Gas Guzzlers Extreme Review (PC)
Ever watched Death Race and thought, “that would make a fun computer game”? Well Gas Guzzlers Extreme is probably the closest you’ll get at the moment.
Jumping into the career mode of the game is as good a place to start as any. You’ll purchase your first vehicle, most likely the Reliant Deagle (just a sample of the humor to come), and then use what funds you have left to customise it. Load it up with some weapons and you are ready for your first race. Each time you go to race in your career you can make the choice between a straight out race (your weapons are removed), a battle race, or an eliminator. Each style has a bit of risk/reward to it as the Eliminator, for example, pays out very well, but only to the winner. Throughout the career mode you will race to earn money to buy or upgrade vehicles and unlocking new tracks, vehicles and upgrades along the way. There’s also a leaderboard to work your way up, not only in points but with kills.
The events themselves are a lot of fun. Barring the straight up race, you use not only your driving skills, but your shooting skills to beat your opponents. There’s nothing more satisfying than turning the last bend in second place and with a well placed shotgun shell, spinning your opponent out of control to take the lead as you cross the line. It’s not at all Mario Kart though. The vehicles are authentic, if not officially licensed. In fact the lack of license adds to the humour as the developers have given all the cars names that lets you know what its meant to be. Can you guess what the McCider RLS Benzen is meant to be?
Of course, all authenticity is thrown out of the window the minute you strap some hefty weapons onto the side of your vehicle. The range of weapons start out quite limited with basic shotguns or machine guns, but you will eventually unlock ridiculous rocket launchers and rail guns. You can find what suits your style best, or even pick a specific weapon that suits a certain event or track. Whatever you select though you are going to have a lot of fun blasting your opponents off the track.
Not only do you have your mounted weapons to use, but also a number of powerups that will be dotted around the course. These range from ammo top ups, damage modifiers and cash bonuses, to land mines, oil slicks and smoke clouds. There are also a variety of obstacles around the environment in each race that can affect it, including hidden shortcuts and explosive blue barrels (they must have read our opinion of explosive red barrels). Theres even the occasional chicken to run over for a roadkill bonus!
The campaign is a little slow to really get underway, and you may be left thinking that it’s a little too repetitive. It’s about then that you should check out multiplayer. Here there are no limits or restrictions to your vehicles or weapons as everything is unlocked straight away. There is also a much wider selection or race types available straight away and lobbies are usually a rotation of these. But this where the real fun is to be had with match types that we are more used to seeing in the multiplayer modes of First Person Shooters. Deathmatches are a crazy mess of explosions, Last Man Standing has you praying for safety, and Capture the Flag mode? Just yes! What’s really nice about multiplayer is that the AI fills out any empty spaces in your lobby, so you’re never left with an empty lobby. Even with that, other than the names, you can’t tell the humans apart from the AI whilst playing online.
Usually with this type of game (unlicensed, demolition racing) you shouldn’t expect much in terms of graphical quality. As gamers we don’t tend to mind here either as we get blinded by the fun we’re having. But what’s really surprising about Gas Guzzlers Extreme is just how good it all looks, even if it is ridiculous! Gamepires are actually a spin-off of a Virtualization company, so they have some pretty impressive rendering capabilities, and it shows! The environments that the circuits are set are beautiful. The attention to detail in all the destructible items in each environment is great. The car models do leave a little to be desired, but then because they aren’t licensed cars they do get away with it. The audio experience is also pleasing. A nice selection of music in the menus, a highly satisfying roadkill sound effect, some crass voice overs from your driver in the accent you pick (the Scottish one has some particular beauties, such as “I’ll stick my hand up yer arse!”) and also the arena voice over which sounds like it’s been pulled straight out of Unreal Tournament.
All in, Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a nice surprise. While the campaign is a little slow, you’re still going to have fun with it. Multiplayer is where it’s at though, so long as it gets popular enough that you don’t end up in full AI lobbies. The sense of humor is good, it looks great, and the gameplay is so well tuned that at times you will forget you are playing a driving game altogether, and instead think you are playing a classic FPS game like Quake or UT.
4 racers fragged out of 5Gas Guzzlers Extreme Review (PC),