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‘Carmageddon’ for iOS game review

The original Carmageddon was a vehicular combat game that was released in 1997 and later ported to other platforms. Because of the violence in the game, which was too much for a game at that time, it was either heavily censored or banned in several countries around the world.

The game has now been ported over to mobile, with the iOS version out now on the App Store and an Android version supposedly in the works. We decided to take a look and see how it fares fifteen years after it originally came out.

Title
Carmageddon
Developer
Stainless Games
Platform
iOS
Release Date
October 17, 2012
Content Rating
12+
Size
102MB
Price
$1.99 (On sale)

Gameplay

Like the original, Carmageddon for iOS is a vehicular combat game. To win in this game, you have to do one of three things. You can race around the track, going through every checkpoint and complete all the laps just like you would in a normal racing game. If that’s too boring for you, you can take down all of your opponents, crashing you car into theirs until their cars are totaled. Lastly, you can also choose to run over every single person or animal you see on the track. These choices aren’t mutually exclusive, and you can do them all simultaneously.

The last one is the least feasible because there is an insane number of people on the streets and it would take you ages to run over all of them. The best thing to do is to just run over those that are within reach instead of going out of your way for each of them. Running over people and animals has its advantages, as you get points and also extra time. You need the extra time to finish the race before the clock runs out.

You can also smash into your opponents if one wanders along your path, which they often do. Opponents actively try to take each other out and if they are near you they will come after you, which gives you the convenient opportunity to take them down instead. Run over enough people, smash enough cars and complete all the laps and you win the race.

The more races you win, the more credit you get, which lets you upgrade your vehicles. You also unlock more vehicles and tracks as you keep playing. You can also use the in-app purchase option to unlock all the vehicles and tracks for a dollar each.

The world in which you race is pretty wide, wider than even most modern racing games where you are limited to the track. You can just go off the road and wander around, running over people and animals. The wide open environments sometimes makes hunting for opponents to take down a bit difficult, though, as they tend to get lost in the world. This is why car combat games usually feature tightly packed levels that keep the action contained within easy reach.

As far as the vehicles are concerned, there is a good variety of them but they handle more or less the same. The handling is quite terrible and the cars seem to have no grip at all. The lack of precision makes everything from going after pedestrians to hunting down your opponents or simply just racing around the track seem like a chore. The camera is also a mild annoyance as it takes too long to quickly turn around and point in the direction where you should be looking.

The transition to touchscreen has been done quite well. You have large on-screen buttons to turn, accelerate and brake. There is a handbrake button to make a quick drift. You see the damage to your vehicle in the top right corner and you can tap on it to repair it. As before, you can see the chosen driver on the left and their reactions to everything that you do in the game but you can slide the panel to remove it from the screen.

The game features a recording feature where you can record the events on the screen. You can also get instant action replays whenever you want.

Graphics and Sound

Carmageddon for mobile is a port and not a remake, which means the graphics are the same, just that they run at a higher resolution, several times higher, if you count the new iPad. They do look blocky and severely outdated but the focus here is on gameplay, as anyone who plays classic games would know. The advantage of having outdated visuals is that the game runs super smooth, even at the absurd resolution on the iPad.

The game has some cutscene videos that play at the beginning and after you finish a level. These videos are terribly low resolution and look horrible on the new devices, particularly the new iPad.

The sound consists of a fast-paced background music playing on a loop, the sound of your engine and the screams of people and the mooing of cows as you run them over. Back in the day game designers weren’t so liberal with the sounds (probably because they tended to increase the game install footprint by a lot), so you had a single sound sample for everything. Which is why every screaming woman sounds the same and the cows, well, they sound the same anyway.

Verdict

I had heard great things about this game but honestly I wasn’t particularly impressed. Maybe because it’s not 1997 anymore but I just didn’t find the gameplay particularly interesting. Running over people and cows and smashing into cars, as surprising as it might sound, tends to get boring very quickly.

The violence, which was once considered over-the-top and controversial, just seems childish now. It doesn’t help that the visuals are severely outdated and the vehicles are a pain to keep pointing in the right direction.

Unless you were a big fan of this game when it came out all those years ago and want to relive it again on your mobile device, I wouldn’t recommend this game to you.

Rating: 3/5
Pros: Let’s you run over people and cows and smash into cars as much as you want, a nice choice of tracks and vehicles
Cons: Poor vehicle control, gameplay gets boring very quickly

Download (Apple AppStore)

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