1990 Silicon Dreams Games and Movie Reviews: Carmageddon 2: Not Another Racing Game

Monday, January 16, 2012

Carmageddon 2: Not Another Racing Game

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It's one of my favourite game of the 90s, a game I've spent the better part of my childhood playing. It's Carmageddon 2 and it's not your average racing game. It's bloody, gory, and overall it's tons of fun. It was so controversial at the time it had been banned in some cases.

The game revolves around racing through checkpoints in different open locations - a quarry, several towns, a junkyard, even an aircraft carrier. The levels are varied with lots of hidden secret places. Power-ups make up a large part of the game, some will give you speed, some will make you bounce off the walls like pinball, and some are plain sadistic. But you'll see what I mean.

The twist in this game is you can either win a race by completing all the check-points in a timely manner (you start with a time limit of a minute and a half and each time you pass a checkpoint you get some more time), or you can win by wrecking all of your opponents, which also gives you extra time. Additionally you get a few seconds added for each pedestrian you kill, and this game has thought of ways to slaughter pedestrians beyond anything you could have ever expected. Take this for example. You're cruising around, running over people, which is nice but generally inefficient, then you pick up a power-up that makes pedestrians explode into gory bits as soon as they touch your car. Then you pick up another one, which makes bolts of lightning shoot out of your car whenever a person is near, electrocuting them in an instant. So now you can simply drive at full speed around the streets and watch your points add up as you kill hundreds of people per minute. See why this game got banned? It gets better!

Beyond ways to grief the unfortunate people on the streets, there's ways to destroy your opponents in similarly amusing ways. Naturally you can blind-side another car at full speed smash it into the edge of a building, splitting it in two and sending the two flaming pieces flying apart in opposite directions. But what if before you did that you hit the Pinball power-up. With that one as soon as you touch something you'll bounce off of it increasing your momentum with each bounce and the same goes for your opponents. There's nothing more satisfying than watching them smash through the air into buildings into the obligatory land-mines and barrels of explosives (even the water-areas of this game are riddled with mines).

The best part of Carmageddon is the imaginative levels, though, with each three standard levels of racing around and murdering the other drivers, you get one special one, where you have to either complete a timed race, or you have to do some platform jumps around the city or you have to kill some zombies. In order to avoid any more bans than it already has whenever the game actually requires you to kill people to progress it  calls them zombies, messes up their walking animations, and turns their blood green. So who would have thought that you were actually the good guy?

Lastly there's tons of cars in the game, all with a wacky design, and a couple dozen levels, enough to keep you occupied for weeks. And even if all you do is race around the first three over and over you'll find tons of stuff to do every time. To illustrate that when I got the game, I wasn't even aware there are more than three levels, I didn't know that you have to complete the timed event to unlock the next set. So I spent weeks just collecting points in the first three, and when I finally found out, it was like my birthday all over again. I'd already gathered enough points to buy all the cars in-game and max out all my stats. Oh yeah, you can buy the other opponents cars if you'd killed them during the race. And you can upgrade stats like armour, speed etc. But honestly who needs that in a game that's already almost as fun as any game could ever be.

Several other titles came out of the Carmageddon franchise, although the second one remains my all time favourite. The other ones didn't get it quite right in my opinion. 

8 comments:

  1. Oh man I loved carmageddon. Played it on the PS1? Was a truly epic game.

    Weird Funny News

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  2. Had a demo of this game never played the full version unfortunately though.

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  3. loved it think i was like 15 when i played it, nothing better for growing minds.

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  4. My daughter and I played this and we played just to slaughter people. We still joke about this game when we're driving and yell "extra points" at crowded walkways. (No I'm not a bad mom)

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  5. loved this game, i agree it was probably the best out of all of them

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