Carmageddon

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Carmageddon
Carmageddon box.jpg
European cover art
Developer(s)Stainless Games
Publisher(s)
Producer(s)Mark Teal
Designer(s)Neil Barnden
Patrick Buckland
Programmer(s)Patrick Buckland
Artist(s)Neil Barnden
Composer(s)Lee Groves
EngineBRender
Platform(s)MS-DOS, Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android
ReleaseMS-DOS
  • SWE: June 13, 1997[1]
  • EU: June 20, 1997
  • US: June 30, 1997
Windows, Mac OS
1997
iOS
October 17, 2012
Android
May 10, 2013
Genre(s)Vehicular combat, Racing
Mode(s)Single player, multiplayer

Carmageddon is a vehicular combat video game released for personal computers in 1997. It was later ported to other platforms, and spawned a series of follow up titles. The game was produced by Stainless Games and published by Interplay Productions and Sales Curve Interactive.

In 2011, Stainless Games obtained the rights to Carmageddon from former company Square Enix Europe. In June 2012, it was announced that a new port of the game would be released for iOS and certain Android mobile devices.[2] The game was released as both a free demo and paid game in 2013. In December 2018, THQ Nordic acquired the rights to the Carmageddon series from Stainless Games.[3]

Gameplay[edit]

Die Anna drives through the Coastal Carnage level

In Carmageddon, the player races a vehicle against a number of other computer controlled competitors in various settings, including 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 by running over pedestrians. Unusually for a racing game, checkpoints do not extend the time limit.

Races are completed by either completing the course as one would a normal racing game, "wasting" (wrecking) all other race cars, or killing all pedestrians on the level. The game includes thirty six race tracks, played across eleven different locations. The game featured three songs (in instrumental format) from Fear Factory's album of 1995, Demanufacture.

The title track and "Body Hammer" are both included with the song "Zero Signal" being used in the game's intro.

Development[edit]

The game that became Carmageddon started out as "3D Destruction Derby", a banger racing sim prototyped by Stainless Software. This was signed by SCi in 1995, but under the condition that it be made into a licensed game in order to guarantee popularity. Initially, SCi wanted to use the Mad Max license, but they were unable to find out who owned the rights to the franchise. They instead secured the Death Race 2000 license, as a sequel to the original film was at that time planned.[4]

According to head programmer Patrick Buckland, the initial concept stemmed from the team getting bored while playing racing games, leading them to ultimately drive in the wrong direction and crash into other cars. They decided it made sense to create a game where this was the objective to begin with.[4] Shortly after, Psygnosis released a game with this same concept, Destruction Derby.

The notion of running over pedestrians was added in an effort to distinguish the game from Destruction Derby and arouse controversy.[5] However, there had been a number of recent games which involved running over pedestrians, such as Quarantine and Die Hard Trilogy.[5] Rob Henderson from SCi suggested that they could increase the potential for controversy by rewarding the player points for the pedestrian kills.[4]

The sequel to Death Race 2000 was later cancelled, but by this point SCi were impressed enough by Stainless's work on the game that they felt they could try creating their own IP.[4] The name Carmageddon was coined, and development proceeded with the designers allowed unusually free rein with regard to the content of the game.

The game uses the BRender engine, which Stainless Software were already thoroughly familiar with; one of their previous contracts was to port BRender to Macintosh and build the corresponding tools and demos.[5] The PlayStation conversion was subcontracted to developer Elite, with the plan to release the PC and PlayStation versions simultaneously.

Buckland anticipated that Elite would have problems with the conversion due to Carmageddon's open environments.[5]

Release[edit]

Carmageddon was originally released for MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS in 1997. It won the "Game of the Year" trophy in the 1997 PC Zone reader awards and "Driving Game of the Year" 1997.[6][better source needed] An expansion pack, Splat Pack, was released in 1997. It included new tracks, vehicles, environments, network levels and 3Dfx support.[7]

The Carmageddon Max Pack, released on February 17, 1998,[8] bundled the original game and its expansion pack into one package. As a bonus, it also included a strategy guide, mousepad, and a leather car key chain with Carmageddon's logo on it. The Max Pack was nominated for the 1998 Computer Action Game of the Year D.I.C.E. Award[9]

A port was in development for the Gizmondo, but was never released due to the system's demise. Carmageddon and its expansion Splat Pack were released on GOG.com on 27 September 2012 for modern operating systems, likely in conjunction with the 29–30 September closure of Interstate 405.[10] In addition, a port of the game for Apple's mobile devices (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad) was released on 17 October 2012.[11]

A port for Android based devices was released on 10 May 2013. As of August 2019, Carmageddon is no longer available to download on the iOS App Store in the United Kingdom.

