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Video Game / Carmageddon

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Hang on to yer helmet...

Carmageddon is a racing video game released in 1997 by Interplay Entertainment. The game ostensibly revolves around a series of car races held in a Wide-Open Sandbox, although racing is really not this game's selling-point. The player can race the opposition around the track, but true success comes mainly from causing as much damage as possible to their cars, as well as running down the innocent civilians (zombies in certain editions) that practically litter the map. At the time, it was one of the first video games to feature this type of violence on such a massive scale — the game actively encourages the player to kill as many pedestrians as possible, something which garnered it a lot of controversy from Media Watchdogs.

Each race takes place in a different scene: the countryside, a bustling metropolis, a series of mine shafts, and so on. Each race is timed, and requires the player to pass through Check Points placed along the course to win.

That is — if you choose to complete the race at all.

The other option is to kill as many civilians as you can, and attempt to destroy your competitors by repeatedly ramming into them at high speed. They, of course, are constantly trying to do this to you. Although it is based on the earlier Destruction Derby, Carmageddon's improved collision physics (not to mention aerial and underwater physics!) means that hitting both opponents and civilians in different ways (particularly at different strength and with a different side of your car) gives bonus points and extra time on the clock. The race can thus be won by demolishing all other competitors' cars and earning a lot more points than you would just by racing through the checkpoints. The points you gain can then be used to unlock upgrades to your car, making it even more dangerous.

For extra sadism value, races may also be won by killing all civilians on the map. It should, however, be noted that until you get access to the post-completion-only cars, this is extremely difficult. It helps if you can find the Pedestrians Shown on Map power-up, of course.

Destroying your opponents is also encouraged because you might win the car they were driving. Each car in the game is unique —enabling a completely different playing style — so destroying more enemies means improving your arsenal and repertoire. There are well over two-dozen different cars available to drive in the original game.

Compared to the strict linearity of most racing games, the ability to drive anywhere in the city — power-ups like Pinball Car, Ultra Grip Tires, and Moon Gravity pushing the definition of "anywhere" further than you might imagine — combined with the cartoony but consistent physics engine (the Instant Handbrake even works in mid-air and the Solid Granite Car will save you a lot of repair costs) make Carmageddon quite memorable.

Four installments were eventually released, although by the time of the third one, games of this specific genre were already quite prolific. The latest game in the series, Carmageddon: Reincarnation, was released in April 2015 after a Sequel Gap of over a decade. In October 2016, it was replaced with an Updated Re-release called Max Damage, found here.

The first game is usually regarded as a Spiritual Adaptation to the infamous cult film Death Race 2000.

Carmageddon provides examples of:

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  • Achilles' Heel: Many larger cars (as well as other vehicles) have certain weak points which can destroy the car instantly when hit.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Many of the stage names, vehicle names, and names of the drivers themselves.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: ED 101. He blew a fuse and went psycho.
  • Animesque: What sets TDR 2000 apart from the previous games is how it seems to be inspired by Cyberpunk animes. The game takes place in a Dystopian Cyberpunk future, the residence all appear rather animesque in terms of fashion sense (even sporting eccentric hair colours), and this is further evident in two playable vehicles: The Mecha, a weaponized Itasha, and The Machine, a vehicular cyborg body 'driven' by a man named Tetsuo.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Both Die Anna and Max Damage will sardonically laugh "Ha sorry!" out to some of their victims as they flatten them.
