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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Acclaim

 

Developer

Acclaim

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

June 2002

 

 

- Accessible

- Butter-smooth control

- Nice crashes

 

 

- Few tracks and cars

- Generic environments and car models

- Only two camera views

- Few game options

 

 

Review: Burnout 2: Point of Impact (Playstation 2)

Review: Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (Playstation 2)

Review: Project Gotham Racing (XBox)

 

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Burnout

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

In a world of Gran Turismos (GT) and Rallisports, itís refreshing to see that a low budget, below the radar title like Burnout not only hasnít been squelched from the market but can actually offer something the others fail to provide. Acclaim promotes the games crashes but theyíre not even Burnoutís strong points. In a strong testament to quality over quantity, control over flash, Burnout is the laymanís game ready for anyone to pick up and Burn.

 

burnout-1.jpg (39248 bytes)          burnout-2.jpg (41071 bytes)

 

Accessible is the key word when it comes to Burnout Ė the gameís most notable feature is the butter-smooth, quick responsive control, especially with the perfect fit of the GameCube controller.  On the crowded roads of all of the game's tracks, tight control is essential for weaving in and around all of the traffic at high speeds.  Even though the games most touted feature, the crashes, are generic and quickly become boring, itís more than made up for by the intense breakneck racing on highways and back roads, against traffic and around tight turns.

 

Adding a little more pep to the races is the prerequisite turbo boost that becomes available after a certain length of driving without incident.  The boost is considerable and itís fun to try to navigate at the heightened speed.  Itís not enough to turn the tides of a race, and more often than not sends you torpedoing to a fiery death but itís great if you can learn to control it.

 

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The environments and soundtrack, while only revolutionary to gamers who are stuck in the Ď80ís, are passable but not GT quality in any sense. Adequate lighting affects bathe the track and varied texture qualities zip by but the scenery is standard from cities to villages and small buildings all without any pedestrians. Thereís never a point where you want to stop and gawk Ė which wouldnít be a good idea anyway.  Similarly, the soundtrack is bargain-bin quality while the sound effects are just about satisfactory.

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Unfortunately, the developers didnít see fit to garnish the player with any more than two camera options or the ability to alter the number of laps. Subtracting from Burnoutís case even further is the near complete lack of detail on the car models. The player begins with 5 cars to choose from Ė obviously not heaven for the vehicular connoisseur.  Other cars, like the tow truck and a few others, can be unlocked via the Face Off mode where you have to defeat each car to gain access to it.

 

The races are made exciting by frequent crashes, traffic jams and aggressive CPU opponents who cause major pile-ups themselves.  The traffic comes in waves and forces the player to avoid it skillfully. The lack of many varied tracks will repel race fans (there are 14 in total yet 7 of those are rebuilt from sections of the previous tracks) but there is the standard amount of modes to choose from: Championship, Face Off, Time Attack, Survival and 2-on-2.

 

burnout-3.jpg (30742 bytes)          burnout-4.jpg (36893 bytes)

 

Championship mode starts you off with three tracks and the player must finish in second place on all three. Each time you finish a group of tracks three more are opened until all tracks are revealed.   Survival dares you to finish a race without one accident Ė after your first fender bender the race is over.

 

Burnout obviously was never meant to push any limits and in the end, it never does. What it does do though, is bring fast paced, exciting and accessible car racing to the GameCube line-up.  Sacrificing flash and variety, it emphasizes tight control, accessibility, adrenaline-rush speeds and deep concentration for weaving through traffic. Even if it werenít the GameCube's only true racing title it would be worth a second look. Being that it is, itís a must have for racing fans loyal to the Purple Square.

 

- Doug Flowe

(July 7, 2002)

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