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Nitro Boost

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Gas Tank + Fire-Breathing Diner = Nitro Boost!

"You got boost power!"
The Announcer/Mr. Zero, F-Zero X

Also known as the "Emergency Go-Fast Button", a Power-Up that makes you go really fast for a short period of time.

These come in three major categories:

  • Dash Pads: Environmental features that accelerate the player on contact, often represented as arrows.
  • Stored Nitro Charges: Items picked up and stored for later use, usually with an upper limit.
  • Self-Regenerating Boost: Awarded at the end of every lap, or simply recovers over time, like a Sprint Meter.

In many of these cases, the speed boost cannot be shut off once started, and is usually limited to a brief burst of acceleration. Some more recent games give a supply of boost that can be used on demand, rather than discrete "charges" of boost. Note that this type of Power-Up is mostly associated with, but not exclusively used in, driving games. Flying games have their own equivalent - the afterburner in a jet engine, where fuel is injected into the exhaust to give a massive boost of power and to make some serious noise (it's also an excellent way of showing off if you've got a jet dragster or the Batmobile). A related concept is the Quad Damage, a power up for a combat game (FPS or other) that temporarily increases the power, ground speed, and/or weapon damage of a player. Sports games usually have a Nitro Boost button allowing the player to run faster at the expense of increased fatigue or increased risk of dropping the ball.

In Real Life, nitrous oxidenote  is used to make a high-compression racing engine violate its power output limits temporarily. It serves as an oxidizer; having 33% oxygen molecule-for-molecule instead of the air's 21%, it allows the engine to increase the amount of fuel burned, and therefore the pressure generated, by each combustion stroke. Moreover, as it is stored pressurized in a liquid form, it vaporizes as it's being injected into the intake manifold, cooling the intake air and making it denser, which also allows the engine to pump more air into the cylinders for the same intake pressure. The drawbacks are: extra heat generated, which can overwhelm stock cooling systems; extra load on pistons and cylinders, which can destroy an engine; and attendant stress on the drivetrain. It is usually dispensed from compressed cylinders, on demand, by an electric valve solenoid. Illegal in many areas, including most professional racing except drag racing (where some stock classes allow nitrous instead of a supercharger). The power up effect can also be achieved with turbocharged engines by increasing boost pressure, usually via a dial in the cockpit. The turbocharged F1 cars of the 1980s were fitted with overtake boost pressure buttons (before turbos were outlawed).

Modern-day Formula One uses a greener kind of power-boost mechanism, the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), in which the car's kinetic energy is converted into electricity by generators in the wheels whenever the brakes are applied. This energy is stored in a battery or supercapacitor bank, which is then discharged for a 6.7 second power boost equivalent to about 90 horsepower every lap. Additionally, Formula One also features the 'Drag Reduction System' or DRS wherein one car close behind another on a straight may open a flap in its rear wing to cut drag in exchange for losing downforce, (which while critical for cornering, is not needed so much on straights,) allowing a speed boost by way of aerodynamics and not mechanical power. The current cars in the Champ Car and A1GP series also have 'Power to Pass' buttons, perhaps inspired by video games, but these are merely ECU (engine computer) remaps allowing the engine to break computer-regulated performance limits, and not actually an external power boost.

It's worth mentioning that in actual racing, the term "nitro boost" is not used. Nitro refers to nitromethane fuel, also known as "top fuel" or "racing alcohol", as in "nitro-burning funny cars". The oxidizer compound that's only used in short bursts is referred to as nitrous or more rarely NOS (which is actually the acronym for the company that invented such systems).

Despite the name, this trope not only includes literal Nitro boosts, but things such as rocket or jet boosts. See also Overdrive, Sprint Shoes.

