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Video Game / MADNESS: Project Nexus 2

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Aside from the "Project Nexus" part, it's about what you would expect.


MADNESS: Project Nexus (often abbreviated to MPN or simply PN2, formerly known as Project Nexus 2 before a rebranding) is a game developed by Matt "Krinkels" Jolly and Michael Swain of Newgrounds fame and serving as a sequel to the original Madness: Project Nexus. It is a game set in the Madness Combat universe as a 3D Shoot 'em Up / Hack and Slash hybrid resembling an arena-type arcade game (such as Smash TV or Final Fight, as described by Swain). The game released on September 29th 2021, and includes a "Story Campaign" mode, "Arena Combat" and "Interactive Mode" (later renamed the Playground) (the latter is essentially a sandbox for messing around with enemies and weapons).

Staying true to its Madness Combat roots, PN is a title filled with the expected dose of "ultraviolence" and functions as a Murder Simulator in regards to gameplay. Many "real" and improvised weapons are included in the game, mostly featuring guns and melee weapons alike.


Warning: all spoilers for the first game will be unmarked!


  • Absurd Cutting Power: Decapitation is possible in some instances when the conditions are right. One such condition is having the "Lawnmower" skill while throwing a bladed weapon towards a line of bad guys and watching all of their heads get sliced off. A later update allows slicing heads clean in half.
  • A.K.A.-47: Applies to almost all of the guns in the game. Many of them have instantly recognizable aliases, such as "N911", "NPK", and "NN 57", and are modeled after their real life counterparts. In most of them, at least one "N" stands for "Nevadean" or "Nevada".
  • All Swords Are the Same: This gets downplayed, since most swords handle the same way regardless of type. Rapiers and eastern swords handle with their own styles, but only if the wielder has the skill to do so.
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  • Ammunition Backpack: Certain gear items in arena mode allow you to carry more magazines. This is shown with the "MagBonus" attribute.
  • And I Must Scream: Lamenter Abominations get their name from the fact that, while still rendered insane by the process of creating them, they maintain just enough of their awareness to make them scream for answers as to why they were made.
  • Arc Words: "It's like two soda cans", used by both Krinkels and characters in-story to describe and theorize about the relationship between Nevada and the Other Place. As in, they are two separate but identical containers, and shaking them up makes things very messy when you try to open them up.
  • Art Shift: The loading screens portray the main characters in a more realistic style, with fully human facial features.
  • Audible Sharpness: Bladed weapons make a "SHING!" when being pulled out. Some blunt weapons do, too. Naturally averted with the Dragonslayer, which comes with the infamous *CLANG* when swung.
  • Bank Robbery: The main setting of The Heist stage in Arena Mode, which involves your team robbing the First Nevadean Repository Union. While the first vault has to be breached, if one is daring enough, they can continuously breach up to three times, with their efforts being rewarded with lots of money and three Tokens.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Even without holding a weapon, a player with enough unarmed skill can outright block incoming sword attacks with their bare hands.
  • Big Bad:
    • Director Phobos is this for Story Mode, with the reveal of his S-3LF controlling Project Gestalt and attempting to reach godhood.
    • The Machine can be considered this for Arena Mode since the plot starts because of it and what's likely its avatar serves as the Final Boss.
  • BFG: The "Mhati-999" is a gigantic anti-tank rifle that can be held, slung around, and used as a normal weapon. The kicker is that it's over twice as long as the wielder's body, and the magazine alone is the size of a character model's head. There's also a comically oversized handheld minigun as well.
  • BFS: The game borrows Guts' Dragonslayer for the player's use and true to form it's still too big, too thick, too heavy and too rough to be called a sword.
  • Bitch Slap: During the flashback where Crackpot is gloating his promotion in front of Christoff's face, you can actually punch him out cold, with Christoff giving a Badass Boast afterward.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Arena Mode's ending. The protagonist manages to create a quite powerful organization and defeats the Machine but to prevent Nevada's destruction he has to repeat the same story all over again for all eternity.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: This happens with thrown swords, but surprisingly, after getting the "Lawnmower" skill which puts a spin on the blade when you throw it, this stops happening. Then played ridiculously straight again with the ability to impale enemies with thrown blunt weapons. Even before this, you can achieve the same effect by throwing a heavy-enough gun.
