Max Damage is back.
Carmageddon first hit the headlines back in 1997 and quickly became one of the most controversial games of its time. With in game carnage that saw you earning points by mowing down pedestrians, or ‘Peds’, animals and wrecking other cars, it was easy to see why this game in particular achieved an almost cult status among gamers of the time and now Carmageddon: Max Damage on Xbox One picks up where the other games left off.
As soon as you begin the first race in your career you can see the reason this game has an 18 rating, with double entendres and in your face bad language from the off, it’s definitely adults only. Your first track pits you against 5 other NPC drivers in a race around the first area in the game (a place called ‘Maim Street’) in the game mode Classic Carma. In this mode you have the choice to race, wreck or wreak havoc. You can win by being the first to complete the number of laps required, wreck your opponents and be the last car standing or to run down all the peds, the amount of peds to maim is presented at the start of each level and in this instance is 780.
There is also a Ped Chase mode in which you have to mow down a certain amount of pedestrians while Death Race sees you competing to be the first to complete a set number of laps and finally we have Checkpoint Stampede, a race around the map finding checkpoints that appear randomly. In each race you find different coloured barrels strewn around the course, these grant you time limited power ups although some of these are more of a hindrance than a help. Some of these grant power-ups to your car, ‘granite body’ is a favourite of mine and makes your car a solid block of (yep, you guessed it) granite, allowing you to do huge damage to your opponents. Some of the other power-ups affect the pedestrians around you, slowing them down, making them dance or even giving them the appearance of being on Diazepam. As your car gets damaged you can hit the Y button for an anywhere-anytime fix and it’s fun to see the bits of your car fly back from wherever it was on the circuit that you lost them.
At the end of every race you get a breakdown of your performance and a graph shows you how many kills you got, credits you earned and the laps completed in each challenge. There are 16 environments to play around in and each of these has 3 or 4 separate challenges to complete before progressing to the next. There are over 30 different cars to unlock and all have different characteristics from their weight and top speed to the individual handling of each style of car. These cars are unlocked by wrecking your opponents in each of the different events presented to you as you progress through the various stages in your career. There is also a Freeplay mode where you get to revisit the stages you’ve already taken part in and even a multiplayer mode where up to 6 of you can blast, smash and wreck your way around any of the locations available in one of 4 modes, Death Race – Checkpoint Stampede – Car Crusher and Fox’n Hounds.
From the main menu and after each event you are able to access ‘My Garage’ Here you can see all the cars you have unlocked and upgrade them in one of the 3 APO’s: Armour, Power or Offensive. There are 5 upgrade pips to fill in each of these power up bars. You can also change the appearance of the car body and even fit new rims to your cars and with 90 upgrades to add you can tweak the look of your car to your hearts content.
Once you start to play it’s quick to see that this game is trying to shock. From mowing down pedestrians in wheelchair and motability scooters right up to the C Word emblazoned in big letters on a billboard this game will offend you in some way at some point. Carmageddon: Max Damage carries a very well earned 18 certificate so consider yourselves warned. The graphics work well and the gameplay is fast enough to keep you engaged. There are times when the lack of camera control make swinging your car around, in forward and then reverse, a nearly vomit inducing experience as the game tries to ensure that you are always facing what you’re driving towards. The sound is a mix of dubstep and grunge by musicians that are fans of the series and goes well with the violence of the game, itself an over the top mix of cringe worthy maiming and hysterical splatter fest straight from Death Race 2000 in the mid 70’s. The different levels or arenas that you play in are good, from the desert like wild west to the futuristic looking business district, there is always plenty to do and searching for the biggest air is a personal favourite past time of mine.
The Run Down
Graphics: 7/10: The graphics are good enough. The way the cars deform over time and lose bits of body work look great. There is a lot of gore on this one and although a tad over the top it does look good. There is an almost grainy look to the game and at times can look like a 360 game with blocky pixels and simple environments, especially when the action goes up a notch and there is plenty on screen, although this isn’t the case on all maps. This is an adults only game though and with plenty of rude entendres spoken and written it should be kept away from the children.
Story: 0/10: The story is lacking any real content, it’s just race and beat your opponents, unlock new cars and upgrades for them and wreak havoc.
Sound: 7/10: The background music is perfect for this title. Fast, loud and in your face. Sometimes it gets a bit much though and I could feel myself getting more and more irate. I’m old as dirt though and it wasn’t long until I turned it off in the menu.
Replayability: 8/10: Plenty to keep you going back for more, even if it’s just to smash your old high scores and times. This game comes with 30 achievements worth a total of 1000 gamerscore. The multiplayer looks like it could be lots of fun although with our testing being before release, I couldn’t actually get a game going online.
Satisfaction: 6/10: The lack of any real story works against this title but there is plenty to keep you busy for a while, having over 30 cars all with their own upgrades to race in 16 different environments. The price tag on this title in the UK is £29.99 and for that you do get a lot of content. I can imagine the multiplayer being very popular too and would help fans of the old franchise and new comers alike to game together nearly 20 years after this controversial title first made it’s debut back in ’97