  • Armor Is Useless: Zig Zagged in the second game. Getting more armor makes it a lot harder for the opponents to raze your car from direct damage, to the point where getting hit by even the Big Dump won't bend your chassis a single centimeter. However, God help you if you run (or get knocked) too fast into any pointed edge of the world's geometrynote , as the armor value doesn't affect the chances of your car getting split in half, which usually gets you wasted. This, combined with the increase in the average vehicle's speed later in the game, means that even as your armor gets stronger, your chances of getting wasted also become paradoxically higher.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The first game's Redbook Audio features instrumental versions of several Fear Factory songs, played by Fear Factory themselves, while Carmageddon 2 features music from Iron Maiden and Sentience. TDR 2000 features a blend of hip-hop, rock and metal songs, and Reincarnation & Max Damage bring back a few of Fear Factory's songs from the first game, but a vast majority of its soundtrack is a combination of hard rock and heavy metal songs composed by Maximum Sexy Pigeon and Morgue. The community generally agrees that Carmageddon's music greatly enhances the gameplay experience regardless of whichever game in the series is being referred to, which, considering the almost-universally negative reception of TDR 2000, speaks volumes about how suitable The Power of Rock accompanies a vehicular slayfest.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical:
    • Most supercar- or speed-based vehicles are this, either being very frail or hard to control, sometimes even both, although they usually look much better than sturdier, more practical counterparts. Considering the fact that Carmageddon is primarily a vechicular combat game with a lot of Car Fu, it is much more practical to use or save up and then purchase one of the slower but stronger vehicles and spend races wrecking other drivers instead of completing time-consuming laps with something that gets wrecked easily.
    • In the first game, the "Tashita Coupe" front bumper is so long and has such a low profile that most frontal collisions will total the car. In Carmageddon II, the "Tashita2" is fixed so that it's less fragile.
    • The Big Dump from the second game. It's bloody huge and will wreck anything in its path. However, it's slow, hard to manoeuvre, and is so big that it takes up the entire screen in third person view, meaning that you can't see a thing unless you switch to first person.
    • The Loggerhead has similar problems as The Big Dump in terms of size and maneuverability, plus any damage to its forks can total the vehicle.
    • In Carmageddon, Heinz Faust drives a sports car/tank called "King Merc", but in Carmageddon II he drives "The Supastuka", a literal World War II bomber plane based on the "Sturzkampfflugzeug" Junkers Ju-87, (AKA "Stuka")... which doesn't fly and is hard as hell to maneuver.
    • The "Cow Poker" from Carmageddon II is a Cadillac with two giant spurs on the front used to skewer pedestrians, but they're the only non-fragile part of the car. As such, any frontal collision will yield significant damage on it.
    • "The Harvester" is a combine which is notoriously front-wide, which hampers its maneuverability considerably in spite of its value to run over pedestrians.
    • Grabbing the 'Hot Rod' power-up increases the car's acceleration to a dangerous amount and makes your car's front suspension lift up when driving. The increased speed and difficult turning will mean this powerup can only be safely used in a straight line with no obstacles.
  • Ax-Crazy: The entire cast. In-game, any cop that sees the player breaking a "rule" (ie. driving above the speed limit, hitting a ped, or hitting another cop) will go nuts trying to waste the player, even if they run over peds or into other cops themselves.
  • Black Comedy: The games run on this. The player is given hilariously titled bonuses for killing pedestrians in unusual ways. For example, slamming into a road sign and squishing a random bystander with it in the first game nets the player a "Nice shot, sir!" bonus.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Running over pedestrians can be downright hilarious, especially given the variety of ways it can be done. And that's without getting into some of the powerups, such as exploding pedestrians, drunk pedestrians, giant pedestrians, helium filled pedestrians....
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Carmageddon 2 featured many rather unremarkable cars based on real-life 60's to 80's cars, but most of them are quite serviceable in a race despite costing fewer credits than the flashier, souped-up stuff. For example, the Slam Sedan may not be as badass as Otis' Caddy Fat Cat from the first game but it is easy to drive, pretty robust and can dish out hurt.
    • Max's Red Eagle is pretty well balanced and can serve a player well for the majority of the game, especially when most of the vehicles that are more likely to unlock aren't generally worth using.
  • Bottomless Pits: Most edges of maps were either walled-in, impassible with (usually) insurmountable high walls, or an endless ocean. Travelling past these areas anywhere would automatically recover the vehicle.
  • Bowdlerise: The first game saw versions replacing pedestrians with robots or zombies. This had the effect of giving the game a pretty neat After the End setting, and justified why the pedestrians all shamble around like lemmings. A censored version of the Nintendo 64 port even has dinosaurs!