May cause Explosive Overclocking, even (and especially) in Real Life. Compare Tim Taylor Technology. If a pressurized canister of nitro gets ruptured and propels itself rather than boosting an engine's speed, it's a Gas-Cylinder Rocket.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Devil May Cry: The Animated Series episode 2, Dante faces a biker gang leader named Vincent in a motorcycle race. Vincent cheats with a nitro boost that causes him to pull ahead, but this attracts a biker demon called Red Eye that attacks him and causes him to crash.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula has nitro boosts as the main function of the machines. And don't forget to call out its name when you use one.
  • In practice, the Belkan cartridge system of Lyrical Nanoha works this way; shell casings full of compressed magic that give a power boost to the next spell used. Mages normally limit themselves to loading one or two per shot since too many can place stress on themselves and their devices, although there have been cases where people have used four or (in one instance) five at once. Comes in single shot, revolver and box magazine-styled packs. And the characters are all named after cars to boot.
  • REDLINE: JP uses the nitro several times through out the movie, most notably at the start and the end. The boost gained causes JP to bleed from the nose, the picture being distorted and the footage to go slow motion. Oh, and it makes the movie look awesome.
  • In Speed Racer, the hero uses two forms: completely normal nitro boost, and finally a special engine that's been around for ages, is much faster than the newest of the new engines, but is apparently so finicky that nobody else uses it. Guess there has to be SOME trade-off to keep people from using the best all the time...
  • Ransack and Crumplezone of Transformers: Cybertron modify themselves with Nitrous injection systems to improve their chances in the final race for the Planet Cup. However, they don't pace their consumption and it runs out on the loop-the-loop section of the course, which is too steep for them to climb without the boost.
  • Done right in You're Under Arrest!; among other things, the girls' patrol car has been upgraded with a nitrous injection system. However, Miyuki rarely uses it, due to the inherent danger in controlling a very lightweight vehicle (a stock 1985 Honda Today weighs in at just 760 kg for a 660 cc variant) at very high speeds on Tokyo's streets.
  • A few characters in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds use one in their motorcycles.

    Comic Books 
  • In Don Rosa's The Three Caballeros Ride Again (pictured above), when trying to drive off of a Runaway Train, Panchito shoves some Habanero peppers into the gas tank, which causes a rocket boost that just barely allows the trio to escape safely.
  • In the German comic Werner: Installed in the movie version of the Regentenschüssel. The bottle is welded into the middle of the hood.
    • Methanol has the same effect on internal combustion engines in the world of Werner.

    Fan Works 
  • Here Comes The New Boss: Tock Tick helps Taylor to enhance the "Chariot" with an intake for Spitfire's napalm spit, which can be used for a temporary speed boost during a chase.
    Spitfire finished pouring fiery loogies down the pipe and closed the hatch. "How bad is this gonna be?"
    I clicked a second button, and a rush of heat intense enough to soften steel rushed through the turbine mounted on the back of the chariot, spinning the blades to the limit of the inbuilt cooling system and sending a long tongue of superheated air licking out behind us.
    The chariot leaped forward, slamming the two of us back into our seats as another 40mph was instantly added to our speed, shooting us up the long straight of 56th street.

