Carmageddon is the first of a series of graphically violent driving-oriented video games. It was conceived and developed by Stainless Games, published by SCi and released June 30, 1997 on PC & Mac.
It was, and remains, a poster child for video game controversy. The controversy surrounded the game's central premise; that of earning reward for running down innocent pedestrians.
The game was notable for its realistic and ground-breaking physics, and for its in-game action replay features. It was also one of the earliest examples of a sandbox 3D driving game, and may have influenced other later games including the Driver and Grand Theft Auto series.
The aim is for the player to work their way up the ranking system, from 99th place to first. The player vehicle is pitted against a number of computer controlled competitors, in locations such as cities, mines and desert towns. Levels can be beaten in one of three ways:
- Completing all the laps of the race course, as one would a normal racing game.
- "Wasting" (wrecking) all the opponents vehicles.
- Killing all the pedestrians in the area.
Each level has a time limit, but more time may be gained by passing through checkpoints, collecting powerups, damaging/destroying the competitors' cars, and by running over pedestrians (with bonuses awarded for style).
These actions also reward the player with Credits, which can be used to make instant repairs or recover the car (after falling down a chasm, for example). They can also be used to upgrade Armour, Power and Offense stats in the Parts Shop between races. This is also the time to switch which car to drive if others have been obtained.
As well as opponents partaking in the 'race', some levels also contain a number of heavily armored Cop Cars, which will activate their sirens and hound the player when provoked. They can be attacked and destroyed, but do not count as opponents. A single "Super Squad Car" exists in one level, and it can be claimed if destroyed.
An Action Replay with multiple camera viewpoints is available at any point during a race.
The game also had a multiplayer mode - Up to 6 players could play over a LAN connection.