Carmageddon is something that raised hairs on the back of parent’s necks back in the 1990s. Despite being a cult classic for its content, alongside Mortal Kombat and various other blood and gore covered titles, the ESRB came into existence in an effort to keep these games under control. Over time, the world has become used to seeing the blood and gore in their games alongside every other form of media. So Carmageddon wants to make a comeback into a time where it will be accepted with open arms as the blood-soaked racing, pedestrian crushing, cow tipping demolition game it has always loved being. Please give a warm welcome to Carmageddon: Reincarnation.
Now, I need to make it clear that this game is part of Steam’s Early Access catalog and is, in all actuality, in pre-alpha stage. Stainless Games, the developers behind Magic the Gathering: Duel of the Planeswalkers, is leading the progressive development of this nostalgic title’s reincarnation (see what I did there? I’m terrible, I know). Despite this game not even being in an actual alpha stage, I still find fun in this game. Much more fun than I expected to.
From starting up the game, it makes the player aware that this game is not only in pre-alpha stage, but still containing that goofy nostalgic comedy that the original had. Various parts of the game tell you to “Expect the Spanish Inquisition” and ask if you want to “Go back to a world where you don’t expect to find organs in your hair?” Instrumental metal music plays in the background as you navigate the menu and loading screens. Options are few and far between, but enough is available to customize the game to fit most people’s playing preferences.
There are only a handful of tracks available at the moment, all of which are just above 50% complete. Only one game mode is present as of this writing, Classic Carma. This free-for-all mode is very reminiscent of the original Carmageddon title, allowing you to choose how you wish to approach victory while attempting to beat the countdown timer. You can traditionally complete the allotted number of laps first, kill the required number of pedestrians (and sometimes animals), or opt to destroy all the other racers.
While the core parts of the game and UI are in place, there are still various parts of the game that are missing or not completed. Race tracks can be riddled with standard white grid terrain which holds the place for something better in the future. Blue markers show on certain tracks as placeholders for where extra parts of the track will be added. The mini-map can be misleading and confusing at times, but is still useful for finding the checkpoints. Despite all of this, the tracks’ paths are all quite complete and the feeling of the game is very much there.
The AI in this game is far from complete. More times than not, the most you will see your racing opponents is right at the start of the race. After that they scatter across the land like mice and you may never see some of them again. Crashing and destroying your vehicle is part of the AI’s thought process and they will try it very aggressively while others will just try and complete the race. This would be very fun if the AI knew how to drive. All too often they would crash and get stuck. I am sure this will be fixed in the future, but for now this is silly.
The game’s handling of certain core mechanics is well done for a pre-alpha. That being said, it is still a pre-alpha game and it has its issues. Destroying an enemy vehicle can sometimes be a ridiculously hard task. Ramming an enemy at full speed will sometimes barely make a dent, but tap them in the right spot during a race and they will explode. Certain maps are supposed to have that “slippery terrain” feel to them but it’s excessive and makes it incredibly difficult to control your vehicle. The camera is also faulty at times, trying ever so hard to keep up with the constant changes in viewing angles and direction but falling short at times.
I am a huge fan of Carmageddon, to the point where I have even made videos years ago defending it and stating how it needed to be brought back. Stainless Games has not disappointed me in the least. Even with this product not even close to being finished, I look forward to checking back from time-to-time to see what new features and content has been added. And to maybe relieve the stress of the day onto the jaywalking individuals who don’t know how to properly cross a street. Dropping the money on this product would not be a good idea for those who want a full game right now, but for those who are willing to “go the distance” with Stainless Games and want to support their work, this is a great title. I won’t be placing a review score on this product since it is so very far from being finished, but I will suggest it to people who don’t mind playing with a progressing product that is fresh and fun.