Car combat games feel like the hardest genre to master. At least that is my conclusion considering how many of them are not very good. Of course, the demand for them has dwindled over the years so I have played less and less as time goes on, I still clamor for that same rush I had when playing the first two Twisted Metal titles. Gas Guzzlers Extreme scratches an itch I forgot I had. This combat racing title brings very little new to the style, but does so much of it right that it is easy to recommend. I spent an unhealthy amount of time playing Gas Guzzlers, and yet I can’t remember one thing that stands out above the rest.
Gas Guzzlers combines all the standard modes and races one would expect from this type of game. The career mode took me through multiple race types such as elimination, standard racing and of course car combat. Again, nothing here I hadn’t seen before. The online features a robust collection of diversions such as deathmatch, capture the flag and more. There is never a shortage of things to do here, though sadly the online lobbies are not exactly booming with participants. When I did manage to get into a match though, it was a blast. Finding others enjoying it as much as I was made it worthwhile, and of course the game fills out empty slots with bots until others join, which is nice.
Upgrading and buying new cars became a minor obsession for me. I was always trying to get the next best vehicle and max out its upgrades, and with nearly 20 to choose from, it kept me occupied. I also was always on the lookout for more firepower. The combat mechanics work well here. Offering some guns that fire both forward and behind, combined with the pickups that I could drop such as land mines and smoke, made for some fun races. Points are awarded for every type of attack landed, and if I took down another racer during a combat encounter, they were gone for good. It is a nice way to thin out the competition.
Track selection is also vast. The career mode starts off slow with only a handful, but by the end I had unlocked nearly 40 different routes around a handful of areas. I love the design of the tracks too. Twisting and turning and offering up lots of shortcuts reminded me a lot of Beetle Adventure Racing on the N64. This became a pattern while playing. I was always comparing Gas Guzzlers to my favorite racing games over the years. Everything feels like an amalgamation of my fondest memories of the genre, all rolled into one big package.
This is why it is hard to put too fine a point on what makes Gas Guzzlers so good. The car handling feels like a nice mix between Flatout and maybe Evolution Studios’ acclaimed MotorStorm franchise. Cars feel like they have a nice weight to them, and the controls are simply spot on. It only took me two races to get the handling down, which just felt incredible with the Xbox 360 controller.
Have I mentioned how gorgeous Gas Guzzlers is? Because this game sure is gorgeous. The massive tracks feel like an open-world with suggested roads. The dirt and particle effects ran buttery smooth, even with multiple cars on screen. This game just looks and runs great. Damage modeling is included, and the variations in tracks really help keep things fresh. The voice work is annoying more often than not, and the presentation and menus can be rather confusing at first. The soundtrack is decent at best with some generic rock tracks filling out the package, again nothing new or innovative here.
I still cannot begin to tell you why I love Gas Guzzlers so much. I think it stems from the feeling of combining all my favorite obscure and popular racing games over the years, and rolling them into one experience. It has been a long time since I really sank a lot into a car combat title that didn’t infuriate me. For the price tag I highly recommend checking out this sleeper hit. I was shocked at just how much fun it brought me out of nowhere.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.
- Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77I Deluxe
- Liquid Cooling: Origin Frostbyte 120 Liquid Cooling
- Processor: Intel i7 3770K with Professional Origin PC Overclocking
- Memory: Corsair 8GB 1600 Mghz Vengeance
- Graphics Card: EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670