and elite mooks for Jack's rampages. The stages in the first area consist of punks and thugs, Asian Town (mishmash with Japanese and Chinese cultures) is home to guys in martial artist gear and ninjas, Mad Castle is a full on Monster Mash (zombies, psycho killers, and grim reapers), Area 66 has soldiers, robots, and aliens, and almost all of them appear again at different intervals at Casino Land.
  • Genius Bruiser: Jack. He fully understands how much power would need to be in play to cover up the current Deathwatch, and when Leo tells him that he sneaked into the tower where the last fight of Deathwatch is held after killing Noa and his men, Jack sees right through it.
  • Giant Mook: In every area: the thugs with motorcycle helmets, spiked armor, and chainsaws; the firebreathers; the masked ninjas; the gardeners; the mohawked guards. Slightly harder to take care of than the usual enemy, but still nothing a solid chainsaw swing won't fix — though unlike normal baddies, these guys tend to block often.
  • Gorn:
    • This game has tons of it by the truck load. Whether it's impaling a guy with a stop sign, slicing him apart with a chainsaw, dicing him up with knives, drilling him to pieces... rest assured that if you can make a dude bleed, he will, and he will do it a lot. Not to mention being able to hack people apart with relative ease. The black and white graphics really make it apparent, as there's few other colors otherwise, letting the gore stand out even more.
    • During the credits, the commentators are shocked that only one man did the blood effects:
      Kreese: He musta been working 24-7!
  • The Greys: In the fourth area, there are aliens running away from the stage's normal enemies, who still have to be killed for a big bonus. One of them is hostile to Jack, however: The last boss of Area 66, Martin, is a Grey that's piloting a giant robot.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • It's implied that Kreese Kreeley likes to play golf when he's not taking part in Deathwatch.
    • At one point, it's revealed Howard has a thing for poetry, particularly haiku.
    • According to some of the announcer chatter, Von Twirlenkiller is a rather accomplished bassist in his own band, which he keeps seperate from his career in Deathwatch because he wants to succeed in that on his own merits.
  • Horrorcore: Most of the game's soundtrack consists of rapping about gruesome murders.
  • Hyperspace Mallet: Just how does Jack's chainsaw fit in his arm? Rule of Cool. Averted for the weapons he picks up, however, which tend to are always seen holstered on his back when he isn't using them.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Howard constantly mocks his wife for sexual promiscuity... while he also talks about his own sexuality, which is basically on the tier of Depraved Omnisexual.
    • Kreese condemns animal cruelty, saying only psychopaths would find it amusing. Yet he has no problem killing people, reasoning that it's not as cruel.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Howard's cry of "Release...the HOUNDS!" upon unlocking the boss battle against The Shamans is immediately followed by that phrase.
  • Idiosyncratic Combo Levels: Your combos are ranked in terms of degree of violence, from "Routine" to "Ultra".
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: The game works this trope into the form of a song, aptly titled "So Cold", which takes over the previously boastful boss theme halfway through the final fight. Funnily enough, this is actually a Subverted Trope as this is where said boss gets even more dangerous, and the lyrics are more about the singer boasting about how he's "so cold" (that is, he's vicious and remorseless).
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How many variants of spike traps can one think of? Answer: PLENTY. And for extra fun, enemies killed by spike traps leave their corpses behind, letting Jack take up a second career as an extremely morbid decorator.
    • Sign posts can also be flung at and jabbed into mooks, turning them into gruesome pin cushions.
    • Also how you finish off the Shogun.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Howard, who delivers an unending Hurricane of Puns during his commentary. Kreese too, on occasion, but Howard really gets into it during the Von Twirlenkiller fight, to the point of a Lampshade Hanging.
    Howard: (After Jack wins a Power Struggle against Twirlenkiller) Jack gives new meaning to breaking wind!
    Kreese: You're just in fucking heaven with this wind shit, aren't you?
    Howard: Yes. Yes I am.
  • Informed Attribute:
    • While "Buckshot" appears to be Howard Holmes's nickname, neither he nor Kreese bring it up outside of introductions.
    • It's implied in dialogue by the two announcers that the Black Baron slaps Mathilda about, rather than the other way around. Other than a single ambiguous line heard during the first of his boss themes, there's not a shred of evidence suggesting this in-game.
  • Insult Backfire:
    • Kreese tells Howard "You, sir, are an idiot!". Howard responds that he feels flattered due to being called "sir".
    • Kreese days that the game's frame designers couldn't frame Howard for sex crimes. Howard responds that they must really suck then.
