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A typical starting line in the game. From 1st to 7th position and left to right: EL KING, Wow Caninaro, Mighty Eight, Radical One, Lead Oxide, M A S H E E N and High Rider.

Need For Madness? (also called Need For Madness or NFM) is a series of Java-based arcade-style online Vehicular Combat racing games developed mostly by Omar Waly, under the company name

The original game, bearing the same name as the series and often known as NFM1 to identify it from its sequels, was released in 2005. The player selects a car and stage and then competes with four other AI-controlled cars. The player wins the stage by doing any of the following:

  1. completing the number of laps shown at the top-left corner of the screen before any of the AI cars do; or
  2. wasting the other cars by ramming them.
Winning stages unlocks the later stages, and for every two stages won, a new car is unlocked.

Each car has six different properties:

  1. Top Speed (how fast the car goes in a straight line);
  2. Acceleration (how fast the car reaches its top speed);
  3. Handling (how easy it is to drive the car);
  4. Aerial Control/Stunts (how responsive the car is when doing stunts);
  5. Strength (how much damage it does when it hits another car and how much damage it takes when it gets hit); and
  6. Power Save (how slowly the Power bar decreases) or Endurance (how many hits the car can take).

While the speed of the player's chosen car, as well as the damage it does when it hits another car, is partly determined by its statistics as shown on the car selection screen, there is another mechanic that determines how fast and strong the car is. Throughout a race, the player has a Power bar that decreases constantly; a lower bar results in less speed and attacking strength, as well as reduced defense against collisions with or attacks by other cars. In order to recharge the Power bar, the player must do stunts, such as barrel rolls or vertical loops, while airborne. Combined stunts, such as a forward vertical loop combined with a barrel roll while the vehicle spins in mid-air, recharge the Power bar more than doing each stunt separately. If a stunt recharges the Power bar such that it is full, the player's car will maintain full power for approximately three seconds.


The player also has a Damage bar that fills up whenever the player collides with or gets hit by something. If this bar is filled completely, the player's car explodes, is disabled and considered to be wasted. To counter this, there is an electrified hoop that will fully repair any car that goes through it on most tracks.

The AI cars may occasionally choose to waste the player as well, and they play by the same rules as the player.

A downloadable version of NFM1 is available at

In 2010, Need For Madness? TooOo!? (often shortened to NFM2) was released. NFM2 increased the number of cars in a race to seven and featured seventeen new tracks, a number of them being redesigns of stages from NFM1. NFM2 also added some additional cars to play with and unlock and introduced modifications to the game engine that resulted in a car's speed and aerial control ability indirectly determining its Power Save; as a result, the Endurance stat replaced the Power Save stat on the Car Select screen.

A multiplayer version of the series was released as a beta version on September 13, 2011, titled Need For Madness? Multiplayer! (NFMM). NFMM features all of the cars and tracks from both NFM1 and NFM2, as well as the option to play alone against the AI, or online on a local area network or the official game servers. Unlike previous games, where a track is unlocked only after the preceding track is won or a car is unlocked after every two stages, all cars and tracks are available right at the beginning of NFMM. Additional features that come with NFMM's multiplayer functions include the ability to recolour the player's car of choice, chat with other players and watch a live feed of any race in progress. Free play on the official game servers is limited to five races per IP every nine hours, although this limit can be circumvented on computers without a static IP address and does not affect one's ability to access the servers or observe other races. The five-race limit can be removed via paid registration. The game client can be downloaded from here after registration.

On 5 March, 2012, Need For Madness Single Player was released as a free download. This version lacks multiplayer connectivity, but features all of the cars and tracks from both NFM1 and NFM2 as well as a Car Maker, allowing the player to create new cars from scratch or edit existing cars downloaded from the Internet. Registered players of NFMM can also upload cars they make from the Car Maker into NFMM and share them with other registered players on the servers, as well as download cars shared by other players. Like NFMM, all tracks and vehicles are available from the start in this version. A Stage Maker was added to it on 13 August, 2012, allowing the player to create their own stages or play stages downloaded from the Internet.

Further development of the Need For Madness? series can be found here, and the Facebook page for this series is located here. Waly has also announced the series on Steam Greenlight; its description page is located here.

