Carmageddon Preview


You're behind the wheel. People are screaming. Dogs are barking at you, then mysteriously dead? Someone mentioned something about a street rally today, but the thrill of your first dozen kills has made you dizzy with bloodlust. This is Carmageddon, pal. What's that? You've never played Carmageddon because you don't have a PC? Well don't worry chummer, because Carmageddon is coming to the N64, combining some elements of the PC's Carmageddon and Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now.

For the uninitiated, Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now is a rally racing game with a macabre twist. It's a rally because you're always driving through areas heavily populated with pedestrians. It's got a macabre twist because as driver you can participate in the race, try to prevent your opponents from participating in the race by killing them, or just plain drive off the course and go hunting for hapless pedestrians and animals.

Any destruction you cause is rewarded with credits, which you can use to repair your vehicle or buy weapons and power-ups to cause, you guessed it, more death and destruction. One piece of offensive gear is called the Pedestrian Repulsicator, a giant spring that tosses victims far into the sunset upon contact. And what polygonal carnage-based racing game with multiple camera angles and Gouraud shading would be complete without the weapon Stainless self-termed "a massive spiked ball on a steel tail"?

Carmageddon 2 will be 3D, as opposed to its 2D PC ancestor. Everything in the game has a mass and weight, which the game's new physics will take into account, determining how your car crashes into walls, other cars, and people. In fact, everything in the game is an obstacle. While the builds of the console versions are still too early to tell much from, we did get a crack at the PC version and managed to get the car stuck in between a wall and a streetlight. Then it blew up next to someone, and we got credit for the kill, just like real life. Pedestrians will run on an AI that allows them to run away from your car or beg for mercy. In either account they'll probably end up dead. There will be several dozen tracks, ten mission levels, and over 30 cars to choose from. In addition, the N64 version will support rumble and jolt packs.

Most racing games have loud car noises or an ultra-chic soundtrack to get you psyched up. But in Carmageddon 2, the revving, screeching, and crunching is enhanced with screams, splats, and curious thuds. There will be a host of people and animals to run over including business folk, the cast of West Side Story, dogs, elephants, groovers, and for those who want to transfer their air rage to road rage, flight attendants and plane captains. And everything is rendered in polygons so that bodies can be fully or partially dismembered, much to the delight of concerned citizens' groups everywhere.

If you haven't noticed, this game is not for the weak of heart or younger audiences. Here in the liberated US, the last version of Carmageddon didn't have to be dummied down with robots in place of people or green blood in place of red (like in the UK and Germany). The current PC version of Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now has real blood in it. And there's nothing to indicate the console versions will be any different. So, this may not be the game for your errant preschooler. In any account, publisher Interplay and its many developer/publisher associates stand to satisfy a lot of carnage-hungry console drivers in '99.

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