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HotRod FAQ

Total Carnage - November 19, '99 by Dorsola
Game:Total CarnageCompany:Midway
Type:ShooterPlayers:1/2

Boy, those guys at Williams/Midway sure didn't want to hide the fact that this game is a direct sequel to Smash TV. (In fact, they make a whole bunch of references to Smash TV throughout the game!) Following in that legendary game's footsteps, Total Carnage is another arena-style overhead shooter with a plot. You are now a one (or two) man army whose job is to infiltrate the nuclear base of the evil General Akhboob and put an end to his evil plans. Standing in your way are thousands upon thousands of enemies, all trying to stop you, many of which are bigger and meaner than you are. In addition, you have to save civilians and TV reporters, collect keys, precious gems, American flags, avoid stepping on mines, etc... Sound ridiculous? Good, because it is, and that's what makes this game so much fun!
Okay, first off, there's no way in hell you're gonna make it through this game on one quarter. Your mission objectives are so incredibly difficult that you will only make it through the game if you have a lot of cash, a good emulator, or the fortune to find a machine in Free Play mode. Despite this, the game is fun, challenging, and varied - multiple paths and a high variety of sub-missions and secret warps will keep your interest piqued each time you play. Combine that with the incredibly detailed graphics, convincing sounds and music, a goofy plotline, about a hundred different ways to die, some of the most satisfying excuses to blow things up, and... well, let's just say this is one of the only places where I've actually enjoyed a bloodbath.
Once again, your controls are made up of two joysticks - a movement stick and a firing stick. So your control is great throughout the game. These controls translate pretty well to a 4- or 6-button gamepad, such as the Gravis Gamepad Pro, and can also suffice on the keyboard.
Unfortunately, this game doesn't hold up nearly so well as its counterpart in MAME, even with the TMS34010 fixes brought about in 0.36 b9.1. On a fast computer (mine is a Celeron 400A running at 500 MHz), the game will play fine so long as there's relatively little activity on the screen. But as soon as you mix in large amounts of text (instructions, stats, etc) or large quantities of enemies, the game slows down dramatically - there is literally that much to be processed! I'm actually kinda surprised that the original hardware held up as well as it did.
If you can make it around this shortcoming, though, then Total Carnage is a definite must-play! If nothing else, you need to play it all the way through at least once to see the surprise ending. I dare not say more, or else I'd give away the whole purpose of the game! :)
So, Weasel Man! Strap on your machine gun and get ready to absorb all pain!
Graphics
10
10
Sound
Play Control
10
10
Challenge
Replay Value
10
5
Performance

Screen Shots

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1999 EmuViews