Gas Guzzlers Combat Carnage Review

Poor design decisions and lots of annoying little things mar this otherwise decent racer.

The first time you start a race in Gas Guzzlers, you'll be in a crappy car, behind AI opponents in much better cars, and you'll lose. Boy oh boy, will you lose. But it's OK, because even when you lose, you still earn money to be able to slowly upgrade your car and take on the big boys, right? Wrong. You don't earn a dime, except by picking up money bonuses scattered at points on the racetracks. But even if you do that, every single upgrade in the garage is locked to you, making it frustratingly difficult to make any progress through the game. You play the same race over, and over, and over--never finishing above fourth or fifth and never getting anywhere near being able to even move on to the next track in the campaign, much less a different game mode.

This is lousy design. Slow progression isn't necessarily a bad thing, particular in a realistic racing simulation like Gran Turismo (though even that series allows you to earn money and buy new cars at the beginning). But for a game that bills itself as a fun, arcade-ish, combat racing title, it's unacceptable. Unlocking the combat portion, which is billed in the title, is infuriatingly difficult. Gas Guzzlers' problems are compounded by the lack of clear explanation as to what does what when you play. There’s a button, for example, to ignite your car’s turbo booster, but no explanation as to what charges the booster (turns out that crashing into things does it). You also have two weapons buttons, although it's never made clear which weapons fire forward and which fire backward, or what the specific effect on the other cars is. Trial and error doesn't help much, because AI opponents can recover almost instantaneously from land mine hits, explosions, and even head-on collisions. You, of course, don't get any such molly coddling.

If you'd like to try to level the playing field a bit by going online, good luck to you. The few servers you'll find are always empty or nearly so, and never have anyone in them who want to start a race. Other game modes, too, offer no respite, as they remain locked to you until you manage to struggle past a gauntlet of necessary unlocks. This unlocking process is grind-y and frustrating, and takes all the fun out of what’s otherwise a fairly good racing mechanic.

See, in spite of all its shortcomings, Gas Guzzlers' races do a good job of balancing a semblance of realism with plenty of over-the-top drifting, spins, gunplay, and general insanity. Although the game doesn't give you much help with anything like a rubberbanding mechanic (players falling behind the pack aren't artificially sped up to stay competitive), you use an assortment of guns and missiles to temporarily knock out people ahead of you and gain ground. While these moments are rare and difficult to achieve, combat and other little things do spice up the gameplay.

Damage shows up on your car, but it's not tied realistically to how you get hit.

That’s the real tragedy here: Gas Guzzlers has plenty of content and personality. It has tons of car customization options, weapon loadouts, and a decent number of vehicles and tracks. But like an acquaintance who suffers from terrible social anxiety, the game does everything in its power to keep you from getting to what's underneath. When things are going right for you, Gas Guzzlers offers edge-of-your-seat excitement, because you don't want to suffer the frustration of starting all over again. Getting knocked into a wall or getting hit by a weapon even once can be unrecoverable in a race, so you are always putting your best foot forward. And, once you've got them mapped right, controls are responsive, tracks feel realistic (you slide around a lot more in dirt than in asphalt, for example), and blowing stuff up is satisfying.

Still, some obvious features of an arcade racer game are clearly missing. Since the tracks are both short and linear, you'd think there'd be multiple pathways, shortcuts or secret areas, but you'd be wronger than ketchup on a hot dog. While Gas Guzzlers' tracks do have some branches, taking them has little effect on your position in a race. Games like Split/Second and Need for Speed: Shift offer tracks that reward you for taking risks or using your imagination. No such luck here.

Indeed, taking turns properly, drifting around corners, or even ramming small obstacles like palmetto trees and barrels have little effect on your position in a race. The primary influencers appear to be luck (you have to hope that the leaders take each other out), and constantly keeping the accelerator depressed to maximum no matter what. This may prove more difficult than you think, however, because Gas Guzzlers has a habit of resetting your controls to the defaults despite your painstaking re-mapping of them. The game doesn't recognize an Xbox 360 controller or a PlayStation 3 controller by default, even if you’ve got the proper drivers installed on your PC. This means you’ve got to map the controller buttons yourself, which leads to some jury rigging to get things working properly.

You earn roadkill bonuses for hitting chickens. Take that, chickens!

Gas Guzzlers does some things right, but the whole deal ends up feeling decidedly under par. Graphics are only fair, music is canned and looped, and the voice samples are poor. But beyond its mediocre production values is a wobbly foundation, and that's ultimately Gas Guzzlers' insurmountable flaw. The extreme difficulty in unlocking new content is a fatal failing, because it keeps the game frustrating and fails to reward players for hard work. That ain't how the West was won, partner, no matter how much gas you might be able to drink.

