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Game Over Online ~ Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now

GameOver Game Reviews - Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now (c) Stainless/SCi, Reviewed by - PseudoNim / Cyrus / Prolix

Game & Publisher Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now (c) Stainless/SCi
System Requirements P200 32mb RAM
Overall Rating 68%
Date Published Saturday, November 14th, 1998 at 06:42 PM


Divider Left By: PseudoNim Divider Right

"So many pedestrians... so little time." That held true for the original Carmageddon, and it still holds for Carmageddon 2. There are still multiple pedestrians to mow down, and there's still not enough time for all of them. But before I start my venture in the dark, grim world of pedestrian plowing, car wrecking, "an insane place, with insane moves / battles without for battles within / where evil lives, and evil rules / breaking them up, just breaking them in," (to quote a pretty good song) I should forewarn you that the opinions represented in this review are drastically different from those in the ones that follow. It seems like I found the game a fair bit more fun and enjoyable than the other reviewers did - well, such is life, and there are as many opinions as people. Maybe even more, for split-personality issues. Oh yeah, since I'm in the warning mood, this review includes gory descriptions, so please, skip down to the next review if you find them offensive in some obscure way.

Either way, I thought Carmageddon 2 was fun. I suppose I should mention that I found the original to be very enjoyable, as well - contrary to, say, PC Gamer's opinion. But then again, they also somewhat hated Grand Theft Auto - and I liked it quite a bit, as well.

The idea of Carmageddon 2 is simple. You are provided with a powerful car, the Eagle, and your objective is to win a race. Simple. There are three ways of winning a race: you can either race through the checkpoints (the 'loser' way), you can demolish all your opposition (the easiest way) or, and this one is by far the hardest, you can mow down every single pedestrian in the city. The latter one, I find, is somewhat less enjoyable, especially without the 'Peds shown on map' powerup, as it gets pretty hard seeking out that last pedestrian. Not to say I've ever done it, though - I'd consider myself mentally deficient had I been an authority on completing the levels using the latter method. I've done it precisely once, and as far as I remember it was pure luck - it was also in the original Carmageddon, where the pedestrian count numbered at least one-third that of an average C2 level. And they didn't obstruct driving, either - in C2, whenever you hit a body, the car loses a bit of traction, and it actually feels like you drove over something. Drive over three bodies in a shot, and not only do you pick up a 3x bonus, but you also will most likely spin the car completely. For that part, the graphics are really nicely done - in the original Carmageddon, pedestrians were sprites, and they really didn't feel like driven-over entities. They just made a messy goo on the road which slurped whenever you drove over it. The developers must have realized that wasn't sufficiently gory - behold the new 3D bodies, completely decomposable. Hit someone at 15mph and see him lie down on your hood until you either swerve to throw him on the ground - or, if you have more skill, ram into the nearest wall and behold a Piledriver Bonus. Hit someone at 100mph, and not only do you pick up a fat Splatter Bonus, but, depending on the force and direction of impact, the body might be torn apart, such that the upper half slams into the nearest wall while the legs travel off in a different direction.

I do admire the extents to which Stainless went to ensure thorough enjoyment of the game by the player. People jump out of the way, knee, beg for salvation; dogs whimper, cows moo and run, and the other types of pedestrians perform appropriate acts, depending on what intellect level they belong to.

But the development time hasn't been spent on inflicting damage on bodily tissue alone. The cars are destructible - and in most obscene ways. This is not the fake mesh warping Viper Racing uses. Granted, mesh warping looks cool - but fails to deliver in the end. In Carmageddon 2, the car model consists of different parts, and it's not uncommon to have moldings or body panels coming off, windshield shattering, hood opening, doors flapping helplessly, headlights/taillights breaking, and so forth. Flames break out once your engine is too damaged, as well - and, unlike in the original Carmageddon, destroyed cars don't always burn down. But bodywork and engine damage aren't the only ones available to spice up your day - wheels, steering, transmission - all those can be damaged, with the functionality decreasing as the part sheds its showroom condition. Fortunately (and this is where the arcade element comes in) you can repair the car on-the-fly with the money you accumulate from sending people, dogs, cows, aliens and whoever else to the Maker. You get money for damaging your opponents, too - and should you ever flip your car in an innovative way, you get a Cunning Stunt Bonus. You can also purchase armor, engine power and offensive upgrades - the cost progressively increases as you gain higher levels of those components. You can also purchase cars, which is a welcome change from Carmageddon 1 - any car that is destroyed at the end of the race is available for purchase, albeit sometimes with rather hefty price tags. And what is very welcome is that the handling of the cars is much improved since C1 - you don't feel like you're on an ice rink in summer shoes anymore.

