Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia Xbox 360 Review

After a quick search around the other corners of the Internet it is clear to see that Monster Madness is not being too kindly received. Personally, I don’t feel it is that bad of a game as it is, at times, fun to play – which is a trait all game strive to have. Unfortunately, the game’s biggest problems is that it is being sold at an RRP of £39.99, and that price in no way matches up to the amount of fun you can have with the game, even if you get a full set of four players involved.

But There’s Nothing Wrong With Me

Right from the outset, it is evident that Monster Madness is a game with a very single-minded approach, with the very first level showing you all you need to know about the game. The game’s story is also a very limited one, with it mainly being there just as a nonsensical excuse to kill all the monsters that come your way. Also, it seems no thought what-so-ever has gone into the game’s main characters and as result the game is left with four stereotypical heroes who only succeed in failing to entertain you as you advance through the game. In fact, you can directly compare Monster Madness to the famed 1994 release, Zombies Ate My Neighbours, as it plays in quite a similar fashion but unfortunately seems to be a step or two behind in terms of quality.

When you start the main campaign mode you just have access to a simple mêlée weapon but as you go on you get access to much more stuff. By the time you get a few acts in (‘acts’ are what the game calls each of the levels BTW) you will then have loads of weapons, such as tazers and rocket launchers, along with others to pick and choose from. Also, each character boasts a signature mêlée weapon, along with buildable and upgradeable guns. A few levels in, things start to get mixed up a bit more with the introduction of ATVs, buggies, tanks and hovercraft you can drive about in. As you play you can also collect ‘monster tokens’, the title’s in-game currency with which you can then use to buy a selection of healing items and other weapon upgrades for your character, or characters if you are playing in co-op. All in all the gameplay sounds like great fun but that all proceeds to fall apart with a few bad design decisions by the devs.

Unfortunately, the biggest mistake the game makes is introducing a downright confusing control method to proceedings. Firstly, the two shoulder triggers control weapon attacks and the other two bumpers control each switching between weapons. The X button is then used to pick up items which can also be used against the hoards. Now, with many more face buttons left to use for other tasks this is where the game makes its silliest mistake – jumping is, for some unknown reason, mapped to clicking in the right stick. This ridiculous decision makes many of the platforming sections of the game nigh on impossible to do correctly, which leads to intense frustration. More problems come in regards to the game’s checkpoint system which is poorly implemented, forcing you to play huge chunks of ‘acts’ should you mess up. All this leads us to yet another problem which is the game’s difficulty, this is best summed up as just being all over the place with different enemies and bosses being vastly harder to kill than others regardless of what level of difficulty you choose to play on! Finally, another of the game’s biggest flaws is that the main campaign cannot be played online, which means if you want to play the 4 player co-op you need everyone all around the one TV. However, there are a few online modes, which can be played with up to 16 players, available but having the main campaign playable online would have really helped things.

This Is How I’m Supposed To Be

Graphically the game has a nice comic book feel to it with some exciting cutscenes interspersed throughout the game’s ten hour lifespan. In-game there are a few interesting things to see, as many of the environments are destructible. Many of the monsters on show are also fun to look at, as they are comical recreations of fiends you will most likely have already seen in some horror genre films. The game’s soundtrack also tries to emphasise the comical element of the game by having some organ melodies overlaid against more classical-style tunes. It really is a very weird choice of music, and yet another bright red luminous neon sign that shouts ‘do not take this game too seriously’. In terms of sound effects, things can get ridiculously repetitive as, at times, many explosions, grunts and groans can get replayed literally seconds after each other which is very grating to anyone’s ears. Regretfully, the voice acting in the game also shares the same fate with the dialogue being both cringe-worthy and highly monotonous.

In A Land Of Make Believe

All in all there is some fun to be had with Monster Madness, and with 4 players sat around a TV for a few hours there is bound to be some laughs garnered from events in the game, but crucially, unless you just got a windfall in the lottery, there is no way to justify paying full price for the game. However, it is not only the price holding the game back as some crucial gameplay mechanics have been messed up which also limit the fun that can be had. When all is said and done, Monster Madness is best left sitting on the shelves until it receives a price drop and, if someday, you managed to find it for £15 make sure you drag a few mates round your place to maximise the enjoyment of what is a very limited game.

If you are at all interested just wait for price drop.

5.0 out of 10
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