The Need For Madness? series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The Alleged Car: Wow Caninaro tends to get this a lot from the community due to its low top speed, poor acceleration and handling and tendency to be a bouncing sitting duck when it hits something or spin out of control when it is hit by something. Like every other seemingly below-average game car, however, it can be What a Piece of Junk in the hands of a player who is used to driving it.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Especially in the later stages, where the AI will actually make serious attempts to waste you if you are the race leader. The AI of the cars is improved slightly in NFM2 and knows how to make use of the strengths of each car. Sadly, it does not seem to factor in other things such as the probability of Nimi surviving a head-on collision with M A S H E E N...
  • Artistic License – Physics: The games were coded with this in mind.
  • Beating A Dead Player: AI-controlled cars may occasionally do this to the last car they have wasted.
  • Big Badass Rig: EL KING. This car resembles a rig and is one of the strongest game cars in the series. In NFM1, it ties with DR Monstaa for being the strongest game car, and although M A S H E E N takes over the title of strongest game car from NFM2 onwards, EL KING is still a force to be reckoned with and is one of the few cars that can damage M A S H E E N while it is stationary.
  • Bland-Name Product: Nimi and Mighty Eight. Nimi is a Mini Cooper and Mighty Eight is an Audi R8.
  • Blessed with Suck: M A S H E E N. For being the strongest car in both games (even beating out Lightning Bruiser DR Monstaa and Mighty Glacier counterpart EL KING), it is also the slowest and cannot reach the electrified hoop in a number of stages.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": EL KING (a rig), M A S H E E N (a wheel loader), and DR Monstaa (a monster truck). The game still calls them "cars".
  • Car Fu: In addition to just ramming into cars, some cars can ram other cars with enough force to send them flying, making for some truly potent improvised missiles. Even something as small and frail as Nimi will deliver the hurt if it hits at a high enough speed.
  • Cool Car: All of the game's cars are this, one way or another. Whether you are driving around in a lowrider, flying off a ramp in a wheel loader or being shunted around a track at high speeds in a tiny city car, you will always look cool.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Overlaps with Shows Damage below. All of the cars will still perform as per normal regardless of the amount of damage they take.
  • Cutting the Knot: Four Dimensional Vertigo is difficult to navigate for starters, even involving racing without a track at one spot. The player can spend at least a few hours getting help online or figuring it out for themselves...or just use M A S H E E N to waste the other cars on the stage.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • M A S H E E N. While it is the strongest car in the series so far, its slow speed means that most players driving it will usually see their target speeding away from them, fall short of the only electrified hoop in a stage or get hit from all sides and get wasted before they can even blink. However, it is definitely possible to use M A S H E E N to race, and veteran players can exploit the game's weird laws of Physics to push the wheel loader beyond what it can normally do.
    • Formula 7. With the highest speed and acceleration in the game but the durability of wet toilet paper, it can easily dominate races against even the likes of Radical One, but a single solid impact with either another car or the ground can result in a wasting. Every mistake with Formula 7 is extremely costly, but once you learn to control your stunts and avoid the competition, it's second to none when it comes to leaving enemies in the dust.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: The only way to recharge your Power bar is to do stunts. This may include actual barrel rolls.
  • Enormous Engine: MAX Revenge has it.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: All the cars explode into small flames when wasted.
  • Expy: Wow Caninaro is the Canyonero. The yellow paint job of the former is a Shout-Out to The Simpsons, which is where the Canyonero originated from. MAX Revenge is the Pursuit Special from the first Mad Max film, repainted brown; by extension, it also doubles up as a Fictional Counterpart to the Ford XB Falcon GT, which is what the Pursuit Special is a heavily modified version of.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Many of the cars in the games are based on specific real-life vehicles. For example, M A S H E E N is this to a Caterpillar 966D wheel loader. See also the Bland-Name Product and Expy entries above.
  • Fission Mailed / Kaizo Trap: Due to the game's simple win/lose conditions, it is possible to win a stage after getting wasted if all the other cars are wasted before you "Press [Enter] to continue" or lose a stage by getting wasted after winning by racing.
  • Fragile Speedster: Formula 7 is the embodiment of this trope. It is the fastest game car, as well as the most fragile. Half the time, it will waste itself regardless of whether any other car is trying to waste it or not. Other examples include La Vita Crab, Drifter X and Mighty Eight.
  • Gang Up on the Human: The AI tends to attack the player en masse if the player is in first place and/or gets too close to AI-driven cars.
