Carmageddon is visceral, violent, vehicular fun.

Carmageddon is a vehicular combat video game released for personal computers (MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS) on June 30, 1997. I bought the original Windows version that came on a multitude of disks. I also purchased my first gaming steering wheel because of this game. I have always loved this game. In many countries (including Germany and, for a short time, the United Kingdom), the first release of the game was censored.

Death Race (Carmageddon’s predecessor) is an arcade driving video game developed and released by Exidy in the United States, first shipping to arcade distributors in April 1976. The unit had two steering wheels and each player was to run down “gremlins” who are fleeing the vehicle. As the player hits them, they scream or squeal and are replaced on-screen by tombstones. This increases the challenge of the game as the screen clutters up and the player has to avoid the tombstones.

I loved this game in the arcade. It always got a good share of my quarters. I had to have Carmageddon when it was released as it was the more “graphically pleasing” version of Death Race.

Doyle Tatum (Doyle’s Space)

Carmageddon is the first of a series of graphically violent driving-oriented video games produced by Stainless Games (an independent British video game developer based in Newport, Isle of Wight), published by Interplay (an American video game developer and publisher based in Los Angeles,

founded in 1983 by developers Brian Fargo, Jay Patel, Troy Worrell, and Rebecca Heineman, as well as investor Chris Wells) and SCi (Sales Curve Interactive was a British video game publisher based in London, founded in 1988 by Jane Cavanagh).

The game was notable for its realistic and ground-breaking physics, and for its in-game movie-making features. It was also one of the earliest examples of a sandbox 3D driving game

(an open world is a game mechanic of using a virtual world that the player can explore and approach objectives freely, as opposed to a world with more linear and structured gameplay) and may have influenced other later games including the Driver and Grand Theft Auto series.

The debate over whether passively experiencing or actively participating in a violent act on your PC has any influence whatsoever on gamers will likely be renewed with the release of Carmageddon, a hyper-violent driving game. It combines driving and manslaughter in such a way that could be disturbing if it wasn’t so completely exaggerated and cartoon-y. But we’re talking about games, not psychology.

Steve Bauman of Computer Games magazine

The game uses the BRender engine (a development toolkit and a real-time 3D graphics engine for computer games, simulators, and graphic tools. It was developed and licensed by Argonaut Software.), which Stainless Software was already thoroughly familiar with.

The player races a vehicle against a number of other computer-controlled competitors in settings such as the city, mine, and industrial areas. The player has a certain amount of time to complete each race, but more time may be gained by collecting

bonuses, damaging the competitors’ cars or running over pedestrians. There are checkpoints only the way but they do not extend the time. Races are completed by either 1) completing the course as one would a normal racing game,

2) “wasting” (wrecking) all other race cars, or 3) killing all pedestrians on the level. The game includes thirty-six race tracks, played across eleven different locations. The structure of Carmageddon is like most arcade race games – run a race, get money and upgrade your car.

Each car has a completely different feel, with the small cars having tight turning radii and good handling, while the big, heavy cars turn slowly and tend to oversteer at the merest hint of a turn.

As good as the car models are, it’s the game world that really shines. The environment for each race is enormous and free-form. You can drive anywhere, with few limits.

Carmageddon Splat Pack was the only official expansion pack for Carmageddon, released in 1997. Standalone (but you need the original game to install) it added 19 cars and 8 locations and a patch to enable 3DFX Glide support

(a 3D graphics API developed by 3dfx Interactive for their Voodoo Graphics 3D accelerator cards). You could also buy both games together as the Carmageddon Max Pack. Carmageddon was included in several compilations when in the budget stage of its original run, accompanying games ranging from Hard Core 4×4 and Interstate ’76 to MDK and Earthworm Jim.

If you like Destruction Derby, you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen Carmageddon. Dynamic visible damage and the most amazing high-speed accidents make for a racing experience that is unlike anything ever seen on the PC. No game is perfect, and Carmageddon has a lot of flaws that can be considered fairly serious depending on the gamer. 

Steve Bauman of Computer Games magazine

Stainless Games ported it over to consoles. One ended up on the Nintendo 64 in 2000 and it was savaged by the critics. N64 Magazine handed over 8%. The second-lowest score in its history. The game’s many flaws include terrible AI and confusing track layouts.

The PlayStation version of Carmageddon was developed by Aqua Pacific, published by Sales Curve Interactive, distributed by Virgin Interactive, and released on October 1, 1999. It featured many exclusive cars and all-new levels. The game was not released in America. It did not fair in the reviews much better than the N64.

If you’re willing to sweep your morals under the rug for a while, and shamelessly commit auto homicide on a grand scale, then Carmageddon is an absolute blast!

Next Generation [Video game magazine that was published by Imagine Media-now Future US]

Carmageddon GBC on the rights screen) was a top-down 2D vehicle combat game, released for the Game Boy Color handheld platform in 2001. It was developed by Aqua Pacific and published by Sales Curve interactive in Europe and Titus Interactive in Europe. It is based on Carmageddon II.

Other versions were:

Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now (1998)
Carmageddon TDR 2000 (2000)
Carmageddon: Reincarnation (2015)
Carmageddon: Max Damage (2016)

Max Damage is the most famous racer in the Carmageddon series. He is one of two drivers that the player can choose from at the start of many of the games (the other being Die Anna), and he is the only driver to appear in every single game and port. I purchased the XBOX One version and it is great, even though I don’t have a steering wheel for that console.

Carmageddon was going to have MIDI songs according to the demo and leftover MIDI files, but Stainless may have taken them out because they were not too pleased with how they sounded.

The music tracks in this game are from Fear Factory and Lee Groves, both have instrumental versions. Carmageddon II has tracks by Iron Maiden and Sentience. Iron Maiden’s songs have lyrics. Carmageddon 3 has tracks by Utah Saints and Plague.

1) Sentience – Machina Directa – 0:00
2) Sentience – Finer Scale – 5:42
3) Sentience – Pressure Them – 10:11
4) Iron Maiden – Man on the Edge – 13:41
5) Iron Maiden – Be Quick or Be Dead – 17:55
6) Iron Maiden – Aces High – 21:19
7) Iron Maiden – The Trooper – 25:51

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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