  • Canon Discontinuity: The official site for the reboot has a history section. Under the entry for Carmageddon 3: TDR 2000 is "We don't talk about this" accompanied by a picture of a flaming poo. Or the Nosebleed Pack for that matter. The Steam page confirms the original developers' dislike for the game even further.
  • Car Fu: One way of winning the match is by repeatedly smashing your car into an opponent's car to destroy them. As mentioned above, you'll want to do this for a chance of winning said cars.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: In Carmageddon 2, if your car gets bifurcated from hitting a sharp edge, you lose the race instantly. To make it worse, armor points do not protect you from this in any way. Given the number of buildings and road barricades in each race, it is quite easy to drive (or get driven) into a sharp edge in the level geometry and lose even without being overconfident on how "sturdy" the player's selected vehicle is.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: AI-driven vehicles do not always drive; as long as they are out of the player's visual range, they are randomly moved around the map. This is quite noticeable when racing, as heavily-damaged AI opponents will appear to be moving far faster than their vehicle should be capable of doing in their condition. Similarly AI vehicles which should supposedly be some distance behind may suddenly appear ahead on a head-on collision course. The manual even justifies this as an excuse to waste them.
  • Controllable Helplessness: 'Bouncy Bouncy', along with 'Greased Tyres' and potentially Pinball Mode' is the worst powerup in the game, due to how frequently you'll pick it up. It will make your vehicle jump uncontrollably every 3 seconds, which can topple you over the faster you go. What sucks is you can't become a Bouncing Battler, so to avoid hefty recovery/repair fees, it's often best to wait it out.
  • Cool Car: The whole lot of them, although this ranges across different types. There are those mundane cars which are reasonably priced and works well, supercars which are pretty good racers while some of them pack quite a punch but can get easily decimated, SUVs and the later big trucks which can take a beating and inflict pain, although that's what they're good at only, and the numerous interesting cars which serve no real purpose other than looking pretty interesting.
  • Cool Plane: The Supastuka in the second game, although it's Awesome, but Impractical. The beta used to have "Birdy" — a Cessna with clipped wings and a large bloodied propeller to drive into people. It was scrapped before release.
  • Couch Gag: Inverted. In the first game, a different, humorous message, usually on the subject of the difference between this game and reality, appears every time you choose to quit the game.
  • Crapsack World: Most possibly the main theme of the games. Most noticeable in the third game.
  • Creepy Mortician: A pair of undertaker twins, called The Brothers Grimm, as one of the opponents.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: In Carmageddon, some races give the player a timer of only 30 seconds before failing. In some cases, crashing into the opposition is not viable to gain enough time, so the only option is to commit copious amounts of vehicular manslaughter.
  • Cyberpunk: The third game seems to be this. In The Slums and Hi Rise levels, cyberpunk features such as holographic billboards are an abundance. Even the pedestrians seem to be all cyberpunk'd.
    • Two characters from the first game and its expansion seem to be fans of this: Mech Maniac (driver of Grunge Buster) and Su Borg (driver of Doozer).
  • Demoted to Extra: Die Anna. She starts off as one of the two selectable player characters in C1/SP, returns as a mid-game opponent in C2 and never returned in TDR 2000. The reboot sees her return as a Player Character.
  • Dirty Coward: If the cop armoured squad car chasing and battering you takes too much damage, it'll hightail it outta there, usually too fast for you to catch and finish them off, thereby denying you any credit rewards in wasting them.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: The portraits for the cop drivers in the first game show them munching on a donut. The Special Forces one seems to somehow be doing it through the visor of his helmet! Also the driver Fatman Dimm in the Playstation version. While he is not explicitly stated to be a cop, he does drive the Suppressor armored police car.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The entire point of the series.
  • Driving Up a Wall: The series has featured a variety of physics-modifying power-ups (most blatantly the Wall-Climber power-up) that allow driving at all sorts of bizarre angles, including up sheer walls and even upside down. Certain types of cars can even do so without any power-ups, whether due to abnormally high downforce, extreme acceleration, supernatural tire grip or some other unusual physical property. This is made even more common by the tendency of cars to get involved in powerful collisions and get punted upwards onto walls and ceilings.
