Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now Review

Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now Featured

Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now Boxart

Developer: Stainless Software
Publisher: Sales Curve Interactive
Platform: PC – GOG*

Oh, Carmageddon… Alongside other hyper violent games such as Mortal Kombat, video games were becoming an incredibly divisive past time. Some parents got up in arms about the violence their children were exposed to and this of course led to the ESRB. By the time Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now came out, it received a definitive M for Mature. Instead of fearing government or parents, Stainless Software thumbed their noses at opposition and created one of the bloodiest games of the year.

Looking over reviews of the game in 1998 it seems that gamble was for the best. Reviewers seem to have nothing but praise for the lavish depictions of blood and gore. And it certainly contains copious amounts of it. But does that make Carmageddon 2 worth playing? The rest of the experience is, unfortunately, not nearly as memorable.

There are a great deal of races to participate in, but they must all be unlocked. This is done by completing at least one race in a specific group, then doing the correlated “mission” afterward. After a mission is completed the player can move onto the next grouping of races. Three difficulty settings exist although even the easiest becomes harder later on. For players who don’t want to slick the streets with human blood, there are also options to tone gore down or completely off.

Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now Screenshot

Races in Carmageddon 2 follow the same clear conditions of the original. You can either race the normal way (do a certain number of laps in time), demolish all competing racers’ cars, or kill every pedestrian on the stage. The last option might sound fun to some but is actually incredibly difficult considering they often number in the hundreds. Also, stages are fairly open-ended meaning there’s a lot to explore beyond the exact track path. To be fair, open worlds were very unusual to see in any racers of the time and only now do we really see it coming back into favor.

Controls are where any racing game must show competence and it just doesn’t feel that way here. Cars are kind of tough to control and this is only increased by the fact that players can’t easily tweak their key bindings. Well, they can, but you’ll find that it doesn’t allow you to re-bind keys to WASD. The best solution to this problem is available in the GOG forums but is definitely an extra, annoying step. At least there are a variety of wacky looking cars to drive. You just have to demolish them in a race first to unlock one.

At this point, it seems that Carmageddon 2 best serves as a memory of when game developers pushed the edge with violence. Back then, it was a scary proposition. Today, we see so much gore in games that it has totally lost that edge over most players. But just viewed as a racing game, Carmageddon 2 offers cool concepts but unrefined execution.

Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas

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