"This is pure old-fashioned arcade racing combat that avoids the type of glamour we’ve come to expect in modern games and lets you dive straight into the action. "
Five minutes into the game and I was convinced I was in for a disappointment. Archaic visuals, wonky controls, dull menus…Gas Guzzlers Extreme doesn’t make the best first impression. But to my surprise, an hour later I was completely hooked. Gas Guzzler Extreme has a charming nostalgic allure that pays homage to exciting old school car combat mechanics without concentrating too much on flashiness and pizzazz. This is pure old-fashioned arcade racing combat that avoids the type of glamour we’ve come to expect in modern games and lets you dive straight into the action. Forget fancy cutscenes, forget slick menu designs and silly attempts at storytelling…just pick your car, pick a track and race type…and blow sh&t up!
Your very first race let’s you take a fully equipped race-car for a spin to give you a taste of what’s ahead; it serves as a qualifying lap so to speak. You’re then given a choice of two clunkers and you’re off to upgrading your ride and climbing the charts. I picked the Fiat Ficho since it was the same vehicle my grandfather owned back in the 60’s. The first few races are a bit slow and sluggish since you’re starting with no upgrades and weaponry, but it doesn’t take long before you’re armed to the teeth and the action becomes more frenetic. The single player campaign is divided into three tiers that feature six different game modes. Gas Guzzler’s motto is simple: Earn, Upgrade, and Dominate! Don’t expect any depth here (heck even the upgrade system is super linear) but rest assured that the 50+ tracks/arenas and plethora of vehicle upgrades will keep you busy for a long time.
"The gameplay is a mix of arcade combat with a subtle hint of simulation driving."
The races are comprised of the expected combat tournaments, but there are also traditional point-to-point events. While weapons are disabled here, you can still use power ups like speed boosts and oil-spills to get an advantage over your competitors. But it’s really the combat races where Gas Guzzlers Extreme really shines. The gameplay is a mix of arcade combat with a subtle hint of simulation driving. It’s not exactly Twisted Metal as the cars feel substantially heavier and more grounded, but it’s somewhat similar to Activision’s Blur title.
Graphically, Gas Guzzlers Extreme is nearly a generation behind. While some of the cars are crisp and somewhat ‘shiny’, the general presentation consists of low textures, simplistic lighting, and primitive menus. Music and sound effects don’t fare any better either. The game tries to carry a humorous tone by mixing up its soundtrack with rock, pop, and some very off folksy beats, but there isn’t a single memorable or catchy tune. The cars themselves sound very shallow and despite a remarkable arsenal of explosive weaponry…the entire audio lacks the necessary oomph!
But despite its aging visuals and lackluster audio, Gas Guzzlers Extreme manages to be a lot of fun. While the controls aren’t perfect, they grow on you quickly and the first half hour of drab gameplay is quickly forgotten. The game doesn’t really try to compete with the more prestigious AAA offerings out there, but is rather fully aware of its limitations and embraces them by offering a simplistic yet classic car combat extravaganza that deserves a look if you’re a fan of the genre.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: PC