The graphics in the game are quite good, especially compared to the original. I would still say the engine is somewhat deficient, and it's a bit lagged on my P200, but it's playable - except in some specific conditions. The graphics aren't the eyecandy that, say, Forsaken was - but they're enjoyable, and not extraneously fake. The objects that are constantly shoved in your face, like your car or blood, are very well-detailed (as detailed as blood can be, that is). Humans (or zombies) are slightly less complex, but I suppose that was the only way to prevent the game from crawling - I doubt a 20,000 triangle human taken a thousand times would make much of a gameplay, even on the fastest of machines. The environment graphics are pretty good, with the only exception being the water - it looks somewhat cheesy in my opinion. One of the cooler effects is glass - many buildings have glass entrances, cars have glass windows, windshields, et cetera - and they break under sufficient stress.

The powerups are fairly varied, as well. If you've played the demo you'll find some new ones have been added, and the abundance of powerups that was available in the demo is no longer - they're fairly scarce, except for the usual X credit bonus or the X seconds bonus. There are three types of powerups: global timed ones, local permanent and local timed. Global timed include the likes of Pinball Mode, which means that whenever you hit a hard object, be that a car, a building, a lamppost or whatever, your car will rebound with at least double the force as you hit it with. It's very dangerous if picked up in a narrow corridor at high speed - you're almost 100% likely to die. The fact that it's Global means that others are affected by it, as well - which could be a great weapon if used properly. Local Permanent powerups are the likes of armor upgrades, money/time bonuses and inventory items that only affect your car, and Local Timed are, well, things that affect your car and are timed. Case at point: Greased Tyres, Mega-Turbo, HotRod, Solid Granite Car, Pedestrian Electro-Bastard Ray and others. The variety of powerups was quite vast in the original, but Stainless went further and added an Inventory. The idea is, that sometimes you can pick up powerups that you'd rather not use until you actually encounter someone - like oil slicks, or mines, or other, more bizarre methods of destruction. This way you can accumulate single-use items, like the aforementioned mines, and just hit Alt whenever you want to use it - simple, useful and much more deadly.

The sound effects in the game are pretty good. I find the screaming of people gets a bit annoying, but I suppose it goes with the territory. The car sounds, contrary to what my fellow reviewers say, are quite good and I have no reason to complain about them - after all, how good or bad can you make an engine sound? Barring the dispute, that is, which sounds better - the BMW V12 used in RR's, in McLaren F1s, the Ferrari V12s used in, well, Ferraris, the Porsche inline-6's and so forth - that (usually) depends on which one the person arguing owns.

The actual driving and maiming part of the game, commonly referred to as gameplay, is fairly enjoyable. You can do many things to annoy your opponents, and they can do many things to you. For instance, you could run someone off a cliff into a lake, quickly drive down, pick up a Underwater Ability powerup (which usually renders underwater driving a bit more manageable), then work as a bulldozer to drive your overturned enemy into a minefield. Seeing the car flip on mines looks really hilarious - and gets you wads of money, too.

The multiplayer is a blast. There's unfortunately only IPX play, so mostly limited to LANs - however, there are ways of using IPX over TCP/IP or, more commonly, over direct modem connection. There are many modes of playing, some boring, some more fun, some completely incredibly fun - having played a lot of Carmageddon 1 multiplayer games, I can only imaging how much fun C2 will bring. There is slight lag, but not much different from single-player, which basically boils down to what hardware the game is run on, that probably being the major deficiency of the game.

