Carmageddon 64 Review

For Nintendo 64

Rating: Crappy
   The kings of crap at Titus have struck again.  Titus, Interplay, and 
several other companies that want to spread the blame as thinly as 
possible have turned a great PC game into one of the worst Nintendo 64 
games ever created.  I can't begin to imagine the mental pain that the 
developers of this game must feel when they wake up in the morning and look
themselves in the mirror knowing that they dedicated over three years of 
their lives to Carmageddon 64.
   There are three modes of gameplay in Carmageddon 64, none of which are 
the slightest bit fun.  You can partake in your basic "kill all of the 
other cars" scenario, you can race to reach a bunch of checkpoints (which 
the instruction manual actually refers to as "Boring!"), and you can kill 
all of the zombies in a level.  The original Carmageddon was a delightfully 
gory game with humans and red blood, not the zombies and green blood of 
Carmageddon 64.  The zombies in this game run in slow motion and sometimes 
get stuck in walls, making them impossible to hit.
   The graphics resemble a first-generation Super Nintendo game, and a bad 
one at that.  Actually, no SNES game ever looked this blurry and all-around 
ugly.  Red cars look just like bombs from a distance, and there's no way to 
tell what it is that you're approaching until you're just about ready to 
collide with it.  The draw-in that takes place in the backgrounds is 
absolutely ridiculous.  You can easily find specific spots on the levels 
where it happens, causing background objects to appear and disappear at 
your will.  Believe it or not, one of these background objects is a 
billboard with a clown's face on it that says, "FUN."  Is that supposed to 
be funny?
   You've just got to love the creative character names and designs, such 
as Batmad (instead of Batman) with his neon pink, checkered car.  It also 
seems that the developers added a little mini-game to the character select 
screen, which sometimes requires you to press the A button up to four times 
before the game finally realizes that you're trying to select a character.
   The inconsistency of the entire game can be summarized by the damage 
model.  In theory, you have to worry about your health bar running out if 
you take too much damage.  In execution, you don't because you can 
replenish your health at any time with the money you earn from crashing 
into other cars and zombies.  Repairing your car costs a couple hundred 
dollars, and it's not uncommon to have $50,000 or even $100,000 in your 
pocket.  This begs the question: Why have a health meter at all if you can 
replenish it infinitely?
   The water is also very inconsitent.  Sometimes crashing into the water 
does nothing; you just press the L button to "recover" and go merrily on 
your way.  Sometimes crashing into the water will cause you to eventually 
drown to death if you're out of "recover credits," but not until you've 
spent several minutes trying to move around in the darkness, occasionally 
trying to go towards the light of what appears to be land in the distance.  
And of course, sometimes water will inexplicably make your car explode.
   There are three things that you would have to accomplish in order to 
have any fun with Carmageddon 64, and you should consider yourself very 
lucky if you're able to do two of these at once.
   1. See where you're going
   2. Control where you're going
   3. Know where you're going
   You can't see where you're going because the developers of this game 
decided to put a giant status bar on the worst possible spot on the screen.  
The only way to get past this is to switch to first-person mode, which is 
very disorienting in its own right.  Also, you're pretty much screwed if 
you're Player 2 in a two-player game.  If Player 1 changes his or her 
camera angle, yours will sometimes change against your will, but only after 
a delayed reaction.
   You can't control where you're going because any attempt to move left or 
right at a high speed will cause your car to skid out of control.  
Therefore, the only way to smash into another car is to face off with it 
head-on, then back up and smash into it again, and repeat this process 
until you eventually lunge for the power button.
   Finally, you can't know where you're going in the level because all of 
the textures and level designs are as generic as can be, making it hard to 
distinguish one area from another.  And if you happen to be on one of the 
darker levels, you can just forget about knowing where you're going right 
from the get-go.  Some of the levels are so dark that your car will be 
completely surrounded by blackness at times.  Somebody give those artists 
a raise!
   Imagine for a moment that you're in your house walking towards your dog 
to give it a dog biscuit.  In one hand you've got the dog biscuit and in 
the other hand you have a Twizzler that you're planning to eat.  Somehow as 
you're walking along, you're not paying attention to which object is in 
which hand, and you accidentally take a bite of the dog biscuit.  This 
experience would cause you more pleasure than Carmageddon 64 at its best.  
Both experiences will leave a bad taste in your mouth for days to come.
   Carmageddon 64's inhuman sucktitude is made all the more inexcusible by 
the fact that the PC version of Carmageddon is actually a very good game.  
You might want to laugh at Carmageddon 64 and mock it with your friends for 
a while, but it won't be long until one of them asks, "Can we play 
something else?"

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