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Burnout Package Art
 GENRE
  Racing
 DEVELOPER
  Criterion Games
 PUBLISHER
  Acclaim
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1-2
 CONNECTIVITY
  no
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Burnout

Blazing speed, stunning collisions, rewards for every type of reckless endangerment of human life that you can come up with behind the wheel. This game is nothing like the F1 sims that I also love but it embraces its arcade basis and runs with it like a bat out of hell. Burnout is short, but it’s the style of game whereby you’ll pick it up every other day and just blaze off a race.

visuals

Criterion Games kicked up the lighting, clarity and polish for the GC version of this game. Everything looks rock solid and most importantly, lightning fast. Your car does not have that “floating” feeling that most arcade racers pass off. Instead, you feel “glued” to the road as you whip around a turn. I have been very impressed to say the least with the way Criterion and Acclaim have brought the visuals of this package together.

I guess the best way to summate the in-game graphics is “polished”. From the shattering of glass to the skid marks, it’s all well done.

As for the "off-the-track visuals," you’ll find fairly sparse yet easy to navigate menus to peruse. During the race, all of your information in terms of speed and how you’re fairing with your "boost meter," is all easy to discern. My one complaint is that the gear selector underneath the tachometer is way too small. That should have been a graphic unto itself.

Did I mention a crash replay theater? Where you and your loved ones can watch you pound a passenger bus over and over and over again?!

audio

In short: a bit of a let down. Some banal and overused techno tracks fill up the soundscape, whereas some licensed music like the tracks found in Dave Mirra’s title would have really worked out nicely. If the techno genre was leaned on because of the style of the game than Acclaim should’ve went after a DJ or someone like Neil Voss of Tetrisphere and The New Tetris fame to really rip up the road.

Another disappointment is the flat "vacuum cleaner" tone of the engines in this title. I want to hear a V8 roar when I go for my muscle car, not a "frrrrrrrt!" This sound effect is integral to any racing game as it adds to the sense of speed and to have such a muffled effect was not a good idea.

The rest of the audioscape is competent though. From screeching tires and shattering glass to the toot of your horn. It’s all there.

gameplay

Imagine a game where you’re rewarded for driving badly or with great risk. A game where you are given "boost points" for narrowly missing traffic, skidding through corners, and driving in oncoming traffic, not to mention being told how much damage you caused (in dollars) after an accident! Now imagine a bloody fast race amidst all of that mayhem... WOW! Burnout gets really interesting in the highly populated tracks. There’s so much clutter to navigate through and all the while you have three computer AI cars chasing you. It’s really fun!

The best element of the game by far is the boost meter. Each time you drive recklessly you’re meter rises until it’s full. Then, one press of the R shoulder button and WWHHHEEEE!!! You’re flying through traffic at break neck speeds. When you combine progressive scan and a nice big TV with this wicked blazing speed its something to behold.

The gameplay is pretty solid. It seems that the AI drivers can tend to make one too many mistakes, but you do have to be smart to make it to the next checkpoint. Although you’re rewarded for driving recklessly, you do have a time limit to the next checkpoint and getting there may require you to be conservative.

Overall, the gameplay involves unlocking items and modes via the championship game mode. While this is a short experience you will be picking Burnout up for a fun race long after you’ve finished the game.

multiplayer

The cool thing about Burnout is that if you have two seasoned racers you’re going to have one hell of a race. Multiplayer is where this game really earns some replay value points, but I just wish it had a full blown four-player mode. Unfortunately, the GameCube is suffering from some of the PS2 port issues. Maybe Acclaim can have four-player racing for Burnout 2? For now, the two player mode is a wicked challenge and great for when friends come over.

overall

This may not be the longest game in terms of duration, but it's definitely one of the most entertaining rides I’ve had on my GameCube thus far. Burnout is one of the most solid, fast, and fun arcade racers I’ve had the pleasure of playing.

If you’re a racing fan then defintely grab this title, if not, then I still reconmend that you give this game a look. The fun goes way beyond the massive crashes because as you get better at the game you’ll want to miss everything through the course of a race so you can blast off that turbo boost over and over again.

final score 8.8/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Eric Mattei
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"Lost like tears in rain"


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