Overall, I must say this game is not for the average public. It firstly requires that your stomach isn't turned by the first ripped-off body part that you see, but it also helps if you enjoy Car Wars-type of games in general. True, there are no weapons to Carmageddon 2 per se - but then again, this isn't Interstate '76, and I think the point would've been lost had it used weapons. It's a (yet another) fun and innocent way to do things for which people get shot in real life. It's interesting, really, that Carmageddon 1 sold over 600,000 copies... maybe the thirst for pedestrian annihilation isn't that rare in people. One should watch out... if TV influences kids, I wonder if PCs influence anyone...

Kill one man, and you're a murderer
Kill a thousand, and you're a conqueror
Kill them all, and you're a God.

Highs: Updated graphics engine, multitude of cars and powerups, fun multiplayer

Lows:: Engine a bit sluggish, gameplay gets somewhat repetitive after a while


 

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Rating
84%
 

 

 
 

 

 

Divider Left By: Cyrus Divider Right

In the last week three different car fighting games have been released. One has been terrible, one has been incredible and one is right in between. Carmageddon 2 is right in the middle of the visually stunning DethKarz and the nauseatingly bad Crime Killer. In Carmageddon 2 your mission is to race through different levels, kill as many pedestrians as you can, run your opponents off the road and as an afterthought, win the race. Carmageddon 2 is not much different from its prequel in the gameplay department, but it is obvious that the graphics engine has gotten a hefty revamp.

Graphics:

Carmageddon 2's graphics in 3dfx mode are seamless, allowing for no random dots or speckles which surprised me after the extremely poor graphics quality of the first game. The cars themselves are very inspiring and each has its own personality and somewhat resembles a real-life car. Instead of headlights, most are outfitted with some sort of ramming weapon or other implement of death, very much fitting in with the game. The pedestrians themselves are somewhat unrealistic looking but they serve their purpose and are nice to look at when they fly up over the top of your car. The dead corpses also never clear off the track so you are able to continuously run over their lifeless bodies lap after lap (I'm not mentally ill - I swear, it's just fun). I found the damage effects on the cars to be quite impressive, perhaps even the best I've ever seen in a non-simulation game. Body panels fly off and stay on the track or if you happen to roll your car over, the underbody is well detailed and tires are visible spinning in the back. Despite all the details, the graphics are not jaw dropping but are rather much more utilitarian. The engine runs without stutter but the game felt a little lagged overall. The software graphics were not bad either but they obviously were not nearly as good as the hardware accelerated ones.

Sound:

The sound in Carmageddon 2 is mediocre at the best. There are the standard screeches as your tires slide across the pavement and a really satisfying crunching noise when you hit someone else's car. The pedestrian screams leave a little to be desired and the engine noise is a bit stale. The engine noise tended to be irritating, but luckily that was the only true annoyance in the sound effects. Carmaggeddon 2 has overall a decent set of sound effects, but it would have been nicer if they were more stunning.

Multiplayer:

Multiplayer is only supported over Local Area Network and so there was little lag, but I found playing somebody else to be too difficult and a little bit frustrating. Carmageddon 2 offers several different multiplayer games and a lot of options for the administrator to configure and yet lacked the element of fun that is so important in this area of games. Many aspects of multiplayer could have been improved but most of the problems I had with it were caused by the game's poor control.

Gameplay:

My first impression of Carmageddon 2 was not a positive one and initially I thought it was identical to the original. After I played the game for a longer period of time however, I began to notice some significant differences. In general the control and physics are terrible, but the car does roll realistically and the crashes are somewhat realistic yet there are several inconsistencies. For one, you suffer damage from absolutely everything including hitting a barrier at about 2 mph. Also I found myself skidding everywhere; either my car had incredibly high torque or I'm just bad driver (I assume it's the former). On a positive note, the game has tons of power-ups that are really inventive. My favorite is the wall sticking powerup, as it's damn fun to be able to drive straight up a wall. Hey it's not very realistic, but what the hell. In my humble opinion, the actual racing element (minus the carnage) is the worst aspect of the gameplay. This is a result of the pitiful control model used. I actually wanted to stop playing the game after two minutes because they were so bad, but once I hit my first pedestrian I forced myself to get used to skidding and sliding everywhere. The great thing about hitting people is all the different bonuses you are able to get. This kept me entertained for a decent chunk of time before I had to stop myself to write this review. Carmageddon 2 continues the tradition of the original by combining a boring racing game with some damn exciting people crushing in an entertaining, if somewhat lacking, game.

