A conversion of the 1992 arcade shooter from Midway, the Atari Jaguar port of Total Carnage was developed by Hand Made Software and first published by Midway Manufacturing in 1995.
Total Carnage is a multi-directional shoot ’em up and a spiritual successor to Smash TV, with one or two players traversing through a scrolling landscape, blasting the enemy forces of General Akhboob (yeah – what a name).
Occasionally the scrolling screen will stop and you’ll have to deal with an enemy rush, or a boss battle, and that’s when things really start to hot up. Like in Smash TV you can pick up a variety of different weapons, and this time you can also use bombs to help take down tanks, jeeps, and other heavy machines (and if you manage that you’ll get a “Big Stuff Bonus” added to your points total). You sometimes even have to blow doors open to continue moving.
There are various traps and landmines to avoid, and mine-laying robots that you should take out as soon as possible, and you really have to watch where you walk or be treated to a funny animation of you being blown into the air with your chest cavity missing… The sheer amount of traps can be frustrating at times.
You can pick up keys as you progress and these will unlock alternate routes through the game, and also allow access to “Pleasure Domes” at the end of the each stage, which are basically Smash TV-like bonus rooms where you can shoot more stuff and collect bonus items for more points. There are also hostages to rescue on the way, plus occasional bonus hostage rescue situations, and warps to a variety of bonus rooms.
Total Carnage is completely manic stuff, and is more fun with two people playing cooperatively. In fact: you could argue that the game is far too difficult for one player on their own, especially as you’re only allowed one continue per area (although you can earn more). It’s still a fairly decent conversion of the arcade game, though, and is a rare ‘must-play’ title on the Jaguar.
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