  • Intimate Healing: Saving the geishas will reward Jack with a kiss from them that instantly maxes his health bar.
  • Ironic Name: The first boss of the game is a total behemoth of a man that's several times bigger than Jack, and is named Little Eddie. Lampshaded by the commentators.
  • Jerkass: The commentators of the Deathwatch games usually make some pretty rude gestures and remarks while Jack tears apart as many enemies as possible. The best example of their jerkassery is in the credits of the game, where they tear apart many of the game designers.
  • Jigsaw Plot: The whole background behind Deathwatch, why Jack is there, and how the current Deathwatch was put into place, is slowly revealed bit by bit.
  • The Joys of Torturing Mooks: The gameplay revolves entirely around torturing Mooks before granting them an agonizing death. The crueler the execution method, the more points are awarded to the player.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Beating the game makes katanas appear throughout the level; they're easily the strongest weapon pick-up.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Noa, the CEO of the organizers of Deathwatch. Any time he shows up, the game's usual Black Comedy stops completely. The first the player even sees of him is when he pulls a Do Not Adjust Your Set on Jefferson Island as he gleefully informs its citizens of their fate.
  • Leitmotif: Every time the Black Baron struts in, horns and drums play. They also make up his Boss Theme.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The announcers will notice that Jack is the only one who can use the power-ups that show up across the levels, and wonder if the Mooks can even see the items.
  • Large-Ham Announcer: Howard and Kreese have never heard of subtlety; this is what happens when you cast Greg Proops and John DiMaggio.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Black Baron proves to be one in his boss fight. He moves faster than Jack, can hit like a train, and can take a good amount of punishment. It contrasts sharply with his antics beforehand, making for a shocking experience.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: "Crimson Rain" only plays during the fairly short entrance to the Elise boss battle. A player probably wouldn't even hear half of it going through at full speed.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Normal enemies can survive having multiple metal poles jammed through their head. Granted, they won't really be fighting back at that point and will soon die of blood loss, but kudos to them anyway.
    • Kreese. According to the commentary, he has survived (among other things) getting his scrotum ruptured by Jude, a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown at the hands of Rinrin, getting Frank's hand up his ass, bizarre experimentation in a laboratory, and an alien abduction.
  • Made of Plasticine: The mooks, while tough in most cases, get ripped in half by chainsaws and Jack's bare hands pretty easily.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • XIII, AKA Lord Gesser, is Playing Both Sides, working under the table with the Deathwatch operators and funding Jack, for the ultimate goal of destroying Deathwatch.
    • Leo is the true mastermind of the Deathwatch, and he is more pragmatic and better hidden that his right hand-man, Noa.
  • Memetic Mutation: Invoked. The commentators discuss "pwned" at one point.
  • Mini-Boss: Several different ones for different areas; Big Bull Crocker, Yee Fung, Tengu, Death Blade, Big Long Driller, and the Cyber Slashers in order of appearance. They have surprisingly high health, a variety of attacks, and the ability to get into Power Struggles with Jack. Naturally, you tangle with nearly all of them in the stage leading up to the final boss (Death Blade and the Cyber Slashers, for whatever reason, weren't in on that action). In that stage, the Quirky Mini-Boss Rush turns Yee Fung into a Mook Maker, has Tengu flanked by dozens of ninjas, and finally has two Bulls and a Driller.
  • Mini-Game: Done in the form of completely over-the-top "Bloodbath Challenges" which task you with killing as many mooks as possible in hilariously gory ways. Can also be played as multiplayer once unlocked.
  • Mirror Boss: Kojack, the 10th boss of the game, rides a motorcycle and has a chainsaw-arm like you. This fact gets lampshaded throughout the fight by the commentators, who liken the battle to Jack beating up himself.
  • Mission Control: Jack has two separate people on his earpiece, Amala (his "official" contact) and XIII/Lord Gesser (his Deathwatch contact). He cuts off both of them over the course of the story, XIII early on and Amala at the end.
  • Monster Mash: The whole theme of the castle chapter. Along with zombies, mummies, and psychotic drill men. The bosses consist of a pack of werewolves, a Frankenstein's monster, and a vampire.
  • Mooks: The commentators refer to the minor enemies as guys who exist only to be killed by Jack.
  • Mook Chivalry: Enemies will take their time to attack on at least the earlier levels during Normal mode (mainly area 1 and 2). Averted with Hard mode, as even simple enemies like the street punks will do huge damage and will actually coordinate their attacks.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • The Black Baron's scantily clad ho (Mathilda), who always strikes a sexy pose after killing him. And there's those well-placed spikes...
