Synyster Graves

Burnout Crash!

by on Oct.17, 2011, under Xbox Live Arcade

I’ve always been morosely crap at driving games. I don’t know what it is but I could never get the hang of accelerating or decelerating in the right places and usually shoot off the track with general misdirection like Bambi on a frozen lake. Burnout Crash however on Xbox Live Arcade plays to one of my more favoured skills in the vehicular sense, that is causing one hell of a giant pile up. Yes Burnout has reintroduced the “crash” mode but this time isolated for a stand alone release for download. The premise of the game is to, well, crash, and this one takes the top down “Micro Machines” viewpoint similar to the original Grand Theft Auto titles. You also get a crashbreaker which is an explosion you can perform when the crashmeter fills up. It fills up automatically but gains a bonus when something else crashes on screen.

It’s quite a simple game, there’s three modes to play with across six sections comprising of three maps, so a mix of variety, despite the maps not particularly differing in each section. Each is a junction whereby you have to create utter havoc to other road users. In Road Trip you have to trash as many cars as possible wihtout allowing  five cars to escape. Sounds easy enough but for some stupid reason the pedestrian cars seem way too agile at times and seem to chicane through broken cars and explosions like Ken Block on a Red Bull rampage, and frustratingly most cars seems to have a ludicrous amount of manouevrability in seemingly insurmountable circumstances. You also get a Super Feature like on a fruit machine, and the amount of points you should get for reaching it is rubbish in comparison to the on screen oblivion which has been created.

The commentary is totally irritating, a bit like a twatty American commentator and the incessant need to over-announce each of the specials like the pizza truck, or ambulance gets totally over the top and a waste of time, especially when you’re trying to orchestrate a large pile up. The over necessity to spoon feed the player with what to do is very frustrating as you cannot skip these sequences and are forced to sit through a load of painstakingly annoying voice acting.

The second mode is Rush Hour, which gives you 90 seconds to create the biggest explosion you can. You also have a pizza truck which comes through sporadically providing a wheel of fortune style random buff generator which gives a good/bad bonus to affect the level. This element of fortune makes the friend vs friend leaderboard complete bollocks as it’s total pot luck what you get. Besides it’s not totally random as the vast majority of the time the “random” generator will afflict you with a negative bonus.

Pile Up is probably the most frustrating event as you have to trash all the cars without any of them escaping , as this will decrease your multiplyer. Again you have the Ken Block style drivers who manage to evade some ridiculous obstructions you create despite it being practically impossible for them to escape. The main frustration with this mode is the Inferno mode which is activated once the last car crashes. You have to keep the items burning to prolong the round and thus the scoring, but the fires go out way too quickly and you spend the entire time mashing the crashbreaker button like an eight year old playing Street Fighter and the 5 second countdown to rekindle a fire is frankly stupid, because it speeds up, totally making a mockery of the object of the round. Plus the items stay once burnt, unlike the rest of the game where they explode and get out the way, instead of causing another unnecessary obstruction.

The music however excluding the baseball style organ is very good, boasting songs like “Hey Big Spender”, Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby”, Spandau Ballet’s “Gold” and The Primitive’s “Crash” among the tunes, the humour and irony of each of the songs triggered by each event doesn’t fail to crack a smile.

Overall Burnout Crash is a bit of a funny one to review because the game is non-stop frustration and is incredibly inconsistent in order to raise the difficulty. The random spinning events pertain towards negative most of the time and the crashbreaker is painstaking slow to recharge. The difference between the selectable vehicles is negligible and using the aftertouch to block off other moving vehicles just doesn’t register because of the dodgy damage detection. But somehow I find myself playing it over and over again. The game winds me up by being inconsistent and frankly nothing more than moving an oblong around a screen causing radial explosions, and the Autolog recommendations to beat your friends at least gives it the competitive edge which makes a mediocre game with terrible physics fun enough to go back to over and over again. Like an estranged lover, you can’t work out what it is that makes you go back to them, but you just do! This game is total bollocks, the challenge autolog is bollocks, yet I find myself still playing and trying to best my previous scores. Work that one out!

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