OK, how about you can also win by smashing your opponents to death. For some reason, you running head on into them damages them, and not so much you. Now, that’s more like it.
How about if you smash up certain cars you can actually pinch them and use them yourself? Ooh, now that sounds good. And you’ve got to have power-ups too, but make them interesting, like “Instant Handbrake” and “Solid Granite Car” and “Electro-Bastard Pedestrian Killing Ray”.
Now wait just a minute, because like all truly memorable games, Carmageddon did not avoid the glare of the censors, but the story isn’t exactly straightforward. You see, Carmageddon first came to my attention thanks to a playable demo on a PC Zone coverdisk. The demo was time-limited, but very intense, and included the game as it was intended… the streets crowded with innocent pedestrians whom you could mow down with your vehicle in a shower of blood and guts. Furthermore, you could win the race yet another way, by finding and killing all the pedestrians on a map.
I don’t think so somehow… but yes, something just didn’t feel quite “right”, it felt a little bit like Shadow Warrior, where the Shurikens were suddenly replaced by “darts” for the UK market. For some reason, SCi had to swap the pallet colours of human flesh and blood.
There’s some incredible jumps to hit, and in the mineshaft levels some insanely deep pits to fall down, and between levels you can add better bumpers and defences to your car. Most races are won by wrecking the opponents, but sometimes you realise they’ve gone completely off to the other side of the map for some reason, therefore you’ll have to complete the race to win, or earn enough time to hunt them down. Killing every single pedestrian isn’t really an option, as they really are all over the place. You can call a map up, but without a certain power-up pedestrians don’t show up on there.
There’s many amusing moments in the game, the Harvester power-up for example, or zipping into the stadium and hitting the line-up of American Football players with a skid straight over the top of them. But absolutely my favourite power up was the Electro Bastard Pedestrian-Killing Ray, which would zap any pedestrians within range of your vehicle as you passed by. Obviously, through big crowds or long straight streets this made for huge combos, giving you the chance to increase your measly 1 minute 30 seconds timer to well over 10 minutes, and a good chance to enjoy a nice speedy bloodthirsty drive around the map. Of course, the fact that it’s totally hilarious helps too.
Still not convinced? Trust me, it’s worth a go. Strap yourself in, hang on to your helmet, and drive to survive.