    • RinRin is among the more conservatively-dressed of the two female bosses, but her Qipao-inspired outfit still shows of a lot of skin, mainly her legs. Also, her Power Struggle looks like she is riding Jack.
    • Nothing compares to the huge breasts of Elise. Which the commentators love commenting on.
  • Murder Ballad: There is not a single vocal song in this game which is not in some way about murdering people.
  • Never Learned to Read: Kreese is illiterate, which is yet another example of his Book Dumb.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: The Black Baron just keeps coming back. Played for laughs. He is also by far the toughest enemy Jack ever faces.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: More like: zombie, punk, robot, grey, soldier, samuari, cowboy, war mech, giant, mutant, sumo, assassin, bounty hunter, pimp, and probably a whole lot more... As with everything else, the boss design quite intentionally lacks subtlety.
  • Old Soldier: The Yokozuna from Asian Town's second stage. He's probably the oldest contestant on the current Deathwatch, and seemingly immune to puny things like pain.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: An unnamed fictional president is shown during the opening cutscene. In his brief appearance, he seems to be a President Iron, refusing to let Deathwatch taking over one of America's cities go unanswered.
  • Permanently Missable Content: According to the producers, if you die during the La Lusty Geisha Bistro level, the geisha can die... and stay dead for the rest of the save file. Which makes the final fight much harder. The only way to save them is to start the game over.
  • Pet the Dog: Jack towards the geishas. He even hugs one of them before the final boss.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Sort of. Jack starts to say the line before killing Leo, but finishes after killing him.
    Jack: I don't help people... (shoves his buzzsaw into Leo's stomach) I kill them.
  • Prison Rape: Howard cheers for Jack, telling him to nail his opponent from behind. Kreese will then say that line gave him a prison flashback.
  • Production Foreshadowing: An advertisement for The Gates of Hell can be found in the subway. The game that bar appeared in was still in development at the time of this game's release. Said game then made a reference to Madworld in return, when visiting The Gates of Hell, coincidentally. And then in Anarchy Reigns, the stylish witch meets Jack and the others.
  • Pummel Duel: Found in the final boss, where if won Jack ends with a Cross Counter.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: Jack cares nothing for heroics. He even abandons Amala for revenge at the game's conclusion.
  • Pungeon Master: Many of Howard's jokes revolve around puns, much to Kreese's exasperation. For example, when Jack electrocutes an enemy, he will say that scene was revolting.
  • Putting on the Reich: It seems that DeathWatch may have had collaborations with Nazi Germany due to the number of neo-nazis in the game. Since the Nazis were firm believers of eugenics, it's not hard to assume why DeathWatch would find the Nazi party so appealing to them. It's not clear though if the Nazis actually participated in the games, or if DeathWatch took elements from them.
    • Big Bull Crocker has 88 emblazoned on his jacket, referencing "Heil Hitler" in numerical code.
    • Von Twirlenkiller is dressed like a German military officer from the Third Reich.
    • The Black Baron has some nazi connotations due to his lightning tattoos across his body and his hair has dual lightning bolts designed into them, which closely resemble the Schutzstaffel (SS) bolts. His name is also in reference to Michael Wittmann A.K.A "The Black Baron". Wittman was a German Waffen-SS tank commander who was credited with the destruction of 138 tanks and 132 anti-tank guns, along with an unknown number of other armoured vehicles, which made him one of Germany's top-scoring panzer aces. Finally, he is implied to be a white guy who tries to be as offensive for the black people as possible.
  • Rasputinian Death:
    • You get more points the more over-the-top your kills are. As a result, you can often shove multiple posts through a mook's neck before they finally drop dead.
    • Bosses tend to get this even worse than the common mooks. The Yokozuna in particular gets beaten up and sawed by Jack, impaled by a dozen or so pointy objects (including a knife through his head), electrocuted until he's smoking, and finally killed after being shot out of a cannon into a volcano, which erupts as he hits the peak.
  • Rated M for Manly: A massive, grizzled man with a chainsaw commits massive amounts of brutal, premeditated murder. It's actually deeper than it sounds.
  • Retired Monster:
    • Jack is the former reigning Grand Champion of Deathwatch, which explains why he's such a badass when it comes to the games.
    • Kreese used to be a monstrous murderer and a former Champion, and encourages Jack to make trophies out of his fallen victims' body parts.
  • Rollerblade Good: Death Blade is the Grim Reaper on wheels. His name is partially in reference to this (and partially in reference to his Sinister Scythe). Jude the Dude has what appear to be actual ice skates, though.
