Though outdated, it's still one of the greatest racing games in computer game history.
As you can see from my nickname, I love the game. I'll try to tell you why.
Nowadays if you look at Carmageddon, you can't see anything remarkable in it. It has completely out-of-date graphics engine, ear-ripping sound effects and, being a DOS game, it takes some doing to get it work.
If you get past the point of disgust(No, I didn't need to pass it as I played the game right after it was published, but the current players with all the hyper GeForce cards might have to) you really start to see the sheer brilliance of the game. After you get into the game, you can't stop until it's been played from beginning to end. And suddenly you don't care about the graphics or the sounds.
The first point of brilliance is the playability of the game. The physics model is absolutely fantastic! The cars have a realistic amount of grip which alters on the change of the material you drive in. The jumps are realistic, and the car flies around and whether you land or your wheels or not depends on one thing: The laws of physics. The cars handle like a dream. The cars differ from one another, while Max Damage's car is quite easy to drive and still quite fast, Vlad's funny car is deadly fast but a true nightmare on corners. The damage model is also quite good, in fact it was one of the best at it's time but the time as made it obsolete. Still, it's good enough for the game.
Second point is the levels. There are some levels at least I don't like(like the mine and the industrial complex), but most of them are very alive. There are hundreds of pedestrians in the streets and many things you can interact with. For example you can hit a street light so hard that it falls down and then you can throw it at the pedestrians. But there's one thing that makes the levels the best: The freedom. Sure, you can race on the track, but why the hell to do that, if you can drive wherever you want?
The last point is the brilliant idea. The designers took one of the first moves to the direction that has encouraged the makers of GTA and such games to use the level of violence they use. Carmageddon was one of the first violent hits. The fact that you get points for demolishing your enemies and killing pedestrians still sounds like a good idea. SCI had the skills to make a good game out of the idea, which made Carmageddon a legend.
The graphics, sound, and damage engines are outdated. No more critics from me.
The Bottom Line
SCI made a legendary game. It's a great shame that they couldn't keep up the quality in the sequels. Carmageddon is and seems like it's going to be the best wreck-o-rama game around for a long time to come.