There are not many driving games out there that will reward you for bad driving. In fact I can’t think of any that do apart from one, and even then it’s only a game mode within the game that does. I am of course referring to the Crash mode which was introduced to the excellent Burnout series in Burnout 3. Crash was a great favourite of mine and when I heard the news it would be coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade in its own entirety, I got extremely excited.
As expected the whole game is based on the previously mentioned mode found in the Burnout series. The reason I say based is because you no longer play inside the car but instead you view the action from a top down perspective; it’s a little bit like going back to the days of Grand Theft Auto London. This viewpoint works really well for Crash, especially during the more difficult levels where seeing the whole map (or intersection) is a must.
Burnout: Crash is split up into eighteen different intersections, with each of them offering three different games to play: Road Trip, Rush Hour and Pile Up. When you first start off at a new intersection the only available option is Road Trip, but once you’ve completed this mode, you have two further options as well as continuing onto the next intersection. Each game you play awards you stars based on the challenges completed. Typical challenges include scoring $30,000,000, destroying sports cars and triggering the super feature. Stars play a crucial role in Burnout: Crash as without a set amount of stars you won’t be able to move onto the different intersections or unlock new vehicles.
Each level starts in the exactly same fashion with your micro machine looking car bombing it up the intersection ready to smash into the first car, which subsequently is where the carnage will ensue. Once you’ve hit your first car the ‘crashbreaker’ meter will appear. This meter can fill up on its own but with each crash it fills up a lot faster, allowing you quicker explosions with the simple tap of the ‘A’ button. Each explosion launches your car into the air allowing you to move the car around the intersection with the left analogue stick, in order to crash into other cars. This is known as the ‘aftertouch’ and the expert use of this ability can become crucial during particular games.
There are different tactics for each game so it’s particularly important to choose your vehicle wisely. For example in the Road Trip games it’s all about quick thinking and the ability to choose timely explosions, making it wise to select a vehicles that has a high aftertouch ability but perhaps a less powerful explosion. If any vehicles escape from the intersection you lose a life and if you lose five lives the game comes to an end. Road Trip is also split up into three different sections. After a set amount of traffic you receive a special feature which is dependent on the intersection. This can range from ‘Good Cops’ which provides you with a line of cops to block up a random exit in the intersection to ‘Bad Cops’ who enter the intersection trying to take you down and freeze you for five seconds. Each of these features are fun in their own right and once you’ve reached the end of the level you acquire the super feature, which depending on how many life’s you have left, will give you a barrel load of points.
Similar to the Road Trip mode, Pile Up requires gamers to halt all vehicles coming from all directions in order to keep intact your 'Inferno' bonus. You have a set amount of vehicles to destroy but not blow up while at the same time ensuring no cars escape the intersection damage free. If a vehicle does escape unscathed you will lose a multiplier when it comes to the end of the level and inferno mode kicks in. During inferno mode your aim is to blow up as many cars and building as possible and when the burning stops, the game is over. In Pile Up you also have the opportunity to destroy a pizza van, and if successful you'll have a spin at the feature pizza. This can give you anything from a 3x multiplier to the not so good bad cops. Like Road Trip, Pile Up requires forward thinking and is very puzzle orientated in order to achieve a decent high score.
Last but not least is the Rush Hour option. This definitely lends itself to a more relaxing game where you have ninety seconds to cause as much carnage as possible, without the requirement to destroy all the vehicles. That means no life lost if a car escapes the intersection unscathed.
Sadly that's your lot in terms of game depth. There's no LIVE aspect to the game, other than high score leaderboards, which is a real shame as I think you could get some enjoyable yet crazy multiplayer games. That seems to be the theme throughout, as while I have really enjoyed playing the game, there's a limited amount of vehicles to choose from once you've unlocked everything and sadly there are no busses. It would have been extremely cool to control a bus within the game; hopefully some DLC will come our way with more intersections, more vehicles and some online play.
Graphically the game has nothing to shout and scream about and certainly wouldn't be lost on the old Xbox, however, what you do get is a game that's filled with fun and excitement. The audio in the game adds to the cheese factor by belting out snippets of GOLD, Bad Boys, Hey Big Spender and more, but some of the commentary is pretty annoying; just constant phrases of rubbish. Thankfully that can be turned off.
Overall Burnout Crash is a great addition to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and for 800 MS Points it would be rude not to. Any fan of the original adaptation should definitely grab this and anyone looking for a challenging yet enjoyable arcade game should also take a look. Download the trial as a minimum and take it from there.
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