  • Early Game Hell: The timer in the first game is probably your worst enemy. On some levels you have barely more than a minute to quickly find some pedestrians or power-ups to reap the rewards of extra playing-time. Then of course, there's your default car, the Red Eagle which is a Fragile Speedster that has terrible armor and offense that you can't yet upgrade. Any profit you make will get quickly swallowed up by the hefty repair and recovery costs you'll incur.
  • Epic Flail: The "Wow! A Mutant Tail Thing!" powerup from Carmageddon 2 spawns a large spiked ball attached to the back of the player's vehicle by a short chain. It is primarily used for hitting peds (which would cause a special message to appear every time you kill a ped with it), but it also has a nasty side-effect of affecting the handling of the car in addition to being a self-waste option if the player runs over it while Pinball Mode is active.
  • Explosive Barrel: The first game had its power-ups placed within these, complete with harmless colorful explosion, imparting all manner of buffs, debuffs, or just plain silly effects to the environment and to its population. The actual explosive "barrels" were the floating naval mines located in some parts of some levels, bizarrely above water in most cases.
  • Expy: Max Damage is clearly the game's counterpart of Needles Kane a.k.a Sweet Tooth. While not a Monster Clown, he's equally Ax-Crazy, is a Recurring Character (so as his car) and is also the game's mascot.
    • A lot of the cars in TDR 2000 are expies of cars from past games.

  • Fragile Speedster: Throughout the series, Vlad's cars tend to be the fastest, although they're frail and terrible at cornering.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The "Trucking Hell" mission in C2, where Psycho Pitbull has followed you out from the quarry in the Big Dump with the intent of killing you for who knows why. Fortunately there's a Solid Granite Car power up right next to the lamp post that's in front of your starting position. The mission description is "It has escaped. Kill it." Then the mission starts, and there's this massive mining dump truck roaring right at you.
  • Glass Cannon: Some cars can be this, being able to waste opponents easily but can also get itself wasted just as easily. The Big Dump in C2 is a good example, being capable of wasting every other car in the game but even a small collision with a wall can waste it.
  • Healing Potion: The Instant Repair powerup is this; compared to the standard repair command, which gradually repairs the vehicle over time, taking longer if the damage is more extensive, Instant Repair immediately restores the vehicle that hits it to pristine condition, even if it is wrecked.
  • Heal Thyself: The repair command gradually reverses damage done to the vehicle. Tapping the key for it once will only repair a small amount of damage; double-tapping causes all damage to be undone. With vehicles having many breakable components in Reincarnation and Max Damage, use of the repair command in these games will see any detached vehicle parts flying back to the main vehicle body and reattaching themselves.
  • Hollywood Acid: In the first game the entire pacific ocean was transformed into sulfuric acid thanks to a chemical experiment gone awry. It doesn't damage your car, so it in no way affects the game-play (no more than driving off into regular deep-water).
  • Hot Pursuit: In the first and third games, police cars will be parked in certain spots and will proceed to chase and ram you if they notice you doing anything reckless. This includes driving past them at 80 M.P.H. (60 is fine), running over pedestrians, or striking their vehicle. Naturally they don't care if it's an AI car causing the mayhem though. In the second game, the special race in the last group, Bruise Brothers, 12 Copcars will be chasing you. You have to wreck them all before the timer runs out in order to win.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: One of Carmageddon's infamous powerups is called "Pinball Mode", which causes every movable 3D object in the game to ricochet off other 3D objects (including the ground) upon impact, usually at a significantly higher speed. This can result in trashing the set as things like vehicles, lamp-posts and traffic lights in the original game and, from Carmageddon 2 onwards, other miscellaneous 3D objects such as vehicle parts and even F-14 Tomcats get knocked off and sent bouncing and flying in all directions at speeds high enough to send other objects bouncing and flying around likewise.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: With many Black Comedy jokes on them.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The original Carmageddon gives us the Suppressor on the Rank 9 race, Blood on the Rooftops. This is a one-of-a-kind armoured APC that only appears in this race and is exceedingly difficult to waste and immensely powerful—it is described in the manual as "something with the dimensions and weight of a small house but which has the performance of a fighter plane" and can easily ragdoll any other unlockable vehicle the player can get, even with all Level 5 APO upgrades equipped, and No-Sell nearly any impact on it bar collisions when the Pinball Mode powerup is active or driving into enough mines to waste any other vehicle several times over. However, if the player is able to waste the Suppressor, such as via high-speed collisions while the Solid Granite Car powerup is active, it is automatically unlocked for the player to use, and it will thereafter become the player's answer to everything they want to wreck or kill for the very same reasons that make it a nightmare to waste.
