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Carmageddon
Review By: Matt Douglas
Developer:   SCI
Publisher:   Titus
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Racing/Car Combat
ESRB:    Teen
Date Posted:    1-28-00
 

Ask people what the first real controversial game was and you're probably going to hear the name "Doom" come up most. Ask them what came after though and Carmageddon will be a popular answer. If you have been living under a rock for quite some time, Carmageddon is a game with two ways of winning, either finishing the race first or destroying all of your opponents by ramming into them. While you do this you can run over pedestrians, cows, etc which reward you with puddles of blood. Sure to strike a cord with protective parents across the United States. After a lame sequel to this "classic" on the PC about a year and a half ago, Titus has made an attempt to bring the orignal to the Game Boy Color. While the idea of Carmageddon on the GBC is cool, the execution is piss-poor.

Graphics

Now I think we all know GBC games aren't nearly as dazzling as Soul Calibur or Rayman 2. This game really shows it. The tracks are very "blah" with little scenery or little variation in color. Sure the cars aren't that half bad, but when your trying to navigate through some of the forest levels it'd be nice to be able to tell which part of the screen in the friggin track! The worst part of the tracks is that sometimes the little arrow that is supposed to help you navigate through the crappy tracks is covered by buildings, trees, etc. getting you lost for two or three seconds.

Another huge gripe I have with graphics are the zombies. After all, people usually play Carmageddon to mow down pedestrians and animals. Well to make sure that they could release the game with a Teen rating, they made the civilians into zombies and toned down the blood to....almost none at all. To make matters worse, the zombies are so small that half the time you can never tell if you have run over them or not. These zombies are also extremely fast, fast enough to outrun your car for about ten seconds. I wish I could be like that, then J-Walking would be a breeze... :)

Now comes the view. What you get in Carmageddon is what I like to call the "Helicopter" view, which is top down and zoomed out. Call me crazy but I don't like this nearly as much as a behind the car view. That would make it easier to see where your going and it would be easier to see where the zombies are. While I realize that may be straining the power of the GBC with the large size of the tracks, you could keep that in mind for the sequel Titus and SCI(hint hint).

Sound

This being a Game Boy Color game, there isn't much to say. Of the little you can hear throughout the game, its a mixed bag. The music isn't half bad, even though it does get repetitive with little change throughout the game. The car sounds however give you good reason to turn the volume all the way down. The high pitched squeak that is played when you turn it just downright stupid. Add in the montonous engine noise and you get a crappy sound score.

Gameplay

The object of this game isn't hard to grasp. You either complete the amount of required laps first, run over all the zombies or destroy all the other cars to advance to the next round and win some more cars. While I like the idea of winning a new car every time you win a race, it helps to vary them just a little more. Unfortunately the computer AI is so stupid that you can complete a race well before anybody else without any troubles except for the stupid compass that guides you. To add to that, the courses are so big you rarley get to destroy other cars and the zombies are so hard to see that you won't even bother trying to run them over.

Track design is by far the worst part of the game. Titus has hyped open and fully explorable tracks on both the box and the instruction manual. While the idea sounds good on paper, the tracks are so big that you rarely even find opponents to bash. To add to that, with the extremely poor radar at the top of your screen, you bash into everything on the way to your fist checkpoint only to found out you accidentally past the third instead of the first. Meanwhile if you had this behind the car view it would be easier to spot where you would be heading. These tracks kill the game, hopefully SCI can clean this up for the inevitable sequel.

Control

Once again, a poor aspect of the game. The steering is just plain freaky, but that in part is beacuse of the camera. Instead of the camera trailing the car it stays directly on top of it. Therefore, if your heading downward (towards yourself) and you try to turn left you might turn right. Takes a while to get use to after being use to racing games on the N64, Playstation and Dreamcast. Once you do get the hang of it though, the control is fairly responsive, which is not seen in most GBC racers (but then again, there aren't many anyways).

Wrap-up

I anticipated a great Game Boy Game when I got this game, complete with lots of destruction in the streets. When I plugged the cartridge into my GBC though, what I got was a game that tried to be revolutionary (GBC wise) and ended up not even making it past the starting line.

Titus has something here, with the earning of money and cars ala Speed Devils. They need to either make the tracks closed or smaller, work on the control and camera and they have a reasonably good game. Of course we can't forget that stupid radar, but with the new view that might work. This game feels more like a lesson on how NOT to make a game rather than an enjoyable experience. Don't even bother renting this one at Blockbuster folks, let alone buying it.

Overall: 2.5

 



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