Fun Factor:

At first this game was simply not fun but once I got used to the control I started to like it a lot more. The multiplayer disappointed me however and I feel that they should have implemented TCP/IP code. Just to reiterate my previous statement, I found hitting the people and their dogs to be enthralling. I probably will leave this game on my hard drive just so that I can perform my devious activities (in the game) for a couple more weeks. The power-ups are also neat and they are some really unique ones. Carmageddon 2 is thus a reasonably fun game to play, but nothing that will draw you in for hours upon hours of your time.

Overall Impression:

My overall impression of Carmageddon 2 is mixed. I liked the graphics and hitting people but the poor multiplayer and the terrible control really turned me off. If you liked the first one I would recommend that you pick this sequel up. Otherwise my suggestion is to stay away and only get this if you are really bored or have some sort of evil car-racing fetish.


 

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Rating
84%
 

 

 
 

 

 

Divider Left By: Prolix Divider Right

Typically cars and pedestrians don't mix, right? In Carmageddon 2 you're actually rewarded for plowing down those pesky pedestrians. Have you ever wanted to just cruise through town and not worry about damaging anything or run over granny and her walker slowly crossing the street? Personally I think this is one of the most sadistic games ever made, but I do admire it for the strong points. What's new in Carmageddon 2 you might ask; New weapons, animals, d3d & 3dfx support, improved AI and new power-ups.

Graphics: Unfortunately Carmageddon 2 isn't anything too extraordinary to look at. The first fault I found is the menu design and layout. Most of the time I was flustered where to go for options and even selecting an option took three to four clicks just to get it right. This is definitely not the right way to start a game off. The next fault is the rendering on the cars, can we say low polygon count? The first car available to you is completely polygonal, even the textures have no depth to them. Yes I still have more complaints, next is the crashing effects. Sparks are represented by orange lines and specs, wow that's impressive! Oh yeah and one more complaint, I love the trashy cardboard cut-out backgrounds. Generally the graphics left me not believing the actual game environment, which is a good thing for this type of game I suppose.

Sound & Control: Ah yes...control a vital part of a game. Thank god its actually done well, after I mastered hand breaking and accelerating control was a breeze. The sound effects are up to par as well. Screaming and splattering pedestrians couldn't sound any better.

Gameplay & Fun Factor: The basic premise of the game consists of plowing through different environments killing people or animals for credits. Credits can be exchanged for recovery, new armor, and repairs. Aside from killing people you must destroy your opponents by bashing them into walls or kindly steering them into explosives. One thing that puzzled me was, how come after I ram a telephone pole to the ground I can just hit backspace and instantly repair. I did enjoy the physics for this game, every bit of damage would show up on your car, like a broken windshield. Even spinouts with skid marks are realistically done. As far as fun factor goes it really depends on how you can stomach gore. Personally I didn't have to much fun running over people, I just liked to destroy the other jerks who were running over everyone. The lack of an in-game save feature is really bothersome, you have to be prepared to spend 10-20 minutes a level depending on your skill level. One thing I loved about the game was the vast game environments, the city levels had so many alleys and highway over-passes it was amazing.

Multiplayer: Two types of connections are supported, LAN and serial. Since I don't have access to a LAN I wasn't able to test multiplayer. Seeing how most people don't have the luxury of a LAN, I will be giving multiplayer 0.

Overall Impression: Sequels in the computer game industry are typically better, they usually improve on missed-out features and listen to the public. In some aspects the creators of Carmageddon 2 listened to what people wanted, but we all know the public loves TCP/IP support and where is it? Carmageddon 2 isn't a big step up from the original and the lack of real effort shows. True fans of the original game will certainly want to pick up a copy of Carmageddon 2, its more of the murder and mayhem you will enjoy. All the hype and carnage didn't impress me, this game relies on one thing as its selling point, blood.


 

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Rating
84%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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