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Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now (Windows)

83
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.6
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Zamppa (87)
Written on  :  Jun 11, 2002
Platform  :  Windows

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Summary

Trying to beat the best ever wreck-o-rama game ain't that easy.

The Good

If you have happened to read my Carmageddon 1 review you know that for me it's the maybe the best game in the world. You can also see that on my nickname.

What about Carmageddon 2 then? Well, it's basically using the same idea as it's ancestor but it upgrades the graphics, sounds, damages, pretty much everything. But does it all work better than with the first one? Well... no.

When you first look at the game you see that the graphics have been upgraded with a rough hand. Well, it's a good thing, really, as the designers have made good graphics but didn't use too much of the newest gimics to make the game look like a graphics card demo.

When you start playing you notice that the sound engine has been slightly upgraded. Sure, it's not awesome, but it makes it's job.

From the first crash you notice the new damage engine. That's the first real part to make hoorays about. The cars get really demolished this time. For instance, if you hit a wall sideways, the side of the car gets smashed. Some pieces fall off if you damage them enough. The windows get shattered, the doors and the hood get opened up and the chassis might bend. But the most stylish part is when you hit a corner of a wall head-on. Your car get's sliced... Literally. If you're in luck, you can get it fixed up, but usually when the car goes into two directions at once, your race is lost.

The physics engine has been upgraded, but the basic stuff is the same. As I mentioned, the cars get damaged more realistically. One another new thing, though: You can drive through windows and some walls. Well, that's a new thing. One of the scenes has a whole wall full of glass. You can just break the windows if you don't hit the steel supports.

The driveability is pretty much the same as before, and no big news there. And the whole thing has been cherished with new levels and cars. the cars are in fact good, but the levels are checked out in the negative section.

All of these things have been upgraded more or less succesfully. These things make the game better than the first. But...

The Bad

... SCI has also upgraded the gameplay. And that's a big mistake.

First, they have increased the skill level. Well, that's not bad, but they've done it all wrong, by tightening the time limits. With Carmageddon 2, the first seconds are not relaxed driving around. They are panicking on the road as you see your time going on red.

Another thing is the level system of the new game. With the old one, you had five places to drive at a time, and as you won races, you lost old places and gained new ones. You also had very different scenes all the time to choose from, and if you didn't like one, you could just leave it alone. The system was a good example on how it should be made.

Unfortunately the new one is an example on how it shouldn't be done. In Carmageddon 2, you have ten levels and all of them have three similar scenes and one mission... Yes, the game has missions. It might sound good, but it most definately ain't even near good. The missions are not fun. They have waaay too tight time limits and if you make one mistake you have no change to make it. The goals are mostly "destroy all the antennas" or "kill all the cows/lunatics/somethings". You have to win all the three races and the mission to get to the next level. On level's, there are usually two races with the same scene and one different. All this stuff with the levels is a very big minus.

The scenes aren't as good as the old ones. Sure, this one has trains and/or civilian vehicles around, but whey don't get demolished. they are just moving chicanes on wheels. You don't even get points from them. Also, the 3D model citizens are not as nice to drive on as the sprite ones.

On the final note, the game is boring on a long shot. Playing it through took me (a player who played Red Alert 2 and Gran Turismo through over a weekend) two weeks just because I had to keep pauses due the boredom the game causes. You just can't go into the Carmageddon world and drive around hour after hour. I mean sure, you can hit a few pedestrians and drive around some more, but it's not fun after a while.

The Bottom Line

SCI managed to build a legend on wheels with the first Carmageddon. The sequel had big expectations, but it failed them almost completely. The relaxing and amusing feeling of the old game has been taken away on the small but very annoying mistakes in the gameplay compartment.

But, Carmageddon is still Carmageddon. The added graphics and improved damage model succeed in making the mayhem of racing fun in short takes. A few games a day, maybe. Maybe even less. If you get bored, take a pause and play more when you feel like it.