    Film — Animation 
  • In The Rescuers, Luke's "mountain juice" is what gives the swampmobile the power necessary to escape.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future Part III, the three chemical bricks Doc puts in the steam engine. Each one makes it rapidly accelerate, the third blows the tank!
  • Played straight in Cobra, a popcorn action flick where Sylvester Stallone is a badass cop who drives a customized 1950 Mercury, complete with nitro boosters that come in handy during a Car Chase. Bonus points for being Sly's real-life car, though stunt-doubles were used in the chase.
  • In Down Periscope, the crusty old crew chief pours booze from his personal flask into the fuel tank, to give the sub engines a little extra boost. It works.
  • Hutch's van in Fanboys has a nitrous system, too. Unfortunately, the trigger doesn't always work, but when it does, the van goes out of control.
  • Used in all of the The Fast and the Furious films.
    • 2 Fast 2 Furious has NOS-powered ejection seats.note 
    • Fast & Furious 6 has NOS-powered harpoons.
  • Galaxy Quest: The Protector has a turbo button, but the inexperienced captain uses it too much during an escape attempt and causes a lot of damage to the ship.
    Alexander: You don't hold the turbo down, it's for quick boosts!
    Jason: Oh, like you know!
  • In Ghost Rider (2007), Johnny Blaze's big stunt to jump the length of an arena over Six! Blackhawk! Helicopters! required him to fire off the NOS with pinpoint timing.
  • Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) features Eleanor's famous red "GO BABY GO" button.
  • In one Harold Lloyd short, Harold pours heroin into his car to make it go faster.
  • In Lone Wolf McQuade, the titular hero is Buried Alive in his suped-up SUV, by the Big Bad's mooks. In order to escape, he activates the supercharger to burst out of the ground. Where the engine is getting the air for the supercharger to work with is ignored in favor of Rule of Cool.
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. The Humungus has nitro boost on his command vehicle, and Wez steals it to catch up with Max and run him off the road when he tries Running the Blockade in his V8 Interceptor. In the final chase scene, Humungus falls behind the truck Max is driving and so uses the nitro boost to catch up. Unfortunately he's going so fast he doesn't have time to swerve on suddenly encountering Max coming in the other direction.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. Nux turns on the Nitro Boost, then removes the steering wheel, holding it aloft as they zoom ahead of the war party. An exasperated People Eater later lists "nineteen canisters of nitro" among the resources used pursing the protagonists. During the final chase Nux and Max are seen applying some sort of fluid to the War Rig's engine to give it bursts of extra speed, while trying to outrun Slit who's doing the same to his vehicle.
  • The "Ford POS" in Men in Black has rocket boosters powerful enough to allow driving on the roof of a tunnel.
    K: Remember the little red button?
    J: Yeah?
    K: Push the little red button. And you may want to put on a seatbelt...
  • In Redline, during one of the drag races, the opponent's car, a mocked-up Lamborghini Diablo roadster, has this.
  • In Sharknado, the heroes steal a truck with a nitro boost. First they use it to lose a police car who chases them, then Fin uses it to launch the truck (loaded with bombs) into the last Sharknado.
  • In Solo: A Star Wars Story, Tobias Beckett injects some drops of unrefined hyperfuel (as in, hyperdrive fuel) called coaxium in the Millennium Falcon's sublight engine, which somehow gives the ship enough speed boost to escape the Maw, a cluster of black holes the Falcon almost got sucked in following an extensive chase. It's implied it ruined the engines.
  • Spaceballs - Liquid Schwartz!
  • Taxi 3 features a pastis injection system that does the same.
  • The "Regentenschüssel" in Werner - Gekotzt wird später! has a nitrous system which includes a bottle welded into the middle of the hood. Mind you the car is (or used to be) a 1975 Oldsmobile 98 Regency, and the bottle goes the whole length of the hood. It seems to hold enough nitrous for more than a hundred miles of continuous boost.


    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of The Dukes of Hazzard the Duke boys put a nitro boost tank in their car in order to compete against the baddie of the week who was cheating even worse. In another episode, Rosco gets one to cheat in a race (on Boss's order).
  • In one episode of Home Improvement, the original proponent of Tim Taylor Technology equips a lawn tractor with a turbine engine and a nitrous booster to win a race for charity against Bob Vila. Hilarity Ensues as Tim promptly loses control of the tractor, resulting in a high-speed chase up I-96 with a police helicopter in hot pursuit...
  • In the MacGyver (1985) episode "Collision Course", the title character is up against a corrupt stock car racing driver who resorts to using nitrous oxide (as well as sabotage) to fix the race.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: In "Built for Speed", the Victim of the Week is a street racer who is killed when his nitrous tank is replaced with propane and detonated with a remote detonator.
  • In the Quantum Leap episode "Camikazi Kid", Sam rigs up a nitro boost to win a drag race.
  • Shawn Spencer on Psych did this to his dad's old truck to almost win a street race. Unfortunately he had no idea what he was doing and cut the brake lines in the process, leading to a (safe) crash into a chain link fence. Even worse, he didn't tell Henry about the nitro the next day...
  • In Scrappy Races the Megalomaniacs added a salvaged nitrous kit to their vehicle for the speed test, triggered by sounding the horn.
  • In Top Gear (UK) Richard Hammond refused to use nitrous on a car they were upgrading on the grounds that it's dangerous:
    Hammond: Do you remember what happened to the first Stig?
    Clarkson: He fell off an aircraft carrier.
    Hammond: Because?
    Clarkson: ...Yeah, we used nitrous.