    • Carmageddon II has the Big Dump, which has a strength rating of 80 out of 5. The only real problems it has are getting under a checkpoint and its exorbitant price tag.
    • Carmageddon: Max Damage has two of these. The first one is the Subpressor, which is a four-wheeled version of the original Suppressor and still hits just as hard, although it is a bit more susceptible to damage due to the game's difficulty scaling as well as its wheels being easy prey for stingers and other sharp objects. The second one is the Super Suppressor, which is essentially a tank-train hybrid for the road, along with the stopping power (and agility) you would expect from a vehicle of its size. Just like the original Suppressor, it only appears in one race near the end (Erasing Arizona) and can take a ridiculous amount of punishment while dishing equal amounts out, and if the player wrecks it, they can use it for subsequent races. The Subpressor and Super Suppressor are tied for having the highest strength rating of all vehicles in the game, at 10.
  • Interface Screw: You can pick up a rare power-up called 'Drugs!!!' which could possibly trigger an epileptic seizure. Mercifully it only lasts for five seconds.
  • I Want My Mommy!: In the first game, Max Damage will sometimes shout "Mommy!" if jumping or falling from a great height.
  • The Jaywalking Dead: The censored version replaces the pedestrians that you are encouraged to run over with zombies, and gives a Zombie Apocalypse as the backstory to justify this.
  • Joke Character:
    • From the first game, Vlad's Annihilator and OK Stimpson's Fraud Broko come into mind here, although there are others. The former is a ridiculously fast dragster that is almost impossible to turn and very easy to waste, and the latter is an SUV with such bouncy suspension, it tends to flip over every time it gets hit. The mobile ports remove the jelly suspension from the Fraud Broko, but makes the Annihilator go so fast, it does wheelies every time it hits full acceleration from a standing start, making an already impossible-to-drive vehicle even more impossible to drive.
    • From Carmageddon 2, there's the Bugga, Harvester, Jetcar and Supastuka. The Bugga can't hit hard, gets wasted very easily—most of time, it wastes itself—is not fast enough to be a proper racing vehicle, and is pink. The Harvester, despite being strong, has rear wheel steering and an obscenely wide front that makes it impossible to turn tight and narrow corners. The Jetcar suffers the same cornering issues as the Annihilator, but complements it with a sloped front that tends to send every vehicle trying to ram it head-on flying into the air. The Supastuka is a plane on the ground. To scale. Complete with wings. Which tend to clip lamp-posts due to their width and tangle the entire vehicle up in one of the puniest, most avoidable objects in the entire game.
    • The Specter in TDR 2000 is when you take the Bugga, give it a speed boost and a trike configuration and 100 times the frustration of driving the damn thing.
    • The Wheel. Its very poor center of gravity causes it to constantly bob about, making it impossible to gain speed. It also tends to veer to one side and end up spinning out of control.
    • Carmageddon: Reincarnation and Carmageddon: Max Damage gives us the CU:NT. Seen in the first few races, this tiny armored city car is what the cops will use in the first few races, where they are barely a threat to the player and extremely fun to push around and smash into.
  • Joke Item: The Opponent Ejaculator in Reincarnation and Max Damage causes the target's driver model to be forcibly ejected from their vehicle through a large enough windshield...and that's it. The damage dealt is next to nothing and the vehicle will still function normally even in the absence of the driver model.
