The original Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage came and went without making much of an impact in the UK, with an extremely limited release meaning that many gamers never even knew of its existence. Iceberg Interactive are set to change all that however, with the release of the revitalised Gas Guzzlers Extreme on Steam and via retail stores.
Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a combat-orientated racing videogame. The core experience still sees you taking to enclosed circuits with the ambition of crossing the finishing line before any of your competitors; however it’s not quite as simple as driving fast and taking the corners well. The vehicles you are up against all carry mounted weaponry and can pick-up further items and power-ups from the track in order to prevent you from succeeding. Of course you can do the same, making Gas Guzzlers Extreme a more aggressive racing title than the average release.
As the player progresses through the Campaign mode they are not only able to unlock new vehicles with the financial rewards they receive for winning races, but also new weapons. Customising your vehicle comes both in terms of handling and artillery, in addition to the multitude of cosmetic touches that the player can make. The weaponry that you choose will most certainly be a result of personal preference rather than adapting to each event as the items available on the track itself are always an easy alternative for getting the upperhand when needed.
The Campaign mode features a variety of event types each with secondary objectives. In addition to the various race types Gas Guzzlers Extreme also features the expected assortment of deathmatch and capture the flag events. This is where the videogame feels most like its closest comparison, Vigilante 8. There’s no denying that technology has moved on significantly since Vigilante 8 ruled the roost of vehicular combat videogames, and Gas Guzzlers Extreme is the most direct rendition of this frenetic gameplay on modern hardware. With this is mind, it’s a shame Gas Guzzlers Extreme hasn’t also seen a release on console digital distribution services, as it would surely find a keen audience there were it offered at a wallet-friendly price.
Gas Guzzlers Extreme does feature an online multiplayer option also and is supported by plenty of server options. However, finding a match even at peak times can be a little frustrating as users tend to cluster together, resulting in many empty servers and one or two full ones. The process therefore becomes a case of selecting an empty server and waiting – hoping – that other players will join you. Not ideal of course, but as long as they have a stable connection the resulting competition is worth the effort more-often-than-not.
While the aesthetic is generally of a very comfortable standard throughout, a question has to be raised over some of the more colloquial aspects of the design. The very first message players will receive when beginning the Campaign mode is that they have secured a sponsorship deal from a company called ‘Mighty Cock.’ While this may incite some giggles at first and even more so when you see it adorning the side of your vehicle, it’s not quite the sensibilities one expects of a racing videogame, no matter how aggressive the subject matter may be.
Available via Steam now and coming to retail stores soon, Gas Guzzlers Extreme achieves everything it sets out to. A comfortable looking racing videogame with an aggressive edge that much of its competition simply can’t match and a handling system that feels responsive enough for the player to make the most of it. The multiplayer component’s lack of immediacy is an unfortunate issue, but if you’re looking to step into Gas Guzzlers Extreme for the soloist campaign there’s very little reason not to make that jump.