Let's get started!
These won't be an any kind of order, I'll just rate the most notable ones. Also, I'm only reviewing MOVIES here, games ain't gonna be seen on this list.
WhiteHank 2 Collab: Holy shit. This ended up blowing away my expectations, giving Paradig 2 some damn-strong competition this year. The scenes flowed like butter, and each animator on the team had something special to show. There was never a dull moment, and the "Boss Fight" at the end is a true spectacle that's never seen often in Madness. I hope this one'll go down with most as one of the best collabs in years, because it damn-well deserves it.
Kilroy Madness 2: A damn fine but unfortunetly short sequel to one of last year's only good entries. The WW2 style still holds strong, although I felt like it could've used a little extra "oomph" to some of the action. Even so, the visual storytelling is still on-point, and it deserves recognition for being a solid entry this year.
Unknown.swf: This one flew under my radar until MD, but I'm still glad I saw it. Even though the whole "Other Place/ Floating Islands" trend is getting out of hand, Thece tries to spice things up with new enemies and a big fat demon boi. While I believe that the more unique aspects were handled pretty well, the project needed more meat on the bones. I believe that Thece can build upon this as a foundation, and make some killer shit for next year. Until then, it's a decent entry that could've used more polish.
Madness Frankfurterfication: Another entry I didn't know about until the holiday hit, and yet another I don't regret watching. Taking a fun idea and running with it is the standard Madness formula, and this movie didn't disappoint. From what I've seen, there's some genuine effort and love put into this project, which I can really appreciate. The only thing holding it back from a higher score is the animation, which is unfortunetly stiff and not fluent at all. Movements don't chain together well, and the jerky flips and such really take away from the action. If the animation kinks were ironed out, this would be a classic for me.
Zero Hour 3: It's been a while since I've seen a solo project with THIS much meat on the bones, god damn. The amount of work put into this is stunning, and I think it really paid-off. Camera work and flow were fantastic, even if the story dragged a bit in places. VladClown's animation has improved significantly since his last entry, allowing for this movie to truly shine. Character sprites could use more work, but the background are on-point. The dialogue could've been made a big more visually pleasing, but it's not a big enough deal to cause any real issues. All of the years of work on this project really paid off and I'm excited to see where Vlad's next movie will take us.
8.5 - 9 /10
Trollslayer: I'm not really sure if this counts, but I'll put it here anyways. While visually distinct from all other sprite-based entries this year, I felt as if it needed more of a "Core". While the setting is capable of having some interesting kills and such, I believe this movie only scratched the surface its own potential. The animation feels a bit slow and sometimes lacks proper momentum/impact, but It's still pretty fun to watch with all of the unique visuals. I hope to see what Ismartal will have in store for next year, or if he even has an entry lined up.
Madness: REIMAGINATION: This one wins the "Most unused potential" award by far. While having an animation in Cymb's art style is interesting, there's no true FBF except for the Kelzad scene. The rest is just tweened or even worse, still images with a panning camera. The whole movie lacked any real purpose at all, with such little meat on the bones it's hard to say what it's even trying to acomplish. In addition, the extremely short runtime doesn't allow the project to stretch its legs and ends up just feeling...rushed. While I'm usually a fan of Cymb's art, the visuals aren't nearly enough to carry the movie. The "Unused potential" comes from the fact that if the scenes were simply reorganized into chrononolgical order, it could have served as a simple "Introduction" to the GP Madness universe by showing where it takes place on the timeline, (Starting with MC2, MC4, MC7, ect and ending with Realm 4 or Abreaction). But as it stands now, it's just a tiny art compilation without any purpose. I really hope to see a project with more to offer from Cymb, but only time will tell.
Madness: Bodyless 4: I don't understand how these things keep showing up. I don't really want to offer the collab any criticism that has already been thrown at the whole "Bodyless" idea for years now, because I'm well-aware that nothing will change. While there were some experienced animators to give the collab a little life, the whole thing is just bogged down to the core. The WWII theme was seemingly slapped onto the project by the organizer to try and add some visual flare, but it's obviously tacked on. Madness Day deserves better.
CHASW.fla: A solo project way too short and way too reliant on other people's work to act as a foundation. Besides the whole STEALING SPRITES thing, the movie is animated well enough. However, the project limits itself by sticking to the "Other Place" formula, although the few attempts to break the mold are nice. Wait a moment, this sounds really familiar...
Anemia.fla: OH YEAH, maybe because these two are so similar to eachother. Pretty much everything I said about CHASW applies here, except for the stealing thing. While the length is a bit meatier, the animation is a step-down from its "Partner" animation. There's a few perspective shots that are great in concept, but aren't executed well enough to where they flow the right way. The custom sprites are very obviously of poor quality, which doesn't help the fact that this movie "Borrows" so much from others. This is yet another movie that handicaps its potential with self-imposed restrictions.
Madness: Shadows: I feel like I'm on "Repeat" today. I'm not even sure what the plan was for this one, It's unfathomably short without any reason to exist. Besides the decent spritework, this really should have been uploaded as a test to the dumping grounds. The action is lackluster, and nowhere near good enough to carry the project. Although the idea has the potential to be neat, this one didn't win me over.
- FINAL THOUGHTS -
This Madness Day was an objective improvement from the last. While we still got our "Filler" animations, there was loads of new talent that went into this year's submissions. Although the "Other Place" animations are getting way too numerous, some use the settting as a platform to buid really unique ideas that help the movie stand out. A number of collabs this year were lackluster, we've gotten to the point where "Clip Collabs" shouldn't be seen as acceptable anymore. Meanwhile, Paradigmadness 2 and White Hank 2 PROVE that collabs can be absolutely amazing, when they dedicate themselves to having an identity instead of random shit. The few good solo projects we got this year prove that the community still has some fight left in it, and I hope that MD 2019 will surpass my expectations.
Thanks for reading!