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Score:9.2 / 10
Fast cars and gaming have gone hand-in-hand
for many years but it hasnít been until recently that realistic car
games have demonstrated what itís like to crash into oncoming traffic.
No more of this Pole Position stuff where the most minor nudge resulted
in your car exploding. In my mind it started with the original Burnout
then revved up with Burnout 2: Point of Impact, with some truly
horrendous crashes (in a good way) highlighting the blistering pace of
the game. Burnout 3: Takedown (B3T) brings it all together: a huge
variety of race tracks, race types and a sweet number of intersections
in Crash Mode.
If youíre unfamiliar with the Burnout series, Crash Mode tasks you with
causing as much vehicular mayhem as possible. B3T takes the mayhem and
manages to crank the carnage even further.
Before each Crash Mode event begins a target number of collisions is
displayed. Scream into an intersection (on-coming traffic, etc.) and
cause a pile-up to reach
the target number of collisions. Then at
the most opportune moment you can explode your car (called Crashbreaker)
to cause even more damage! On top of that Criterion has added Aftertouch,
which allows you to slightly ďsteerĒ your wreck to spread the chaos even
further across the impact zone. Even with all that itís still sometimes
very tricky to hit the point totals required for Bronze, Silver and Gold
finishes. Strangely enough it becomes
puzzle-like: How can I hit the requisite number of cars to explode and
still hit score multipliers and cash pick-ups along the way? Some setups
take multiple run-throughs to find the magic route to score enough
points for the Gold. It can be a little frustrating but because the game
looks as good as it does you donít mind.
The actual racing modes are of the standard variety (head-to-head, laps,
etc.) Ė these are expected and B3T does a good job with them, keeping a
nice balance between the toughness of the course and the smarts of the
driver AI. But to win most races youíre in constant search for boost Ė
pulling extremely dangerous maneuvers to load up your boost meter, which
can now be used at any time (instead of having to fill it up and use it
all at once as in the previous installments). To increase the meterís
capacity Burnout 3ís subtitle, Takedown, comes into play.
By scraping an opponent into oncoming traffic or a wall you
simultaneously have your boost capacity increased and the meter filled.
(Not to mention treated to a slow-mo cut of your opponent crashing.) The
one danger with this is that some vehicles attain near light-speed when
boost is activated. On a straightaway with no oncoming traffic this
would be great Ė the sense of speed is awesome and rivals that of F-Zero
GX (for GameCube). But B3T routinely throws hazards on the road like
cross traffic, blind corners, and, my favorite, supports for elevated
tracks. Itís a true test of skill and co-ordination, but it can also be
a little frustrating.
Doing well with both the races and crash modes in the World Tour is
rewarded with a long list of unlockables, which include new cars, new
race events, and invites to events on other continents. There are also
bonuses given for meeting optional goals, like taking down five
opponents during a race. The good thing is you donít necessarily have to
finish 1st in every event to unlock levels, so if get stumped trying to
get gold on one race you can always try something else.
Iíd almost be ready to score B3T close to a perfect 10 but the
soundtrack is so crummy that it dents an otherwise awesome arcade racer.
The music seems completely out of place and the accompanying DJ Stryker
is simply annoying after about 10 minutes. Fortunately, you use tunes
stored on your Xboxís harddrive. The overall sound design is very good,
particularly the haunting and slow-mo music played during uses of
Another quibble is the amazing amount of load screens. Thereís a loading
screen for everything! This would become extremely annoying if it wasnít
for the gameplay, which is a lot of fun and challenging.
B3T also features a complete complement of online racing over Live. By
all accounts, itís a smooth experience and it can get the competitive
If you can put up with the loading screens galore and a bad soundtrack,
Burnout 3: Takedown is an arcade racer that should please hardcore and
casual race fans. If youíre a fan of the series, skip the rental and
just buy it.