Mad Max (NES)

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Mad Max
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1990
Developer: Eastridge Technology, Gray Matter
Buy: Amazon

Mad Max is an action game developed by Eastridge Technology and Gray Matter and published b Mindscape. It is based on the Mad Max film The Road Warrior and is loosely based on the computer game, Road Raider.

The game is broken up into two sections:

Road War: The game is seen from a top-down perspective. The player takes control of Max's Pursuit Special, controlled oddly by the D-pad. The objective in this area is to get an arena pass from the shop. This is done by exploring the area for caves, where items such as food, water, and gas are obtained. The cave areas are also from a top-down perspective, but Max is on-foot. Here, he can shoot enemies with his gun which will dispatch them in a single hit. The player must also use keys to access certain areas of the cave. Once the player collects enough supplies, they must return to the shop and trade in their supplies for an arena pass. After that, they must locate the entrance to the arena. The player must do all of this before they run out of fuel, or they must restart from the beginning of the stage with all their progress for that level lost.

In the driving segments, you must avoid enemy vehicles and towers that throw dynamite at you. You have dynamite of your own to throw, but only in very limited quantities. At the shop, you can buy varying amounts of gasoline if you need it.

Arena: In the arena, you must destroy a certain amount of vehicles. To do this, you drive along a series of narrow roads and can either knock the opponents into the chasm below, or lead them into the traps which open and close randomly. However, the opponents can pull the same tricks on you, so you must exercise extreme caution. After dispatching enough cars, the boss appears, which is an even stronger vehicle that you must dispatch the same way. After this, you must find the exit and escape with enough gas to spare. After this, you go to the next level and are given a four-letter password to save your progress.

The game contains a four-letter password system, which is good for an NES game. Although there is a bug with one of the passwords that takes you to the final arena. After clearing this, you go to the final boss Humungus, where, if you used the password, you will not have enough ammunition in your crossbow to defeat him. You can also accidentally fall of the edge very easily, making the final boss battle even more frustrating than it needs to be.

The game was developed by only three people; Nick Eastridge as the programmer, Nick Gray as the graphic artist, and Rich Shemaria as the music composer.

Mad Max received negative backlash from players and critics alike. They cited the awkward and stiff controls, the cryptic level design and gameplay, and the unfair difficulty. The game is also very unforgiving, as there are several ways to die, and most run out of gas rather than get destroyed by the enemy. One of the game's testers, Chris Pico, said he gave honest feedback to Mindscape about what they could do to improve the game, but they ignored his criticisms and released the game as it is. Though he asked for his name to be removed from the testing credits, they left his name intact in the game's documentation.


Mad Max - NES - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

Mad Max - NES - Prologue.png

The game's prologue.

Mad Max - NES - Main Menu.png

The main menu, which has an uncanny resemblance to Infiltrator (NES).

Mad Max - NES - Road War.png

Playing one of the Road War levels.

Mad Max - NES - Cave.png

Exploring a cave for items.

Mad Max - NES - Arena Battle.png

Playing one of the Arena battles.


Unfortunately, there are only two songs in the game. One is a song that plays at the title screen, the caves and during the final boss battle and a 2-second loop song that plays when you die or enter the arena. For unknown reasons, the music has been tuned a little sharp. Rich Shemaria wrote the game's score, which was then handed over to Nick Eastridge to convert into his sound driver.

According to Shemaria, he wrote more music for the game, but the songs ended up not making it into the final game. This was likely due to time constraints set by Mindscape.


# Title ComposerArranger Length Listen Download
01 Mad Max Rich ShemariaNick Eastridge 2:35
02 Death Rich ShemariaNick Eastridge 0:13


(Source: Verification from composer, game's sound engine; Game lacks credits.)

Eastridge Technology never put credits in their games. However, Rich Shemaria has verified working on the game. The game uses Nick Eastridge's sound driver.

The game's instruction manual has a special thanks list of people who worked on the game, but none of the development staff are credited.

Game Rip

Issue - Incomplete.svg

This rip is missing songs.






Ripping NES music is an arduous process that is beyond the scope of this site. The recording was made in NSFPlay.


  USA.svg   USA
Title: Mad Max
Platform: NES
Released: 1990-07-??
Publisher: Mindscape Inc.