Wreckfest’s regular Tournament updates have been keeping the destruction-focused racer stocked with weird, unexpected and interesting new content for a good while now. But nothing could have prepared me for what August’s additions have brought: a crossover with the classic horror thrill ride Carmageddon.
This update takes the form of two new tracks from the original game — Bleak City and Devil’s Canyon — along with the Eagle-R from Carmageddon: Max Damage, which will set you back 100,000 “Fame” (the game’s currency.) In fact, the update is titled Carmageddon (Censored), presumably because the level of gore that the series is known for would far exceed the limits of Wreckfest’s Teen ESRB rating.
Carmageddon invited players to plow into pedestrians with their death machines; Wreckfest’s take replaces those innocent bystanders with wandering zombies and zombie livestock, modeled as two-dimensional sprites in the series’ ’90s aesthetic. They turn into pixelated green goo when you hit them, and make the requisite guttural, groaning noises on impact.
The tracks are the highlight of this update. I have never played a Carmageddon title, so I lack the nostalgia for the franchise that I’m sure many retro arcade racing fans share. Still, even I get warm and fuzzy seeing the low-poly aesthetic of these maps, rendered with gigantic blurry textures stretched across entire building faces. Vestigial checkpoint posts remain even though they’re completely meaningless in Wreckfest. And these worlds are loaded with track design elements commonplace once upon a time, which results in some truly weird, hilarious scenarios when paired with developer Bugbear’s sophisticated soft-body physics.
Take Devil’s Canyon, for example. There is a massive rectangular pit in the middle of this track, but the pit’s edges meet the road surface at 90-degree angles. Naturally, you’ll attempt to try to apex these corners and even cut well inside of the pit, momentarily suspending two wheels in the air. But with Wreckfest’s physics being what they are, such risk-taking inevitably means your car’s wheels are getting caught on that pit edge, jettisoning your vehicle into sky as if it’s struck a landmine.
A similar situation plays out with the partially-raised sections of Bleak City, which rise above the track surface at 45-degree angles like funboxes at skateparks. These too will elicit chaos, further adding to the retro charm of these environments. Both Devil’s Canyon and Bleak City have free roam counterparts to explore, and it seems Bugbear will add wrecking playground-style variants in a future update that will provide even more creative ways to demolish your beater.
I’ve been playing Wreckfest for something like a year now, and it’s quickly become the go-to game for my friends and I when we want to do stupid shit in cars. Many of them aren’t even racing game fans. These Tournament updates always provide an exciting reason to return to the game and check out what’s new, and that’s doubly true for unexpected crossovers like this Carmageddon one.