Carmageddon was first released in 1997 gaining an avid following of fans who wanted gruesome vehicular combat.
So is the 2016 release of Carmageddon : Max Damage blasting ahead or stuck spinning from the start.
I remember playing the first few Carmageddon titles, and living in the U.K I remember it was green blooded zombies lining the streets because Britain just couldn’t hack the idea of mowing down humans.
Back in the 90’s things where a little more basic, pixelated characters and a sparse covering of scenary littered the poorly textured surroundings and 20 years on quite alot has changed. this was the norm of course and gamers flocked to take down the surrounding
pedestrians zombies, while battling against rivals to wreck other cars with the overhanging obejective of actually doing a little racing.
With the 2016 version, many things have changed, and many things haven’t.
Firstly the concept of races stays very much the same, You have a set time limit to complete your event, racing a set number of laps will do the trick, however it’s very rare to see anyone doing that, usually it quickly turns into a wreck-fest as car’s drive back and forth trying to destroy each other. This gives you the slightly easier option of racing off if you’d rather avoid confrontation but either way you’ll want to run down any pedestrians you come across, this will give you a time boost as well as a small credit reward, as your car ge’s damaged you’ll need those credits to repair on the fly.
Unfortunately A.I vehicles won’t repair so races usually end much quicker by concentrating on taking down your opponents, just be ure to keep stocked up on credits so you can repair every time you’ve taken a few hits, careful car management and plenty of wrecking and you won’t be surprised to see 20 minutes and thousands of credits left over at the end of the event.
Repairing is better when necessary, because saving up those credits will unlock upgrades for your vehicles of which you’ll need a few before you start to notice any real difference.
Car damage is well done, but the burning black mess left behind by wreked opponents feels somewhat lazy, and while crashes and damage is a regular occurance, I would have loved to see slow-motion smashes and the camera zooming around to see a door fly off, little details which in turn standard into spectacular, likewise with the sound things just feel a little limited and with more work improvements could have been made across the board.
Next on the list is how it actually plays, and sadly this doesn’t make for great reading, I’ve thoroughly loved the Carmageddon series, purely on the selection of cars and the vehicular (and pedestrian) destruction, and yet release after release I long for higher production values and better handling, yet time and time again I’m let down.
My only guess is that the developers are trying to stick to their roots, but I’m sure someone must have mentioned at some point how much the handling sucks.
Some later vehicles are considerably better, but the majority of them feel like you’re driving a bus on an ice-rink. When taking a corner you’re forced to slow down or smash into the walls in the hope ending up faceing the right way, and any change in direction firmly holds hands with the poor response times and usually leaves you overturning and then correcting yourself before spinning back again.
Half the time, if you lose control, it’s usually better to just stop and hope for some miraculous grip, becuase there’s no fancy braking manouvres to help you round a corner, you just have to slide and hope you end up facing the right direction.
More often than not there’ll be an A.I opponent super-glued to your bumper which makes turning even more difficult, usually they’ll come off worse but it’s a little annoying you can’t just shunt them off, or perform a spin to lose them.
As has always been the case, the car control and more importantly the grip (or lack of) is a prety major issue with me and time after time it’s limited my enjoyment of a game I feel would be right up with the best if it carried out a burnout style approach to proceedings.
That’s not to say that it’s not stil great fun, choosing wether to concentrate on pedestrians, opponenets or the actual race means there’s always an option if one approach isn’t working out too well, and with a vast selection of car’s to wrekc and unlock and courses ranging from city streets, suburbs and coastal towns there’splenty to play through.
If you can get past the icey handling, there’s still plenty to enjoy, the main ‘Career’ carries you through 16 chapters hiding away over 60 events which will unlock various cars and upgrades as you progress, this adds some real depth and if you can perservere with the handling you will find a handful of cars that feel considrably better to drive.
Multiplayer gives you the chance to race against upto 5 friends, which is great if everyone enjoys it, but the few multiplayer games I’ve had where sparsely populated, playing solo and you can head in to ‘Freeplay’ which gives you the freedom to him whatever you like and get to grips with cornering.
It’s not all doom and gloom, but I hope before we see another Carmageddon game somebody whispers in the dev’s ear, because there decision on the car handling/physics near ruins an otherwise awesome game.