Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a vehicular combat racing game in where you must focus on both driving and firing back at your opponents all too intent on jamming a missile in your tailpipe. We start off with a crummy three-wheeled car to get a feel for the game, and as you race, you will unlock new weapons, tracks, and vehicles to purchase. Even the crummiest of cars can have guns strapped to their sides, in turn, making a slow-moving race an exciting affair as you try to line your shots, manage your ammo or straight up ram into them since you can’t lose if there are no other racers around, now can you. This is no Mario Kart styled game, learning how to use each of the dozen unlockable guns is vital as each has a unique feel to them and require skill to actually hit an opponent with.
There is no story to be found here with your only goal being to win tournaments and progressively move on to a better tier of drivers to once again defeat. As the drivers you face get better, so do the rewards you can gain for defeating them. Each race will unlock a ton of content be it new tracks, upgrades for your ride or an entirely new car to buy. This constant stream of rewards makes the game really hard to put down and the currency system will not bog you down when it comes to experimenting with new cars or weapons. The game is not a grind in the slightest, and it encourages you to explore the truckload of content on offer here. We have 18 vehicles that we can customize down to the license plate, 40 race tracks to test them out on and an increasingly silly variety of guns to buy.
Gas Guzzlers realizes all too well how silly the entire thing is and ditches any sense of seriousness in exchange for a comical vibe. From your driver using a wheel as a hula hoop in the garage to the name of your opponents in the race, it does its best to keep you grinning with its carefree attitude. Customization, personality and a ton of content are all for not if the gameplay isn’t up to snuff. Luckily for us, it is precisely that, featuring tight controls and more depth than you’d imagine. This is no Carmageddon where its every man for itself right from the get-go. Driving remains the priority, and you can’t even fire your weapon until it is activated once you pass the Fire Zone in where all hell immediately breaks loose as everyone is unloading all they got at the same time. It is a viable strategy to stay at the back of the pack to avoid ensuing battlefield all together and conserve your ammo to pick off weakened foes.
Attacking a car from the back is not an entirely safe method either as many of the guns can also fire backward to stave off this exact problem. You are never safe no matter how smart you play it, which helps keep the tension up and also feels frankly badass to drift around the corner then destroying an enemy that was pelting you with bullets using your double mounted shotguns. One thing I absolutely loved about this title is that control is never taken away from you. If you take a rather nasty blow with an explosive, it will mess up your handling quite a bit as you try to regain control from the blast, but never to the point where you can not recover from it. Damage can and will eventually be your undoing if you amass too much, though I dig that you always have a fighting chance as long as you don’t lose control of your car in all that chaos. The same applies to the AI. If they are in first place, you are going to have to work to overtake his position either via your driving skills, causing him to crash or throwing everything you have at him to wreck his car.
Aside from the guns that you attach to your car, there will also be items such as repair kits or landmines scattered about. These mixes combat up quite a bit as you do not want to mess with someone that has just picked up a double damage buff. The defensive items such as a smoke bomb and an oil slick are the ones that can cause the most damage if used appropriately. One can recover from a landmine but being blinded by smoke and driving straight into a sharp turn will be much harder to make a comeback from. Another thing found throughout many of the tracks are wildlife that can grant you a bit of nitro if you manage to run them over. No idea why, but was quite surprised when I accidentally found out that I was doing something useful while chasing down a jackrabbit in a desert. Most of the animals are small critters that you will have to keep your eyes peeled out for, no cows here sadly.
As fun as it is to shoot everything in sight, there are other modes to play as well aside from the standard Battle Race. You have Knockout which kills whoever is in the last place in any given lap, Deathmatch where you are thrown into an arena and most make use of your gun skills, then you have a pure driving mode that contains nothing more than landmines as well as smoke bombs to use. A few of the other modes are Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing and Capture the Flag which are just as chaotically fun as you’d expect. There is a heck of a lot of modes to play and the only time you are not free to pick the ones you like are in tournaments as you will be playing each of them to prove your salt. Tournaments can only be accessed once you are the at the top of that driver groups ranks and must pay a hefty fee for a chance to move on to bigger & better leagues.
The ability to choose what you want to do and progress all the same really helps this game from getting stale. If all you want to do is hop right into an arena, then fight your way to the top, then go for it. On the other hand, if you merely want to be able to race without being constantly assaulted by a hail of bullets, then you are free to do so as well. Or simply mix & match from race to race, it is all up to you and while some modes offer more cash, it is not too significant. What may annoy you is the apparent rubber banding that occurs whenever you are in first place. It is not uncommon for the genre but after a heart fought battle to destroy the car that kept trying to overpass you and into first place, it is slightly frustrating for the guy that was far behind to suddenly catch up and take his place. Another slight fault of this title is where they placed the damage meter at. It is very hard to take a quick glance to see how much health you have left in the middle of an intense race.
When it comes to weapons, yes they are all unique to use but oddly enough the starting weapons become more useful than the later ones due to a combination of how simple they are to use and the insane amount of ammo you can eventually carry for them. It is still awesome to use an Unreal style Rail Gun that is strapped to the back of your car or to become efficient with lobbing cluster-bombs. They are however rendered absolute by the sheer number of rounds you can have on a simple chain-gun or shotgun, that can allow you to fire nonstop from the start of the race until its end. The final of my nitpicks is hardly one that effects it overall but it did make customizing your car unnecessarily tricky. This is due to the camera in the garage spinning nonstop and you have no control over it, making it so that if you want to see how your new license plate color looks, you’ll have to wait for it to slowly spin around and show the backside of your ride for a brief moment.
Graphically it holds up rather well for a 2013 release and while most of the tracks are sunny, some do feature snow or rain that effectively alters the grip on your wheels. My single favorite feature in this game has to be the ability to choose the voice of your driver be it Arnold Schwarzenegger or Duke Nukem himself. They are imitators and that fact adds to the humor but in the case of Duke, his imitator Clint from LazyGameReviews is spot on with how he sounded. How fun and well made Gas Guzzlers Extreme was came as one heck of a surprise for me, who has never even heard of it before and was just a title I randomly booted up to review. It quickly became the most fun title that I’ve played this year and has far more charm than you’d expect from a game with a name that generic. Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a title well worth taking a look at for fans of fast-paced action and intense racing.