  • Running Gag: Howard's commentary somehow always finds a way of circling back to his spectacularly failed marriage.
  • Sandbox: Your goal is to amass enough points to reach the boss fight of each evil. How you earn those points is entirely up to you.
  • Saying Too Much: Naomi accidentally reveals that she was the one who arranged her supposed kidnapping when Jack concludes that her father was responsible. She has just enough time to cover her mouth from her mistake before Jack sends her flying and knocks her out with a pimp slap.
  • Scary Black Man: Subverted. The Black Baron gets killed so often and is such an over-the-top, comical character that he's not really scary. However, when you fight him, the trope gets played straight as all hell when he gets pissed off and "So Cold" starts playing. Also, the announcers claim that he's not even actually black.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": The sound designers clearly put a lot of effort into the sound effects for causing grievous bodily harm to people.
  • Single-Stroke Battle:
    • Played with. When you beat the Shogun and it's time to finish him off, he jumps to the top of the roof so that you can dash and slice him to death. Jack knocks him backward onto a conveniently placed spike instead.
    • A variation of this appears in the Final Boss, where Jack must try and counter The Black Baron with a Cross Counter. If he doesn't, he suffers the hand-to-hand combat version of a Diagonal Cut.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Discussed Trope. Jack and the two allied voices in his ears are all on differing ends of the spectrum, but have similar goals and some hidden motivations that brings them together in certain goals: Jack is firmly The Cynic, having retired from the games because he felt there was nothing past the pointless violence in them anymore. However, he still doesn't want that violence spilling out of the games. Amala is The Idealist, and believes the games are archaic, and the Justice Department actually capable of living up to its name and responsibility. Lord Gesser is between the two, in that he, as one of the most powerful people on the planet, knows the full extent of the conspiracy and the violence of human nature, but believes in the ideals of the games themselves, to bring about a clash of regimes and ideals with more minimal casualties than all out war. All three of them find the current Deathwatch to be a perversion of human nature, and the the Bureau and Lord Gesser recruit/sponsor Jack as the prime candidate to actually do something about it.
  • Spikes of Doom: Inverted with the rose bushes. They are no threat to the player, but perfect for violently impaling the mooks.
  • Spiritual Successor: The game is made by a bunch of ex-Clover Studio developers and takes a lot of influence from its "parent" God Hand, featuring shout-outs around every corner. Notable mentions include the finisher for the devil boss and the entire final boss fight, which references the Devil Hand fights like crazy.
  • Sumo Wrestling: Yokozuma, who is the sumo boss of Asiantown and is notable in three ways:
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Those commentators seem really obsessed with manliness. And just being general jerkasses.
  • The Theme Park Version: In-game, Asiantown was made by throwing together a bunch of different Asian motifs, icons, and stereotypes, and is heavily lampshaded. This being a Japanese game made exclusively for Western audiences makes you wonder who is ribbing who?
  • They Killed Kenny Again:
    • The Black Baron shows up in every level to introduce the player to a mini-game, and is always killed at the end of the cutscene. Although his final boss status suggests he can take it.
    • Kreese, who is a former Death Watch player, comments that he has died before, but came back to life due to still having some extra lives.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The player can simply walk up to the Mooks and beat them up to kill them, but that awards barely any points required to proceed. Instead, you are encouraged to kill the enemies in increasingly crueler ways, such as impaling them with objects scattered around the arena before shredding them with a meat grinder, preferably while getting other mooks to die at the same time. Justified, as the main attraction of Death Watch is the spectacle of violent brawls where savagery and brutality are emphasized over straight fights.
  • There Can Be Only One: During the final battle, Kreese will announce that "There can be only one number one in this fight to the death!" When Howard retorts that it's a mathematical fact that there can only be one number one, Kreese has an outburst and angrily shouts "For the last fucking time, NOBODY SAID THERE'D BE MATH!"
  • This Is a Drill: Wielded by a giant miniboss with an elephant mask, no less. They call him the Big Long Driller. "He used to have one of those old timey hand drills, but his victims would never stay down long enough for him to really get drillin'."
  • Those Wacky Nazis:
    • Von Twirlenkiller speaks with a German accent and his character design is comparable to a Nazi officer.
    • Big Bull Crocker is suggested to be a Neo-Nazi due to the number 88 being emblazoned on the back of his jacket; in political terms 88 stands for "Heil Hitler".