  • Glass Cannon: MAX Revenge and Sword of Justice can deal massive amounts of damage to any car in the game, even to DR Monstaa, but only when they are not being hit themselves and their Power bar is filled up. They get wasted very quickly otherwise.
  • Have a Nice Death: If you get wasted, the highlight for that race is the part where you get wasted.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Much of M A S H E E N's strength can be attributed to its unusual hitboxes. Because of its tires, the vehicle itself sits a bit higher off the ground than it appears. Thus, in a fraction of a second, smaller cars tend to be sucked under and crushed by M A S H E E N if they try engaging it while it's on the attack (And sometimes, even when the loader is sitting still), resulting in a One-Hit KO.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Tornado Shark is this near the start of both games, with medium stats for everything as compared to the other cars that do not need to be unlocked. Against all sixteen cars, MAX Revenge and Lead Oxide probably fill this position best despite the former also being classified as a Glass Cannon. High Rider and Kool Kat also count.
  • Joke Character: Nimi is this. It is neither fast nor strong, it is difficult to control while airborne, and it tends to go in a straight line approaching corners. Nimi ties with Formula 7 for being one of the first cars to be wasted on every race, the only difference being that it is usually wasted by other cars by accident. Many players regard completing the game using only Nimi to be the ultimate test for any ridiculously experienced racer.
  • The Juggernaut: With their incredibly high Strength rating and at full Power, EL KING, M A S H E E N and DR Monstaa will deflect any attack on them like a bullet ricocheting off the armored hulk of a tank. They won't even be knocked off course.
  • Lightning Bruiser: DR Monstaa and, under the right conditions, Radical One. At full Power, both cars can easily dominate every other and even go toe-to-toe with custom cars.
  • Made of Plasticine: Played with on certain occasions, such as when moving cars are struck from behind and get dealt a huge amount of damage even if said impact didn't look catastrophic.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": In M A S H E E N's home stages, every other car starts the race desperately backing away from the waster. It's notorious for catching first-time players off-guard.
  • Marathon Level: Commonly used to force the player to waste instead of race. Notable examples in the first game include "Do the Snake Dance" (7 laps on a zig-zag track), "He is Coming For You Next" (9 laps with jumps over hazards), and "The Mad Party" (11 laps with no repair hoop).
  • The Maze: The second-to-last stage of both NFM1 and NFM2. The guidance arrow is disabled in the second-to-last stage of NFM1, and in the second-to-last stage of NFM2, one stretch between three checkpoints runs across the entire track, with no markers or distinguishing obstacles in between.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Kool Kat, a 1963 Cadillac convertiblenote  who can still stunt and race with the best of them.
    • Drifter X, who is a very drifty car.
    • Sword of Justice, who is a police car armed to the teeth with sharp upgrades to slay other cars.
    • High Rider, who is a car that sits upon elevated wheels — or a high-riding car. The wheels are not nearly as high as Dr. Monstaa's, but it's still noticeable.
    • M A S H E E N, who can easily "mash" the competition with its top-tier strength stat.
    • Radical One, who can easily perform "radical" stunts with its top-tier stunt stat.
  • Mighty Glacier: EL KING in NFM1 and M A S H E E N in NFM2. Both cars will completely waste virtually any other car if they attack at full Power and speed, but they are much, much slower than the other cars and perform poorly at stunts. M A S H E E N, in particular, takes this trope Up to Eleven. It can destroy almost any other car with one hit in NFM2 at full Power and speed, and most mid-tier cars cannot damage it unless they hit it at full Power. However, it can never pursue a fleeing car because it is so slow—even Nimi can outrun it—and its massive size and mass means that it can only do barrel rolls or tabletops (i.e. launching off a ramp and landing upside-down and then launching off a second ramp using the car's momentum and landing upright) on any obstacle taller than a dirt ramp; it can only do vertical loops if it launches off the tallest ramps in the game at maximum speed and Power.
  • Pass Through the Rings: Racing involves driving under a series of checkpoint arches. You do not necessarily have to follow the curvature of the road, as the second-to-last stages of NFM1 and NFM2 can attest.
  • Pimped-Out Car: Radical One sports rear fins and a streamlined body, allowing it to reach very high speeds. Said speeds can also be put to other uses too.
  • Promoted to Playable: Lead Oxide and MAX Revenge are playable from the start in NFM2, whereas they had to be unlocked in the first game. Justified, given the increase in the racing lineup from 5 cars to 7.