The Good
Solid racing and race-combat mechanics
Good sense of humor about itself
The Bad
Controls are not mapped natively and not explained
Way, way too hard to get into the game and start shooting things
Tracks are linear and unsurprising
4
Poor
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115 comments
bunnykill43
bunnykill43

Eric Neigher proved me me that an idiot can be paid for being an idiot.

Comunist4
Comunist4

This game is fucking awesome,fuck gamespot for giving it a 4.0 score,its only because gamepires is a small company(9 men) and cant pay bunch of money to gamespot for advertising and other crap.And they give them shitty review !!

I give this game a 8.5 score.

unacomn
unacomn

I wonder if this one is getting pulled as well.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Those user votes for Gas Guzzlers in the EGA speak for themselves too - after all, they are typically votes from fans.

 

I wouldn't give credence to awards that are the results of fan-voting.

YuriDen
YuriDen

Gas Guzzlers won 2nd place on European Games Award 2012 for Best Racing Game by user votes. Guess this score speaks for itself :)

1st place - San Francisco Driver

3rd place - F12011

4th place - Dirt Showdown

OneShadowMaster
OneShadowMaster

1.2 patch is out. deathmatch mode, new cars, tracks and duke nukem voice over is added.

OneShadowMaster
OneShadowMaster

Gas Guzzlers nominated for Best European Racing Game on european-games-award.com

Raziel972
Raziel972

This must be one of the stupidest reviews i read in my life.

For any newcomers to gamespot,if you want to see the real game score just check the user or the metacritic score in the upper right part of the screen.

 

Gamespot score: 4.0

User Score: 8.3      

 

GamingTrend score: 79/100

Gamingillustrated score: 70/100

Games-arena score: 9/10

N4g score: 3/5

 

I think that these reviews/scores speak for themselves.

OneShadowMaster
OneShadowMaster

1.1 Patch is out. The difficulty problem is solved.

sodiumpentathol
sodiumpentathol

This isn't right.. Games like the newer Need for Speeds get absurdly high ratings and this gets shafted with a 4?! This game is tough, yes.. but not impossible! In fact it's very rewarding because it's not a cakewalk. Haven't had so much fun with a game since the old Need for Speed 3.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

@Eric Neigher Uhhhhhh what PC game recognizes a PS3 controller ... afaik NONE.  I dont see why including that into this article even makes sense.  The only way to do that is to use 3rd party drivers to spoof a PS2/X360 controller which would still only classify it as not being recognized by the game as a 360 controller -_- This article just doesn't have the same quality standards as the bigger titles and it hurts to even read.

devilking312
devilking312

man the game is great you need skill to get par with the ai not like other race games where ramming to obstacles rarely reduces speed, u need to learn the bend and corners of each track so that you can breeze through is speed once you get to learn the track the races become easy, thts what real racers do they learn the track... I love this game and it should have gotten better review then this, this type of review also diminishes the moral of indie/new developers to do experiment..

mxgod
mxgod

Ok I am experiencing a problem with the game now, I am #1 on the rank list and nothing else in the game seems to be unlocking I am playing on hard mode. Can get 1st in the races/battles/knockouts no problem now. I thought once I got #1 something more would unlock but it doesn't I can see lots of locked cars still so it appears there is more content but nothing is happening. HELP!?

Ricco555
Ricco555

developers are working on a patch to make it a bit easier for those like our Eric the reviewer.

I love this game, and even if it feels a bit frustrating at the beginning (it kills your ego since you don't finish first after two driving attempt), once you get a hang of the controls, it's pure fun.

 

adrian_cortez94
adrian_cortez94

what? no, just no. the game is great! yes it is hard, but not insanely hard to the point of frustration, well i'm doing good as for now. the graphics are neat and the music is ok. this game has HIGH replay value.i'll give it a 9/10 

 

yukon_ss
yukon_ss

Review - 1/5 or maybe 5/5 but then we didn't play the same game (Eric I think that you will see 1/10 in your score for this review) 

 

Game -   4/5 after two days of play

 

Geulogon_baat: I don't know  and I don't care for your reasons to type so much posts but you are really boring for people like me. (I only want to read other opinions about games)

From some reason, every time (while scrolling) when I see your post I got picture of Sigmund Freud in my head. ;)

 

 

rodnikosh
rodnikosh

reviewer ? Are you crazy? this is a fantastic game! i payed 35$ for it and its worth twice as much! the action is great! missles and machineguns flying around , the action and audio is great and the inteligence of the other cars is great also.

