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Carmageddon Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on October 17, 2012


Carmageddon
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Carmageddon, just as you remember it; a boon for the nostalgic fan.
  • Brutal, no-holds-barred derby-style racing; choose an objective and have fun.
  • Huge stages packed with secret areas and super-items to boost your vehicle.
  • Large range of unique vehicles to unlock.

CONS

  • Tilt-based controls disorienting; camera delay makes an already jittery game almost unbearable.
  • Lack of multiplayer feels like a huge omission.
  • Retains some of the flaws of the original, including physics that can leave your vehicle stranded all-too-easily.

VERDICT

Carmageddon is the '97 classic given just enough of a tweaking to make it feel at home on the iOS platform - there are still some quirks left over from the original, but smashing your way through pedestrians and vehicles alike makes for a disturbingly fun distraction.


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When you have cars, a race-track and checkpoints, your first assumption is generally that the game you're playing is a racer. If we were to forget about Carmageddon's colorful history, you'd likely approach the game like any other, but you'd be playing it wrong. See, it's not that you can't race to the finish line, but rather that it's not the most profitable, be it for your in-game piggy bank or for your more intangible emotional piggy bank. Some days you just want to tear something apart and Carmageddon is just what the doctor ordered.

Originally released in 1997, Stainless Games' smash'em-up racer was a run-away hit, with players heavily encouraged to win their races by demolishing the opposition or, if you're patient and meticulous, by running down every last living thing on the stage. Morbid? Sure, but in that over-the-top fashion that went on to cause so much controversy as you gain multipliers and score bonuses for running over entire football teams or a pack of wandering grannies.

Each track has three objectives - race, smash, and (for lack of a softer term) genocide. Whichever you choose you'll be earning cash for just about everything you do. The opposing AI are often more interested in your destruction than 'winning', so you'll be in for a rough ride unless you can find one of the many power-ups scattered across the stage to help you. These come in several flavors including positive and negative, affecting either your car alone or the entire stage. There's nothing finer than scoring a pinball-mode with a granite car and a turbo-boost... you'll ricochet off the entire stage, demolishing anything in your path with abandon.

The iOS version nails just about everything that made the original so amazing with the exception of a missing multiplayer mode, hurting its long-term appeal. The default 'digital' controls get the job done without much fuss, and while 'analogue' and tilt based options are available for both the steering and acceleration, they can be somewhat disorienting by comparison.

Screen space has been saved thanks to a swipe-accessible map, but the downside is that this does make navigation confusing, especially if you find yourself in one of the many hidden or offroad areas in a stage. Swipe in the other direction though and you'll pull up a replay system, complete with the ability to edit and save your best moments.

Earning vehicles, upgrades and smashing your way through the huge amount of stages is nothing short of a nostalgic gamer's dream. While not the prettiest game on the market (its rather blocky stages do scream for an update), the higher resolution and sharper textures do a lot to ease in those new to the franchise.

With any luck this is only the beginning of Carmageddon on the iOS platform and no matter what, if you love mindless violence with an arcade twist, this is a definite must grab.

Screenshots

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