Title: Gas Guzzlers Extreme
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Released For: PC (Windows)
Reviewing: PC (Windows)
DRM Versions Available
Released On: Oct 8th, 2013
MSRP: $24.99 Steam Link
Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a fast and furious game with a hint of twisted metal, a sprinkle of Burnout: Paradise and Need for Speed all mixed together. But oh no! Professor Gamespires has accidentally added a special ingredient! Guns! With tons of trigger-happy AI just chomping at the bits to bite your metal arse a new one, dozens of tracks to choose from and dozens of customization options for your car, only you can save the day from…um…nothing!
That’s right! In Gas Guzzlers Extreme, you play as a random character who’ll go through a series of difficult, heart wrenching, ah who are we kidding?
The game’s actual story is that you start off with a horrible car and race until you have an amazing car. You start by choosing a character with series of voices ranging from nothing to annoying including the option of a Duke Nukem voice. From there, you race in a series of game modes reminiscent of the PS1 style Twisted Metal games in hopes to gain money and prizes. After each successful win, the player will be rewarded with a possible variety of things including money, unlocked cars, car parts, new tracks, weapons and more! From there, you can either buy a new car, upgrade your current car with parts or aesthetics like paint colors, or continue racing if you don’t have enough money for what you want. If you’re really strapped on cash, you can always sell an old car in your garage once you’re done with it for half price. We thought this was nice since you really have no use for older cars once you unlock a better one and purchase it.
As for the game modes, you have a fairly okay (if a bit lackluster) variety. You have racing, racing with weapons, elimination with weapons, deathmatch with weapons, and last man standing with weapons. Some of these you unlock as you go along in the campaign, while others are there from the start. During the campaign, you’re not forced (besides playing tournaments) to any one game mode, meaning you can play any one particular game mode you like as much as you want. All the game modes play well and can be challenging against the AI, but the personality really just doesn’t seem to be there as one would hope for a game carrying a $25 price tag.
The cars also don’t have a lot of personality and they’re all rather bland. The game takes a lot of influence from Burnout Paradise, but unfortunately it also took it’s generic cars and maps. The maps again well not inherently bad just don’t carry the memorability that something in the Twisted Metal games might. However they all play well when racing on the tracks. Some of the tracks with weather effects show off what the engine they’re using can pull off.
Luckily what the game lacks in true originality is made up for in it’s actual gameplay. While it did take some of the lesser aspects of Burnout: Paradise, it also took the fairly well done vehicle racing by tweaking the cars to make them feel slightly heavier and adding weapons. The racing, combat and overall gameplay while we do have minor complains like the wish for a difficulty meter, meant the gameplay was solid and the racing fun and challenging. With a fairly large variety of weapons, it really comes down to personal preference. While some weapons are clearly better than others, there are also certain cases where you need to pick your strategy carefully as to what weapons to use on which map as larger maps aren’t really the best choice to play with a shotgun-type weapon.
The main section of the game should take anywhere between 8-12 hours. It’s a little grindy in the beginning, but the ability to unlock cars and customization parts helps to remove that factor in later hours of the game.
You also have a variety of power ups you can find on the map ranging from speed boosts to double damage using your weapon of choice. Along with that, you can also find traps like mines or oil slicks. While somewhat helpful in the racing modes, it’s far more useful in deathmatch and last man standing where you have a far more open space to try and lure enemies into mines and what not.
But clearly, some of you didn’t come here to ask us about the heart-wrenching story, you just want to know if big things go boom, and if the booms are impressive. Unfortunately big things don’t normally go boom. However, car explosions and the overall effects are really well done. So while big things don’t go boom, the things that do boom, boom quite nicely. You can even run into certain hazards on the track and gain a certain percentage of boost.
If you ignore the campaign or indeed all the single player modes and you’re planning on playing the fun Twisted Metal style combat in multiplayer or with friends, forget about it! The multiplayer is more dead than a bad pun about door knobs. The multiplayer does have a whole series of dedicated servers, but it’s all for not without players on them. Unfortunate, because the game would benefit from having an online playerbase.
Visually, the game looks similarly to Burnout Paradise. It’s not visually incredible, but it’s not horrible either and the visuals get the job done. The variety of levels and customization help to break up the aesthetics.
The audio also isn’t bad. The music is metal cheese if that’s your thing, and the voice acting for the selection of voice characters is cheesy, but they get the job done. Some of their lines however repeat just a bit too often. The audio effects however are well done and help to make the crashes feel more realistic.
As for the controls, there is no automatic controller support. If you hook up a controller, prepare to do all the button mapping yourself. That being said, full remapable keys are welcome, and the settings while on the generic side were fine, though no FOV slider was present unless we missed it. The game ran quite well, never dipping below 60fps on our system even with Vsync off, with very little if any screen tearing or micro stuttering present. The only real issue we had was that at two separate points, the gun we had equipped wouldn’t stop firing, causing us to run out of ammo.
Overall, the game was (while unremarkable in terms of uniqueness) offered well-balanced and fairly competent combative racing. Twisted Metal-like games don’t come onto PC often, and the amount of more ‘arcade’ style racers on PC is slim at best, but this game certainly is one to add to the wishlist if you’re a fan of the vehicle driving of Burnout or wished to have vehicular combat like in Twisted Metal. It’s cheesy audio may turn off some and it’s visuals are nothing to write home about, but it was enjoyable to play it’s single player. Some notable things that would have improved the experience is if it offered more characterization of cars and if it had a story more in line with the 4th Twisted Metal game. It’s debatable if it’s worth the $25 and we’d suggest picking it up on sale if you plan to pick up the game. For what it is, we enjoyed our time with the game and would like to see a possible sequel or spin-off.
- Excellent overall driving and arcade combat
- Well-balanced combat
- Controls were well done
- Great selection of tracks, and car customization
- Fairly decent selection of game modes
- Music and voice acting are just okay
- A difficulty meter would be beneficial
- Visuals get the job done, just nothing to write home about
- It loses something without a multiplayer playerbase
- Steep MSRP may leave some waiting for a sale