Gas Guzzlers Extreme Review
Car combat games are pretty rare these days. The genre that Twisted Metal popularized hasn’t seen much action lately, aside from that franchise’s self-titled early 2012 reboot. So it’s good to see a game like Gas Guzzlers Extreme pick up the ball and run with it. I didn’t know what to expect when I booted up Gamepires’ latest title, but I’ve gotta say that the game won me over after a few hours. While the humor is a little forced and over-the-top at times, there’s a very solid racing title here with some light car combat sprinkled throughout.
The more I think about it, Gas Guzzlers Extreme feels more like a kart racer than anything else. The main gameplay is standard racing with mines, oil, boosters, shotguns, machine guns, rocket launchers and the like thrown in, which admittedly does spice things up. There are no open demolition derby-style battles here, which creates a bit of a problem during matches where the goal is to blow everyone up – you’ll often find yourself braking and waiting for an opponent to pass you so that you can shoot them.
The game takes a little while to get going, if only because you need to play the same levels repeatedly in lame cars like Reliant Robins and Beetles before gaining access to the cool stuff – like Lamborghini and Dodge Viper knock-offs and new environments. You literally have to play the game for hours, winning consistently, before you ever gain access to a car that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to drive around in real life. I guess you could say that it plays into the game’s humor, but the fact of the matter is that these initial cars are slow, clunky, and just not fun to drive, which doesn’t give the greatest first impression. After a few hours of grinding though, the game starts to become addictive and truly entertaining.
New cars are unlocked as you win matches and complete bonus objectives, but once they’re unlocked you still need to purchase them with the cash you earn. Luckily, you can sell your beater cars once something new and shiny opens up, although you’ll only make back a paltry fraction of what you purchased it for originally – not to mention all the upgrades you threw into it to make it halfway competent. The more wins you get, the more sponsors that will be attracted to you, which can net you extra money for wins and so forth. If you get on a losing streak, however, don’t be surprised if they leave you high and dry.
Your cars can also be customized in appearance through paint jobs and stickers, and you can also choose what your license plate says. Upgrades are able to be purchased, enhancing everything from your tires to your ammunition to your engine. Initially, the cars are not only slow, but nerfed in every other area as well, which creates some frustration. For instance, you might be shooting at a vehicle in front of you and get their health bar down to almost nothing, before running out of ammo and allowing them to grab a shield or health power-up.
The visuals and music in Gas Guzzlers Extreme were better than I expected. I’m a fan of hard rock and metal, and that’s basically all you’ll be hearing during menu screens and while driving. Unfortunately, while choosing your car or customizing it in the garage, there’s some old-timey southern music that plays – it was really off-putting to me and didn’t mesh with the rest of the game – once again feeling like a forced bit of humor. The graphics are quite decent, if nothing amazing, but the vehicles are all rendered well and most of the environments are visually inspired and varied.
While Gas Guzzlers Extreme gets off to a slow start, if you give it some time the game will grow on you. The soundtrack, visuals, and online multiplayer are all pretty great, and the racing / vehicular combat mash-up gameplay is addictive. If you have the patience to make it past the initial races, you might have a lot of fun with this.