It has been a long, long time (many years actually) since I played a Carmageddon. I really miss the crazy arcade driving the series is so well known for. Oh, and its insane carnage (see: pedestrian destruction and car combat) too I suppose.
Bah, who am I kidding? That’s the best part of the game! Who doesn’t love the fresh smell of smouldering car remains in the morning? I know I certainly do.
If you like me, miss the good old days of racing (what’s with this silly “cross the finishing line first” business anyways?), well, you’re in luck. There’s a new Carmageddon on the way, called Max Damage. Is it any good? I took it out for a quick spin at E3 to find out.
It’s just as nostalgic as I hoped it would be. For starters, my hands on time kicked off on the opening map from the very first game (which as a side note, released almost two decades ago).
That sprawling city playground I drove around endlessly in my younger days looked exactly how I remembered it, except it had modern coat of paint. The visuals of Max Damage aren’t bleeding edge though mind you. There’s a definite cartoon feel instead of actual realism.
I feel that suits the game perfectly however. A photorealistic rendition of the chaos taking place in screen would be… yeah it just wouldn’t feel right.
If you’ve played a Carmageddon before you’ll know that, yes, you can win an event by doing a couple of laps (like all those other boring racers of today), but where’s the fun in that? The real joy of the game comes from exploring every single corner of the map, and discovering all of its nooks and crannies and Easter eggs. Oh, and murdering everything in sight obviously.
During my demonstration for example, I got off the track and headed straight to the stadium, where I formally introduced all the burly footballers to my car’s front bumper. They were all running at me for some reason I might add – which the developer overseeing my session later told me, was the result of one of the power ups I had driven over.
How could i forget – Carmageddon has loads of wacky power ups! The one I had picked up made all the pedestrians head toward me, instead of flee in terror. Another sucked them all in like a vacuum cleaner, which was particular satisfying.
These power ups are all useful of course, if you’re trying to win the event by running everybody over. That’s a completely viable option in Max Damage by the way, just as it was in the original game.
The best way to win an event though, without a doubt, is by destroying every car opponent. Those in my race were especially annoying, and did everything in their power to end my driving career in smoke and flames. I wasn’t going to stand for any of that, so I responded to their attacks with my own. My session was short sadly, so I never had full opportunity to destroy every single one of them.
If my time with the game taught me anything, it’s that Carmageddon: Max Damage retains the franchise’s ridiculous carnage in excellent fashion. I don’t think it will appeal to every modern gamer though, truth be told. Hunting down pedestrians and dealing destruction to opponents isn’t for everybody I suppose.
Fans of the series however, will be pleased for sure. There’s a lot of content shipping with the game (a dozen maps, 30+ cars, 90+ power ups), both familiar and new, which should keep their desire for car chaos well satisfied.
The wait for the release of the final product isn’t too long at least. Carmageddon: Max Damage will be launching in just a few short weeks, on July the 8th.
Last Updated: June 23, 2016