Burnout

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You just had to cut me off, didn't you?


Burnout is a car racing series by Criterion Games with "full contact" rules, set on city streets, and usually densely populated streets at that. The older games had fixed tracks with a start line/finish line and some opposing cars. As the games advanced, so did the "contact" part of the game, starting with Crash mode in the second game, and the addition of Takedowns and Road Rage mode in the third. The game is known for being very "fast", with the screen blurring out at extreme speeds and handling becoming this side of impossible. Also known for its spectacular camera views of cars spinning through the sky or crunching under trucks, which is totally fucking sweet.

  • Burnout (2001): The original. An innovative racer at the time, Burnout placed a focus on stunts and extreme driving (much like Project Gotham Racing, which was released around the same time), and became known for its high speed and its spectacular crashes. The name came from the game's system of Nitro Boost -- you can only use boost when your boost bar is filled, and you can chain boost bars together by performing stunts while boosting. Released on PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Game Cube, and published by Acclaim Entertainment.
  • Burnout 2: Point of Impact (2002): The second game in the series. This game introduced Crash mode, a self-explanatory mode where the entire objective can be seen from the initial camera: a) you, b) a short stretch of road, possibly with jumps, and c) a crowded intersection, usually with a tanker truck passing along for additional fun. Simply run in and cause as much damage as possible. Released on the same systems as the original.
  • Burnout 3: Takedown (2004): This game saw the introduction of the Takedown, which allows you to check other racers into walls or traffic to earn boost and get them out of your way. Along with Takedowns came Road Rage mode, where you have to wreck as many opposing cars as possible before a) the time ran out, or b) you took too much damage. Crash mode was also improved, adding power ups that increased (or decrease) money gained, and added Crashbreakers, which allowed you to blow up your car to do some extra damage. This game was originally planned to be released in 2003, but it was delayed for a year when Acclaim went bankrupt, finally getting picked up by EA Games in 2004. EA would eventually buy Criterion outright, making Burnout a permanent staple of EA for the future. It was a smart move on their part--this game won widespread praise from critics, and it became a major hit, turning Burnout into a Cash Cow Franchise for EA. Released on PlayStation 2 and Xbox (Game Cube owners weren't so lucky this time around).
  • Burnout Revenge (2005): Arguably the most combat-oriented game in the series, Revenge introduced traffic checking, which allowed you to ram through traffic and send it flying at rival racers. Also introduced were Traffic Attack mode, where you must use traffic checking to cause as much damage as possible, and Crashbreakers were carried over to all non-Crash events. Last game in the series for the Original Xbox, first game in the series for the Xbox 360- the Xbox 360 version was released in early 2006.
  • Burnout Legends (2005): A game released for the PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS. It is basically a "best of" collection, featuring tracks from the first three games.
  • Burnout Dominator (2007): Released for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, this game was meant to tide fans over before the release of the series' next-gen debut. It returned to the series' roots, bringing back Burnouts (which had disappeared starting with the third game) and getting rid of many modes and features from later games. It was the only game in the series that was not developed by Criterion, as they were busy working on...
  • Burnout Paradise (2008): The first Burnout game to come out on PS3 and Windows PC, along with the Xbox 360. This game completely overhauled the series, putting it in a Wide Open Sandbox called Paradise City. Crash mode was replaced with Showtime mode, which allowed players to instantly turn any road into a crash junction in what almost feels like Katamari Damacy with explosions. Takedowns and Road Rage mode returned, but traffic checking could only be done by the heaviest vehicles and Aftertouch Takedowns were sadly removed. New for the series were Stunt Runs, where players had to rack up points pulling off stunts (essentially a skateboarding game with a car), and Marked Man mode, where you have to get to a destination while being hounded by supercharged armored cars trying to wreck you.
  • Burnout CRASH! (2011): The first digital-only installment of the series, released on PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE Arcade. Taking the basics of Crash Mode from previous Burnout installments and expanding it into a full game, CRASH! is a different spin on the Burnout family. CRASH! takes place in "Crash City" and is played from a top-down perspective rather than from behind the car. There is no racing component as the game focuses purely on causing as much destruction as possible. The game features more fantastical elements than the rest of the series, such as UFOs.

