The story starts as an evil Middle Eastern dictator named General Akhboob closes off his country, and when reporters try to get the scoop, they are all swiped up. Suddenly we realize there's anything but baby milk being made in that factory. It's up to Captain Carnage and Major Mayhem to invade Akhboob's base, destroy his forces, kill the mutants, and rescue all the hostages. If Akhboob dies in the process, so be it. With two heroes at the ready, Total Carnage perfect for co-op play.
Even though you are the ugliest reporter ever, I'll avenge your death.
The game continues this over the top style throughout with various enemies and cut scenes being downright silly. Even the bosses are nuts; you'll fight Orcus, the mother of all boss monsters. He's actually kind of a pussy, but when the giant green screaming creature lands on your screen, it's quite intimidating. Instead of rooms, players are in the open landscape contending with enemies from all directions. There's even giant vehicles to face off against, enemies of all sizes to kill, and of course - plenty of blood and guts.
In Smash T.V. players were fixated on grabbing prizes and weapon upgrades, and while Total Carnage has some of that, there's a lot more to concentrate on. There's plenty of weapon upgrades to grab with all the traditional types making a return: spread shot, grenade gun, and various other upgrades. Instead of prizes for bonus points, you need to rescue hostages - namely all those captured reporters. To make things more difficult the game uses a constant scrolling mechanism to make it almost impossible to grab all of these missing foes. You'll need a friend at your side to cover the whole screen.
The other bonus item in the game are keys, only for the truly dedicated. In fact, you need to grab 220 of these to unlock access to The Pleasure Dome. Inside is a promised haven of prizes, gold, and bikini clad babes. Again the scrolling mechanism makes this difficult at times, and a lot of keys are hidden behind objects so you can't necessarily see them. It's almost a requirement to have two players to grab 220 keys, as some keys appear and disappear quickly.