  • Checkpoint has the Hot Nitro round, which awards 20 RPMs to all ramp shots, and makes the Nitro target worth 200,000 points per hit.
  • Used in Corvette to temporarily increase the value of playfield targets, and to give the player a speed boost in the Drag Race and track Challenges.
  • Seen on the Lamborghini in The Getaway: High Speed II, and invoked by the Supercharger on the playfield.
  • Star Wars (Stern): In the Video Mode, the player can boost the Millennium Falcon's speed by hitting the action button.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Backyard Skateboarding has a Dash Pad in the form of a lightning bolt.
  • In another rare non-vehicle example, Banjo-Kazooie has the sneakers which speeds up Kazooie's 'Talon Trot' ability for a limited time.
  • Battlefield 2's jet fighters have a self-recovering boost meter representing their afterburners.
    • Soldiers, too. Equipping lighter armor sacrifices protection for more sprint meter.
    • Battlefield 2142 takes from the jets and gives to the cars. Battlewalkers can also run, albeit indefinitely.
  • Battlestar Galactica Online has boosting as a default option for all ships, though you naturally get smaller boosts off the bigger ships.
  • version 0.11 introduces the ability to mount a nitrous oxide injection system, sometimes offering larger bottle sizes and allowing you to use preset shot sizes or tune the shot itself. Arming the system (visually) purges it and it will only inject if you are at the defined gear or above, above the defined minimum engine RPM and applying full throttle. Alternatively, you can inject at anytime using a different binding. Also be careful of using too big of a shot for an engine that can't handle it, otherwise the torque can cause the engine block to rupture.
  • Blur has the Nitro powerup. Works as you might expect, but can also be used to airbrake to make very tight turns before a boost of speed. Your car can be upgraded with the Fan Nitro mod (every 500 fans you gain, get a free Nitro) or the Nitro Rift mod (fires a burst of energy to clear the way ahead when you use a Nitro).
  • Virtually all the vehicles in the Borderlands series have some form of boost ability, useful for catching air off jumps and running down unfortunate bandits.
  • The Deuce from Brütal Legend, otherwise known as the Druid Plow, is a mobile temple in the form of a badass roadster and is the incarnation of Ormagöden. It does not have a nitro boost. It summons a nitro boost.
  • The Burnout games have a boost meter that keeps going up with the ever-increasing chaos you inflict. A takedown of an opponent's car completely fills the meter and just driving on the wrong side of the road will cause it to rise.
    • The boost actually worked differently in each game of the series, and it wasn't until Burnout Paradise that multiple boost types were available based on the car you choose. The main selection of cars use either Aggression boost (Burnout 3: Takedown and Burnout Revenge style, scoring takedowns tops off the gauge and extends it up to three times), Stunt boost (get more energy from stunts), or Speed boost (Burnout 1 and Burnout 2: Point of Impact style, only usable when the boost gauge is full, but using it all without stopping causes a Burnout which partially fills it back up, and doing enough stunts while boosting makes the Burnout completely fill it up so you can keep boosting).
    • One DLC car in Paradise, the Carson Extreme Hotrod, has its own type of boost, Locked boost, which can be ignited when the gauge is half full or more, and it doesn't stop until you crash, slam the brake or spin 180 degrees. Another car from the same DLC pack as the Extreme Hotrod, the Montgomery Hawker Mech, allows switching between the three standard boosts at the push of a button (the left thumbstick's button/L3 or the P key on a keyboard).
  • Carmageddon has several kinds. There are two turbo power-ups (turbo and mega-turbo), which simply make you go faster; and then there's hot-rod, which is basically a booster that increases your engine power so much most cars lift the front wheels off the ground.
