We’ll forgive the creators of this game for bringing this to PC almost a year after releasing it on console, because this smash-’em-up racer is enormous amounts of fun. FlatOut Ultimate Carnage continues the series’ unpretentious arcade racing and has you competing against 11 other drivers in urban and countryside environments so hillbilly, you half expect Boss Hogg to go “Kyuk kyuk” and chase you while playing a banjo.
FlatOut’s major selling point is its over-the-top environmental physicsthat add to the excitement during races as you careen into exploding gas stations, smash through glass shop windows, skid into picket fences and send rubber tires bouncing all over the track. Of course the physics also apply to the cars, and you get a bonus nitro boost the more damage and chaos you cause to other vehicles, encouraging you to flip, crash and wreck your opponents at high speed. The exhilarating effect of this wild destruction is such that you wonder why every other racing game doesn’t do it.
As a huge fan of carnage in general, the other major plus point of FlatOut for us is the ability to send yourself, and other ragdoll drivers, hilariously crashing through windshields complete with comedy scream. This is taken to the extreme in the many silly minigames you can play on your own, or with friends, which involve driving at ridiculous speeds, holding the “throw” button down to create an angle of ejection, and watching as your poor driver is flung violently in the direction of a giant dartboard or high jump to score points.
However, the racing is the meat of the game, and that you can accrue cash to spend on better and faster cars, upgrade your motors and unlock new tracks and minigames means you’ll have plenty to keep you busy. Annoyingly, the AI is suspiciously good at catching up, and you can often find yourself frustratingly slipping from the front to the back of the racing pack if you spin off or catch an errant bit of track detritus that inexplicably flips your car. Yet, even the odd bit of weird physics and dodgy AI driving isn’t enough to spoil the party – FlatOut Ultimate Carnage is more fun than 50 Formula One races, with or without Nazi-themed S&M. (Not that anyone involved with Formula One is, or was, into that.)
Aug 26, 2008