You can only access a new tier by competing in a three-race tournament where you'll need to gather enough points to prove you're worthy of moving on up the food chain to face off against tougher foes on meaner tracks. In this regard, I absolutely adore the game's sense of discovery and content creep. It reminds me of the old-school classics when you played games and were surprised at unlocking something new... back during the times when paid-DLC didn't dictate the definition of “unlockable” content.
As previously mentioned, there are sponsors in the game and they can really add some extra flair to the racing experience. Completing races in good positions earns you extra money from your sponsor, and winning consecutively opens up special sponsorship events where you'll race on a team with other sponsored racers and you face off against a rival sponsor. The earnings are big if you manage to win but it's not always easy. There's a lot of close-calls and a serious measure of skill involved if you want to come out victorious.
As you move up the ranks you'll unlock new sponsors, which may offer more money but under stricter conditions, as well as new game modes. Originally, the game starts off with Power Race and Battle Race, the first of which is just a normal bump-and-grind race without weapons, and the second of which is a race with weapons. You'll eventually participate in Knockout Races, which is basically a race until the last racer is standing. A Last Man Standing mode is also present, which is an arena based competition similar to the classic Twisted Metal.
As you move through the career mode the modes will cycle through tracks you unlock as you progress and sometimes there are additional bonus conditions present that can help you earn additional cash so you can afford the destructive driving machine of your dreams.
You can invest well over eight hours into the career mode of Gas Guzzlers: Extreme and still find that there's plenty to go back to and play. In a way, I kind of wish other games had progressive career modes with tons of unlockable content, sort of like wrestling games from the PSX and PS2 era.
If I did have a gripe – and by all accounts, even I'll admit this is a petty gripe – it's that there's no multiplayer career mode options. But you know, if Gas Guzzlers: Extreme manages to find a proper audience and Gamepires can make a third game, maybe they'll make a multiplayer career mode an option.
As it stands I think the mode definitely works and works well. For a budget priced title I was quite impressed with how the content continually trickles out in spurts as you play through the mode and I would be lying if I said I wasn't hit with the nostalgia stick. Definitely one of the few sticks worth getting hit by.
You can check out Gas Guzzlers: Extreme over on the official website. The game is also available on digital distribution outlets for only $24.99, which may or may not be within your budget for this kind of game.