Tropes used in the Burnout series:

  • Benevolent Architecture: Ramps everywhere, highways with gaps in the walls, a rail system that is never used and seems to exist solely as a shortcut... Paradise City has it all. It's even lampshaded by the game's DJ, who every so often thanks the "lazy Public Works Department" for not fixing the bridges and highways.
    • Not to mention that almost all of the shortcuts are laid out in such a way that they can be navigated both forwards and backwards, like they were deliberately intended to be taken in either direction.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: One of DJ Atomika's jobs is to lampshade classic racing game tropes and Acceptable Breaks From Reality.
  • Bullet Time: After every crash.
  • Car Fu: The name of the game since Takedown.
  • Continuity Nod: All the place names in Burnout Paradise are taken from earlier games in the series.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Paradise. When you move from a B license to an A license, your car quite suddenly handles like a brick of depleted uranium with tires made of snot, and yet is apparently made of wet tissue, for how easily you get wrecked.
    • The same goes with Burnout Legends, in which your car seems to be made of glass with the high chances of crashing for some reason. The rivals also blatantly teleport to safety whenever they're about to crash into traffic.
    • The horrible rubber band AI during Marked Man should also get a mention.
  • Cool Car: It goes without saying that a game like this would have tons of Cool Cars -- unlicensed cars, mind you, but still cool nevertheless.
  • Darker and Edgier: Burnout Revenge. The levels are much more "industrial" and dirty, with more dark colors compared to Burnout 3, and the soundtrack is much more harder and raw compared to the rest of the series, in addition to the tracks being more combat oriented and the introduction of Traffic Checking.
  • Development Gag: Atomika mentions that Paradise City used to have an airport off the waterfront, which apparently sank in a freak storm. This refers to a beta map which had an airport off the Waterfront, before South Paradise and the airport were culled a little into development, and eventually replaced by Big Surf Island.
  • Downloadable Content: Burnout Paradise has had a ton. There's been over twenty new cars, motorcycles, and an entire island.
    • For point of reference, the game first came out in January 2008. It continued getting DLC all the way through June of 2009, and only the more recent expansions had Criterion making gamers pay cash for it.
      • This may have been because there was a bit of Obvious Beta going on here, and everything released for free was probably meant to be in the vanilla game. Google the whole debacle about not being to reset races on the fly for an example of this.
  • Dumbass DJ: Stryker in the third game, and arguably Atomika in Paradise.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: In Crash mode, to facilitate gameplay. The ambulance is especially delicate.
  • Every Car Is Rear Wheel Drive: Played straight in the earlier games, later heavily Averted in Paradise.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Marked Man and Road Rage events.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Crash mode.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • The Flat Out series, which is the redneck cousin of Burnout. Their distinguishing feature was "windshield cannons" -- that is, if you get in a big crash, you go flying through the windshield. (Wear seatbelts, kids.) There were even mini games where you took advantage of this, throwing your hapless driver at giant bowling pins or trying to hit a target.
    • The Motorstorm games are basically Burnout off-road! And with Nintendo Hard difficulty!
    • Split Second is Burnout meets a Michael Bay movie.
    • Burnout itself is Destruction Derby with intersections and traffic instead of demolition derbies.
    • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is basically Burnout with licensed cars and a major emphasis on police chases. Justified, as it was developed by Criterion.
    • Driver: San Francisco incorporates a near-copy of Burnout's boosting system, event types, and event selection, worked into more standard Driver-style gameplay and missions. (It was also the first well-received Driver game in years, as they seem to have moved on from unsuccessfully trying to emulate the GTA series)
  • Fragile Speedster: Speed-style cars. In particular, every game since 3 has included open-wheel, Formula 1-style race cars as part of the vehicle lineup. Heaven help you if you touch anything when driving these while boosting.
  • Have A Nice Crash: Whenever you crash, you're treated to a clip of your car spiraling gracefully through the air, shedding metal shards everywhere, frequently in slow motion.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: DJ Atomika is Heero Yuy in English.
  • Jack of All Stats: Stunt-style cars. Not as fast as speed cars, but more durable and easier to boost.
  • Last Lousy Smash Gate: lampshaded by Atomika; you will get stuck in the high 300s trying to find the last ones.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Half the Aggression-style cars, including the Hunter Racing Oval Champ is the fastest car in Paradise City with the Aggression boost type. The Hunter Citizen police car also qualifies for this trope.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Note to Criterion: When it takes over 5 seconds to load every car you so much as put the cursor over in the Junkyard in Burnout Paradise, your dynamic loading isn't working very well. Even worse is that it takes just as long to load a different paint job. Thankfully, the rest of the game is much better about this.
