When I first laid eyes on the trailer for Gas Guzzlers Extreme I knew I wanted it. I’ve always been a huge fan of cars with guns and as a younger lad I would often be playing Interstate ’76 until I was kicked off the computer. There’s nothing more exciting than having to navigate your way around a track as fast as you can whilst trying to fire rockets at the car in front but there’s something about Gas Guzzlers Extreme which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
The basic concept of Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a familiar one if you’re a fan of games like Vigilante 8 and Interstate ’76. You’re required to complete a series of races between you and a handful of other racers who all have weapons welded to the roof of their cars. The game itself contains three main types of games;a Power Race which involves players to just race, no weapons are involved, a Knock Out race where players who come in last on each lap get knocked out – in this race weapons are involved, and finally a Battle Race, this is the best type of race because it focuses on the player shooting the absolute crap out of the opposing players while at the same time trying to win the race.
Ultimately in all three of the races the main goal is to place first, even in the Battle Race where you’re main goal is to battle it out with the other players with your rocket wielding car, if you don’t come first, you don’t get as many points. Throughout the game you’ll unlock Sponsors, these sponsors pay you extra cash based on your performance as well as providing you with the occasional Sponsor Event.
Sponsor Events are probably the best part of Gas Guzzlers Extreme, these events can vary from one of the three main races or you’ll occasionally be thrown into a Death Match or a Capture the Flag game. Death Matches are simple, pick up weapons and ammo and try and blast the crap out of the other cars, capture the flag offers the same experience except you’ve got to defend and collect an opponents flag.
Throughout the game you unlock tracks, parts, paintwork, and vehicles based on your progress but at times it doesn’t really feel like you’re progressing. Much like other racing games you begin at the bottom, you get given your first car which should really belong on a scrap heap somewhere. You’re given the choice between a three wheeled Reliant Robin or something a little more pokey that resembles an old-school VW Beetle. From here you can change the colour, add weapons, add a racing stripe, change your rims, and upgrade your car’s engine, providing you have cash that is.
Cash doesn’t really play much of a part in Gas Guzzlers Extreme. Repairing the most damaged car only costs a few dollars and after completing a handful of races you’ll have enough cash to fully upgrade your car with all of the available parts. Upgrading your car didn’t really add to anything either, once fully upgraded my car didn’t feel that different, it’s only when you purchase a new car you’ll experience extra speed and different handling.
Oh, and probably the best thing, or at least what I thought was the best thing at the time, you can choose your racer’s radio voice, one of which is Arnold Schwarzenegger. This novelty radio voice was the dogs gonads for around an hour of playing the game. Hearing him go “Yeargh” when you crash into a wall or “This is mine, it belongs to me” when you pick up some ammo, and even “GET DOWN!” when you’re getting shot at was brilliant, now I’ve been playing the game for seven hours, it’s not so much.
Another thing that quickly becomes tiring in Gas Guzzlers Extreme is the use of puns. This game is absolutely full of them. All of the racer names are puns and rather crude ones at that; Alotta Fagina, Mary Juana, Jack Kass, Lou Briccant, and Luke Warm are just a few examples. Along with that the games sponsors are also fairly masculine.
I spoke with Iceberg Interactive at Eurogamer this year about Gas Guzzlers Extreme and they also informed me about the game containing, what they called “man jokes” throughout. This also comes across in the sponsors too. Because the game wanted to stay authentic to other racing games the developers Gamepires wanted to include sponsors but licencing fees were something they decided to forego so instead they’ve opted for parodies of brands like Lucky Strike, Monster Energy Drink, and Budweiser by renaming them “Lucky Smoke”, “Monster Cock”, and “Buttwasser”.
I’m not saying that this is a terrible idea and it did bring a smile to my face, but at the same time it does make the game feel a bit gimmicky.
That aside Gas Guzzlers Extreme does hold itself up as a decent game. It’s a powerful one though, even on the lowest settings my not-so-great-but-okay PC took a bashing. Whacking the graphics up to full revealed a beautiful game, but sadly my PC wasn’t a huge fan so it was a very rare and brief treat. That’s not to say whacking it into Low ruins the experience, if anything the game is still great looking, but to really appreciate what the game has to offer in terms of graphics, I’d recommend at least putting it to high. The image above is a good example of what the game can look like.
Single player aside the game also offers the chance to play and battle people online in a fairly in-depth multiplayer mode. Here you can freely play games like Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch without the need to have a sponsor, also every car is unlocked too so you can either choose the Reliant Robin or the Lamborghini if you so wish. At present the games servers aren’t too overly populated, but the game makes up for that by including bot racers into partially full servers.
Overall Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a fantastic game for those who like car-combat titles like Vigilante 8 and Interstate ’76. If you look past the gimmicky names, radio voices, and sponsors what you have is a single player campaign that lasts for hours on end, and if you get bored of racing Allotta Fagina then you can jump online to the multiplayer mode. There’s really something for everyone.