  • Blown Across the Room: One skill for shotguns is called "Shotgun Blastoff", which blows enemies across the room at point-blank range "in a shower of blood and shame".
  • Boom, Headshot!: Since the game is a 3D arena-style game that would otherwise have no real way of aiming at certain points on a single target, the developers have dedicated a whole button to headshots. Holding down left shift will make the player character aim up slightly with their gun, allowing them to shoot enemies in the head.
  • Boring, but Practical: Arena Mode offers some unexciting equipment, but in turn offer valuable abilities:
    • The Casual Shoes. Two stats: -10% Vs. Dizzy and -2 Encumbrance. Nothing flashy, but those two extra points open up room for armor- especially important if your character has low Endurance.
    • Handguns. Not nearly as cool as heavy rifles or shotguns, but they’re light, fairly cheap, don’t have any major weaknesses, and easy to get extra magazines for early on.
    • The Headband and Ghi. They don't offer much armor, but both offer a boost towards punching speed, benefiting an Unarmed playstyle.
  • Brick Joke: During the opening tutorial level, Hank quips that Gil, a burger joint owner, is "probably Zed chow". Fast forward to later in the plot, and it's revealed that while it was true at first, Zombie Gil turned the tables on them and is now eating other Zeds.
  • Bullet Dodges You: There is an entire subset of skills devoted to "TAC-Bar", which is a near-impenetrable bullet shield made out of tactical sense and "pure reflex". Essentially, it's a (marginally) more realistic take on a reliable bullet defense mechanism, mostly just to avert Deflector Shields.
  • Bulletproof Vest: For the most part, this trope is used semi-accurately to Real Life: Different types of vests defend against different types of bullets; some bullets make it through depending on caliber, while others get blocked. Bullets that are blocked will still do, albeit reduced, damage to your health from the force of the round impacting on the vest.
  • Call-Back: One of the game modes was originally titled "Interactive Mode" after an early Madness Combat flash game called "Madness Interactive" and one of the weapons in the game is a urinal, which was one of the weapons in Madness Interactive.
  • Chainsaw Good: THE most damaging melee weapon in the game, it can drop most Mooks with one hit.
  • Chainsaw Grip BFG: The minigun has one of these.
  • Cutting the Knot: Attempting hacking while playing as Hank will have him stare at a computer in confusion before he declares that he "doesn't do hacking", at which point he instead decides to just smash a nearby terminal.
  • Developers' Foresight: Normally, the G03LM helmet knockoff and execution animations involves the characters climbing on top the G03LM and either knocking off the helmet or performing a Neck Snap or vice-versa. However, if the character is big enough (which is only possible in the Playground or by playing Arena Mode as The Massive), they'll simply knock off the helmet off them, and in the case of executions, finish them off like any other grunt.
  • Downer Ending: Story Mode's ending. The Nexus Core is finished, but any good will that could have come of the Project is ruined by Hank's psychopathic dedication to his mission, with him forcibly ejecting Christoff and soon after being shot off himself by Sanford and Deimos, and the Employers choose to abandon Project Nexus and instead recruit Christoff for their own ends...also revealing that one of those Employers is the Auditor, the primary antagonist of the main series and a figure Christoff's original counterpart worked with. Since the game has been confirmed to be canon to the main series, it's only a matter of time before the Savior turns his back on the Employers.
  • Empty Shell: One of the arena stages (removed from the final release), Training Room 3.0, has a particularly disturbing briefing.
    Our programmers have all been fired, thanks to their inability to effectively stop your progress through our VR training rooms. Now, each coder has been neurally linked to a VR combatant; every one you kill will render a single coder braindead. Don't go easy on them. This is their punishment, after all.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Zigzagged with the Tourist difficulty, which has an icon resembling a Nevada resident in a baby bonnet. Its description then claims that they included the difficulty so that people of all skill levels could play and that players shouldn't feel ashamed to play this difficulty if they want to enjoy the experience...then immediately goes on to say that yes, this is the baby mode for babies.
