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Major Mayhem

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad, Steam

Going commando

Product: Major Mayhem | Developer: Rocket Jump Games | Publisher: Adult Swim | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
Major Mayhem iPhone, thumbnail 1
The best thing about the '80s was, without question, the action movies. Never before or since has a decade managed to produce so many violent, quip-filled films about massively muscled men going on killing sprees.

It's that rich heritage that Major Mayhem taps into, turning you into a one-man army on a mission to save your girlfriend and your daughter from a slew of identikit foes and stereotypical bad guys.

But while it pokes fun at the tropes and trappings of the action genre, the game has clearly been built by people with a soft spot for Commando and its ilk. This is slaughter done right, with enormous weaponry and a huge sense of fun.

Blast from the past

At the heart of Major Mayhem is a remarkably simple mechanic. The titular army man runs onto the screen, stopping behind some handily placed cover, from which you blast everything that moves before scarpering to the next hiding place.

The only control you have is over the hail of bullets the major is spraying out. Press anywhere on the screen and he'll lean out from behind shelter and blast away until you move your finger.

Enemy projectiles that can hurt you are surrounded by a reticule that turns from green to red as they approach. If you're not in cover when they fly past, you'll take some damage. Three hits and it's back to the nearest checkpoint.

Duck and cover

The key to the game is timing. Not just for dodging the oncoming assault, but for getting the highest scores as well. It's all well and good taking your time and picking off the bad guys one by one, but speedy slaughter adds to your combo score, and means you'll be awarded with higher accolades at the end of the level.

There are three areas to murder your way through - Tropics, Metropolis, and Desert - and each of them is split into fifteen different stages. You'll fight ninjas, mummies, tribesmen, suited secret agents, and armoured cops, as well as tanks, planes, and a final boss that's a cross between the two.

Ducking and blasting away becomes second nature, and you'll soon be racking up huge combo scores, especially in the later levels when you're treated to some shockingly powerful new weapons. Major Mayhem lives up to its name and then some, gifting you miniguns, grenades, and a quadrazooka.

Heavy weapons

Despite its relentless action, there are few points in the game when you're overwhelmed or find things too repetitive. Platform sections, rescue missions, trap dodging, and run-and-gun stretches break things up nicely, as do some exciting boss battles.

If the game is lacking in any department, it's content. After an hour you'll have cleared all of the levels once, and while you can jump in at any point to try and better your scores, the magic does fade a little the second time around.

All the same, Major Mayhem still manages to live up to its highly esteemed inspiration. It's funny, fast, violent, and leaves you wanting more.

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Major Mayhem
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 29 November 2011
A brash, bright shooter, Major Mayhem is a brilliant way to waste an hour. It's just a shame there isn't more to get your teeth into
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