  • Mighty Glacier: The other half of the aggression-style cars. The Carson Inferno Van and Hunter Takedown 4X4 are the two slowest cars in terms of acceleration and top speed, and also the two heaviest. Useless in races or stunt runs, near-godlike in Marked Man or Road Rage events.
  • Multi Platform
  • Nerf: Paradise after one of the patches. No longer could one have an unlimited timer in road rage. The timer now stops counting up after you hit the takedown target.
    • Also, in another patch the beginner cars were made slower for more inexperienced drivers, and most of the previously awesome cars (like the Hunter Manhattan, an extremely useful all-around car found early on) had their stats whittled down a few nothces.
  • Nitro Boost: You earn this for dangerous driving (drifting, passing close by traffic, driving on the wrong side of the road, etc). Starting in the third game, the boost is also refilled through Takedowns.
  • No One Could Survive That: The crashes. All of them.
    • Well, maybe not reversing into an unmoving bus at 20 mph...
    • If you look hard enough, you'll notice that there actually isn't anyone driving at all.
    • No hard looking required, almost every post-crash camera angle is placed in such a way to make it obvious no one is in the car to keep the game at an E10+ rating.
      • Even if you're riding a bike in Paradise, which is the only time you get to see a human face helmet, the rider disappears the moment it goes into 'crash mode'- no ragdolls here.
    • Not true in 3. All the cars have drivers equipped with safety gear in them. Even the traffic cars have helmeted drivers wearing fire suits!
  • Nostalgia Level: Legends takes drivers back to tracks from the first three installments (though it includes only one track from the original game). Also includes throwback cars from the previous games.
  • Obvious Beta: The original release of Paradise. The Ultimate Box version was supposed to be the intended product, and includes bikes, weather, an in-game clock, and several features they couldn't finish on time. That said, the unpatched/updated version plays fine with no game-breaking bugs, making The Ultimate Box a Burnout Paradise: Director's Cut if anything.
  • Optional Traffic Laws: Optional? Try none.
    • 'Cept for when there's heavy traffic, so sticking to the correct side of the road is mandatory for survival.
    • Also, you indicate in Point of Impact.
  • Ramming Always Works: The most common form of Takedowns.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Burnout Paradise takes place in Paradise City. Three guesses on the song that greets you at the press start screen, and the first two don't count.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: The fourth game, titled Burnout Revenge.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Paradise is this to Revenge. Unless you were only going for Bronze medals, Revenge could get pretty damn hard (especially the Burning Routes, where if you wrecked even once you could kiss that Gold medal goodbye). Paradise's Burning Routes, on the other hand, can easily be finished with over 30 seconds to spare if you drive well enough. Most of the events are an absolute cakewalk for most of the game, and the challenge seems to come from simply not missing a turn and going the wrong way. The game does start to get some of its edge back when you're going for the Burnout Elite license, but even then it's not as hard as Revenge. This could have something to do with the fact that there's no medals in Paradise; Just one target that you either pass or you don't.
  • Shout-Out: The "Legendary Cars" pack for Burnout Paradise has expies of the DeLorean from Back to The Future, the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard, KITT from Knight Rider, and the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters. You get trophies/achievements for doing specific things in the cars, in particular, driving off a cliff with the horns blaring in the General Lee.
  • Slo-Mo Big Air: Whenever you hit one of the specially marked jumps. Which gets annoying and then just stupid after you hit one at 20 mph, or reverse into one, or hit one at such an angle that the slo-mo highlights your car smashing bumper-first into a cliff or falling into a ravine, etc.
  • Stuff Blowing Up and Every Car Is a Pinto
  • Taking You with Me: Aftertouch Takedowns.
  • Up to Eleven: In Burnout Paradise, the SFX volume goes to eleven.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Crash/Showtime and traffic checking.
  • Wacky Racing
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Burnout Paradise makes the actual races work with the "go anywhere" feature still on. Your car's blinkers and the flashing signs at the top of the screen indicate recommended turns, but knowledge of the streets is still necessary to accomplish anything.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: The Crash events in Revenge. ("Forest Bump", "Mighty Docks", "Van-Fire Strikes Back").
    • And Paradise has this along with Shoutout Names: "Angus Wharfare", "Go West", "River City Rampage", etc.
  • Wreaking Havok: The slo-mo close ups on the front of your car aren't to show off the way it crumples.
  • You Break It, You Profit: Crash events, Showtime mode