7
Our overall verdict "bronze"

Strap yourself in, hit the gas and prepare to impale as many pedestrians as humanly possible. Carmageddon Max Damage takes road rage to a whole next level. Imagine Chairman Mao on a bad day at the helm of a fleet of Mad Max hot rods. Cars and killings wrapped up in humours package, with a bajillion amount of insane power ups – welcome to the slaughter fest.

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Stainless Games have created a visually loud and brash in-your-face racer. There’s nothing subtle about Carmageddon Max Damage. It does death and destruction ever so well, but does it deliver a solid racing experience? Just about. As with all racers, handling plays a major factor, but if you’re careful which vehicle you select, and spend plenty of time with Carmageddon, then you’ll have a much better experience.

Violent behaviour in the form of mowing down moving human targets, bouncing beach babes off spike-infested bonnets, chasing obese dudes on mobility scooters while taking out others with a giant ball and chain strapped to your back end is all hilarious. Even better, these cruel and heartless actions are heavily rewarded. There are three game modes to sink your spikes into: Career mode, Freeplay and Multiplayer, with the lengthy Career being the bulk of the content. In a Classic Carma race it’s either wreck or wreak havoc to win. To win other races you’ll need to complete 3 laps, be the first to kill 10 pedestrians or hit 10 checkpoints. Races are played to a timer; more time can be extended by damaging other opponents and slaying unsuspecting pedestrians. It’s not plain sailing though, as other AI drivers you race against have an interesting death wish and like nothing better than smashing the hell out of you mid race. You’ll often find yourself pinned against a wall lanced by a sabre-toothed souped-up heap of junk that just won’t let go. When this happens you’ll often get the other racers smelling the scent of panic and joining in. As this is a regular occurrence, the good thing about Carmageddon is a simple full body repair is only a button click away (Keep your finger on a tad longer for a full body chamois). With this added road rage don’t expect a fair race. Being side-tracked by such ragers and the option to slay hundreds and hundreds of peds, bears, cows and coyotes means it’s not just a simple race ahead of you.

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Graphically Carmageddon Max Damage is not as detailed as you would have hoped for. Blood, gore and broken legs strewn on the roadside are all depicted well, but landscapes and backgrounds do look baron and a tad bleak. Best keep your eyes on the road. But where Carmageddon shines is its Power Ups. While some may well enhance your performance, others like Jelly Suspension may well hinder your race. Such random pickups keep the excitement going and add to the overall chaos that ensues. There’s no better way to take down hordes of peds in one go than with the electric shock trick. Exploding legs treatment is a hoot too. The list of these imaginative and crazy extras is endless.

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You’ll enjoy exploring the open world tracks Carmageddon has to offer and with the added extras of grade tokens hidden throughout it pays to explore if you want to improve your ride. Different racing environments bring some diverse landscapes. The city along with a football stadium has ample amount of human cannon fodder to slay, while industrial areas throw a more complex track layout. You can drive just about anywhere if you want; crazy ramps and jumps give you access to new areas and scaling the walls of a skyscraper make for some interesting off-road racing.

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As with any racer it’s all about the cars. It’s as though these four wheeled beasts have been hand crafted by the devil himself, and that may include the handling as well. The twenty five plus vehicles unlock as you progress, and each come with aggressive paintwork, and all can be upgraded. Handling-wise, it’s an arcade ride, but this is where Carmageddon misses the mark. Handling is loose at the best of times, but when speeding over grassy areas or sandy dunes you’ll be in a spin. Precision driving this ain’t, and this lack of control does take the shine off your promising ride but somehow does not overshadow the experience.

Conclusion

Carmageddon Max Damage has a size fourteen boot-stamp of carnage and mayhem planted right across it. It’s a berserk, bloodthirsty trip back to the 90’s style of gaming. One I would not play with my seven month old watching, just like I would not while suffocating a guy with a carrier bag in Manhunt. But for the folks who like a little bit of death and destruction, there is much to like and much you wish could have been executed better. Pure escapism awaits you.

Lizard Rating 7/10

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Blondlizard

Blondlizard is from London. His love of gaming continued onto the Sega Mega Drive, Gameboy, Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, PlayStation 1,2,3 and 4, PSP and PS Vita. Blondlizard loves his racing games and is yet to play a RPG, but tells us he is willing to change. His favourite inventions are the wireless controller and American size crisp packets.