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: Justified, as otherwise you wouldn't know where your shots actually are going.
  • Face–Heel Turn: After defeating the ghostly Director Phobos and Gesalt, Hank turns on Sanford and Deimos by shooting Christoff and stubbornly sticks to their original objective, claiming most of the credit for the work and forcing the two to face off against him in order to prevent Hank from obliterating Nevada, as Hank downright gleefully declares that he had been hoping it would end this way.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The "firebug" works by shooting fireballs of ignited napalm onto targets.
  • Firing One-Handed: Characters with enough skill can do this with two-handed guns, such as shotguns and rifles.
  • Gangsta Style: Any character, including the player, will hold guns sideways if they don't have the "Core: Gun Handling 1" ranged skill. The game also pokes fun at the concept when you take your first gun handling skill.
    Also, you now hold your gun upright like a professional.
  • Gatling Good: There's a minigun in the game. Naturally, it can be equipped.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Notably averted, mainly since weapons spawn randomly and the player can use whatever gun they like, including picking up the bad guy's guns to use against them. See also Throwaway Guns below.
  • Grenade Launcher: The M79 and N 32. The latter has a hilarious description.
    When exploding something isn't enough, and you find yourself needing to explode five more somethings, reach for the biggest six shooter Nevadean Arms has to offer!
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The events of Arena Mode are revealed to be this, as the player must create Enmeshment imprints of themselves ad infinitum to prevent an untold calamity from befalling Nevada.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: Pause the game, and a blurb around the center of the screen with a depiction of Phobos will appear, accusing you of being a cheater, a Scrub, a Sore Loser, or a Dirty Coward, among other things.
    • Here's a few examples;
    See ya later, coward!
    Yeah, you would quit, wouldn't you? Typical.
    Bet you wish this game had an even easier difficulty, huh?
    Were you looking for a cheat menu or something, Chester McCheaterson?
  • Gun Accessories: There are many gun attachments to be had, from suppressors, to scopes, to stocks.
  • Gun Porn: In classic Madness Combat taste, the guns themselves are in big focus.
  • Guns Akimbo: Almost all of the guns can be dual-wielded with the right stats, though some remain firmly too heavy for anyone to dual-wield.
  • Handguns: An entire class of guns are these.
  • Hollywood Silencer: The gun mechanics downplay this. Most smaller caliber guns such as pistols and small rifles don't make much noise in the first place, and the suppressors only decrease the sound by a little bit. However, there are different suppressors that have different amounts of effectiveness, and they will still decrease the "Loudness" attribute on the gun making them slightly harder to detect.
  • Immune to Bullets: The G03LM enemies are this: they're giants who wear impregnable bulletproof metal armor. You have to get a bit creative to take them down.
  • Improvised Weapon: Lots of the melee weapons in the game fall under this category, as well as some of the guns; most notably, the Merc weapons.
    Blurring the line between improvised and mass produced. These assembly line, machine shop firearms are as cheap as they are effective.
  • Instant Death Bullet: This is usually what happens when characters get shot.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Krinkels has said that the katana is the best sword. Hank's loadout comes with a katana by default. Downplayed however, in that it's roughly on par with the equally effective Fantasy Sword, and overshadowed by Jesus's signature weapon, the Binary Sword, although the latter is much larger and harder to wield.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: Dr. Jebediah Christoff.
  • Leap and Fire: There is a skill dedicated to this called "shoot-dodging".
  • Little Useless Gun: Downplayed, since certain "weaker" guns can still be good when used by a player with good skills. This is especially true for the NPK. This stops being true later on, however, as Armor Is Useless isn't entirely true here and enemies increasingly become both more numerous and better equipped.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Merc Sniper enemies are this. They will fight you from a distance and attempt to run away if you get too close.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: With the right weapons (such as shotguns), shooting enemies will blow chunks of meat from their bodies. Headshots with powerful guns reduce heads to bloody chunks.
  • Made of Plasticine: Just about everybody.