i would give it 9 or 10!

mxgod
mxgod

This reviewer who gave the game a 4 seems to be a casual gamer. From my experience from playing the game it is not that hard to unlock the weapons. All you need to do is get a qualifying position in the first race 1st -3rd and then you get your first gun unlocked. I played on hard and was not very difficult to do. For those of you that have played the Beta please don't be turned off by it because the physics and handling were terrible in it but it was all fixed. However, if the physics are still not to your liking (but I think they are great) they give you easy access to the files in the game nothing is encrypted and it easy easy to see how to tweak the physics to your liking. I tried out Dirt Showdown recently before trying that and reccomend that to the reviewer  because that game was pretty casual and made to be easy to understand - too dumbed down to me but great for casual gamers. This game is seriously great and with easy access to the files it shouldn't be too hard to make tracks for it haven't checked into that part yet but just a thought for the future. Main problem I see with this game is the name "Gas Guzzlers Combat Carnage" WTF? who thought up that one? haha. Also Mr. Reviewer... the reason the tracks don't have tons of multiple pathways and shortcuts is to encourage the combat to exist so your not just racing by yourself. Also I guess you never got a qualifying position? because that is where the majority of the money comes from.

Anyway still playing the game but so far seems like it should be harder for my liking might need to tweak the ai  in the files but still a great game.  People like this reviewer are going to ruin games for people that actually enjoy a challenge and why games keep getting dumbed down for casual gamers. Go play Mario Cart if you want a more casual combat game.

rooskie7
rooskie7

After trying the game, I'd like to point out that I disagree with the reviewer in most of his objections to this game. I'm a fan of arcade style, but don't want to see a no-brainer that makes it too easy for me. Also this game brings up some memories, when you shouldn't have a half year training to start playing some game. Having said that, I'd also lie to point out that there's been more than one situation in the real life when I'd like I had a car from gas Guzzlers. :)

kittu1991
kittu1991

This review is very misleading. I read it and was put off from getting the game.Later on i saw the user review and i decided to risk it. This is a great game and doesnt deserve to be given a 4. Tracks could have been longer though

user1425
user1425

Gelugon baat, its really not imperative for you to formulate a reply for each comment attacking Gamespot (or this author whatever the case may be). It makes you look like the worst kind of fanboy, and above all, a bitter loser who can't give it a rest.

 

Oh, and stating your opinion is not the same thing as making a review. Keep that in mind.

unacomn
unacomn

 @Gelugon_baat I agree, a game with no marketing whatsoever getting more votes than ones made by reputable racing game makers means that everyone hated it because it is a bad game and only an insignificant number of die hard subjective fans voted for it.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

 @Raziel972 Sure, they speak for themselves - but so do the ones that are unfavorable towards this game.

 

Not everyone can like this game like you can, dude. If you consider that the reviews that are favorable towards this game are the only ones that are "not stupid", you are just refusing to acknowledge different opinions on games.

Kabals
Kabals

 @Raziel972 Gamespot's review of this game is more in line with the Metacritic rating than the over-inflated user rating, FYI.

bataziv79
bataziv79

 @mxgod if you are first then when you go to the event menu, you should be able to see championship/tournament icon (it's like a cup). In championship you race in all 3 events and if you place 1st (score is cumulative) then you unlock next class with faster cars. To enter the championship you have to pay entrance fee. And if you win you get free car so check your garage after the race. BTW, during the championship/tournament you cannot get to garage a fix your car so be careful how you drive!

rarson
rarson

 @Gelugon_baat

 

Wow... so you haven't played the game and don't plan to, and yet you took the time to post a lengthy rant about how bad the game design is? Clearly you're unqualified to make such assessment, and are simply parroting another person's opinion. The thing is, we've already read his opinion... it's right up there. So instead of repeating it, how about you try forming your own opinion? And if you can't be bothered to do that (which you basically already stated), then piss off. You're not adding anything to the discussion.

kenundrum7
kenundrum7

 @Gelugon_baat

 You said, "No, I haven't tried the game - and I don't plan to."

 

No, you play a different game with massive ironic overtones.

kenundrum7
kenundrum7

 @Gelugon_baat

You said "No, I haven't tried the game - and I don't plan to."

 

No you play a different game, with massive ironic overtones.