  • Ramming Always Works: Zig-zagging. Ramming another car at full Power will usually do a metric ton of damage to them while you usually get away with a scratch. However, attempting to ram another car with your Power bar below even three-quarters of full will almost always result in you bouncing off your target and taking a lot of damage in return. You might even waste yourself this way, and with weaker cars such as Nimi, even full Power is no insurance against head-on suicides with stronger cars.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The theme for "Rolling with the Big Boys" in the second game is actually "Static" from Hired Guns. Opening the Need For Madness remix in a tracking program reveals it's been extended significantly past its original length, mainly by repeating certain portions. It also plays at a higher pitch in-game; the tracker player the game uses doesn't read some of the .mod files accurately.
  • Rule of Three: At the end of a race, depending on what happened during the course of it, you will be treated to a race highlight, where you are shown one of the following three times:
    1. You Wasted 'em! (when a car is wasted as a direct or indirect result of you hitting it)
    2. Wasted! (if your car is wasted)
    3. Close Finish! (if you and another car finish the race close to each other)
    4. Stunts! (when you do at least three stunts in one pass)
    5. Best Stunt! (when you do two stunts in one pass but less than three stunts in one pass during a race)
  • Shows Damage: Type 3. Every time you hit something, be it the ground, the flat side of a ramp or another car, whatever damage you take is shown in the physical appearance of your vehicle in addition to an increase in your Damage bar. Typically, your car will look like an Eldritch Abomination when your Damage bar is near full. Overlaps with Critical Existence Failure above, as the damage shown does not affect the performance of the cars.
  • Skill Gate Characters: Tornado Shark becomes this once every car is unlocked. It is moderately decent in every field and is a good choice for beginners in the first few stages, but as with almost all of the cars available at the start of the first two games, it is eaten alive by high-end cars such as Radical One and DR Monstaa, and can be wasted by a seasoned player driving Formula 7.
  • Someday This Will Come in Handy: Few players know that doing forward rolls decrease the amount of time in the air while at the same time propelling the car forwards, while doing backward rolls causes the car to fly even higher at the expense of velocity, despite the games' instructions clearly mentioning this. Knowledge of this can be vital in some stages where every little extra speed boost you can get from stunts can make a difference between a close finish with you behind or a close finish with you in front, or if the extra height can mean EL KING wasting you the moment you land or you flying over it.
  • Some Dexterity Required: Some stunt categories, such as tabletops, require a bit of additional thinking to execute correctly.
  • Spiritual Successor: The entire series, to an earlier game developed by Waly, called Maniac Racers. Maniac Racers featured the same race-or-waste mechanics, except that the game was played from an overhead 2D perspective.
  • Sturgeon's Law: This came into full effect the moment registered players were allowed to use cars they made in NFMSP's Car Maker in NFMM.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The AI has a tendency to overestimate the durability of the car it uses. Cue Nimi driving headlong into M A S H E E N.
  • Super Toughness: M A S H E E N. Full Strength and Endurance stats combined with specific physics settings that cannot be easily emulated by players in the Car Maker means that it can take an absolutely ridiculous amount of punishment from other cars (and No-Sell hits from the weakest) as long as the game's Made of Plasticine Good Bad Bug doesn't come into play.
  • Take a Third Option: In many of the tracks in NFM2, an AI-controlled M A S H E E N will attempt to race if it is near the front, but once it drops to near last place, it will not continue racing, nor will it drive off-track and chase the nearest car. Instead, it will turn around and drive in the opposite direction, which will eventually put it in the ideal position to take out the race leader first. EL KING is also prone to this tactic, which is particularly notable in level 8 of the first game, whose linear track makes it that much more noteworthy when EL KING charges you on every lap.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: The closer your Power bar is to full, the faster your car, the harder it hits, and the more punishment it can take. Can't overtake Mighty Eight? Fill the Power bar. Not damaging EL KING fast enough? Fill the Power bar. Getting hit too hard? Fill the Power bar. Falling short of that electrified hoop? Fill the Power bar. Can't outrun a pursuing DR Monstaa? Fill the Power bar. Want to use Radical One as a moving ramp? Fill the Power bar.
  • Up to Eleven: If you are able to combine four or more different types of stunts, the game will not be able to tell you exactly what stunts you performed, instead opting to display any one of the following messages:
    "Your a super star!!"
    "What the...?"
    "Who are you again...?"
  • Weaponized Car: Sword of Justice, a police car decked out with some Boadicea wheels and razor-sharp front and side attachments.
  • Wham Shot: "Rolling with the Big Boys" starts unlike every other stage up to that point: every other car reverses to avoid the M A S H E E N, establishing just how threatening the loader is.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Kool Kat.


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