  • The Juggernaut: Carmageddon 2's Big Dump is the apotheosis of this trope. It's a gigantic dump truck several times the size of most of the other vehicles, capable of plowing through everything else in the game... usually without losing speed. And in order to unlock it, you have to kill it. It even starts the level driving right at you, and will kill you outright if it connects. When you do unlock it, it's so big that it takes up the entire screen in third person view.
    • Although the cost of it is more than the entire game would cost you to play. It costs 8,800,000 credits. You could spend that on upgrades and snatch one of the best vehicles in the game, Abba Cab for about 1,750,000. Beat the game and unlock everything anyway. You'll spend more time earning it, than just beating the game as the game doesn't take long. Unless you cheat. Even then a fully upgraded top-tier car is likely better as they are faster, kill just fine (even Big Dump will get squashed in a direct confrontation), also they are stronger against wall collisions and can move the level better. Still fun to play as Big Dump though.
    • The Loggerhead is a cheaper version of the Big Dump which also appears as a regular opponent in the later stages.
    • The games also feature the Mother Truckers (I and II in the respective games), the Abba Cabs I & II, which are semi-trucks, and the Deathcruiser in Carmageddon 2, which is a street bus fitted with what it seems like a jet engine occupying the passengers' space.
      • There's also the Master Mine in TDR 2000, Big Dump's expy. Unfortunately it's a Joke Character, being very slow and having very high ground clearance that even small cars can drive underneath it unscathed.

  • Kick the Dog: Everyone runs over the dog at speeds typically exceeding 100 mph. Even the cops will not hesitate to run over some pedestrians in their path because you broke the speed limit.
  • Kubrick Stare: Max Damage in general (pictured above).
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
    • C2 has the Mach 13, which is obviously the Mach 5 in different colours.
    • One of the criticism TDR 2000 received was how a number of cars were outright ripped out from movies, TV shows, even custom cars in Real Life. The Enforcer and the SXE Blackhatch are the most prominent ones; they're none other than the Yellow and Black Interceptors from Mad Max respectively (Torus Games had the Mad Max license at the time). Others include Knave (KITT), Husky (Red Tomato, but in reversed colours), Drag-Ghoul (Dragula), The Boss (Gary Myers' 1964 Mustang). The expansion adds in Pogo (Mr Bean's Mini Cooper, but as a cabriolet) and Jaws (this truck). They also intended to add in The Monster, Frankenstein's car from Death Race 2000 while they still had the license. It was eventually scrapped.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Even the weakest, most worthless vehicles in the game can become potentially deadly with upgraded APO. And lets not get down to the countless powerups like Sold Granite Car and Acme Damage Magnifier which can give these same weak vehicles a much needed (though temporary) boost in offensive and defence, enabling them to Curb-Stomp Battle things like freakin' Big Dump.
    • The Mad Morris from the second game deserves a mention. Its a race modified Morris, looks rather stupid, and its a tiny hot hatch. It appears late in the game for a reason: its ridiculously resilient, hits just as hard as some of the heavier cars, is reasonably fast, and if used right can even takedown trucks many times its size without using any offensive powerups whatsoever. Its twitchy handling and tendency to spin all over the place in midair are two things you should look out for.
    • The Copcar from the same game isn't as awesome looking as its predecessor, being a dowdy 80's sedan instead of a riot-control vehicle like in the first one. It still has the good top speed, damage output and durability that made the Squad Cars the deadly foes they are. Then there's that special race where you had to go up against 12 of them. Even with the Big Dump it's still no easy task.
    • The Tropi-Kill from Max Damage. Sure, its armor and offense are for crap and it's a mini-van, but it has good power due to its rocket boosters on the back. Plus, the boosters seem to suck all nearby peds towards it. Combine that with the fan on the front, and the fact that the jet boosters set the peds on fire, and you have a vehicle on par with the Electric Blue when it comes to easily killing pedestrians.
  • Made of Plasticine:
    • The pedestrians splatter gruesomely if you so much as touch them, especially in the first game where they were sprite-based and not 3D objects that could be truly knocked around freely. Later games made it just barely possible to drive slowly enough to merely injure one, granting the player a "Cat 'n Mouse bonus" if they lose a limb or two. No pedestrian collision deals any damage to your car (however large animals in the second game on the other hand...).
