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Game Info:

Gas Guzzlers Extreme
Developed: Gamepires
Published By: Funbox Media
Released: October 28, 2021
Available on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Car Combat; Racing
ESRB Rating: M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Violence (Switch/PS5); T for Teen: Blood, Mild Language, Violence (PC/XBONE/PS4)
Number of Players: Single player
Price: $49.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Funbox Media for providing us with a review code!

At one point, the car combat genre was pretty popular whether you had the gun and weapon-based Vigilante 8 or the collision-based Burnout series. It’s seen better days as the genre is now lucky to see an entry in any given year. Gas Guzzlers Extreme (GGE), first released in 2013, and has seen sporadic rereleases in 2016, 2019, and now 2021 for the Switch and PlayStation 5 respectively.

There’s just something about car combat that I adore. Probably because it is so easy to understand. You take a car, and either slap some weapons on top of it or let the vehicles collect various items scattered throughout the track or arena. GGE does both, taking inspiration from nearly every entry in the genre. In a visually realistic setting, you’ll take your vehicle across many landmarks, participating in numerous events. There are plenty of game modes that can satisfy a wide audience. You got your power race, which is racing with the various power-ups collected on the field, battle race which is the former with the addition of mounted weapons, deathmatch taking place in enclosed arenas, and capture the flag. Many other of GGE’s game modes are variations of the aforementioned. Probably the most redundant game mode of them all is classic race, which is simply racing with no power-ups or weapons.

The mounted weapons available are weapons such as machine guns, shotguns, rocket launchers, and rail guns. All of them fire straight ahead, with a few weapons having the ability to shoot directly behind your vehicle as well. The more powerful weapons tend to take more skill to use as the easier weapons have slight tracking abilities to them. They’re all plenty of fun to use, most having a unique feel. My personal favorite is the cluster bombs as they’re very devastating at close ranges. Power-ups are all predetermined as the same power-up will always be at the same spot. They include mines, smokescreens, flash grenades, and oil spills. Usually, in many car combat games, these traps will act as a minor annoyance, but in GGE they are very potent. Mines will knock your vehicle high in the sky if hit at high speeds, whereas flash grenades will completely blind your field of vision. I like this change of pace as the ones ahead don’t have the most reliable methods of dealing with the combatants behind them firing salvos of rockets and a rain of bullets past them. Also included in pickups are ammo boxes and nitro to refuel your weapon count and nitro.

Gas Guzzlers Extreme
Highlights:

Strong Points: Easy to play; Plenty of game modes and stuff to unlock
Weak Points: No multiplayer on the Switch version; rubberbanding is pretty ridiculous, even on the easiest setting
Moral Warnings: Vehicular violence and explosions; some mild language such as “d*mn”; crude humor consisting of punny names; zombie game mode contains blood and gore, with blood splatters and gibs in copious amounts

A bit of a learning curve exists when getting used to the controls of GGE. The face buttons are used for things such as firing weapons, using the trap item collected, or nitro. The triggers are to brake and accelerate. It mostly controls like any racer although the physics are a bit different. The cars turn nicely and using brakes appropriately lets you make sharp turns without losing too much speed. Nearly every track utilizes the control scheme and mechanics well as each trach has plenty of alternate pathways to take, as well as sharp turns to make sure you're braking correctly. The physics don’t put a huge focus on collision but ramming into vehicles from behind can cause them to spin out of control. In most cases, the vehicle will do its best to flip itself upright. After a while, the mechanics start to feel natural. Although GGEX tends to suffer from rubberbanding. The rubberbanding AI can get silly even on the easiest difficulty (beginner). You could be speeding through the track, you make one turn that’s slightly slower than your usual and suddenly there are two cars directly behind you.

For a game that originally came out in 2013, it actually looks pretty good. Of course, since this is the Switch version, the graphical fidelity had to be toned down a bit to keep a consistent framerate and pop-in is noticeable. It still looks rather pleasing with the smoke and fire effects, and the detailed backgrounds. There are nice lighting effects for the cars and vehicle damage is always awesome with dented frames and smashed windows whenever cars take damage. I played the entire campaign and game modes in handheld mode and it kept a very consistent framerate. The only time I ever experienced slowdown was in certain maps in the deathmatch modes when lots of explosions happened at once. Many of the areas are based on real-life locations with deserts and snowy mountains. This does not mean that the original developers Gamepires wouldn’t have fun with some of their landmark choices such as areas taking place in ports, junkyards, and on a spooky manor appropriately named Castlevania.

