Whilst the Burnout series is known for its car-crunching crashes and over the top demolition, these come as part of a well-established racing game. Burnout Crash!, on the other hand, strips away all the racing and instead has you attempting to cause as much carnage and chaos as possible by smashing your way through intersection after intersection over and over again. Does Crash! have what it takes to strike out on its own? Or will it make you want to drive into oncoming traffic?
CRASH, BANG, WALLOP!
Packin’ A Tune – Burnout Crash! has some of the best usage of licensed music that I have seen in a while. It’s not so much that the music itself is brilliant, as some of it is teeth-clenchingly bad, but the way it is used will more often than not succeed in putting a smile on your face. The music includes tracks from Spandau Ballet, Vanilla Ice and Shirley Bassey, amongst others, and the first time I heard each song was a genuine surprise, as much for the fact that I knew all the words as how intelligently appropriate the use of each track was.
Burning Rubber – The Burnout series is famous for its over the top crashes and collisions, and Crash! takes the insanity up a notch with the addition of powerups such as meteor showers, missiles and sinkholes. These basic powerups can be achieved on almost any level, but each area has one particular ‘super’ powerup unique to it. As you journey through regions such as farmland, airports, coastal roads and Roswell, amongst others, you can activate whirlwinds, plane crashes and tidal waves. These cause as much damage as you can imagine. Each location also has 15 stars for you to achieve, with a variety of objectives to achieve them, meaning that there’s going to be a lot of wrecking before you’re done with this game.
Slow Coach – Since the days of Half-Life, a lot of games have tried to hide their loading times behind fancy smoke and mirrors, such as Mass Effect’s infamous elevators. Burnout Crash! does not attempt to hide its loading times at all, and holy crap, some of them are long. Crash! is not even that much of a graphical powerhouse, which makes it that much more surprising, and the fact that you’re staring at a static screen makes the wait seem longer than it actually is.
Video Killed The Radio Star - As I’ve mentioned before, announcers are often the most loathsome aspect of racing games. Burnout Crash! doesn’t have an announcer per se, but instead uses a selection of radio personalities to annoy you instead. Each area has a different personality, but they are all pretty infuriating, serving no real purpose in either story or gameplay, other than being there to add some variation to the sounds of crashing and explosions.
Road To Nowhere – I mentioned above that Burnout Crash! contains a decent amount of variation in terms of locations and powerups, but one area in which it severely lacks variety is game modes. Crash! offers three different modes, ‘Road Trip’, in which you cause as much chaos as possible until five cars have escaped, ‘Rush Hour’, where you are given 90 seconds to smash up cars and buildings, and ‘Pile Up’, where you have to stop as many cars escaping as you can in order to preserve your multiplier. While this may sound like you’re always doing different things, each mode is essentially the same, and the game gets repetitive incredibly quickly. That’s not to say it’s not fun crashing into stuff, but don’t expect anything different from the game.
The Burnout name is associated with the racing genre, yet Burnout Crash! falls more into the puzzle genre than anything else. The problem is that the crashing part of Burnout only really works as a small part of the driving aspect, and once it’s left alone, it gets old fast. Repetition sets in after the first couple of levels, and it’s not long before you realise that this game would actually work better outside of the Burnout series. It seems as though the Burnout name has been slapped on in an effort to create brand recognition, but instead it leads more to confusion, as the game doesn’t recreate your preconceptions of what the game should be. Aside from this, however, the game isn’t brilliant even when you remove it from the Burnout continuity. Instead, you have a pinball/car-crash hybrid, which unfortunately outstays its welcome long before any game that includes this much destruction should.