More Top Gore than Top Gear
Antique Code Show
Has there ever been a driving game quite as gleefully bloodthirsty, so nihilistically violent and as downright daft as Stainless Games' Carmageddon?
The blood red hued baldy leering out from the front of the box set the tone: this isn't a game about simulating the driving experience, or even winning races, so much as revelling in sheer bloody carnage. Definitely more Top Gore than Top Gear.
"Members of the public, you now have one minute to reach Minimum Safe Distance," came the game's opening commentary.
Few did, and early Carmageddon games could quickly degenerate into berserker slaying sessions. Sod the race, I'm going to cream pedestrians.
Podgy middle-aged men, biker types, executive suits, bikini-clad blondes, even little old grannies shuffling along on Zimmer frames - all were fair game for your splat-stained fenders. Cows too, in the out-of-town levels, one of which was notoriously named 'Beef Curtains', allegedly after the number of cattle straying onto the path of oncoming vehicles.
Doom... with cars
Points were awarded for "cunning stunts". Puerile? You betcha.
But it was the atavistic enjoyment of the violence that bothered our nation's guardians of right and wrong. Moral outrage forced Stainless to release the game with those flying red pixels painted a lurid green. Faced with a sales ban, the developer re-cast the fleeing folk as roaming zombies.
Gory, gory, hallelujah
Courting controversy for publicity purposes - though I've heard folk from the game's publisher, SCi, deny that that was the case - Stainless and SCi submitted Carmageddon to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in the hope of gaining a for-sale-to-adults-only 18 rating.
The move backfired: the BBFC refused to certify the game at all, citing the horrific red mess made of the realistic looking NPCs. Yes, even in the mid-1990s, Carmageddon's visuals were considered too close to the bone.
So out went the human blood, to be replaced by zombie fluid and black robot oil. A year later, the BBFC relented, and the ketchup was back. Gamers overseas generally faced no such institutional scruples. Even the usually censorious Australian authorities passed Carmageddon in all its red-hued glory with a MA15+ rating.
Next page: Fatality attraction
Making a new game
The Stainless crew have managed to get the rights back for the game and are making a new Carmageddon game :D
Also you can play the original carma + splat pack in 3dfx glory if you use one of the dosbox versions and various glide wrappers. Good times and even better ones ahead!!!
The BBFC were sadly too po-faced to realise that Carmageddon was basically an OTT game version of the 1975 "classic" Death Race 2000. I remember getting the Christmas-themed demo and later, the complete game, and being impressed at the work that went into the physics engine for allowing damage to the cars as well as the "drive anywhere you want" world design.
The soundtrack was also excellent - instrumental versions of a bunch of metal/industrial songs of the time including several tracks from Fear Factory's Demanufacture, IIRC. I have Carmageddon to thank for exposing me to FF, as it happens :)
Oddly enough, the more recent Carmageddon: TDR 2000 was in most senses a more refined or polished game but , to me at least, lacked to goofy charm of the original.
Times have changed...
This was a classic. I owned the complete uncensored game package (a "big" CD package which also contained all the expansions) and quite frankly; the carnage was plain out madness but the fun part was that the tracks / cities weren't all that bad either.
There was actually a lot to discover in most races; hidden pathways, huge bridges which put you /way/ above the city (the only question was always "how the heck do I get up there?") and sometimes you'd even travel over totally abstract sceneries (small islands only connected by a single road/bridge which were actually quite nicely setup). Or what to think about "How to get rid of the competition?", it was hilarious to see how some cars would still continue to run after they had been literally flattened :-)
Yes, it was carnage and total mayhem, but that's not all what made this game a classic IMO.
I always toyed with the idea to try and install Carmageddon sometime, even though the resolution is total bogus by today's standards. And then I got hold of Grand Theft Auto 4 which can really bring the "carmageddon experience" to a whole new level. As said; how times have changed...
Re: In my puritanical youth
Good man. We'll get you playing Doom yet and maybe, if you keep working at it, we'll even treat you to a foul and perverse Mass Effect sex scene!
Ah, good days
I remember downloading the patch which restored the zombie's blood from green to red.
I think that may well have been one of my very first downloads.
(well, at least from the ones I can admit to, anyway)