App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Carmageddon is one of those games that pretty much exists on nostalgia at this point. Of course when it first came out it also had the in-your-face and over-the-top violence to entice plenty of under age digital drivers. These days it doesn’t carry quite the same weight as most Death Race-related media once did, but beneath all the eye rolling character exclamations and rather low-rez visuals lies a game that’s still plenty of fun to play. Aside from the painfully loose controls.
Assuming there are people out there who aren’t already familiar with Carmageddon, let me go back to that Death Race comparison. Not the recent movie but the 1975 original. In essence, drivers raced cross-country while attempting to kill each other and run down pedestrians for points. It was violence for the sake of violence, and so long as no one stops to think about the morality of it all it’s a pretty entertaining film. The same holds true for Carmageddon. Same idea, same celebration of death, same red smears on the pavement. About the only thing missing is David Carradine. Players race around a number of tracks where the goal isn’t so much to come in first but to out-last the competition and nab extra points by driving onto a crowded football field as an impromptu method of making hamburger meat. Doing just about anything destructive earns cash and a little extra time on the clock while earnings can be spent in-game for repairs or between races on upgrades.
So long as one isn’t too sensitive to gratuitous violence, there’s a lot of entertainment value to Carmageddon. It’s totally over-the-top, in a good way, and there’s a constant sense of progression thanks to all the upgrades and rather large list of unlockable vehicles. All of which are also upgradeable. Interface sticklers can also breathe a sigh of relief as the UI can be reconfigured and there’s a decent amount of control options.
Although, having a bunch of input options doesn’t make up for the ridiculously slippery driving. I mean seriously, it’s like all these races take place on one big oil slick. Which is itself on a massive sheet of ice. I was able to adjust to it a bit after some time, but it’s still pretty jarring. As are the horrifically obnoxious character voices - “WAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUGGGHHHH!!!!” every ten seconds is about as annoying as it sounds - but at least they can be shut off by tapping the portrait window.
Carmageddon is an older game, and it shows even on a mobile device, but people don’t always love old games purely because they’re old. Sometimes they love them because they’re fun. And despite the slippery controls, this bit of nostalgia is still very, very fun.