Truth be told, I love a good driving game. Oh no, not a driving simulation, but a driving game. There have been quite a few gems this generation of games that perfectly simulate the feeling of all those edge-of-your-seat chance scenes from your favorite cheesy ’80s action flick, but oddly enough, the car combat genre has seemed to disappear from existence. Gas Guzzlers Extreme has stepped up to pick up the ball where Twisted Metal left it behind years ago, merging racing, chasing down goons, and good-old fashioned American weapons based carnage. Does the game we’re left with purr like a fine tuned kitten or is this title simply another lemon?
Gas Guzzlers Extreme is your standard vehicular combat game. Cars drive around, cars occasionally blow each other up with a ballistic missile, yada yada yada. Where Gas Guzzlers Extreme differs is that instead of setting the game in different arenas for combat, players compete in standard races that allow its participants to pack some surprisingly potent firepower.
These races are fun on a basic level, with the thrill of landing your explosive kill being quite invigorating, but the gameplay becomes repetitive after the first few games. The game doesn’t do too much to give itself more character past “cars with guns.” The gameplay itself is nothing new enough to make it worth pressing on and there is a distinct lack of cars or drivers, a classic staple of some of the best games within the genre.
There is somewhat of an attempt at self-aware humor throughout the game, but it is admittedly quite boorish. The game starts by letting you pick a voice for your character, each of the four options acting as a send-up of classic icons of cheese and machismo. I personally went for the Duke Nukem soundalike, but this probably as clever and witty as the game gets. The faceless computer racers are given random names, but these are names with the level of gravitas as the fake names kids give substitutes in fifth grade. This is stuff like “Mary Juana,” “Luke Likesheet,” and… sigh… “Alotta Fagina.”
I mean, I guess you can only expect so much from this sort of thing when the first stage of the game takes place in “Buttzville” (yes, that IS with a ‘Z’) and your first sponsor in the campaign mode is a company called “Mighty Cock.” I don’t exactly think subtlety is what they were going for with this game.
While there is plenty to do in single-player, with arcade modes and a campaign mode (which is the same regular gameplay but tied together with specific goals and rewards), it’s quite clear that the game acts more as a vehicle—no pun intended—for multiplayer races. The loose gameplay is centered around chasing down your opponents and blasting them to smithereens, making for some traditional trash-talkin’ inspiring gameplay. That being said, if you’re looking for people to play, you will have to turn to your own group of friends as the public online community is practically non-existent here. When I hopped on the servers to play a round, only one room had any semblance of a crowd inside. Consider this a friendly little consumer warning for those interested in Gas Guzzlers Extreme as some multiplayer fodder.
In the end, you probably have played games like Gas Guzzlers Extreme before. Neither the racing nor the combat is particularly spectacular enough to warrant attention away from better, tighter, and faster aggressive racing games out there. The barebones humor and campaign mode might keep some players entertained for the first couple races while bearings are gained, but probably won’t keep most coming back for seconds or thirds. It’s a humble outing, but Gas Guzzlers Extreme doesn’t exactly meet the marks to grab and hold the attention of both driving fans and gun aficionados for too long.
[+The thrill of the kill][+Easy to jump into gameplay][+Serviceable driving controls][+Arcade style gameplay] [-Crass sense of humor][-Lacks character][-Generic design][-Short lasting appeal]