Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now

a game by Interplay Entertainment Corp.
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 2 reviews
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The story behind Carmageddon 2 involves a...oh,come on,like you actually need a plot to support the sequel to the nastiest racing game in the history of man? Just get in your car and do whatever it takes to win the futuristic road rally.. .even if that means crushing opponents' cars or running over dozens of innocent bystanders in the process.

This time, those pedestrians are fully polygonal; they'll jump, dance, flee, even beg for mercy--and their limbs fly off when you strike them at high speeds.You can plow into them with 40 different cars, which now feature windshields that shatter and doors that fly open.Watch for 90 different power-ups, particle effects, huge levels (including an airport a ski resort and an amusement park) and native 3D card support The repetitive sounds and graphic pop-up, however, need work before this road warrior is ready to roll.

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Game Reviews

Overview

Drive. Kill. Win. That's just about all there is to Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now. This ultra-violent racing game places you in the driver's seat against opponents with only one thing on their minds -- win at any cost. All the pedestrian-splattering action of the original Carmageddon is here, with additional carnage-enhancing features that will leave you either screaming for mercy or screaming for more.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Blood and gore -- that's what it's all about. There's not a socially redeeming quality to be found. But if you want fast-paced racing action that doesn't care about rules of the road, Carpocalypse Now will give it to you. Everything that made the original Carmageddon such a wonderful (and demented) game is still present. The physics model is among the best found in arcade racing games -- only high-end racing simulators can match it. Enemy drivers react to your actions, hold grudges and even anticipate your moves, rather than just roaring along at top speed. Pedestrians run screaming when you approach. Bits of cars and scenery go careening away from collisions. All the carnage Carmageddon fans expect is here, and everything is stepped up a notch.

There are lots of cool racing environments in the game, ranging from ski slopes and amusement parks to an aircraft carrier called the USS Lewinsky. Each area has unique features. I particularly enjoyed racing around the airport runways, trying to take out a 747. Each environment is visited several times throughout the game, but each time the track layout or goals are different. This makes exploring much more important, as secrets and shortcuts you find in one race may be vital to completing a later challenge in the allotted time.

New to the sequel are goal-specific missions that range from destroying radar towers to killing specific pedestrians. The goal missions are grouped with the standard races -- to complete each group of tracks, you must win all three races and the goal-based scenario. The missions help to break up the races add some variety to the game, but many of them are challenging enough that players may become frustrated trying to complete them so they can move on.

There are also plenty of new powerups in the game. You can now get additional pedestrian and car crushing 'weaponry'? ranging from a huge spiked ball that trails behind you to spring-loaded launchers that fling opponents across the map. There are even new powerups that affect the way the pedestrians look or react. Some change them into stick figures; others will put them into slow motion. There's even one that turns them all suicidal so they run at your car instead of away from it.

Graphics

Carpocalypse Now is built around a redesigned 3D engine that is much better than before. The game takes advantage of some cool effects available in today's 3D accelerators, but falls short of the eye candy offered in other 3D games. The 3D models for the cars and damage effects and debris are well done, and the death and dismemberment of the polygon-based pedestrians has been lovingly detailed. (I already said it was a sick and twisted game, didn't I?)

Audio

The music, which includes tracks from Iron Maiden, is a heart-pounding rush of heavy metal that goes great with the on-screen mayhem. Add to that the screeching of torn metal, crunching of broken glass and squealing of tires and you've got a mix that's guaranteed to stand your hair on end.

System Requirements

Pentium 200 (P2-266 or faster recommended), 32 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, 3D accelerator recommended

Parental Warning

Carmageddon was touted as one of the most violent and disturbing games ever. Carpocalyse Now more than lives up to its predecessor -- this is a very sick and twisted game. The game is rated M (Mature) for violence, blood and gore. About the only place where this game is less offensive than the original is with language -- Carpocalypse Now doesn't have anywhere near the swearing.

Bottom Line

I like the original Carmageddon -- and we spent many evenings around our offices smashing into each other. Even with all the improvements in Carpocalyse Now, I just didn't enjoy the game quite as much as I expected. The new race modes were fun, but not engrossing enough to get me as hooked as I was on the original. The game does continue the gory Deathrace 2000-style carnage of its predecessor in grand fashion, but it just didn't score quite as high overall in my book. With more realism in the violence this title is definitely not for young gamers or the faint of heart, but if blood and gore doesn't bother you and all-out mayhem is your style then take a look.

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