One hell of a stress-reliever. Forbidden, sinful fun.
Carmageddon walks the line of political correctness--you are given bonus points
for hitting pedestrians
. And, I'm ashamed to say, it's incredibly satisfying and fun. Come on--what other game in the world (other than the sequel) lets you pound into those moronic rollerbladers and slow, fat pedestrians with a satisfying thud?
If you enjoy sick humor (and hey, who doesn't?), you'll have much to laugh about, as the game can get pretty sick sometimes. The amount of pure carnage is just amazing. In addition to merely smacking peds silly, you can get special bonuses for things like artistic expression and piledrivers. And don't forget the electro-bastard death ray!
I could not believe how over the top this game was until I played it. I laughed so hard the first ten minutes of gameplay that I had tears streaming down my face. It's that rediculously outrageous and silly.
Of course, you can win races by actually racing them normally and completing all the checkpoints, but that's no fun at all. It's much more fun to unleash metal-crunching power against your other race opponents--preferably by ramming them head-on. The physics engine in Carmageddon is great in this respect; you can ram another car so hard that they'll get pushed backwards, hit an explosive barrel, go flying sideways, smash into a nearby building, and keep going. This is made much more damaging if you have the pinball powerup, which makes every concrete surface act like rubber (except you still hit it very hard, like concrete).
The powerups are worth mentioning, since they provide a lot of laughs as well: Hotrod, for funnycar-like acceleration; lunar gravity, for high
jumps; Jupiter gravity, for no jumps and scraping your frame against the ground all the time; solid granite car for maximum destruction
; stuck peds, which makes pedestrians stick to your car after you ram them; frozen peds, which freezes them to the spot; the list goes on and on.
There is one valid gripe with Carmageddon: The speed of the game engine. Carmageddon follows a physics model that has to account for bouncing and ricocheting off of walls, other cars, etc. This takes a lot of calculations, but I can't help thinking that they might have been able to optimize it just a little bit more. On the recommended hardware, most options have to be turned down and the game played at 320x200 to keep the framerate over 15fps. A high-res option is included, but at 2-3 fps, it's a joke.
Another gripe is actually directed at european countries--they don't get to see the full game! The European version of the game uses "robots" instead of real people with blood, and the German version uses "zombies" with green blood. That just isn't fun at all.
Finally, the gameplay starts to get repetitive after awhile.
The Bottom Line
If you need to relieve some stress, thought that the movie Dead Alive was hilarious, or generally want to smash into everything and everyone: Carmageddon is your game.