    • In Carmageddon II, the pedestrians' body parts are more solid, and albeit they don't produce damage upon collision, they can support the car's weight and lift the tires from the ground, forcing the player to respawn to get unstuck.
  • Monowheel Mayhem: The Wheel from the third game. It is a cage-like monowheel armed with two giant axes.
  • Mutually Exclusive Power-Ups: While most power-ups can stack together and create chaotic combinations (or over-powered / fun ones such as Hot Rod + Gravity from Jupiter, which negated the former's wheelie effect while granting the player great traction and slowing down enemy vehicles), certain power-ups would immediately cancel others if collected together. Such examples include Rock Springs and Jelly Suspension being opposing effects so whichever was collected first gets cancelled. Similarly various speed and gravity modifying effects such as Turbo / Hot-Rod or Lunar / Jupiter Gravity would only respect the latest one collected.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Screwie Lewie's car is a "Supercar/Monster Truck/Light Aircraft/Mole Machine" vehicle - for the discerning psycho. It also perfectly incorporates the characteristics of each of these machines, making it a very balanced car.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The series is notable for parodying real-life people and characters from other fiction but perhaps the most blatant of them is O.K Stimpson, driver of the Fraud Broko. He is obviously a thinly-veiled parody of O.J Simpson and his vehicle is a Ford Bronco (albeit a modified one), the same vehicle O.J drove during police's low-speed pursuit of him. His description even references the incident, coupled with a small Take That!.
    "He seems a friendly kind of guy, but appearances can deceive, and the way he guns that 4x4 along you'd think he was on the run!"
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Opponents will warp around to random places on the map... but not if you have the map screen open. On some mazelike levels driving with the map open (using the tiny viewport at the top) is the only way to catch that last cowardly opponent in a reasonable amount of time.
    • Also, in the earlier games if you push an opponent into deep water it wrecks them (though you earn no credits for it), but if they drive into it themselves, they teleport back to solid ground just like the player would. Giving the opponent a little nudge on their way to Davy Jones' locker can make all the difference.
  • Police State: The last levels of the third game take place in such a place. Everywhere you look is just Scenery Porn.
  • Portmantitle: The name of the series is a portmanteau of "car" and "Armageddon".
  • Psycho Electro: Stella Stunna, who connects herself to the battery of her car for an "extra buzz". Her vehicle, Electric Blue, comes with a built-in Electro-Bastard Ray that automatically kills pedestrians in a wide radius. An AI-controlled Electric Blue will gladly zap every pedestrian you are about to run over in the first thirty seconds of the race, causing you to run out of time and lose. Cue throwing your controller at the monitor.
  • Punny Name: From the names of the drivers, to the name of their cars, and the names of each level, map, and mission, almost everything is a Shout-Out to someone or something.
  • Ramming Always Works: Zigzagged; how this trope plays out depends entirely on the mass of the vehicles or objects involved. With a heavier vehicle like The Plow and/or with the Solid Granite Car powerup active, you will do heavy damage to almost anything you hit, and you can drive into map objects and push them around as if they aren't there. However, if you are driving a very light vehicle, such as The Annihilator or the KVN Toucan, ramming most things without a beneficial powerup active (such as Invincibility) is generally a bad idea, since your vehicle will likely take more damage than whatever you are ramming. It is not unheard of for computer players to wreck themselves by trying to ram something clearly stronger than they are.
  • Rice Burner: The afore mentioned 'The Mecha' which is actually a Ford Ka town car. Not a very good performance car since it is slow but does handle well.
    • The Street Machine form the second game is a wacky example. It has speakers in the boot so large that the boot lid can't close. Driving the car is also like driving with the 'Grip-o-matic Tires' powerup permanently active. It gets worse when you actually have that powerup active.
  • RPG Elements: In the first game, you first had to select your Player Character who both drive cars that suit different play styles (Max's Eagle is good for thrashing opponents while Anna's Hawk is better at racing). As you race and cause general mayhem, you rack up credits which can then be used to buy universal upgrades that help to improve armor, power and offense (APO). You can also earn some of the better stealworthy cars if you wreck them a couple of times.
