Carmageddon 64 is one of those games that everyone just assumed would never come out - but after months and months of delays, it's finally available. It survived the transition when Titus purchased Interplay, the game's original publisher. However, the game has absolutely nothing going for it, which makes you wonder why it ever made it this far in the first place.
Based on the somewhat popular PC series, Carmageddon 64's premise is pretty straightforward. Taking the role of a motorized renegade, you race through random cityscapes while simultaneously mowing down onlookers and plowing through the hulls of your fellow motorists. The PC series is known for its addictive nature and its simple pick-up-and-play accessibility, if not its oddly cathartic wanton violence.
It's safe to say that Carmageddon 64 shares none of these elements. The control scheme - which is flawed and overly temperamental - effectively robs the game of the series' simplified efficiency. Slight turns are impossible, as only sharp shifts in direction are detected, making vehicular combat and body mowing quite a chore. The series' unique take on the laws of physics has also been perverted. While the PC games exhibited a comical exaggeration of bodies in motion, the airborne cars in Carmageddon 64 resemble lethargic, fiberglass kites, stilted in their midair dances, victims of the unrefined, arbitrary laws imposed upon them by the developers.
Carmageddon 64 also looks bad. The game's textures are worse than most first-generation N64 games, blurry and half there. The car models are competent enough, though they're wrapped with the same questionable textures and often move at uneven speeds, especially in the game's multiplayer mode.
During Carmaggedon 64's long and sketchy lineage, someone felt the need to sanitize one of the series' dominant concepts: the destruction of human bodies via automotive aberrance. In place of humans, Carmageddon 64 has dull, lumbering zombies, whose destruction seems heroic (as opposed to amusingly miscreant and malicious). When splattered, the creatures explode into an odd, awkward mess of sprites. Needless to say, the process doesn't have the same appeal.
In the end, Carmageddon 64 just isn't very playable. The thin pretense of racing doesn't come through, and, unlike the PC versions, it actually matters this time, as there isn't much reward in smashing into the same dodgy vehicles and creatures over and over again. The two-player modes aren't much of a consolation, either, as few people would want to subject their friends to a game with such flawed mechanics.