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Burnout 3: Takedown


Traffic laws are overrated. Nobody ever follows them anymore; people are too caught up in their own agendas to even realize they’re breaking the law. They’ll be yammering away on their cell phones, completely oblivious to the fact that they forgot to signal, thus nearly sideswiping you as they change lanes. The speed limit is nothing more than a big number painted on a bunch of signs by the side of the road. Of course, people wouldn’t be able to read such signs anyway; they’re going too fast to notice. Yet there you are, your seatbelt all buckled, both hands firmly gripping the steering wheel, trying your best to obey the rules of the road. And it’s in that one crucial moment when that police car jumps out of its hiding place, its siren blaring and lights flashing festively. You’re served a ticket that cites whatever law you’ve supposedly broken. While the police officer is scowling behind his big sunglasses as he looks at your license and registration, all of the other motorists go zooming right by, grinning in relief because they weren’t caught.

Wow, they’re so fast that sparks are flying.

It shouldn’t be this way. Wouldn’t you just love to wipe those smirks off those drivers’ faces by running them off the road? Wouldn’t you like to flip that officer the bird, ram into his car and speed away like a maniac? While such actions would certainly land you in prison, Burnout 3: Takedown offers a few ways to help you vent your frustrations. As a new day dawns on the world, a new breed of racing has been created, shattering old rules and standards. Competitors have gathered from all over the globe to participate in dozens of events that will test their skill, mettle, and honor. These drivers will be behind the wheels of some of the fastest and most finely tuned vehicles ever created. They’ll blaze trails across multiple tracks that span for miles on end. The turns will be tough, the twists grueling, and some areas simply annoying. Yet after all the trials and tribulations have come to pass, only one driver will become the greatest Burnout champion of all time. Do you think you have what it takes to take on these guys?

That’s pretty fast too, 203mph apparently.

However, this won’t be your typical racing game. Unlike F-Zero, Gran Turismo, and the countless other racing simulations out on the market, Burnout 3 takes the standard racing gaming formula and chucks it out the window. In order to win at this game, you’ll have to be prepared to take a few chances. This game actually rewards your for reckless driving and fighting dirty against your adversaries. The races take place on open stretches of highway, city streets, crowded tunnels, and other places filled to the brim with innocent bystanders. You’ll be able to dodge and weave through oncoming traffic, sideswipe cars, and scrape against guardrails as the race unfolds. You’ll also be able to tailgate your opponents, eventually picking up speed and ramming into them from behind. Or you could drive up alongside them and casually force them into the nearest brick wall, into oncoming traffic or off a bridge. You can even torment them, slowly scraping off their paint jobs and exposing their steely innards. Every time you take a risk, your boost gauge will increase, thus allowing you to speed up and gain those few precious yards in front of your foes. Should you keep pulling stunts and messing with the other racers, you’ll be well on your way to getting a well-deserved Gold medal, unlocking even more cars and events.

Now that car in the foreground is pretty, but I’m more interested in that pile up in the bushes.

But in case you get tired of simply racing, Burnout 3 has a few extra goodies to satiate your appetite for destruction. If you take on the Road Rage Mode, you’ll be able to drive along the tracks that you’ve previously played or unlocked. But instead of competing for first place, you’ll be trying to set the record for the most accidents or “Takedowns” that you can before finally getting destroyed. You can ram your foes to and fro without any mercy whatsoever, dishing out some truly delicious punishment for your hapless competition. You can launch them flying into the sky, push them onto a median, ram them into an oncoming truck, anything your sadistic impulses desire. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re invincible. You’re just as vulnerable as they are, forced to watch your back lest some foe decides to step up and attack. You’ll have to dodge traffic, take tight turns, and avoid becoming road kill on a cold and unforgiving street. Thus this test of survival continues, until your car is too injured to continue.

If you don’t feel like killing off your competition, you can give the Crash Mode a shot. Unlike the rest of the game, this aspect of the game puts you in specific scenarios in various parts of different levels. You’ll get to choose a vehicle, then be briefly shown the setup of the level. It’ll be packed with cars, mindlessly zooming about. There will also be a handful of powerups and pickups strewn throughout the level. But no matter how the level looks, the goal is simple: create the most destructive, costly traffic jam possible. You’ll have to time your crashes carefully, using the Aftertouch Feature to steer your mangled wreck even after it’s hit hard. This nifty little feature will send everything into slow motion, allowing you to fine-tune the direction of your flying deathtrap. You can steer it into the various pickups along the way, which can serve plenty of beneficial uses as the destruction progresses. You’ll be able to hit massive semi trucks and buses, thus setting off chain reactions that could span across a freeway. SUVs, trailers, speedboats, anything else moving are game. Once the devastation has ended, the game will tally the damage, grimly presenting you with a bill that could reach into the millions. The more damage you inflict, the higher the score, and the more cars and other features get unlocked. Needless to say, reckless endangerment has never been more fun.

Do you reckon this guy just lost fifth place? That’ll teach him for pulling off a 392ft drift on an easy corner.

Normally, a car crash results in an unsightly mess of twisted metal and ruined vehicles. Yet Burnout 3: Takedown takes these usually horrible images and turns them into pure, flowing art. Everything in this game is presented with remarkable detail, from the slick and smooth paintjobs on the cars to the burned rubber marks they leave on the asphalt. The tour of destruction will start in the middle of America, but will branch out into places like the snowy slopes of Eastern Europe, the French Riviera, Kuala Lumpur, gritty urban settings and scenic backcountry. You can see the palm trees on the West American Coast, little umbrella tables on the verandas in the Riviera, or the bustling and crowded alleyways of the Asian urban scene. However, the real beauty comes with the countless acts of brutality that you’ll inflict upon your foes. When you eliminate one of your adversaries, the game will slow down and zoom in on your prey, depicting the shattering glass, the ruined paintjobs, the mangled engines, the loose hood, the crushed side mirrors, and every other aspect of the crash in full, detailed glory. Once you’ve taken in the full image of your foe, it’ll land with a sickening crunch on the pavement, fading away as the world continues without it. Then you’ll be off on your next adventure, happily jamming out to Finger 11, Franz Ferdinand, and bunch of other bands that EA decided to include in the soundtrack.

Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.

I hate driving in real life. The gas prices are terrible, traffic bites, and people drive like maniacs. After playing Burnout 3, I’m absolutely terrified of what’s lurking around the next bend. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy playing. This game takes the tried and true racing game formula and refreshes it with a system that rewards you for bed driving and poor sportsmanship. You can drive into oncoming traffic, cause accidents on purpose, and mess with anything that tries to get in your way. You can ram into your foes, smash them into oblivion, and no one will bat an eye. If racing isn’t your thing, the Road Rage and Crash modes will be more than enough to satisfy your need for destruction. All of this is presented with remarkable clarity and detail, right down to the shattered windshields and grinding axels. Racing fans, give Burnout 3 some much-needed love. Fans of fun and competitive party games, look no further. This game has enough addictive quality and over the top action to keep most gamers glued to their televisions. In the meantime, I think I’ll take the subway.

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2005.

Gentle persuasion

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