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Gas Guzzlers Extreme

By MrJenssen30-10-2013
StuntmanLT (editor)
Bis18marck70 (editor)
Gas Guzzlers Extreme

The Defence

Iceberg Interactive
Action, Racing
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce 560
AMD Radeon HD 6850
4 GB
12 GB

The Case

Though developer Gamepires will have you believe that Gas Guzzlers Extreme is more than "just some kart racer" because it has 'realistic driving physics', it is in fact exactly that - a kart racer. But let's not scoff at kart racers. They can be fun, if done right. With so few of them making it to the PC these days, will Gas Guzzlers prove itself to be the Messiah we've been waiting for, or is it a fast cash grab from a careless developer?

The Trial

If you've played Mario Kart or Twisted Metal, then you already have a decent understanding of what to expect under the hood of Gas Guzzlers Extreme. In terms of gameplay mechanics and how "mature" the atmosphere is, Gas Guzzlers lands somewhere between the two aforementioned games. It's the same type of arcady competitive racing combined with vehicular combat that you see in all the juggernauts of the genre, but Gas Guzzlers is nowhere near as innocent as Mario Kart, and not as gory or over-the-top as Twisted Metal. It has tons of juvenile humor similar to Twisted Metal, however this is delivered subtly enough so that you won’t really notice it unless you’re looking for it.

It's like Mario Kart, but with rocket launchers!

It's like Mario Kart, but with rocket launchers!

In case you're still scratching your head, let me just sum the game up for you. Gas Guzzlers is a racing game where you compete with AI or human opponents in various game modes. These game modes range from classic races where it's all about finishing first or knockout-races where it's about not finishing last - to the more head-on combat modes like deathmatch, last man standing and CTF. Most of the time, you’ll be doing something between those two extremes, competing in races to finish first while using weapons and power-ups to hold off enemies. Playing through the campaign, you will, over time, earn money that you can use to upgrade your car with better parts and weapons and buy brand new cars as they unlock to increase your chances of success. You’ll start off with some rust buckets that you dispose of quickly as you climb the ladders to the top position. Once you do that, a tournament appears. Win this tournament, and you’ll unlock the next tier of races, tracks, weapons, cars and opponents.

There are plenty of tracks to race through set in all kinds of locations, like steep and slippery mountainside roads, dusty desert dirt tracks and so on. The tracks are linear, but most have cleverly placed shortcuts here and there that let you catch up to your opponents. On the flipside, these often require some skills to get through unscathed, and cocky newcomers will quickly learn that the longer route is often just as viable. Again, nothing new for a kart racer.

The driving is the biggest tell-tale clue to what category of the racing genre Gas Guzzlers belongs to. Cars handle in a very arcady manner, and don’t feel as loose and physics-based as FlatOut or GTA 4. The handling works well and each car feels unique, but those seeking a realistic experience should look elsewhere. Luckily, there is at least no power-sliding to be found here. Mother mercy, how I hate power-sliding...

The bonus objectives encourage different playstyles.

The bonus objectives encourage different playstyles.

The driving is only half of the game though. In addition to the vehicles’ mounted miniguns, shotguns and rocket launchers that you use to wreak havoc on whoever is right in front or behind you, you can also find various power-ups scattered around the tracks. They’re nothing out of the ordinary: land mines, oil slicks, nitro boosts, quick-repairs and so on, but they do spice things up enough to encourage different playstyles. Being a good driver isn’t everything, and mastering the multitasking required to reach the top is both fun and challenging throughout.

Another thing that helps spice things up, which admittedly is quite unique, is Gas Guzzlers’ inclusion of smaller side-goals that you can complete during races to earn more cash. These often encourage you to take out specific opponents, complete every lap in first place or using specific tools and weapons on a certain amount of opponents in a single lap. This is a welcome addition, and helps stave off boredom for those who feel that the racing aspect just isn’t enough on its own.

Gas Guzzlers has even more going for it too. If you win many races in a row, you’ll attract the attention of sponsors that offer you a cash bonus every time you win, as long as you race with their signature paint-job. Win enough races and they’ll gradually increase the bonus. However, if you lose too much, you might see the sponsor deal going out the door quicker than you’d think. You can even be contacted by rival sponsors that wish to take you on for an even better bonus. Sponsors also give you the chance to take part in special team events where they give you a fully equipped car to use for the duration of that race.

Buttwasser. My sponsor's name is Buttwasser...

Buttwasser. My sponsor's name is Buttwasser...

Multiplayer is largely the same as singleplayer. You have all the same cars, weapons, tracks and game modes available to you. It has a little bit of everything for everyone, from classic racing to straight-up deathmatch and everything in between. The amount of tracks and modes as well as the variety between these is to be commended, and the game offers you the chance to fill in open player-spots with bots if you don’t have enough friends - something the FlatOut games never had.