  • Series Mascot: Max Damage, who is the most notable character to appear in every Carmageddon game and appears on the box covers.
  • Slasher Smile: The box covers.
  • Spoonerism: The "Cunning Stunt Bonus" is this while also being Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Zig-zagged. Cars can still be driven underwater, albeit with changes to physics to emulate water resistance, unless they fall off the edge of the map, in which they recover at around the last spot they were at before they went under (or get wasted, if they were pushed off the map by the player in the original game). However, peds in ''Carmageddon 2'' and onward will drown after a short period of time if they are pushed into bodies of water.
  • Taken for Granite: Actually not a negative power-up by any standard means, the appropriately named Solid Granite Car power-up turns the player's vehicle into an unyielding mass of death. It does not significantly increase your own defense, but even the biggest trucks will bounce right off you. You however will be able to uproot trees, take out street lamps, and swat away any other vehicle. Even the slightest pressure created by pushing a car between you and a wall typically means instant death for the unlucky racer. In single player modes, your car model does not change, so it's difficult to tell if your wheels also become granite, but you are able to drive as unhindered as you were before the power-up.
  • Tank Goodness: The King Merc and the Suppressor in C1 and TDR 2000. The Flower Plower, the bonus car in C2, leans more towards Joke Character though. The Squad Cars in C1 may count, being standard issue APCs which are nearly as good as the Suppressor. Da Panzer in TDR 2000 is the series' most literal example. You even get to gather tank shells and shoot them in the last Military Zone mission.
  • Themed Cursor: A severed hand (with blood dripping out of it) in the first game.
  • Timed Mission: Of a sort in the first game. Scoring credits by damaging opponents and running over peds gave so much additional time that your "time limit" generally was just an excuse to award the player with even more credits via "time bonus" after the race. Hard difficulty did put more pressure on the player as their starting time often was under a minute and any additional time earned was in small doses. Played straight in the second game with the missions that advanced each chapter: the given time limits were quite strict and allowed for little mistakes, with no way to gain bonus time.
  • Too Dumb to Live: All the civilians still out on the race course, who failed to heed the 1-minute warning to reach safe distance.
  • Unwinnable:
    • There are races in Carmageddon 2 that randomly can't be cleared by killing all the pedestrians because one or two may spawn inside solid buildings. This is evidenced by the fact that they show as glowing pins in the radar map, but they are altogether unreachable even after climbing the building or exploring the underground where available. There are times where said pedestrians can't even be killed by using the Pedestrian Electro-bastard ray power (which clips through solids). As such, said races may be cleared only by wasting the other cars or going through the checkpoints.
    • Clearing mountain time courses in Carmageddon 2 is near-impossible if you're not driving an off-road vehicle with good traction. Both gravity and steepness makes the roads basically impossible to maneuver otherwise.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: You can actually choose not to mow down any pedestrians, and simply go after the psychopathic racers who do. Not an easy challenge though, because of the time limit.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Cripple a car, then push it into a field of Exploding Barrels. Grab a Dismemberfest powerup, gently nudge pedestrians to remove their limbs, then watch the torsos flop around pathetically. Trap an opponent in a confined space, enable Pinball Mode, and allow them to smash themselves to bits against the walls. Pin an opponent against a freeway divider, get the upgrades for solid granite car and gripped tires or Jupiter gravity (by cheating, unless you're really lucky), bring up the map so they don't go anywhere, then ram them at top speed. They'll literally fly off the map. The opportunities are only limited by the player's sociopathy.
  • Villain Protagonist: Max Damage and Die Anna, since both of them are bloodthirsty racers who show no mercy when mowing down a crowd of pedestrians or totaling their rivals' cars to scrap metal.
  • Weaponized Car: Majority of the cars are armed with countless melee weapons such as spike bumpers, wheel blades, buzzsaws, drill bits, etc.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The censored version of the first game revolves on this, which carried into the rest of the series. Solar flares have turned 80% of the world's population into zombies...and Carmageddon is mankind's solution against this threat.