Controversy[edit]

In many countries (including Germany and, for a short time, the United Kingdom), the first release of the game was censored.

They contained zombies with green blood or robots with black oil instead of people, as running over the non human figures was considered more acceptable by their respective ratings boards. In the United Kingdom, the BBFC refused to certify the game unless all blood and gore was removed. After ten months of appeal, the BBFC certified the original version.[12]

In some countries, the game was banned completely, including Brazil.[13][14] In Australia, the game was passed completely uncut with a MA15+ rating.[15]

Reception and sales[edit]

Carmageddon
Review scores
PublicationScore
iOSPC
AllGameN/A4.5/5 stars [18]
EdgeN/A6/10 [20]
GameFanN/AN/A
GameRevolutionN/AB+ [23]
GameSpotN/A8.8/10[26]
IGNN/AN/A
Next GenerationN/A4/5 stars[38]
Nintendo PowerN/AN/A
OPM (UK)N/AN/A
PC Gamer (US)N/A78% [31]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings72% [33]90% [35]
Metacritic74/100 [37]N/A

According to the co founders of Stainless Games, the Carmageddon series sold around two million copies in total.[4] NPD Techworld, a firm that tracked sales in the United States,[39] reported 118,500 units sold of Carmageddon's computer version by December 2002.[40]

GameSpot was enamoured of the open ended, chaotic nature of the game, commenting that "Carmageddon touches that particular collective nerve that fuses the wholesome popularity of the All American Racing Game, with the homicidal singularity of the 70s cult film into an onscreen experience, that can only be compared to the kind of automotive mayhem that a five year old American male wreaks, with his Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars."[26]

Next Generation stated that "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."[38]

GamePro gave a more mixed review, commenting that the game is intense and high on longevity, but that its focus on wanton destruction and gore is in questionable taste and ultimately to the detriment of the gameplay. They also found the graphics mediocre and the controls when using a keyboard to be "frustrating and sluggish."[41]

Legacy[edit]

The game was successful enough to become a series. The other games in the main series are:

SCi had originally planned Carmageddon 4 for a release in the end of 2005. Little to no information was released about the game, then SCi (at the time owned by Eidos) put development on hold for unspecified reasons.[42] SCi and Eidos went on to focus on other projects, while Square Enix Europe obtained the series Intellectual property rights.

Reboot[edit]

A reboot of the series, Carmageddon: Reincarnation was developed by Stainless Games, who re-acquired the rights to the Carmageddon name, releasing in May 2015.[43] The game is a downloadable or digitally distributed game for Microsoft Windows.[44] In July 2011, the City of Los Angeles launched a massive media campaign under the title "Carmageddon" to warn drivers about a major closure on the 405 Freeway during the weekend of July 15–17.[45]

Stainless Games capitalized on the coincidence to promote the new release by announcing on the official web site during that time that "L.A. Celebrates Carmageddon" and "Yes, it’s official! The news that Carmageddon is back has been such a hit in California, that the authorities have decided to dedicate a whole weekend to the game!"[46] Funding for the game has come partially from a Kickstarter campaign[2] and donations through their main website. Further funds were secured from Les Edgar (co founder of Bullfrog Productions).[47]

