Seems there is a bit of a void in the market at the moment when it comes to racing games which focus on causing as much mayhem and destruction as the player can manage.
I scoured through blogs, Wikipedia, game sites and YouTube to find a recent quality crash simulator in the vein of Burnout and was left scratching my head.
The Burnout series is up there in terms of being one of my absolute favourite racing franchises of all time, the games in the main series all have a really original feel, are loaded with game specific features and the games show a natural progression as they are released, incorporating more and more rich features to keep players entertained and busy as they play through them.
It was a difficult choice in deciding which game to cover, so I’ve gone for the one which I personally felt was the most iconic, the most groundbreaking and above all, the most fun to play– That is of course Burnout 3: Takedown.
So, the game was developed by Criterion Games (recently swallowed up by EA to work on their depressing Need for Speed franchise and even more recently Star Wars: Battlefront II) — Released on September 10th 2004 on the PS2 and Xbox. The game has the familiar high octane street racing and crash stages which made Burnout 1 & 2:Point of Impact so well loved.
One of the new (and in my opinion, the best addition to the Burnout series. Period.) Mechanics is the Takedown, the fact that you can smash your rivals into barriers, cars, bollards, columns, trees and pretty much anything solid is not only great fun but a pretty effective stress relief mechanic, especially if you’ve been taken down by a rival and then you exact that sweet revenge on them.
Following on from the introduction of the Takedown, this opened the door for the Road Rage game mode, essentially you drive around the track with your rivals trying to smash them around and achieve as many Takedowns as possible in either a time limit or until your car gives up the ghost.
As well as physical Takedowns there are also “Psyche Outs” — Basically hovering behind your opponents but avoiding contact for a period of time makes them a bit twitchy and they end up planting themselves up a street lamp. Extremely rewarding.
The meat of the game is spent in the World Tour mode– essentially you can compete in different locations in the USA, Europe, and the Far East. You can earn gold, silver, or bronze medals depending on how you do in the event to unlock new events, awards, and vehicles.
Leader at the end of the last lap wins. Lap amount varies depending on class and track length.
Earn GP points for qualifying in a series of 3 or 4 races. Your goal is to get the highest combined score.If you get at least a bronze you’ll unlock a new series
Stay ahead to win: the driver in last place at the end of each lap is knocked out.
Race one-on-one against a rival to win their car. The opponent is more aggressive and will often have an advantage over vehicles that the player unlocked earlier, such as speed or handling. Boost is more precious in face-offs and takes longer to regain if it is lost. Dangerous driving alone isn’t enough for victory, so players will have to use boost wisely, avoid crashing and battle intensely with their rival to win.
Lets talk about the elephant in the room; DJ Stryker, while I can see his relevance in a game like this (a similar setup graced Forza Horizon some years later) I dont believe a British studio who were so reserved in previous games had any responsibility in including a pretentious overly cocky and mostly annoying American DJ, smells like an EA influence a mile away.
But moving onto the soundtrack itself– Holy Crap.
There are songs which this game introduced me to back in 2004 and I still listen to them today– Some of my favourites include C’mon by Go Betty Go, Make A Sound by Autopilot:Off, Just Tonight by Jimmy Eat World, Right Side of the Bed by Atreyu and This Fire by Franz Ferdinand– who am I kidding, the whole damn thing is amazing.
Have a listen above, This soundtrack is easily as good as THUG2 or Need for Speed: Underground 2.
Criterion tend to go for everyday vehicles, sculpted to look almost like their branded counterparts but far enough away to avoid a lawsuit; There are over 70 playable vehicles on the game ranging from Compacts, Coupes, Sports Cars, Muscle Cars, Super Cars & Heavies such as the Fire Truck, “B-Team” Van, 18 Wheeler and Bus.
As you progress through the World Tour mode you unlock new vehicles which cause more devastation in crash modes and faster cars to win those races and time trials.
A true cult classic in the arcade racing arena, this is the game which took Burnout and got it promoted from League 1 to the Premiership in terms of features, modes and especially soundtrack, No doubt this game holds dear to many a 20 something from my generation, a game which richly deserves its place on the winners podium of racing games.
If ever a game needed a current gen overhaul, this is the one.
I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane with us this week, thank you for reading and be sure to follow BoomSlang on social media for more news, reviews, classics and a whole host of other content.