We’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark out and we’re wearing sunglasses!
I have always been a big lover of arcade-style driving games, so it’s only natural that I would also adore the vehicular combat sub-genre. Favourites of mine over the years include titles such as So as you can probably imagine I was pretty damn excited when the first trailer for Gas Guzzlers Extreme arrived, a game that seemed to be right up my street. Released for Xbox One, PS4 and PC by Iceberg Interactive this game is clearly inspired by many of the titles I have already mentioned. So if you are yearning for some originality you definitely won’t find here, not that that is necessarily a bad thing, certainly not in this case anyway. Like many post apocalyptic themed titles, Gas Guzzlers Extreme also seems to be heavily inspired by the Mad Max films too, most notably the excellent 2015 reboot.
Straight off the bat, Gas Guzzlers Extreme gives you the option of playing a full blown career mode, a single race to learn the controls or an old-school arcade mode. So that’s all the right boxes ticked straight away when it comes to single player. There is also the option of playing with up to four people in the local multiplayer mode. An interesting feature of this is that you can either play against your friends or form teams and play together, not something you usually see in games of this type. But, and prepare yourself for this, Gas Guzzlers Extreme doesn’t have any kind of online multiplayer mode. Yep, you read that right unfortunately! It seems absolutely crazy that a game of this type doesn’t have an online feature, it just seems to be such a natural fit. But I am glad I got that monkey off my back early, because I would rather focus on all the good things that Gas Guzzlers Extreme offers because there are plenty of them.
Let’s investigate the career mode in Gas Guzzlers Extreme a bit more now than shall we? This is certainly where the majority of the action is to be had. This gets off to a great start, sending you straight into a race in high-powered Mad Max mobile allowing you to learn the controls and have some fun doing it. The result of this first race really doesn’t matter, because it turns out that was somebody else’s car you borrowed and now you have to get your own one sorted! You have a limited amount of money to purchase a rusty old pile of junk and then you are going to need to win races to earn money to upgrade it. Achieving the targets set in each race will also unlock more cars, new parts, custom designs and bring you sponsorship. There are a huge number of different cars on offer that will immediately be very familiar. While none of them use the real names it’s obvious what they are, even the names tend to be a play on the original ones. Another thing that you will notice about the cars is that they mostly seem to be iconic vehicles from the world of TV and film. You have cars based on K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, the General Lee from Dukes of Hazard, the three-wheeler van from Only Fools And Horses, the Renault from Pink Panther and even the DeLorean from Back To The Future among others.
When it comes to the races themselves they are split into three main categories; Knockout, Battle and Power Race – they are all pretty simply defined. Knockout races require you to dispose of all the other racers and be the last car standing, Power Races are your standard complete X amount of laps and try to win and finally, the most fun of all, are the Battle Races, where you get to race around the tracks but also use weapons. Each type of race in Gas Guzzlers Extreme needs to be completed within the career mode to progress. Within these main modes are also some sub-categories such as team battles, arena death matches, capture the flag and arena battles. One you get further into the game they also throw a load of zombies into the mix to make things even more interesting, and who doesn’t love zombies? With such a huge amount of different game modes it makes the absence of online multiplayer even more baffling.
So let’s talk about the actual combat in Gas Guzzlers Extreme next, as we all know that it makes or breaks a game like this. Firstly there are the weapons themselves, from machines guns to nuclear missiles there’s a great array on offer. New weapons can be bought via the garage and extra ammo can be picked up around each track. Your car is also equipped with a nitro booster and this can be upgraded and replenished in the same way. When it comes to using weapons you have a button to fire and another one to switch between them, can’t get much more simple than that. The hit boxes for opponents are pretty generous, which turns out to be a pretty good thing as the game is so fast and furious that it’s almost impossible to line up shots perfectly. It’s also possible to simply ram opponents off the road too, particularly useful when you run out of ammo, and this is where the armour upgrades also come in handy. Other power-ups available that aid your combat skills include shield, invisibility and limited double damage. I should also add that as well as power-ups, bags of cash can be collected but are usually found in harder to reach areas such as the secret short cuts each track includes.
Graphically Gas Guzzlers Extreme looks pretty damn great. The engine is fast and smooth and I haven’t noticed any glitches or screen tearing. There is also a vast array of different locations from the arid desserts to arctic wastelands giving a nice change of scenery. The audio has also been perfectly pitched with some noisy violent rock tracks booming out the speakers. Your driver also has huge array of different catchphrases applicable to every situation, most of which (like the cars) have been stolen from popular movies. And this is where the age rating comes in as, aside from the extreme level of violence that is, a lot of the language is very course. Gas Guzzlers Extreme is most definitely not a game for kids. The game controls well with the simple intuitive controls and there is plenty of game here to work through. Aside from the lack of online multiplayer, the only real fault I can find is that it does get a little samey, but it’s so much fun you probably won’t care. In its current state Gas Guzzlers Extreme is already a game you want to be seeking out, if the developers decide to add that online mode then we have a real killer product on our hands!
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, PC ; Publisher: Iceberg Interactive ; Developer: Gamepires ; Players: 1-4 ; Released: 04/11/2016 ; ESRB: T For Teen ; MSRP: $24.99 / £19.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review copy of Gas Guzzlers Extreme given to HeyPoorPlayer by Iceberg Interactive.