Total Carnage

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Total Carnage
Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Midway Games
Publisher(s)Midway Games
Designer(s)Mark Turmell
Eugene Jarvis
Programmer(s)Mark Turmell
Shawn Liptak[1]
Artist(s)John Tobias[1]
Composer(s)Jon Hey
Byte Size Sound (SNES)
Platform(s)Arcade, Amiga, MS-DOS, CD32, Jaguar, SNES, Game Boy
Genre(s)Multi-directional shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, two-player co-op
Arcade systemMidway Y Unit hardware
CPUTMS34010 @ 6.25 MHz
SoundM6809 @ 2 MHz
YM2151 FM @ 3.58 MHz
DisplayRaster resolution 410 x 256 (Vertical)

Total Carnage is multi-directional arcade shooter released by Midway in 1992.[2] It shares many gameplay elements with Midway's previous title Smash TV, including two-player simultaneous play, and adds scrolling, large enemy vehicles, the ability to collect and place bombs,[3] and a much wider range of gameplay scenarios. Ports were released for the Super NES in 1993 and Amiga CD32, Amiga, and MS-DOS in 1994.


An evil Middle Eastern dictator named General Akhboob has been building an army of mutants and a stockpile of chemical weapons at his country's "Baby Milk Factory." It is up to Captain Carnage (Player 1) and Major Mayhem (Player 2), to invade Akhboob's base, rescue all the reporters and other hostages, and capture Akhboob.

A boss battle

Like Smash TV, Total Carnage is a top-down shooter where the left joystick moves the player and the right joystick shoots. The player can enter a password at the start of the game to warp the player to anywhere in the game. The weapons have been modified, at death, the user gets a rapid-fire gun instead of the normal gun, the rocket launcher now also shoots ball-bullets and is slower, the game also features two types of flamethrowers: one that shoots regular fire, one that shoots blue fire at larger ranges. The grenade lobber is faster than its Smash TV counterpart, and it shoots blue grenades instead of yellow and grey ones.


Jon Hey followed up his sound creation for Smash TV with the sound and music for Total Carnage. Ed Boon, who created Mortal Kombat for Midway along with John Tobias, was the voice of General Akhboob. The game was developed with most of the people behind Smash TV.

Originally the game was programmed to display one of two endings upon completion of the Pleasure Dome bonus level. One ending would feature the women and playable characters from Smash TV and was to be displayed if the player collected all the treasures in the dome. A second "bad" ending showed the same screen without the women along with a message challenging the player to collect all the dome's treasure. However, a bug in the game caused the "good" ending to be displayed with the "bad" ending text no matter how many treasures were collected. The bug was uncovered during the testing for 2012's Midway Arcade Origins compilation. In response, programmer Mark Turmell stated that he remembers writing working code for both endings, but was not sure why the code was changed. He suggested that he might have kept the bug as a joke on players. The bug went unfixed in Origins.[1]


According to programmer Shawn Liptak, Total Carnage failed to reach the target of 2,000 arcade cabinets ordered.[4]

In a coin-op feature, Sinclair User rated the arcade game a 96 and called it a "classic cartoon style cathartic experience", dubbing it the "best game of 1992".[5]


The game's slow sales resulted in lead developer Mark Turmell taking on a different project for his next game, which would become the highly successful NBA Jam.[4]

The game was re-released in 2004, as part of Midway Arcade Treasures 2 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube game consoles. It was re-released in 2006 as part of Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition for the PC and in 2012 as part of Midway Arcade Origins for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[6]

In 2005, an Atari Jaguar version was released by Songbird Productions, nearly ten years after work on the game originally began.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Leone, Matt (January 9, 2013). "The story behind Total Carnage's confusing ending". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  2. ^ "Total Carnage". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 5 Oct 2013.
  3. ^ "Total Carnage". Hardcore Gaming 101.
  4. ^ a b Leone, Matt. "The Rise, Fall, and Return of NBA Jam". 1UP. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Total Carnage". Sinclair User: 38–39. July 1992.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "TOTAL SURPRISE FOR JAGUAR FANS". Songbird Productions. September 22, 2005. Retrieved 2018-09-29.

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