Fuel Inefficiency: Gas Guzzlers Extreme Is Out

By John Walker on October 10th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

Gas Guzzlers Extreme, for no sensible reason, reminds me of a racing game I thoroughly enjoyed and yet have never heard a single other human mention: Beetle Crazy Cup. It came out in 2000, from Infrogrames as was, by the entirely unknown Xpiral. It was a VW-licensed game that I gave it 85% in PC Gamer back then, and I don’t think a single person bought it. I bring this up, because I’m struggling to find too many interesting things to say about Gas Guzzlers Extreme.

That’s not to say it’s a disaster. It’s incredibly clumsy, but the issue here is that it’s just a touch bland. It’s, well, a driving game with shooting in it. It’s Mario Kart with proper cars, and utterly without the intuitive delivery. Have I enjoyed my brief go? A bit. I haven’t hated it. I’ve driven around a few tracks, done well, done badly, shot at other cars and been shot at. And, it all feels awfully familiar.

There’s a definite desire to go big, but unfortunately little actual delivery. So while it seems to think it’s delivering big explosions and violence, it’s all rather tempered and ordinary, the real pleasure of an anarchic driving game buried in a confusion of obscurity. Everything is just so incredibly vague, from whether you’ve clipped a floating bonus item to pick it up to what bonus you currently have to whether you’ve deployed it. The Arcade mode offers generous cornering and liberal use of handbrakes, and that’s my sort of racing, but all the other cars seem to be having a lot more fun than me. I can see the mines they’ve dropped – I’ve no idea if I’ve ever dropped mine.

There’s a garage, cars to be bought and augmented with won money, exactly as you’d expect. You begin with a Reliant Robin, then move onto a Beetle – you get the idea there. But you can attach weapons, boost engines, etc, and then take part in the heavily rubber-banded racing that’s a mad cluster of short-cuts and frustration as other drivers crash into you. That’s an issue solved by jumping online, of course, where such actions feel far more fair when done at you by another human. Although that’s a bit tricky here – at the time of writing there were a total of seven people playing, and the game wouldn’t let me join the one populated race. Which is actually a shame, as the deathmatch mode against the AI is quite fun. It has potential online.

However, I really wasn’t too impressed with a new game in late 2013 turning Win 7 down to Basic mode, nor refusing to launch until I’d set my desktop resolution to 1024×768.

But what has this to do with Beetle Crazy Cup, you ask. Good point.

__________________

« | »

, , .

31 Comments »

  1. GallonOfAlan says:

    I remember Beetle Crazy Cup! Got a demo of it on a PC Zone cover CD once.

  2. Shadowcat says:

    I own Beetle Crazy Cup. It’s really really bad.

  3. Keymonk says:

    Beetle Crazy Cup was rad! I still think I have it around somewhere.

  4. Flameberge says:

    I also had beetle crazy cup, and quite good it was too. I remember enjoying the demo as it had a monster truck event that my inner redneck appreciated wasn’t just 8 monster trucks treated as offroad go carts driving round a track, but more of a stadium event with a vague resemblance to what monster trucks actually do, or did in the late 80s, early 90s.

  5. guidom says:

    seeing those rocket launchers strapped to the top of V8 muscle cars reminds me of Interstate ’76.

    • DasBlob says:

      That was a great game, too. I wanted to make an Auto-Vigilante Guild sticker and put it on my first car. Forgot :(

    • cF- says:

      Now there’s a franchise i’d like to see rebooted! Have some very fond and funky memories of playing i76.

      • FluffyHyena says:

        Has there been another game like Interstate ’76 in the last few years? Funk music, muscle cars and assorted weaponry still sound like a win to me.

  6. Alex Ball says:

    I had beetle crazy cup, and loved it too. =)

  7. DasBlob says:

    My brother and I played the hell out of Beetle Crazy Cup. At the time we had played several street racing games, but none with buggies or monster trucks (monster beetles, no less). Ah, the memories of whole summers spend indoors, shades drawn, hunched over a keyboard and staring unblinkingly into a CRT monitor. Good times…

  8. kevmscotland says:

    Much prefered Beetle Adventure Racing (N64)!

  9. PopeRatzo says:

    I played Gas Guzzlers Extreme for almost two hours now and it’s pretty good. But maybe it’s just that I’m so desperate for a non-sim racing game that I’m unable to be objective about it.

    I can only hope that Gas Guzzlers Extreme will keep me sated until the next NFS or open world racer.

    (See, I was able to go through a whole post without mentioning Burnout Paradise)

    • Snakejuice says:

      Sounds like you would like Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, it’s suprisingly good if you’re into non-sim racers with weapons. I think I like it more than Mario Kart which is my entire childhood..

    • Mctittles says:

      I second Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. I was hoping it would be a decent cart racer on the PC for once, and was surprised to find it just might be the best cart racer I’ve played.

  10. Hobbes says:

    How on earth have -all of you- missed the obvious?

    Shame on you Mr. Walker! SHAME ON YOU!

    I spent all of last evening blasting away on this with a stupid grin plastered across my face.

    Why?

    This is death rally, just minus the death rally IP!

  11. TACD says:

    “It’s Mario Kart with proper cars”

    So… it’s Blur?

    • Baines says:

      No one played Blur either. Quite a fun game. Even a fun deathmatch mode.

      • Snakejuice says:

        Blur was AWFUL that’s why no one played it. It kind of feels like those old 80s arcade racers where the car automatically turns a bit when the road do..

        • Baines says:

          Playing the console version, I certainly ran into walls during curves.

          It does feel a bit like an 80s racer, which was one of its positives. It was a kart racer with “real” cars, and didn’t get completely caught up in real world physics. It felt at times like old racers San Francisco Rush 2049 and at bit like Twisted Metal 2 (which lost its fun, speed, and wonky physics in later games.)

  12. emcl says:

    I remember playing Beetle crazy cup incessantly. There was something oddly appealing about it that i liked. I think it was the music at the start. Also i had a much higher resolution memory of this game in my head.

  13. Flea says:

    The game is not perfect, not even close, but it’s quite an accomplishment for a small Croatian studio and I’m glad they managed to get it done. Hopefully it will sell enough copies and make them some money.

  14. Fitzmogwai says:

    I bought Beetle Crazy Cup on the strength of that PCG review, and it was really rather marvellous. I felt a real sense of achievement when I finally learnt how to drive at speed the s-shaped track that led up to the jump ramp.

    So thank you for that review, John Walker.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>