5 Craziest Vehicular Combat Games, Ranked
At some point in the process of developing a run-of-the-mill racing game, one team made the call to banish the clichés and pave the way for something much more brutal and bombastic. And before long, rockets were fastened to minivans, hydraulics were installed on ice cream trucks — and the whole idea of racing was swapped out for mindless demolition and enthralling combat.
Fast-forward a few years, and we've got a whole jungle of vehicular combat games in the palm of our hand. And let me tell you — we're not exactly getting bored of piling them up on our shelves, either. But which of the many stack the highest on our list? Which titles are worth picking up in 2021 and rediscovering all over again? Well, strap yourself in tight — because we're pulling out the big guns. Here are five of the craziest vehicular combat games of all time, ranked.
5. Rocket League
There came a point where simply booting a ball into the back of the net just wasn't enough. There needed to be more of a wow factor, and it needed something outlandish to help separate it from the bog-standard games in the sports genre. And so, somewhere along the way, developer Psyonix came up with the idea to incorporate rocket-powered cars into the mix. Bundled in with neon domes for arenas and a pinball-like sphere for a ball, Rocket League sprung to life as a new force to be reckoned with.
But let's talk about the vehicular combat aspect of the game. Although heavily focused on the soccer side of things, combat does play a minor role in each passing match. And by that, I mean players basically reap havoc by colliding into one another in a desperate attempt to gain possession of the ball. It's essentially a pit of fire and smoke, neon and lasers. Actually scoring goals, on the other hand, well — that's more of a secondary objective. Now tell me, who wouldn't want to take part in something like that? It's bonkers, it's ballistic — and it's basically the reason FIFA lost a boatload of players in 2015.
4. Jak X: Combat Racing
Jak and Daxter certainly took a dark turn after meshing with the second chapter in the series. And after Renegade, everything just sort of wound into a thread of crimson textures and steampunk settlements, effectively severing the original charm that made The Precursor Legacy well-loved in the first place. Following on from that, Naughty Dog conjured up a vehicular combat entry that would go on to challenge the likes of Twisted Metal and other top-tier rivals in the genre. The rest, as they say, was history.
Of course, in a nutshell, Jak X: Combat Racing is basically a souped up version of Mario Kart, only with more rockets than banana peels and what have you. And while winning a race is an objective in itself — annihilating a spool of opponents, on the other hand, stacks even higher on the list of priorities. And let me tell you — causing carnage out of the track has never been more of a blast — especially with Jak at the helm. Remaster, anyone? Surely it needs to happen in 2022, right?
3. Cel Damage
Cel Damage was one of those games that either built bridges or burned them, depending on which track you picked, and how sneaky you were with the tools you had from the get-go. Just think Mario Kart's Rainbow Road, only with more of a demolition derby sort of twist instead of an open circuit. Throw in some otherworldly weapons, cheeky catchphrases and some wacky arenas — and you've got yourself the basic premise of Cel Damage.
While the concept wasn't anything completely out of the box, Cel Damage was a pretty addictive entry to the vehicular combat world, and an all-time favourite amongst multiplayer pools. Unfortunately, despite it being incredibly popular way back in 2001 — a full-on reboot has yet to be ignited on upgraded systems. A HD version, however, can be found in the darkest corners of most stores. So, you know, that's something.
2. Mad Max
As much as Warner Bros. tried to force Mad Max and its textbook Arkham-style fighting mechanics down our throats, its explosive vehicular combat just sort of hogged the spotlight and claimed the win from the moment we hit start. But that isn't to say we complained about its ramped up usage of it. In fact, we were pretty thrilled to have a game so dedicated to such a thing. But as it turned out, the overall game actually slipped the radar for most fans of the genre.
On top of its mind-bending, looter-shooter journey, as well as its ambitious melee combat system that flowed from the same vein as Arkham, Mad Max also boasted a tonne of customizable elements for its vehicular combat. And after upgrading to a certain level, the whole thing just became an endless grind across sand and storm as a rebel in buggy. Sorry, Magnum Opus. And to be fair, that's all the game needed to be a massive success. It narrowed its focus on something — and it executed it to the finest degree.
1. Twisted Metal
Of course, you probably saw this one coming. Twisted Metal: it's one of those series that has been passed around by gamers for decades, and yet still hasn't been remade in recent years despite its blatant following. But it has, however, spawned countless spin-offs and local ports. Granted, not since 2012 — but it's better than nothing at all.
With a diverse roster of characters, a selection of well equipped vehicles, and a whole carousel of battlefields — it's clear the series has poured a wealthy amount of content into its ongoing development. Now, whether there'll be another sequence to the critically acclaimed series or not is another question, and one that most definitely spirals on the end of our tongues. Either way, I think we can all agree that another entry to the Twisted Metal kingdom wouldn't exactly go amiss in a community that longs for a handout.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? What vehicular combat games would you put in their place? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.