I’ve recently become ridiculously addicted to Borderlands. Despite its poor PC connectivity, I, like many, discovered the cute work-around using Game Ranger and have been enjoying it thoroughly ever since. My Borderlands partner and I have been looking to get some extra legs out of our Diablo-with-guns secret passion. Currently we’re working on our second playthrough. So far, we’re enjoying it more than our first romp through Pandora. The increasingly difficult spawns are a welcome change to the otherwise stroll through the park of our first run. The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned was a fantastic addition to vanilla Borderlands. It added a funny story, a change of location, some great new enemies, but it did throw the balance of the main game off a bit. Overall, it received a warm welcome from me.
Then came Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot. The heavy influence of the Mad Max movie series is clear to anyone playing Borderlands . To most, it’s actually a sales point. So to add the Thunderdome seems like a no brainer.
Like Zombie Island, Moxxi’s Underdome can only be reached by a fast travel station. Moxxi’s backstory is briefly given in the intro story as you port for the first time into Moxxi’s Thunder… I mean… Underdome. She was married a few times and as she’s looking for the next Mr. Right, she’s deciding to entertain herself by making people hurt one another. Neat!
Within the Underdome, players compete for money, glory, better guns and their own heads in gladiator-like situations. Players face round after round of enemy waves, topped off with a boss battle. It’s satisfying if you want a simple immediate “kill a bunch of people” kind of gameplay. Moxxi doesn’t add much of anything to the relatively weak story of Borderlands. But that’s OK! That’s why you play the game!
After each wave, Moxxi opens up the heavens and drops timed supply crates into the playing field and contestants scatter to pick up as much ammo and health before the next wave of horror begins. The crates gradually get smaller and smaller until they eventually disappear before the next wave begins. The crates are welcome as you’ll be dumping out the ammo into enemy waves to stay alive, but they land erratically and disappear quickly, so you may go a round or two without picking any up.
Underdome continues the same beautiful art style found in Borderlands, and it mixes in some great music tracks but that’s about all the compliments I can pay to Underdome. For a full $10, it’s unrewarding as it adds nothing new to the story nor does it add to the exploration and survival gameplay of the Pandora wastelands. It’s simply an area that you pay for that lets you kill endless waves of enemies. I almost hate to write it, but this type of gameplay should have been included right from the start of Borderlands.
If you’re a hardcore Borderlands gamer, you’ve probably already purchased Moxxi. However, if you’re relatively new to the Borderlands scene, then by all means purchase The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned. It adds some funny moments and some great extra missions. Unless you’re looking for nothing more than a simple run-and-gun gladiator gameplay, then you should probably avoid Moxxi unless it becomes part of a free collectors edition.