Cooking with gas.
The vehicular combat slice of racing video games has slowed to a sputter in the last few years. Hardcore driving simulations and intense rally racing has understandably replaced the wave of Twisted Metal titles, a welcome change to most diehard car enthusiasts. DiRT Showdown gallantly tried to harken back to the fun-tastic, no-holds-barred arena-based gameplay from the past, while Blur attempted to combine arcade racers with weapon pick-ups in a bout of nostalgia. Neither title, though, hit the mark. The only successful vehicular combat titles that remain are Wipeout and Mario Kart, both of which lack grit of any kind.
So steps in Gaz Guzzlers Extreme, independently developed by the 10-man team Gamepires and published by Iceberg Interactive. Nothing about it is meant to be serious, although I'm sure that the only people who actually mount their cars with a shotgun are dead-serious (and crazy). Nonetheless, the entire premise revolves around turning junkyard wrecks into four-wheeled monsters, ramming opponents with nitro-boosted speed, firing bullets unremorsefully at the competition, and running over chickens and other barnyard animals (don't worry, they get right back up… so that you can hit them again).
Yes, developers Tomislav Pongrac and Andrej Levfenski, clearly have a, shall we say, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. I mean, the computer bots you'll be racing against have names like Al Kaholic, Mary Juana, Yuri Diculous, and Jacques Strap. Some of them might even have a sex doll in the passenger seat. If you need to choose a sponsor skin, which boosts the amount of money you receive for completing events, make sure it's Mighty Cock. You know, as a reference to the chickens that scuttle about the garage. (Why, what were you thinking about?)
The single-player campaign will be straightforward, split into six event types that include traditional racing and deathmatches with three tiers of car classes. Beginning with a car perhaps better suited for scrap metal, you must defeat competitors on the track and place high enough to earn money for upgrades, satisfying optional bonus objectives for additional bank. Moving from First Class to Second and Third Classes requires a better rig, perhaps even a supercar, which have better top speed, acceleration, grip, armor, and nitro capacity. Each car in single-player, as opposed to the more evenly balanced selection in multiplayer, can also differ starkly in weight distribution, affecting turn radius, acceleration, and durability.
What weapon you choose will have a profound impact as well, with some having more close-range firepower like shotguns and more long-range, high-ammo capacity like chainguns. You'll be able to switch between weapons on the fly, all while picking up power-ups strewn about the field for instant recovery, extra ammo, and temporary bonus damage. Some mounted guns can also fire backwards for added protection while in the lead, though at the hefty cost to overall bullet strength.
However, multiplayer is where Gamepires hopes most will participate given its seven modes for team-based multiplayer, featuring up to four teams of two. The mode best highlighted for multiplayer is Capture The Flag, requiring two teams to capture two flags to score a point and encouraging an energetic jostle between T-bone wrecks, well-placed rocket fire, and drifting mastery. On top of that, you'll be ranked by total experience points, kill-to-death ratios, and other stats ready for leaderboards. Gas Guzzlers Extreme even comes packaged with its own dedicated server launcher where you can select and de-select from among a bevy of options.
Gas Guzzlers Extreme releases on October 8 on PC for $24.99 and will be fully integrated with Steam. There's no mention of a stand-up console release, but given the game's support for a multitude of peripherals, I believe that it could translate nicely to both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.