Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage

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posted 3/28/2012 by Dave Gamble
other articles by Dave Gamble
Platforms: PC
I know we’ve all spent vast amounts of time in boring situations like being stuck in traffic or listening to CNN while being held captive at the airport gate pondering one of life’s most pressing and intriguing questions: what happens to Mario Kart kids when they grow up? Having outgrown go karts and cartoon characters, where is a game player that has become addicted to racing around blasting opponents with forward-facing weapons and leaving little piles of pain behind them like your typical neighborhood dog walker to turn for a fix of automotive mayhem? Gamepires would clearly prefer that the answer to that question be their first PC title: Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage.

The concepts between Mario and GG: CC are very similar. You will be racing against a group of other drivers and trying to beat them with some combination of driving skill and raw militaristic mayhem. While the variety of weapons isn’t as imaginative as that of Mario, there are plenty of ways of creating nice explosions and doing damage to your opponents. You start out in a relatively weak car, but through time there are opportunities to move up to better vehicles or buy upgrades to the cars you already own.


GG:CC is probably most accurately described as Mario Kart made crass. There are a number of differences between GG:CC and Mario Kart in the realms of gameplay and graphics, but probably the most notable nod to the presumed maturation of the player is in the language used. I would share some of the more obnoxious and repulsive utterances emanating from the background chatter, but my asterisk key isn’t up to that level of usage. Perhaps it is unfair to broach this line of criticism based on just a few hours of hands-on experience with a pre-release version of the game, but it was the most notable impression the game made on me.

Setting that aside, though, I can say that GG:CC is attractive in both the car and environment models. My geriatric PC was unable to provide much more than a surpassingly slow slide show at the default settings, but with more conservative settings in place it performed well enough and the graphics were still quite good. The cars which, counter to expectation are not cartoonishly bedecked in exotic armor and post-apocalypse deterioration, look like they could have come straight from the showroom floor. If, that is, they weren’t packing gatling guns.


As is common with arcade-ish racing games, though, I found controllability of the car to be somewhat difficult. Using an Xbox controller, I found it to be very difficult to keep the car headed straight down the track. It seemed to be almost maniacally driven to swerving all over the place. This may have been beneficial in dodging attacks from behind, but I was never able to control the car well enough to get out on front of any of the opponents to find out. To be fair, this problem may have been unique to me for one or two reasons: 1) I’m old and my reaction times have deteriorated with age, or 2) there may have been control lag introduced as my old PC struggled to keep up with the graphical processing requirements. In any event, I suspect that I would have adjusted to it in time. If not, well, there’s still the eminently viable strategy of winning through explosive-assisted attrition.

Most players will find the game action to be sufficiently distracting to allow them to ignore the inane drivel coming from the background or will not find it all that bothersome anyway, but others will be driven to lower the volume in order to enjoy what may ultimately prove to be one of the better combat/racing games. Time will tell.
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