The switch from Crash Junctions to Showtime in Paradise City wasn’t welcomed by all, but as the title suggests, in Burnout Crash the emphasis on destruction is back with a bang. Read on for the full review.
Developer: Criterion Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
This is possibly one of the brightest games on Xbox LIVE Arcade and given that you’re constantly exploding, the screen is always alight with colour and the screen is always moving. There are far better looking games available on Xbox LIVE, but it honestly doesn’t matter because Burnout Crash pours fun out of your screen every single time you press that magical A button to detonate your vehicle just one more time.
The first thing you’re greeted with when you fire up Burnout Crash is Ann Beretta, and if you’re anything like me, that will immediately have you grinning from ear to ear. It sets the tone for the rest of the game perfectly. It’s just fun, and once you’re at a crash junction it just gets better. The range of effects used is great, from the fruit machine themed chimes when you trigger certain events to the wonderfully thought out themed power ups. It would be a little bit cruel to ruin the audio that accomanpies the power ups for you, as they will have you laughing at their brilliance the first time you hear them, and then many times after that too. Their implementation and execution is just genius, pure genius.
As you progress through the game you’ll unlock stars based on your performance at each junction, some have specific objectives, but most are score/damage based. The stars you add to your total dictate when you can progress to the next junction and when your next car unlocks. Each car has a varying degree of aftertouch and different strength of explosion, so using your favourite won’t always be a good idea. Some junctions are spread out which means you’ll want to use a car that you can move about quickly, whereas in the more compact junctions big explosions will bring you even bigger point tallies, so a more heavier vehicle might be appropriate.
The game features Kinect support which, whilst functional, doesn’t really need to be there. Steering the car is simple enough, but jumping or laying an egg to explode (yes, you read correctly) and moving around to initiate the direction of aftertouch doesn’t really add anything to the overall gameplay experience. Not to mention, it also far less accurate than playing with the control pad. Had Kinect support been left out the game wouldn’t have suffered. Most people will probably try it once and then move on.
Each intersection has three crash modes to play, Road Trip is the first one you’ll have to beat to unlock the other two. The idea is simple, smash the junction to pieces without losing any cars. As you head into the junction the traffic will already be moving and it’s your job to stop it because, if you let them, incoming cars will pass through and count as a loss. Once you’ve lost 5 cars, the crash is over. Your crashbreaker refills slowly with time, but speeds up as you cause more damage, once it’s full you can detonate again and use the explosion to position your car elsewhere on the screen. There are small indicators that show where the next flow of traffic will be coming from, so you’re always aware of where you need to be to stop them.
Once you’ve beaten a juntion on Road Trip, the other two modes unlock. Rush Hour gives you 90 seconds to create mayhem without any traffic restrictions. Finally, Pile Up gives you the task of causing as much damage as possible with a limited amount of traffic passing through the stage, once all of the trafficis has passed you have to keep something burning to avoid ending the crash.
As you play through the stages you’ll encounter the power ups on offer which vary from increasing the traffic speed to opening a huge hole in the middle of the stage for you to push traffic into. Every so often a pizza van will pass through the stage and if you manage to blow it up, you’ll earn yourself a spin on the “Pizza of Fortune” which earns you power ups. Some of these can be helpful to your cause, whereas others are there to hinder you. The mechanic is every bit as daft as it sounds, and twice as brilliant.
There’s plenty of content here, the 18 junctions, each with three playable modes, will certainly keep you busy for a while. On top of that there’s Autolog support, which enables you to send and recieve challenges with friends. Pick a friend, pick a junction, set a target score and post it to their Crash Wall for them to beat. The Crash Wall is essentially your friends list leaderboard and as it’s almost always visible, you’ll always know who has beaten your score, even if they aren’t using Autolog to rub your face in it.
At some point or another whilst playing Burnout Crash you’ll think to yourself, “the developers must have had an absolute blast making this game”. You’d most be probably be right too, as it really does show in the final product. The game is just so much fun, you’ll find yourself grinning like a loon. It’s a perfect example of a game that doesn’t take itself (or anything) seriously. It’s just good old smashy, explodey fun.