An awesome game for the NES that has nothing to do with the movie of the same name. Mad Max was a side scrolling shooter, that had very addictive qualities to it.
Like many shooters of the time (and many today), you could upgrade your ship with power ups you collect in various levels. Each time you got a power up you got another gun for your ship, and the enemies became easier to kill.
Killing stuff was extremely important. You only had 3 lives, no more, no less, with no method of getting any more. To make matters worse, your ship died in one hit, making wiping out enemies before they shoot you the highest priority.
The game offered plenty of variety by having two different variations of each level (randomly chosen at the start of the game), in addition to each level optionally being played above ground or underground. There were 3 main large areas, each broken up into two smaller ones that had the same look, but the game declared as "LEVEL TWO" or some such. Generally, it was better to stay above ground for most of the levels, but if you knew the right moment to go down, you could snag a useful power up. The three different areas were a desert, an ocean, and a mechanical fortress strangely resembling the death star.
After beating all the areas, the game restarted, now slightly harder, but allowing the player to go for an even better highscore. My friend and I managed to beat the game a record 13 times before we died.