Here's an example of a reasonable idea spoiled by poor execution. On paper it doesn't sound too bad - a light-hearted rampage through zombie-infested suburbia, with the occasional vehicle to drive and the ability to use practically anything as a weapon. In fact it sounds almost like a simplified, funnier version of Dead Rising.
In reality, Monster Madness feels cheap and shoddily put together. As the jerky framerate makes the badly animated graphics flicker and tear across the screen - while you battle not so much against the horde of stuttering undead as against one of the most counter-intuitive control systems in 360 gaming - you'll wonder where your £40 went. There may be more content here than in the average 400-point Live Arcade game, but it's such low quality it looks and plays like anything but a full-price title.
You play as one of four genero-American kid characters, thrown into a cartoony world where zombies must be dispatched by any means necessary. Grab knives, chairs, propane tanks and whatever you can lay your hands on, and battle to the next checkpoint, where more of the same awaits.
Bonus items such as nails, screws and bits of plumbing are hidden on rooftops. Collecting them means you can build improved weapons at the handy weapons van located in each area, and before too long you'll have nail guns, rocket launchers and other high-tech ways to dispose of the increasingly tough monsters that pop up out of the ground in an unconvincing puff of smoke.
The controls, though, are almost unbelievably bad. You move using the left stick and rotate the character using the right, which sounds a little like the standard first-person method we're all so used to now - but it actually doesn't work that way at all. As your character skates across the ground, attacked from all sides, it's impossibly slow to turn around. The game is just a frenzy of rotating the right stick and hammering the trigger, which grows tiring after about five minutes. Pressing the left bumper zooms in the camera and locks it behind the character, giving a more familiar and controllable way to get around the messily designed levels but leaving you completely open to attacks from behind, since you can no longer see very much of the surrounding area.
Attempting to climb up to high areas to reach the bonus items is even worse than the out-of-control shopping trolley that is the combat system. You have to click the sticks to jump, and hope that the wildly swinging camera stops spazzing out for long enough to allow you to judge the distance required. There are trampolines for getting onto rooftops, and after you've spent a few goes bouncing into the side of the building and getting snagged under the eaves, you'll find there's only a tiny area of roof that you're allowed to walk on - the rest is blocked off by (wait for it...) invisible barriers.
The addition of online co-op and Deathmatch modes maybe elevates Monster Madness above the bottom tier of Live Arcade titles, but at full price there will probably be so few people playing that it's unlikely to be a vibrant online community. So, there's nothing to recommend this as a £40 game.
Sub-standard stuff - its only redeeming feature is the very unlikely prospect of online fun. A bargain bin title.