Playing in traffic.
The Carmageddon games belong to an exclusive club of interactive media that became popular in the 90s. Alongside titles like Doom and Mortal Kombat, this series was known for its shock value. Running over pedestrians and just being over the top in the violence category. Unlike those other titles though, Carmageddon fell off; most people simply forgot it existed outside of a few hardcore PC players that still have the nostalgia for the series.
Fast forward to today, when Kickstarter is bringing back some of the most beloved (and obscure) titles that ever existed. Carmageddon: Max Damage is a product of nostalgia. Bringing back a series that most gamers today were not even alive to remember is a tricky proposition, and one that comes away with extremely mixed results.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
Taking control of the cars in Carmageddon is a learning experience. These cars are floaty and heavy at the same time. For arcade veterans, think the Rush series and you will get the idea. Cars take turns very wide, and it is likely designed this way to instigate more carnage on the tracks because I was certainly slamming into everyone and everything on every track.
This meshes with the modes in the game as most of them don’t require pinpoint controls to finish. Instead they focus on other objectives such as destroying other cars and of course running over pedestrians. The game focuses on offensive humor lifted directly out of the 90s. Running over larger pedestrians invokes an award referring to bacon; you get the idea.
Let’s start with the single player portion of the game. There are a series of events, each consisting of races taking place over the various modes. Classic Carmageddon is by far the most interesting. It takes all the possible ways to win and allows players to decide which one to achieve. So for example they can finish the series of checkpoints, mow down the specific number of pedestrians, or just wreck every other car. This allows for exploration of the levels, and is by far the most fun mode to play.
The rest of the modes are much more strict, and limited. I would have preferred if they had just allowed for Classic Carmageddon on every map. Points are earned which unlock new events, and thus new areas and races. There is certainly a hefty amount of content to unlock. Getting new cars is as simple as wrecking the specific one in a race, which then adds it to my garage. There are also skins and such to purchase. There is a lot to see and do.
Of course the idea of playing Carmageddon online with friends was a big draw for me. Unfortunately this mode has more than its fair share of problems. Let’s start with the fact that there are no pedestrians in the online modes. This is not Carmageddon. Sure it is shallow and stupid, but when you base your game around a gimmick, and then remove said gimmick, it defeats the purpose.
It is also worth noting that while there is a party system, there are no private matches. So if players want to just play with their friends, it isn’t possible. There is a party system, which is good, but in our tests online, we never managed to fill the match, and it is only six players online. Also did I mention there are no pedestrians, so people just race, which is not why I come to Carmageddon.
The visuals in Max Damage leave a little to be desired. It definitely looks like a budget title, but does at least run relatively smooth. There is a weird filter in the game though, that makes it look blurry most of the time, and not quite as sharp as I was expecting. The music is generic, with some truly…interesting titles. Just Google the track list and you will see what I mean.
Carmageddon: Max Damage is fun when it accomplishes what it sets out to do, but the disappointing online and limited modes really drag it down. If it had launched a little cheaper it would be an easy recommendation for fans of the original games. As it stands though, it needs a little more polish to be worth checking out.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.