Review: Gas Guzzlers Extreme: Full Metal Zombie

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Because apparently every genre needs to have zombies in it, car combat racer Gas Guzzlers Extreme has, more than a year after its original release and many months since the last DLC, returned from the Gamepires body shop sporting a new DLC upgrade. Yeah, yeah, I know the whole zombie apocalypse thing has been beaten to death at this point, but that doesn’t stop Full Metal Zombie from being one seriously killer add-on.

But first, before digging into the nuts and bolts–or brains and entrails–of the Full Metal Zombie DLC, if you haven’t played the base Gas Guzzlers Extreme yet, go buy it now. It’s all kinds of awesome. Peek under its hood and you’ll find parts from Mad Max, Twisted Metal, Destruction Derby, and Mario Kart. Talk about a sweet ride.

Now on to the DLC. Here’s a bullet point rundown of the key feature additions included in the $6.99 expansion:

• A total of 22 zombie variants, from regular old zombies to ax wielding maniacs, to giant undead zombie animals packing explosives, to an enormous minigun-wielding boss.
• An all new arena: Warburg, a HUGE new city map.
• New car: the Kaiju GTR, a fast iconic Japanese sports and drag racing car
• Two new game modes: Defend the Base and Survival (both single and multi-player).
• And a new military skin. Bust those Z’s like GI Joe!

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In short, Full Metal Zombie is the car combat equivalent to horde mode. The two new modes introduced specifically for zombie play both involve murdering waves of increasingly relentless enemies. Survivor is purely a fight for survival through a gauntlet of 10 waves. Defend the Base is pretty much the same thing, only it adds the element of a central base area that must be protected while you drive to survive the zombie apocalypse. A health bar is displayed as a representation of the base’s status, and if the base sustains heavy damage you must park within a circle indicator marking its perimeter in order to perform repairs and prevent its destruction. In both modes, stations scattered throughout the maps also allow for refueling and repairing your car.

The Survivor and Defend the Base modes are available to play online in multiplayer or offline in single-player quick race with bots. For solo play, you are forced to have at least one bot, but up to seven bots can be added for a total of eight “players.” Damage cannot be inflicted upon other drivers, so killing zombies primarily is a cooperative experience. However, there is an underlying competitive rivalry to be the last man standing or the player/team with the most kills. Surviving to the end requires helping other drivers stay in the fight (the respawn pool is shared), but don’t be surprised if road rage fuels the desire to ram other players out of the way to get the jump on a weapon or ammo pick-up, or to break their line of fire on a juicy crowd of meatbags so you can score the highest kill count.

All of the base game’s existing arena maps, which must be unlocked by playing the Deathmatch and Last Man Standing events in the single-player campaign, now have a layout variant for zombie play. So you can look forward to blasting the undead back to death in areas like the desert, parking garage, junkyard, or at the port. Additionally, as listed above, the DLC offers a brand new map called Warburg. The Warburg environment consists of a surrounding network of alleyways winding between city buildings which connect to a somewhat open central plaza area by way of small cobblestone bridges. Next to the existing Castlevania arena, with its gothic architecture, graveyards, and howling wolves in the background, Warburg is the map I’ve most enjoyed playing. If you haven’t done so yet, you will need to clear nearly all of the campaign to unlock it, as the Warburg map doesn’t begin appearing in the map rotation until the third and final tournament series.

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Most importantly, the game itself marries so well with the zombie theme. In a lot of ways, Gas Guzzlers Extreme is like a first-person shooter on wheels, even more so now when you add mobs of zombies, giant trolls with clubs, undead hyenas and bulls charging ahead like heat seeking missiles (sometimes they’re even strapped with explosives like suicide bombers), and these tall super solider boss dudes armed with chainguns. Adding Full Metal Zombie to the mix makes it feel like you’re playing a Serious Sam car combat spin-off; it gets that chaotic and intense. The glorious gore effects only amplify the fun factor. Zombies and other beasties gib and splatter the screen with more blood and guts than any standard windshield wiper would be able to clean off. My favorite part, though, is blowing enemies into bloody chunks with the shotgun. Machine guns and rocket launchers have their advantages, but this game absolutely nails the forceful kickback and iconic “chk chk” sound of a video game pump action boomstick.

Full Metal Zombie is a great add-on, but it isn’t without its faults. For starters, when attempting to play online the game does not allow in-progress matches to be joined. I understand this not previously being an option, but for a zombie horde mode players should be able to jump in and out of the action, during wave changeover at the very least. Survivor and Defend the Base sessions tend to last a while, and I highly doubt anyone will want to wait in the lobby for upwards of 20 to 30 minutes until the current match ends. I sure as hell didn’t.

On roughly half a dozen occasions I have also encountered a glitch which caused zombies–usually just one or two–to get stuck somewhere on the map with no way to kill them at the end of a round, rendering it impossible to complete the wave and move on to the next. This has happened most often on the Warburg map, so I guess it has something to do with all the tight alleys and high buildings, because in multiple matches the game has been ruined by a lone zombie somehow launching all the way onto a rooftop. Obviously none of the cars can aim that high, so if this happens the only solution is to restart the entire wave over again. Similar occurrences happened on a ledge in the Port map as well as another time where a zombie fell to the ground without dying and wouldn’t get back up so I could shoot it. It looked dead, but the red blip indicating a live enemy still appeared on the radar.

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Even though it could use a bit more fine tuning and is just another retread on the zombie apocalypse motif, Full Metal Zombie is a welcomed mode expansion which brings a whole new dimension to the base Gas Guzzlers Extreme feature set for a very reasonable price. Sadly the game’s online community is verging on dead, so good multiplayer sessions are tough to come by. However, both the core game and the DLC have plenty to offer for solo play thanks to bots that are more than capable of holding their own, so lack of consistent online activity shouldn’t scare you away. I’ve played many standalone zombie survival games that aren’t as much fun as what Gamepires managed to stuff into this DLC.

BuyIt

Pros:
+ Like Serious Sam on wheels, and that’s bad ass
+ You gotta love that boomstick
+ Provides a wealth of additional content and gameplay hours at a great value

Cons:
– Not being able to join in-progress matches is a drag
– Zombie glitches occasionally prevent wave completion

Game Info:
Platform: PC
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Developer: Gamepires
Release Date: 2/16/2015
Genre: Action Racing
Players: 1-8
Source: Review code provided by publisher

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!