There isn’t much of a story in regards to Gas Guzzlers Extreme. There are tournaments and the main goal is to obtain all three. You start at the bottom of the rankings and to qualify for each cup you’ll have to win races and events. Winning unlocks cars to buy, upgrades, maps, and a lot of cosmetics. The customization isn’t the most in-depth, but there are plenty of them available to get that style you want. It’s a nice sense of progression because outside of the tournaments, you can choose what game modes to participate in as if you happen to not like one of them, you can play the ones you do like over and over to rank up. Winning consistently also gets you sponsors, which increases the amount of money obtained. However, placing in the top three is required to keep your sponsors where placing fourth and below immediately ends the sponsorship. Every once in a while, a sponsored event happens where a preset vehicle is used in a random game mode. It’s all or nothing for the sponsored event (you get first place or you get no money).

Although GGE never made me laugh out loud, the game is littered with humor, a lot of it pun-based. Every CPU driver has a punny name such as Al Kaholic, Ty Kwando, and Victor E. Lane. Some of it does lean towards the more crude side with classic juvenile pranks like Seymore Buts and Hugh Mungus, but others get into ones such as Willie B. Long, Alotta Fagina, and Jenny Talia. Car names are not spared from the silliness (mostly because using the actual names of vehicles can lead to paying royalties) where you get names such as the Dogg Dyper and Masderatti.

Gas Guzzlers Extreme
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 82%
Gameplay 15/20
Graphics 8/10
Sound 8/10
Stability 5/5
Controls 5/5

Morality Score - 67%
Violence 2.5/10
Language 4/10
Sexual Content 9/10
Occult/Supernatural 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical 10/10

The humor also injects itself into the music & sounds. Most of it is fairly appropriate for the high-octane action of car combat with rock, metal, and grunge. That isn’t the funny part, however. In the garage, various genres of music will play from classical music, to even opera and polka. Sometimes, the national anthem of various countries plays too. Sound effects are loud and powerful with the weapons and explosions sounding very appropriate. In the options, you can even toggle voiceovers with some based on Duke Nukem and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The constant one-liners did get a good chuckle out of me at first. The voice-overs can get somewhat repetitive as they tend to repeat lines often, but luckily they can be turned off completely.

When looking at the various platforms that Gas Guzzlers Extreme is featured on, there is a discrepancy when it comes to the ESRB rating. The PS4 and XBONE versions are T while the Switch and PS5 are M. There is one game mode that I purposely neglected to mention. It is available to all versions but is called the Full Metal Zombie DLC for the PC, PS4, and XBONE platforms. There are two zombie-based modes where you either survive waves of the dead or defend a base from them. This is where the violence ramps up exponentially as zombies explode in an array of red mist and chunks. Blood will splatter on the screen whenever zombies are run over or killed close to the vehicle. It makes sense as to why it got bumped up a whole age rating. Because of the fact that the zombie game modes were added later as DLC in the earlier versions, it manages to be a game mode that some may completely skip over as it’s only accessible through quick match. On a somewhat less violent side, there is the possibility to run over animals such as chickens in the main game modes.

Other things to look out for are some mild language like “d*mn”, “h*ll”, and “*ss." Most of it comes from the Duke voice-over. Another one that is actually pretty easy to miss is that in some races when your trunk gets knocked clean off, sometimes there can be a blow-up doll inside. The blow-up doll can also be seen in the passenger seat at times.

In the long list of car combat games in a genre that’s mostly on life support (if you don’t count Mario Kart as one), Gas Guzzlers Extreme is an enjoyable product. The Switch version contains no multiplayer whatsoever compared to the other versions, but the portability of the console complements the easy-to pickup nature and fast-paced matches. There are plenty of game modes to prevent the experience from feeling repetitive and the main campaign lasts somewhere around the 10 to 12-hour mark with lots of stuff to unlock and multiple difficulty modes. The appropriateness factor can fluctuate as many of the more questionable aspects are exclusive to specific modes or voice-lines. $50 is quite a lot as the base game + DLC on other platforms manages to be cheaper than the “full next-gen experience.” A sale might be the best thing to wait for if you’re on the fence, but lovers of the genre will get good value out of this.

About the Author

Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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