  • Meta Fiction: The truth behind the Arena Mode plot. The Player must merge with an event called the Mandatus and relive the events of the game over and over again to forestall the "Machine" from causing End of the World as We Know It, reflecting the declining popularity and presence of the Madness Series from it's heyday with the age of Flash Animation, and Project Nexus's attempt to keep that torch light, by playing through the Arena, the main gameplay mode with replayability in mind, through countless cycles as they're enmeshed over and over.
  • Mook Chivalry: Swain has been quoted to say that while it would be a great combat simulation to have everyone attack at once, it wouldn't be very fun for the player. They will surround you, but they'll take turns swinging at you in this case.
  • Mook Debut Cutscene: In various missions of the story mode, a special cutscene plays to introduce a new enemy you will encounter throughout the rest of the mission, or through the rest of the game. This includes, but not limited to:
    • Asylum patients in the Seeking Asylum mission, whose cutscene involves them stuttering and asking Hank to let them out of the cage they're currently in
    • The Sleepwalker GO3LM in Sleeper Labs, whose cutscene involves him crashing down in a Three-Point Landing-esque position then attacking Hank & Christoff
    Sleepwalker: BIG BOY. BIG DREAMS...
    • In the level Chasms, Deimos & Sanford come across the Abomination enemy feasting on a corpse.
    Deimos: The heck is that!
  • Multi-Melee Master: Any character can equip more than one type of melee weapon.
  • Mythology Gag: The "Slaughter Rank: Genocider" achievement is unlocked by killing a total of 53,594 enemies. The achievement itself is a nod to a similar achievement from Madness: Project Nexus Classic that players unlocked by killing the same total number of enemies in Arena mode.
  • Nerf:
    • GO3LMs were notorious in the original flash game for being armored giant mooks that had a very hard-to-exploit weakness through meleeing their armor until the helmet falls off, which was made harder when they can easily melee you in retaliation for that. Here, the reworked mechanics allow players to easily provoke a GO3LM into an easily telegraphed Death-or-Glory Attack, them performing a takedown to remove their helmet to shoot at the unarmored head, or locking them into a Cycle of Hurting through continuously provoking them into attacks, then performing takedowns on them until they're dead. On the other hand, they're no longer vulnerable to being cheesed by spamming dash attacks on them.
    • The Hook was the Weapon of Choice for Sanford in the classic Project Nexus game, and it was unbreakable, meaning that it can serve as an Emergency Weapon for him very well. This game, while it still has the ability to "hook" in enemies, is now as breakable as any other melee weapon, though to compensate, anyone can now use it and Sanford's ability is now expanded on other hook-like weapons.
  • Nerf Arm: The urinal. It's essentially just a giant urinal used as a blunt melee weapon. The description text also pokes fun at the player.
    This is gross, why are you swinging it at people?!?! Whoever yanked this off the wall must have been tremendously desperate for a weapon. note 
  • Never Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight: Any gun, knife, or fist can be equally deadly, it just depends on the context.
  • New Game+: Completing Arena Mode rewards you with an Imprint that gives you a gradually stacking boost to all of your stats as well as unlock new Origins that are a lot more powerful than the starting ones.
  • Nostalgia Level: The Sleeper Labs contain a segment where you fight through waves of enemies in the original game's Arena Mode zone, complete with two barrels, an (unfortunately unusable) armory doorway, and messages still built to reference 1v02P_6, the player character of the mode. This game's own arena mode also features the very room in its heyday as your first Arena stage.
  • Notice This: Items nearby that you can interact with will have your character stare at them as the prompt becomes available. Weapons that are empty or in poor condition will even be highlighted red to show they're not particularly useful anymore. It also gets parodied with certain interactable items; If something can be used once by multiple characters in the group, and you try to use it with someone who's already had their interaction, you typically just get the message "You don't care about that."
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Zombies in-game are simply referred to as "zeds". note 
  • One Bullet Clips: Notably averted in this game. Tac-reloading costs you your magazine and any rounds that were left in it.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: It's possible for a skilled character to do this with 2-handed swords, and blunt melee weapons, for that matter.
  • Parrying Bullets: One skill allows the player to deflect incoming bullets with a sword or blunt weapon, and yet another skill allows them to direct it back at their attackers.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Appears as a skill in the game, and can be used to stun enemies.
