was developed by Stainless Software
and published by those shrewd folks at SCi
. It was, simply put, a driving game, vaguely reminiscient of Stunt Car Racer
or Hard Drivin'
albeit with big texture-mapped levels that could be freely explored and a pleasantly realistic physics model. The controversy arose when the tabloid
press (primarily the Daily Mail
) got wind of what it involved driving over
There are three ways to win a 'race' in Carmageddon: complete the set number of laps in the shortest time, eliminate all the opponents' vehicles, or kill all the pedestrians on the level. The pedestrians displayed a (tiny) modicum of intelligence, scarpering all over the landscape as you bore down on them. As well as human bystanders (no kids or nuns, unfortunately), there were cows (except in the Indian version). There were loads of cars and tracks to be unlocked and powerups to collect as well.
When the Daily Mail started frothing at the mouth with their sensationalist (not to mention fabricated) coverage of the game, questions were asked in Parliament and the BBFC were forced to deny the game a classification (effectively 'banning' it).
To allow the game's release, it was demanded that all the pedestrians be replaced with green-blooded zombies (or non-squishy robots for the German version). The total cost of this fiasco (which some erroneously saw as a publicity stunt) ran into the tens of thousands of pounds, as stock had to be destroyed, release dates pushed back and God knows what else. After the game went on sale, the developers snuck out a patch to restore the game to its original state, and eventually the BBFC's unjust ruling was overturned.
Shorn of the controversy, the game is rather less impressive than you might expect, utilising crude technology (even for 1996) and offering rather aimless gameplay. Two sequels (of increasingly dubious quality) followed: Carmageddon II and Carmageddon TDR 2000.