There’s been a bit of a lack of combat racing games on the PC recently. With the genre’s flagship Blur abruptly taken off the Steam Marketplace, it’s been harder for PC gamers to get their hands on the flawless combination of precise handling, over-the-top power-ups and stunning visuals the title had to offer. Since it’s unwarranted disappearance, we’ve had a few combat racers and driving games such as Exor Studio’s Zombie Driver and Steel Monkey’s Post Apocalyptic Mayhem, which, while they weren’t bad games as such, they didn’t meet all the expectations that Blur left for those looking for a suitable replacement. Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage was one of those games, while boasting an amazingly detailed roster of cars and gorgeous locales, receiving much praise for its graphical fidelity, it left much to be desired on the gameplay front. Gamepires make a proud return with Gas Guzzlers Extreme, promising a brand new experience, featuring new cars, a more streamlined career, improved visuals, tighter handing and enhanced physics. For those unacquainted with the original, Gas Guzzlers is a cross between Twisted Metal and Mario Kart, very much like Blur, except with the addition of vehicle-attached weapons for added chaos and an array of game modes to suit the player’s style.
It’s campaign starts players in a low-end motor as they have to race, battle and survive to unlock new cars and tracks, and work their way up the ranks. Supplementing this are amazing customization menus which allow players to add both performance and aesthetic upgrades to their car, enough to keep them interested in the early game vehicles and give them more personality. There are six different game modes featured in the career, which when combined with the branching track layouts, offer variation and individuality to each event, so not one contest will play out the same way.
There are eighteen cars in total, each with their own design based off real world cars and their mildly humorous name to go with it. Gamepires have put just the right amount of vehicles to smoothly transition through the campaign with each one. Each car has its own feel as well and players will tell that they are more than just different models. As the player’s rank increases and more cars are unlocked, the AI opponents will also start manning the mightier machines, providing a consistent challenge and making up for their less than sharp intelligence. In addition to this are the twelve weapons you can attach to each car, from machine guns to nuclear rockets, this adds to the endless variety found in the garage.
Gamepires promised improved physics and much better control, and boy, did they deliver. Cars now handle much better than in the predecessor, even when using the keyboard there are no problems navigating even the tightest of corners. Heavier, more power-hungry cars will have much tighter turning than the lighter, faster vehicles, which are more drift-reliant, very similar control to the Flatout series. The physics have made the combat side of the game more fun, one can really feel the impact of each collision, and clipping the tail end of an opponent’s vehicle actually sends them veering and not you, which is quite refreshing seeing even non-indie racers fail at recreating this. The aftermath of a brawl mid-race is also visually satisfying, with the detailed vehicle damage standing out from other cars and not just your own.
More detail has been put into the cars themselves too. An enhanced renderer has allowed matte and metallic paints to give cars more uniqueness. On your first time in the garage you will see how much effort has been put into models for even the most boring of cars. A Reliant Robin never looked so nice! The graphics engine providing the polish in addition to this make this one overall good-looking title.
As the obvious rubber banding becomes more frustrating than rewarding, and players have had enough with the mediocre AI racers, its assumed that multiplayer will fulfil their need for even more. With modes such as Capture the Flag seeming to be made for multiplayer, it is unfortunate that the servers are not populated enough to get into a game easily. Hopefully though that won’t be a problem in the future as this game has enough potential to circulate quite quickly, maybe with the help of a Steam sale.
Gas Guzzlers has been massively under-looked since its release, which is a pity, as this genre deserves a second chance. The solid controls, amazing visuals and sheer variety on offer are well worth the £18.99 asking price. But right now lack of multiplayer is surely going to dent its image to those considering a purchase. This is a bit of a catch-22, as people aren’t going to buy the game if no-one’s online and no-one’s going to ever be online if people don’t buy the game. This game doesn’t deserve the attention it’s not getting. Anyone even interested in this game, tell people about it, word of mouth is sometimes the best method of getting games like these noticed.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.