On September 26, 2013, it was announced that the PC version on Steam would be released in Q1 2014. On March 27, 2014 the first 'pre alpha' release was available as an Early Access version on Steam. The first beta version was released on February 14, 2015, and on March 18, 2015, it was announced the game would be released on April 23, 2015, via Carmageddon's YouTube channel. The release date was later delayed to May 21, 2015.[48]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Web Archive of SCI release news post". SCI. Archived from the original on August 11, 1997. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Carmageddon: Reincarnation Kickstarter Page". Stainless Games. June 1, 2012. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  3. ^ "Carpocalypse Now! THQ Nordic acquires the "Carmageddon"-IP from Stainless Games". THQ Nordic. December 3, 2018. Archived from the original on December 5, 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Making Of... Carmageddon". Edge. Archived from the original on May 9, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d "NG Alphas: Carmaggedon [sic]". Next Generation. No. 25. Imagine Media. January 1997. pp. 125–6.
  6. ^ "Carmageddon Max Pack on Steam". Steam. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  7. ^ "Carmageddon: Splat Pack". MobyGames. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  8. ^ "More Splat for the Buck". GameSpot. February 17, 1998. Archived from the original on June 3, 2000. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  9. ^ "D.I.C.E. Awards By Video Game Details". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. 1998. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 6, 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Bradley, David (January 1999). "Carmageddon 2 review - History of Carmageddon". PC Format. Future Publishing. p. 81.
  13. ^ "Criar ou distribuir jogos ofensivos pode virar crime no Brasil" (in Portuguese). UOL Jogos. December 1, 2009. Archived from the original on December 23, 2009.
  14. ^ Feldman, Curt (December 2, 1997). "Brazilian Brass Puts the Brakes on Carmageddon". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 4, 1999. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  15. ^ "Refused-Classification.com Games A-D". Archived from the original on June 26, 2007.
  16. ^ White, Jason. "Carmageddon (GBC) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  17. ^ Ottoson, Joe. "Carmageddon 64 - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  18. ^ Marriott, Scott Alan. "Carmageddon (PC) - Overview". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  19. ^ Marriott, Scott Alan. "Carmageddon [European] (PS) - Overview". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  20. ^ Edge staff (March 1998). "Carmageddon". Edge (46).
  21. ^ Olafson, Peter (October 1997). "Let the Blood Fly". Computer Gaming World (159): 212.
  22. ^ "Carmageddon 64". GameFan. July 27, 2000.
  23. ^ Dr. Moo (September 1997). "Carmageddon Review". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on August 19, 2000. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  24. ^ Provo, Frank (April 3, 2000). "Carmageddon Review (GBC)". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 23, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  25. ^ Lopez, Miguel (August 15, 2000). "Carmageddon 64 Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 23, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  26. ^ a b Hudak, Chris (August 8, 1997). "Carmageddon Review (PC)". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 15, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  27. ^ Nix, Marc (April 11, 2000). "Carmageddon (GBC)". IGN. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  28. ^ Casamassina, Matt (July 28, 2000). "Carmageddon 64". IGN. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  29. ^ "Carmageddon 64". Nintendo Power. 133. June 2000.
  30. ^ "Carmageddon". Official UK PlayStation Magazine (54). January 2000.
  31. ^ Durham, Joel (October 1997). "Carmageddon". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on March 1, 2000. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  32. ^ "Carmageddon for Game Boy Color". GameRankings. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  33. ^ "Carmageddon for iPhone/iPod". GameRankings. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  34. ^ "Carmageddon 64 for Nintendo 64". GameRankings. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  35. ^ "Carmageddon for PC". GameRankings. Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  36. ^ "Carmageddon for PlayStation". GameRankings. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  37. ^ "Carmageddon Critic Reviews for iPhone/iPad". Metacritic. Archived from the original on April 18, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  38. ^ a b "It Shreds". Next Generation. No. 33. Imagine Media. September 1997. p. 136.
  39. ^ Spooner, John G. (June 13, 2003). "Gateway notebook goes for ratings". ZDNet. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  40. ^ Staff (May 2003). "The 10 Most Controversial PC Games of All Time". PC Gamer US. 10 (5): 50, 51.
  41. ^ Dan Elektro (October 1997). "PC GamePro Review: Carmageddon". GamePro. No. 109. IDG. p. 110.
  42. ^ "Carmageddon 4 halted". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011.
  43. ^ "Carmageddon Comes Home". carmageddon.com. June 1, 2011. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  44. ^ CVG (June 1, 2011). "New Carmageddon game confirmed for digital release". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  45. ^ Memmott, Mark (June 30, 2011). "Fearing 'Carmageddon,' Los Angeles Police Ask Celebs To Tweet". NPR. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  46. ^ "Carmageddon: U.S. Celebrations!". carmageddon.com. July 15, 2011. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  47. ^ Carmageddon.com (March 20, 2013). "It's Budget Day". Archived from the original on March 22, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
  48. ^ Kubba, Sinan (March 19, 2015). "Carmageddon: Reincarnation Gets Full PC Release Date". IGN. Archived from the original on March 21, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2015.

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