+Decent combat mechanics
+Good blend between arcade and simulation
-Graphics aren't that great
-No active multiplayer
Final score: 7 / 10
Controller support: Yes
Windows Vista / 7
2.0 GHz Dual-core Intel or AMD Processor
2 GB Available System Memory
7 GB Available Hard Drive Space
512 MB DirectX 9-compatible Video Card w/ Shader Model 3.0 (GeForce 8800 Ultra or AMD/ATI 4850)
2.4 GHz Quad-core Q6600 or equivalent AMD Processor
4 GB Available System Memory
1 GB DirectX 9-compatible Video Card (GeForce 560, Radeon 6850)
3D-compatible Sound Card
Quite a few racing games have appeared in recent years but, unfortunately, there haven’t been a lot of combat racing experiences, besides the lackluster Flatout 3: Chaos & Destruction or the PS3-exclusive Twisted Metal.
Now, Gamepires has released Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage, a brand new game that offers a racing experience with both traditional competitions, as well as combat ones where cars are outfitted with various weapons and must take each other out while on the path to victory.
With the promise of interesting gameplay, polished graphics and a focus on pure racing, Gas Guzzlers definitely seems like a worthy contender.
Can the game make it to the finish line or does it break down before seeing the checkered flag? Let’s find out.
Choose your ride ...
... and customize it
Gameplay and Multiplayer
Right from the get-go you notice that Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage is the work of an independent studio, sporting the menu style and look reminiscent of Flatout 2, for example. Even so, once you start playing, you’re treated with a competent racer.
Its mechanics find a great balance between arcade and simulation, so you always need to be careful when handling your car, but you shouldn’t need to pay attention to hitting all the right apexes during corners or anything like that.
Controls handle relatively well and you can use a controller, but you must first bind the actual buttons because the game doesn't have native support for such devices.
Cars are quite varied and, as you progress through races, you unlock new ones, as well as new customization options, ranging from paint, to stickers or rims, not to mention new performance upgrades for your engine, brakes, tires, and more.
You can enter one of three types of races: Classic, Battle, or Knockout. The first is self-explanatory, the second entails cars being outfitted with weapons and shooting each other while racing to the finish, while the third one eliminates the last car at the end of each lap until only one remains.
Tracks are relatively varied, although prolonged play sessions might make everything feel a bit boring. Throughout the circuits, you can find different types of power-ups, ranging from ones that fill up your boost meter, to mines, oil barrels, or smoke grenades, which can be deployed behind you and offer your opponents a nasty surprise.
You can also pick up repair kits, as well as coin packs that you receive in addition to the money you get from finishing in one of the top three places. Your cash can be spent on upgrades for your ride, as well as on new cars that are rather slowly unlocked as you progress through the game. If you don’t want to partake in the campaign, you can engage in a quick race and simply try out your skills.
AI is relatively decent and there aren’t a lot of “rubber band” situations, but sometimes opponents can race on ahead and you won’t be able to reach them no matter how well you’re driving.
The combat mechanics are also decent, as you can fit weapons like shotguns, machine guns, or rocket launchers onto your vehicles, many of which can also fire backwards, in case you want to punish the opponent behind you. After enough damage, a car crashes and the driver is eliminated. As such, during such races, hunting down repair kits is essential, as is picking up bullet power-ups because you don’t have infinite ammo.
In terms of multiplayer, you’re treated with the same basic race options but, unfortunately, you won’t find that many online races, as they rely on dedicated servers. You can set up a server by yourself and get others to join but there aren’t a lot of active players. This is too bad, as Battle races would’ve felt much more interesting if you were up to actual humans.
Graphics and Sound
In terms of graphics, Gas Guzzlers is pretty decent, as car models look good, although effects like the rain during certain stages look a bit bland. What’s more, this blandness spreads to pretty much all of the circuits as their colors look dull and lifeless even during the day.
There are some interesting effects here and there, such as the smoke screens, but the game’s visuals look quite dated overall.
In terms of sound, you won’t be treated with anything out of the ordinary. Cars sound relatively different, weapons feel powerful but explosions aren’t that impressive.
If you choose to give your driver a voice, you’ll also be treated with all sorts of remarks during the race that get annoying rather quickly.
Target your enemies ...
... and protect yourself
Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage is a decent game but, if you’re looking for a top-notch triple-A experience, you won’t find it here.
Still, considering combat racing titles are so few and far in-between, it’s worth taking it for a test drive, especially since the racing mechanics feel good and the combat stages are quite decent.