 

 

mxgod
mxgod

hmm good point perhaps the game titles themselves need  to also mention on the back of the case their difficulty so we know what their target audience is; Games for people like me who don't mind re-doing a level over and over for the challenge of finally beating it should have like a warning hardcore gamer sticker or something lol. And a different label for people who want to  feel more relaxed and be able to keep progressing. I can seee how it frustrates some to do the same track over and over Both ways of playing is acceptable of course because I can also see how it is fun to just go through a game more relaxed for example I played Heavy Rain and enjoyed it a lot even though there is no way of losing in it. Perhaps games should just come with more options for difficulty settings to set the games to our preferences.  @Gelugon_baat

mxgod
mxgod

Oh haha thanks man. Some reason I didn't go back to continue thought somethign would happen when I got first like on the main menu screen where you can select upgrades and stuff lol can't believe I missed that new cup icon ahah thanks again :D  @bataziv79

mxgod
mxgod

Oh that was a mistake. I guess it gets like a 7.5 I hate giving games an overall rating to be honest since there are so many different ways of breaking them down. It gets extra points for the game files not being encypted :D j/k still same score but I was thinking about it ;) because this game could be get sooo much better in the future if given proper attention and people start making mods and tracks ect. for it. But this is definetly one of the better titles that have come out lately anyway. Things have been getting so watered down and this is a small step in the right direction. It's also hard to rate a game for me out of 10?  I don't see how a game could be perfect 10 that would mean there is no possible way of improving it, but take any game and I'm sure there are things you would like such as level editors ways to add textures. and just plain MORE cause we always want more of what we like :D anyway wow I type too much and probably sound rediculous cause I have no idea what I'm typing anymore my fingers are just kinda hitting keys without much thought at this point :D @SpeedexGamer

mxgod
mxgod

 @Gelugon_baat  Perhaps he is good at reviewing other games. I think this game was not suited for his style of gaming and may have gave it a low score just because he didn't enjoy this style and the skill level of the game not because it's a bad game which is not the correct thing to do. That would be like me rating a Barbie game bad just because It's too easy and I'm not into barbie and not because the game is actually bad for people who like that type of game.  I'm curious to see what else he reviewed so I can see what games he considers good to get a better sense of his style but can't seem to click Gamespot reviewers names to see what else they wrote? ( I could be wrong just not seeing how) anyway, In my opinion it would be nice to see gamespot add a vote mechnism to the official reviews like they have for user reviews.

 

Anyway this game is fun not perfect, but still fun. Have you tried it?

 

Also on a more random note: I don't think "Punishing difficulty" should be a negative game icon since that is typically the icon I look for since I like a challenge.

 

On a more random note: so far I like the hood cam the best in all racing games. Makes the game feel faster for me like I'm more a part of it and a bit more intense; I feel less disconnected to the games in that cam. So far I haven't found a game with a good inside seat cam always something weird about it. Where some reason you always see too much interior of the car  and can barely see out the window; last time I checked when driving it's easy to see out the window O.O (This game doesn't even have a seat cam option but yea)

YuriDen
YuriDen

 @Gelugon_baat My mother has abandoned me too, I was adopted and raised by the family of meerkats. Bad luck, if I was raised by the bunch of monkeys I would probably be a famous movie character right now :D

kenundrum7
kenundrum7

 @Gelugon_baat

 You do not understand what I said, did you?

I do not care if you play this video game. I can see the silly game you do play.

mxgod
mxgod

In an ideal world it would be better than having pissed off gamers and falsly advertising games just for sales but it's understandable it's all about sales and money not actual quality that's why their are development scheduals they have to adhere to for producers after all not giving game makers enough time to make new games keep giving us the same stuff with different textures or re-used stuff from other games but its understandable like I said have to cut down somewhere to make deadlines and the producers just want to see something that creates a "wow" factor visual and don't really care for core gameplay they just need to get people's attention to sell the game :/ but can't complain I guess at least we have games to play better than nothing that's for sure. Just was a lot different when it didn't take a whole team and artist and everything else to produce a game.. sure the graphics sucked but game play seemed to have more thought put in. (well for some games anyway :D because it was also easier to mass produce suck games as well lol Anyway keep on gaming :D I'm just ranting for no reason at all. @Gelugon_baat

rarson
rarson

 @mxgod

 

I consider a 10 game to be "as close to perfect as gaming gets," and yet I still find that I can't really apply that to any particular game I've played. Granted, some have come REALLY close, but none have ever totally sealed the deal for me. The overall rating I basically equate to how much enjoyment I feel while playing the game, which is usually irrespective of tangibles like graphics or bugs (unless they affect the enjoyment of the game).

Combat Carnage More Info

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  • First Released
    • PC
    Combat Carnage is a fast-paced combat racing game for the PC.
    8.1
    Average User RatingOut of 174 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Gamepires
    Published by:
    Pandora Studios, Gamepires
    Genres:
    Driving/Racing, Arcade
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Sexual Themes, Violence