  • Quick Draw: There's a skill dedicated to this that allows the player to switch to ranged weapons faster.
  • Rare Guns: The "Nevadean Defense" gun falls into this category. It's a nod to the 8-barreled Colt Defender Mark I shotgun.
  • Redshirt Army: Most of the enemy factions are this. After all, you have to kill every last one to win the level...
  • Recurring Boss: Church and Jorge, the Nexus Core G03LMs who repeatedly tail the protagonists constantly due to never being finished off while they're incapacitated. They even try to go for one more round just before the showdown with Project Gestalt, but are summarily squashed and eaten by the giant. Even that doesn't keep the brothers down long however, since the fellas at MERC recover their bodies and resurrect them.
  • Shock and Awe: Certain weapons possess shock damage, which has the cosmetic effect of killed enemies convulsing with a chance for their head to explode. The Gudgeons of the Slaughter Time arena possess unique shock weaponry that causes victims to violently convulse before exploding into giblets.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Slaughter Time is an Whole Plot Reference to Smash TV, a stated inspiration for the gameplay of Project Nexus.
    • One of the weapons is the "Fantasy Sword", with its only description being "We swear we didn't steal this."
    • In "The Rush", one of the Combat Wave announcements says "What has science done!?"
    • Quartermaster Bert's name is shortened to "Q-Bert" in-game, which is a reference to the arcade game ''Q*bert".
    • Q-Bert sometimes tells the player character "Oh hey, [player name], I didn't recognize you. You're my favorite customer", which is a sentence taken from The Room when Johnny buys flowers.
    • The achievement "Slaughter Rank: Genocider"'s very-specific number is a reference to Dead Rising, which had the achievement "Zombie Genocider" for killing 53,594 zombies; enough to (story-wise, at least) kill the entire population of the town the game took place in.
    • The early-game Toughs gang look like stereotypical greasers and will sometimes go "BARF!!" when beat up.
    • Chopper Dave complains to Sweet-Tony that "sometimes even I get boarded!" as an excuse for ditching the Toughs' goods.
  • Spent Shells Shower: Can easily happen with the higher fire rate guns in the game.
  • Spread Shot: Shotguns, obviously.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Many returning characters from the animations now get fully-voiced incidental dialogue for the first time, including Jebus, Tricky, Sanford & Deimos, and even The Sheriff. Even the basic mooks get voice lines now.
  • Sword and Gun: Definitely possible in-game due to dual wielding mechanics.
  • Sword Lines: Affects not just swords, but also blunt weapons and fists.
  • Take That!: The Dragonslayer Sword is the only sword that doesn't make a "SHING" sound and makes a *CLANG* sound instead, referencing the 2016 anime adaptation of Berserk's infamously having it sound like a frying pan.
  • Throwaway Guns: Most "smarter" enemies will do this upon running out of ammo in order to pick up a loaded gun or melee weapon on the ground instead. The player is encouraged to do so as well.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Sheriff from the early episodes of Madness Combat has pulled of a villainous version, and is no longer the useless good-for-nothing coward he was back then. He's still a coward, but is more than capable of actually defending himself now.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Step One: Replay The Last Leg without using a loadout that can equip grenades, such as the Crackpot and Savior loadout. Step Two: Realize you screwed up hard because since there aren't any explosive launchers in those levels, it's impossible to get the switch down.
  • Violent Glaswegian: All the bandits inexplicably have Scottish accents despite the game taking place in Nevada.
  • Voice Grunting: Adding on to Suddenly Voiced, Hank also has voice acting, but his "voice" consists solely of grunts that can only be heard whenever he's attacking or whenever he's getting attacked. If it weren't for said grunts, one would be forgiven for thinking he was The Voiceless since said grunts aren't heard whenever he has dialogue in the text box.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Many of the early upgrades in Arena are ones that characters in the Story Mode already possess, like the TAC-Bar and zip-dodge. Others are even more basic, such as the ability to shove foes or hold a gun upright.
  • Your Head A-Splode: A later update added exploding heads.