Having bots is a good thing, especially in the case of Gas Guzzlers. You see, the game is pretty much dead online. I managed to find a couple of games to join, where at one point we managed to get four other players racing. But that was about it. The rest were bots. Though it’s no fault of the actual game. The game lets you set up your own private or public server, so if your friends own the game then this shouldn’t be of concern to you.

The game is also not without its share of technical issues. It both looks and sounds great, with just enough visual effects required for a modern racing game. It especially looks good in motion, with vibrant colors and motion blur that works well without feeling overused. However, the game has occasional frame drops as a result, and the listed recommended hardware requirements are only minimum unless you enjoy playing games on very low graphics settings.

Multiplayer is chaotic fun, but you'll be lucky to find anyone playing.

Multiplayer is chaotic fun, but you'll be lucky to find anyone playing.

The game’s design also has some issues that need ironing out. The power-ups are scattered around reasonably in regular race tracks, but the placement of the power-ups and the rate at which they respawn in the competitive battle modes can lead to some unfortunate results. Last man standing can be particularly tedious to play, as the quick-repairs are so abundant and fast-respawning that the matches can drag on for a long time without anyone getting killed at all.

A minor personal quibble of mine, is that I feel the game lacks an ‘Iron Man’ mode, where it’s not possible to save-scum by restarting races when you realize that you’re about to lose. It’s not a big deal, but I felt it would further increase the impact of the sponsorship mechanic in the game, and make it a true game-changer rather than just a cool gimmick.

The Verdict

Although it stumbles here and there, and the online servers being more or less deserted at this point, Gas Guzzlers Extreme is still a fantastically fun game. It blends arcady racing and vehicular combat incredibly well, and has plenty of content whether you come at it for the competitive and team-based multiplayer, or the singleplayer campaign that is perfectly paced with enough carrots to keep you interested throughout the 20-ish hours it will take to complete. The price might be too high for an impulse purchase, but if you buy it with a few friends and understand that this is a kart racer in almost every sense of the word, then you’ll find that you spent your money well.

Case Review

  • Gorgeous: Especially in motion, the game looks fantastic.
  • Well-oiled Engine: It’s not realistic nor does it revolutionize the genre, but it does what it does well.
  • Kart Racer: You might hate it, you might love it. At least there’s no power-sliding...
  • Juvenile: If you consider penis jokes the worst offense to mankind, then you might want to reconsider this purchase.
  • Men of Iron Wanted: Show us you respect the hardcore gamers by implementing Iron Man mode!
  • Bring Out the Ironing Board: Some minor issues plague the game. Nothing that can’t be fixed, though.
  • Deader Than Dead: Though it’s not the game’s fault, there’s no denying that the public multiplayer is a wasteland.
Score: 4/5
Bring some friends to the party and enjoy the mayhem that is Gas Guzzlers Extreme.


Well this got off to a great start. Because of the stylistic choices made to the main menu, I initially missed the options...option and ended up spitting nails that I had to not only start the game, but then start a race, to actually access them. Something which was only compounded by the fact that changing graphics settings caused the game to crash. However, after simmering down a little, and reloading (to find that options were right there on the main menu all along) and that at least my settings had remained changed, I jumped back in to give it a spin. That was when my mood changed drastically.

Even not being a huge fan, Gas Guzzlers is one of those games that I not only played because it was there or I had nothing else to do but because it's a lot of fun. The introduction of guns and explosions, childish as it may sound, makes everything a lot more fun. It adds a new dynamic that games of this kind usually lack. Coupled with an impressive amount of vehicle customisation, and a great dose of tongue in cheek humour regarding the vehicles themselves (a Reliant Robin is the first car you unlock) makes this one of those guilty pleasure kind of games. It's very silly, but it's just the right kind of silly to be fun.

Unfortunately, the silliness is also something of a downfall, as it makes the game the kind of thing you'd pick up and play in short bursts. Fortunately, the races are generally fairly short, making it easy to do precisely that. All in all, a decent little game. Nothing to really write home about, but it's simple and interesting enough to bring you back every now and then long after purchase. Even if it is for only a few races at a time.

Score: 3.5/5
Comments (4)
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Posts: 3290

It's also the kind of game you're almost a little bit ashamed to admit you actually enjoy.


Posts: 1317

Hell yes, but it's definitely the type of game that you need to play with friends to fully enjoy.

Posts: 3290

It's just the right kind of silly isn't it

Posts: 1548

I played it for few hours and I can say its much better than you can initially expect.