reviews\ Jun 30, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Burnout - GC - Review

Burnout’s intense races offer a high-adrenaline journey over hills, under tunnels, and through on-coming traffic. Developer Criterion, with Acclaim as their Publisher, has created the most intense racing experience the GameCube has ever seen. Burnout sits you in the driver seat of some fast rides, and it’s up to you to race against other fast cars, as well as the clock.

The tracks have you racing laps through unsuspecting, normal, everyday areas including portside towns, freeways during rush hour, and in the middle of a bustling downtown. In each area there are plenty of cars to dodge, and you’re rewarded with a little bit of nitro when you dodge them close enough. Also things like driving on the wrong side of the road and power slides will fill up a bit of your meter. Once the meter is full, strap on your seatbelt and push the R button. Your surroundings melt into one big blur as the music drowns out and a deafening heartbeat overpowers all but the sound of cars flying by. It’s quite the rush.

There are plenty of modes that you can play and test your skills. One example is the Survival Mode, where the challenge is to try and complete a race against the clock without crashing once. The main Championship mode is how you unlock tracks and cars, and they require dedication and skill. Every time you complete a championship set of races, you're challenged by your next potential car. You must beat it in a one-on-one race, and it’s yours!

With its white-knuckle close calls and blistering speed, Burnout will find its way into any racing fan’s heart. Its smooth framerate and graphics should appeal to many gamers, but the gameplay is what will grab anyone in for a thrill. Burnout is the best racing experience you can get on the GameCube.

Reviewer's Scoring Details

Gameplay: 7.8
The controls can feel a bit stiff at times, but remain responsive in the most demanding situations. The AI of both the other racers and the innocent traffic are quite realistic. Your opponents will swerve to avoid accidents while trying to put you in the hospital at the same time. On-coming cars will flash their brights, honk, and swerve in response to your vehicle barreling toward them. Plus the framerate is flawless, not slowing down once that I could see.

Graphics: 8.5 
The cars are beautiful, the environments stretch far into the beyond, and the obstacles you dodge fly by as just a blur. The graphics in Burnout are just plain pretty. Now, they aren’t quite as good as Gran Turismo 3 or Project Gotham Racing, but do those games have a detailed damage engine along with cars to crash into? No.

Sound: 7.5
The music variety in the levels is well done, but none of it really struck my fancy. The collision sounds, while well done, could have been better. Everything else is great, especially when you use the turbo!

Difficulty: Medium
There’s a slight learning curve, and quick reflexes are needed to finish in first. It’s really not a difficult game, though, and any gamer should quickly pick it up and be able to play.

Concept: 6 
The concept of racing down busy streets has been done before, but having realistic wrecks thrown into the mix hasn’t been done quite so well. Burnout does a great job of making the incredible accidents a bittersweet interruption to the race. Plus, having the option to watch each individual accident after the race is over is a cool feature, too.

Multiplayer: 7
Playing with friends in Burnout is exactly like playing by yourself, except your friends are trying to run you off the road instead of the AI opponents. The same game modes are available, and the gameplay is the same. Unless you have a worthy opponent, it’s not any more exciting than the solo modes.

Overall: 8.5
Burnout is a fast paced thrill ride through a variety of different environments. It’s the fastest, most intense racing game I’ve ever played. With its beautiful graphics and smooth framerate, it’s a great game all around. Now, if only Burnout 2 would come out sooner…


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