Yes, I know I said I wasn’t likely to buy this, but apparently I did. Having played this on and off over the last week or so (barring a break for a holiday), I will say it’s an enjoyable little game. However I’m not really sure it’s worthy of the ‘Burnout‘ title, and I still stand by my “feels like a flash game” comment.
Burnout CRASH! is a top down game where the objective is to cause the maximum amount of damage possible to other cars, street furniture, buildings and more. You begin by driving your vehicle into an intersection in one of three scenarios:
- Road Trip – If you lose 5 vehicles (they drive off the screen without being crashed), then it’s game over.
- Rush Hour – You have 90 seconds to cause the maximum damage possible
- Pile Up – You have a limited amount of traffic that you can crash.
There are six areas, with three intersections each over each area. With each of those intersections having those three modes that makes for 54 ‘levels’.
Once you’ve had your first crash, then your “Crashbreaker” builds up. Either slowly, if no vehicles are being destroyed, or in huge chunks as vehicles crash. Once the Crashbreaker is full, you can trigger it, causing your car to explode – and causing more damage. The Crashbreaker keeps building up throughout the level, allowing major destruction to occur.
You start with one car, and can earn more as you progress. Each car has has two features: Crashbreaker power, and Aftertouch. The Crashbreaker power decides how big each Crashbreaker explosion is. Aftertouch defines how much control you have when flying through the air after that explosion. Often you need to make a choice between how much power you want in an explosion, and how much you need to move around an intersection to cause maximum destruction.
There are lots of ways to cause damage. The most obvious is simply to be next to something when you fire your Crashbreaker. However you can also use your explosion to push cars into other cars, or buildings, or into holes. These are “skillshots”, which add to your damage total.
For the Rush Hour (which is the only mode unlocked when you first reach each intersection) you have Features (such as a Bulldozer, Good Cops which block the road, meteorite strikes and more) and, if you keep playing long enough, you can trigger the Super Feature (such as a Tornado, or Tidal Wave) which damages its way across the screen. How much power it has depends on how many cars escaped the intersection without being destroyed. No cars lost gives 100% power, four cars lost gives 20% power.
There are also various special vehicles that traverse the intersections. In Rush Hour, the most important is probably Dr Beat, an Ambulance. Should he make it out of the intersection without crashing, then you regain one of your escaped cars. There’s also a Pizza Truck (which gives a wheel-of-fortune style “reward”), Fuel Tanker (massive explosion), Bank Truck (collect the money) and quite a few more.
For each level there are Stars to be awarded. These can be awarded for something as simple as “Cause $10,000,000 worth of damage” to very specific things such as “get 10 skill shots”. New cars are awarded at various numbers of Stars, eventually giving you a good range of cars with different Crashbreaker and Aftertouch levels.
As you can probably tell, there’s a lot of strategy involved to get both huge amounts of destruction, and also those precious Stars. There’s also some luck involved, especially when trying not to destroy Dr Beat! I’ve spent a lot of time trying each intersection with the various vehicles and strategies to try to work out the best way of tackling each one. If levels were a bit faster to load, I’d be having even more fun.
Speaking of downsides, the voice-over is a huge one. I suspect they gave the voice-over “actor” several litres of coffee before asking them to records their bits. They come off as over-the-top, hyped-up and ultimately annoying. Unfortunately in amongst the “Cool!” , “Destroy!” and other useless exclamations, are useful ones telling you about a special vehicle or event, so switching it off isn’t a good option.
For all my precious complaining about this not being a Burnout game, it’s an incredibly fun little game. With explosions sending cars, sometimes including your own, in all directions, it’s not unlike being in a pinball game. In fact some of the sound effects seem taken from pinball machines. However, it’s not just the Stars, damage total, or even the amazingly fun destruction that keeps you playing; there’s also the Autolog feature.
Now, I’m sceptical about a lot of these Leader-board style things, and I figured that Autolog, which keeps track of your friend’s totals, was a useless gimmick. Instead, I’ve found myself having “just one more go” to try to knock someone else off the top spot of a particular Leader-board. The best part is that neither of you have to be online at the same time. You just play “whenever” and Autolog records your score, then they play “whenever” and back and forth it goes. It adds to an already fun, compelling game.
I think you’ll love this game if you’re a fan of the earlier Burnout games, especially those with a Crash Mode. However, if you’re into “flash games”, and looking for one with lots of explosions, destruction and more depth than you’d expect, I think you’ll love Burnout CRASH!.
Now, I need to kick someone’s rear on the corner of WINDRUSH and 1st. Wish me luck.
I’m gonna need it.