Mad Max: Beginner's Guide


If you've not played it, Mad Max is a great game. It first came out in 2015 and this £60 RPG is now available for around £15 or less on consoles and PC. The game came out a few months after the release of 'Mad Max: Fury Road' and shares many of the same design elements.


There's a heavy emphasis on driving in the game. There are lots of vehicles to collect and build, and many racing challenges to take on, but even if you're not a petrol head there's a huge amount to enjoy.


The basic story sees Max meet up with his nemesis, Scrotus (son of Immortan Joe) in the opening scene. Things go badly and Max is left car-less and destitute in the wasteland (a vast area of dried-up sea-bed scattered with rusting ships and derelict oil-rigs). Luckily Max meets up with a talented 'black-finger' (the name the locals give to a mechanic) by the name of Chumbucket who offers to help Max create the Magnum Opus, a new car that will outshine his lost Interceptor, the Black on Black.


The scene is set. The game presents Max with various missions that help progress the plot and side missions that provide Max with the equipment and experience he needs to survive the wasteland and defeat his enemies. Successfully completing missions earns Max things called Griffa Tokens that can be exchanged for upgrades to Max's health, fighting ability and scrounging efficiency.


Anyway, that's the bare bones of the gameplay. Some top tips are below:



Give Water to Wanderers

As Max explores the wasteland he encounters small groups of ragged people begging for water (they're easy to spot, they have a water-drop symbol hanging over them). If Max gives them something to drink, the ragged roamers return the favour by provide information about local resources, dangers, new scrapping locations etc. (these new locations will be added to your map). These guys are particularly useful in finding minefields that you'd otherwise have to stumble across by accident (Chumbucket will point out a 'boom-boom-field' if you drive past one, or you can search for them with your dog, Dinki-Di). Clearing minefields helps you pacify the wasteland, so it's a useful job. And there are other advantages...


Use Minefields to Scrounge Ammo

Early in the game, Max and Chumbucket are forced to take refuge with a local warlord called Jeet who has turned an old lighthouse into a stronghold. Jeet will provide you with a series of Wasteland Missions that lead to a regular supply of ammo for Max's shotgun but, until that point, ammo is very scarce. However, you can boost your supply by clearing minefields, as picking up mines will automatically add shotgun shells to Max's ammo belt. If you're about to embark on a dangerous mission and are low on cartridges, go out on a minefield hunt and stock up.



Look for Crossed Containers

Scattered across the desert are rusty shipping containers. Some have been used to build shelters by wasteland scum, some are empty shells, while others lie half-buried in the sand. Some of these containers have red crosses painted on their doors. If you target these crossed doors with the Magnum Opus' harpoon (a weapon built into the car), you can tear them off. More often than not, you'll find something useful inside.


Watch the Skies for Smoke and Birds

A plume of smoke rising from behind a hill or dune usually indicates a location you can scavenge for scrap, food or ammo, but watch out for ambushes. Also keep a lookout for circling birds, they usually indicate a corpse lying in the open, and these often have valuable supplies of one sort or another scattered around them. You might even get to feast on the maggots in the corpse itself - yummy. I'm not joking, scooping maggots out of rotting corpses is a 'thing' in this game.



Rats and Lizards are Tasty Treats

Staying on the food theme, old human habitations and wrecked ships are often home to rats and lizards. Rats are easier to locate than lizards as they make squeaking sounds, so you'll often hear them before you see them. Rats and lizards make good eating, so if your health is down and you want to save water (both eating and drinking will restore health) chase after these critters and launch an attack. If get close enough, you'll stamp them to death and get a 'delicious' mouthful of raw meat.


Use Your Griffa Tokens Wisely

As you complete missions or undertake other tasks, the game will reward you with Griffa tokens. Griffa is a strange mystic who carries what looks like a boat on his back. Now and again the game will tell you that Griffa has appeared nearby and his icon will appear somewhere on the map. When you visit Griffa he'll allow you to use any tokens you've accumulated to bump up your skill sets.


There are various skills and attributes, but the ones you'll want to concentrate on in the early game are those that increase Max's health and offensive capabilities. But other skills are useful too, such as the one that increases the amount of water Max can extract from each wasteland source he discovers (these replenish themselves in time, but often don't produce more than a dribble).


The one skill not to invest in is the one that allows you to find more gasoline. Gas is never an issue in this game, there's plenty to be found, and you can carry a spare can in the back of your car.



Use Gas Cans as Weapons

The game allows you to pick up gas cans, ignite them, and throw them at enemies or obstacles. They're the wasteland equivalent of grenades. One handy trick involves Max throwing an unlit gas canister at a group of enemies, then blasting it with his shotgun. On the PS4 the 'throw' command is the 0-button on the controller, and this is also the command for 'auto-shoot' (a rapid-fire, auto-aiming manoeuvre). So you can pick up a gas can, face an enemy, then press '0' twice in quick succession to blast the canister in mid-air with your shotgun (not took quick, or you'll blow yourself up). This is a handy trick to use against tougher enemies.


Take Down Scrotus Camps

There are numerous War Boy camps belonging to Scrotus. Most are devoted to the oil business, either by pumping the stuff or storing it. These camps have a 'skull-rating' that tells you how tough they are and many Missions require you to attack them. However, it's useful to seek out the One- and Two-Skull camps early-on in the game and take them down. Not only will you boost your 'Legend Status' and earn Griffa tokens, but once a camp has been cleared it gets taken over by your allies, who will then pay you a regular tribute of scrap. Scrap is the currency of the wasteland and taking over camps is the easiest way of earning it.



Capture Observation Posts and Complete Death-Runs

Observation posts have balloons tethered in them, and you can take these up up to scout-out the countryside. Not only are they good for uncovering new locations, but each captured balloon acts as a fast travel site. Be warned though, most observation posts are guarded by gangs of War Boys. Fast travel is also a feature of the various garages scattered round the wasteland. Each garage has a Death-Run associated with it. By completing the Run (a race of some description - they differ), you unlock the garage, acquire the ability to fast travel to it, and get a fresh supply of 'guzzoline'.


Listen to Chumbucket

Chumbucket, your regular traveling companion, has a wealth of information about the wasteland, most of it very useful indeed. Unfortunately, Chumbucket will often insist on speaking to you at the most inconvenient times, usually when you're in the middle of a fight, fleeing a sniper, or trying to escape a storm. However difficult it might be, try to pay attention. Chum might be as ugly as sin, but he knows a thing or two. So listen to him, it's the best way of finding your way around the wasteland.

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