    • Black Baron is a subtle example, at first he's shown to be a stereotypical pimp who is then revealed to be the Deathwatch Champion. His design has a lot of Nazi imagery; his jewelry (which looks like "88", which is a political term for "Heil Hitler"), his lightning tattoos, and his hair have lightning bolts designed into them, which closely resemble the Schutzstaffel (SS) bolts. Kreese Kreely's comment also indicates that The Baron isn't actually black, which reflects the racist ideals of the Nazi regime. His name is also in reference to Michael Wittmann A.K.A "The Black Baron". Who was a German Waffen-SS tank commander who was credited with the destruction of 138 tanks and 132 anti-tank guns, along with an unknown number of other armoured vehicles, which made him one of Germany's top-scoring panzer aces.
  • Timed Mission: Every level has a time limit. If it expires, you lose. Heavily downplayed, though - that time limit is thirty minutes, and getting to the boss fight stops the clock, giving the player more than enough time to milk as many points as they could possibly want before moving on.
  • Title Drop:
    • The game's title is delivered by Jack during a cutscene.
      Jack: A mad world, huh? Hm. I'll fit right in.
    • While fighting The Black Baron, some Power Struggles result in Jack knocking his teeth out, which spell out MAD (the W in DEATHWATCH is inverted) as they fly by.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jack is often seen chowing down on onions. They even restore him to full health.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: One of the later bosses in the game is Jack's "evil" counterpart, Kojack. Why does he look familiar? He's Jack's opponent in the multiplayer matches, which are unlocked after the very first Bloodbath Challenge. Also, he's on the back cover of the game.
  • Turns Red: Almost every boss or mini-boss does this when hit hard enough. For example, Big Bull Crocker's eyes will glow white when damaged enough or stabbed with a caution sign.
  • Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: This game actually lives up to this trope. The entire point of the game is causing as many horrible, bloody deaths as possible as quickly and elaborately as possible. The main character even has a chainsaw in one of his arms.
  • Uncertain Doom: Elise is the only boss in the game whose death is not explicitly shown. Jack simply slaps her out of the building the two had been fighting in. Regardless, the protagonist inherits her rank and moves on as if she had been slain.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The commentators don't seem particularly surprised by the aliens being stored in the secret underground military base beneath Varrigan City. Some of their lines imply that they already knew about them.
  • Vicious Cycle: According to Agent XIII, Death Watch has been going on for quite some time. In prior games, it was used as a less bloody substitute for war between nations. The main reason XIII wants the games destroyed is because the most recent incarnation is for nothing but carnage and profit.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: In the final boss fight, the three geishas pull health items from their cleavage and toss them to Jack if he's running low.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The entire point of the game is to deliver cruel, horrific deaths to your opponents. Each level is peppered with traps and execution tools that the player is encouraged to experiment with.
  • The Voice: You never see the commentators, though their voices are heard in every level.
  • The Voiceless: The Black Baron's hoe Matilda never says a word. She does pose after killing him, and some of her thoughts are referenced in the song "Look Pimpin!".
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: XIII via communicator and Amala via Jack's inner-ear codec.
  • Villain Song: The final boss themes, "Look Pimpin'!" and "So Cold", are sung from his perspective, and are, respectively, an upbeat tune about how Jack is going to die and a bitter, enraged tune about... how Jack is going to die. To a lesser extent, "You Don't Know Me", the song that plays during the Rin-Rin and Eliza fights, is "evil girl power".
  • What a Drag: Jack defeats the leader of The Shamans this way by leashing it to his bike.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Jack is just as brutal to women as he is to men, showing no hesitation to brutally murder Rin-Rin and Elise when they accept his challenge.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: One of Jack's moves/finishers is the jumping backbreaker. Performing it on a enemy with low health will have that said enemy split vertically in half.
  • Wutai: The second area, which is flat-out called "Asian Town", and is even recognized in-universe to be a nonsensical mishmash of stereotypes from East Asian cultures.
  • X-Ray Sparks:
    • Rin-Rin's blocky skeleton can be seen whenever she gets thrown into the electric signs or video monitor during her boss battle. It also happens to just about everyone who gets thrown into electric signs, not just her.
    • Jack receives this when he is hit with an electric attack. For some odd reason, there is a blank space in his mechanical arm, instead of showing the mechanical parts inside it.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: How you rank up. Luckily, unlike No More Heroes, you don't have to kill first and only the next rank: you get the rank of whoever you kill as long as it's higher than your current one. Since you start ranked 256th, this is a godsend; then again, beating the very first boss propels you to rank 198.

"And we gon' RIDE!!"


Video Example(s):


"I Don't Help People..."

A badass one-liner from one game has a bone-chilling twist in another.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / CerebusCallBack

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