GAS GUZZLERS EXTREME from Gamepires & Iceberg Interactive - available for the PC on DVD and installed through the ever-growing media that is Steam.
Is there anything that sets this road rage race game apart from any of the other road-war games that are currently, and it seems always, available from many and numerous companies? These games are ten-a-penny for the PC and games consoles so why
should you even look at Gas Guzzlers if you already have such a race game in your collection ?
These are two very good questions. I know that because it was me that asked them, and now it is down to me to answer them based on my playing the game.
So is there anything that sets this game apart ? Well I would answer this by saying that for me there is. However it doesn't come down to the brilliant graphics and highly detailed backgrounds or the composition and variations of the possible races. No, for me, what makes
me keep playing and playing continuously is the driving music ! It has such a powerful beat that it makes my adrenaline buzz before I have even started the race.
GAS GUZZLERS EXTREME cannot and should not be compared to such driving games as Formula 1 or, because of its violence, GTA.
The game controls are fairly simple, but then they need to be because of the speed of the action. If you had complicated key or mouse (or key+mouse) combinations then you wouldn't be able to keep up with the speedy competitors. The Arrow keys are used for acceleration
and steering whilst the S and X buttons fire your Forward and Reverse weapons - using the number pad to change weapon type once you have modified your car.
Because of the simplicity of the controls you can concentrate on the driving and steering and combat. Driving is easy, just press and hold the Up Arrow (accelerator) and the car propels forward - using D for Nitro (go figure) propels your car even faster for a short period. The Left and Right arrows should be used to keep the car on the track/road, swerving round corners and tight bends whilst either dodging or ramming the opposition; there are even tracks where running over the wildlife or smashing up objects, trees buildings, cactii etc. give you additional bonuses. Speaking of bonuses you can get these in a manner of ways, earning big money if you manage to complete the additional extra feats of each race.
As you would expect there is a garage that you can visit to upgrade and/or modify your car. The available upgrades include paint jobs, new engines, brakes, tyres, additional space for extra ammunition, weapons of all manner and of course, armour plating.
The races are basically Power Races, Battle Races or Knockout Races; each different in its own way. For example in the Power Races there are no weapons available which means the only risk to your car is how well (or badly) you drive it. There are also less rewards for completing the Power Races in podium positions.
In the Knockout races one car is dismissed from the race each lap after the first lap has been completed. The car in last position is eliminated and thus over a set number of laps only one car will remain to win. Monetary prizes and bonuses can be picked up by cars that do not actually win.
Battle Races are exactly what they sound like, several laps of manic murder and explosive (literally) action.
Completing certain achievements through Races unlocks useful items as does running your car into the coloured hoops that hover over the track/road in every race. These hoops are pick-ups that will replenish ammunition, mend broken car parts, give one-off specials, weapons and gold etc. Many of the most useful of these hoops are set next to trackside walls so it is possible to gather a repair and smack your car into the wall at the same time. One tactic of course is to race other cars to these hoops and gather as many bonuses as you can to prevent the other players getting them and using them on you - being first to the repair hoops whether you need repair or not is a quality way to ensure your opponents damaged cars remain as such.
Your opposition has been given amusing pun-style names. Jack Kass, Al Beback, Yuri Ridiculous, Som Dom Guy, Luke Warm, Bjorn Toulouse and Stu Pitt, plus of course you can make your own drivers name as silly as you like.
As I stated previously, there are many games of this ilk and this is another to add to that number; therefore I cannot say that you should rush out and buy it. However, as a games player I will say that I have played GAS GUZZLERS EXTREME for several hours so far - the box reckons there are 12 hours playing for the campaign game but I would say that there is a lot more than 12 hours entertainment game-wise and a whole lot more satisfaction. Winning my first race gave me one heck of a buzz, hitting the Nitro and flying past Yuri Ridiculous to take the chequered flag and the money was a great feeling.
Race car games are getting faster and more fluent so I would say if you haven't bought one for the past couple of years then the technology and game play of your last purchase will not be equal to the value and quality of GAS GUZZLERS EXTREME. Okay now that I have spent the time to write this review it is time for me to stock up with bullets, re-armour where necessary, pay for the repairs and pop myself back into my little blue Beetle, ready to do battle once more.