  • Even Chrono Trigger gets in on this; the Racing Minigame gives you three "boosts" you can use. For some reason speed doesn't actually seem to matter, though, as you and Johnny will continually pass each other every second or two no matter what you do. The reason to use one is to slingshot yourself over the finish line at the last second; just make sure you're not directly behind Johnny at the time.
  • Choro Q games have some of these. In one game, it's needed for an easy Time Travel process.
  • Crash Team Racing also had a myriad of speedup items, and by far the best was the Triple Gas. It's essentially just layering boosts on boosts, and god help you if you hit a speed pad.
  • Crash Time II provides a nitro boost for extra speed. It's available in free roam, but certain missions disable nitro even if the vehicle supports it.
  • Cruis'n USA had a Nitro Boost as a hidden feature. You got one per checkpoint passed.
  • Cruis'n World takes this one level better. A wheelie gives you a slight boost in speed, but a Nitro Boost is available 1 per lap in Championship modes. The Nitro Boost gives a tremendous wheelie with flaming skid marks and a big speed boost for a while after that.
    • You can also get a Nitro Boost by timing your throttle on the start.
    • Little known trick is to use the Manual transmission, and in Neutral at a low speed, you rev the engine up and when it hits the "Orange" line (between yellow and red) you upshift into gear 1. You get a full on Nitro Boost this way, and it works at any time, not just at the start of the race. You need perfect timing, though, to get it.
  • Dawn of War has the Ork's Wartrukks "Turbo Boost" Ability. 50% boost in speed but at the cost of a 45 second cooldown. It's best to field a large group of Ork boyz to the fight fast but not really support them.
    Ork Speed Freak: Fastah, fastah! **VROOOOOM!!!**
  • Death Rally has collectable turbo fuel on the track (and you always start a race with a full supply of it). Playing with weapons on allows you to buy the Rocket Fuel super version from the Underground Market. Cars using Rocket Fuel have a flame coming out from behind them and take damage while using turbo. And yes, the AI does occasionally buy it, too.
  • Diddy Kong Racing had a 3-level upgradeable boost item, and 3 types of dash pad, that accommodated the various vehicles (floor pads for Kart and Hovercraft, Arches for Planes and Hovercraft, and rings for Planes). Releasing the accelerator just before using the Nitro Boost made it stronger.
  • Driveclub has an interesting take: while most cars don't have any kind of boost systems, those that do are hybrids with KERS, such as the Mclaren P1 and the Jaguar C-X75. Just like real life, boost is regenerated by braking.
  • Driver: San Francisco didn't have nitro per-se but Tanner gains the ability to (presumably, thanks to the coma dream) telekinetically boost a car's acceleration, to put in the words of Tanner: "Who needs nitrous?". You can have the boost last longer/regenerate faster by buying the respective upgrades at a garage store.
  • In Escape Velocity, an afterburner was perhaps most useful for evading missiles. It's usually recommended to tack on some outfits that recover the energy/fuel lost when afterburning, and if you have enough, you can recover energy faster than you can use it up in the afterburner, though at that point, you probably have a ship that depends on energy for powerful weapons so using the afterburner can still hurt the rate at which your energy recharges.
  • In EVE Online, the microwarpdrive module works like this. Activating it gives the ship a massive speed boost, but the downside is that it drains enormous amounts of energy and generates a lot of heat, so it's best suited for short a period of extreme speed (contrast to the afterburner, which gives a smaller speed boost but is actually sustainable). Essential for any large ships armed with close range weapons, as their low acceleration and top speed would make it nearly impossible to reach firing range without it.
  • Excite
    • In Excitebike, running over arrow points keeps you from overheating when using turbo boost. If you can't find one of these, you will be forced to drastically slow down.
    • Excite Truck! and Excitebots have a turbo gauge which recovers quickly during hang time. Going through shallow water cools you off instantly, but going too deep sends you out of bounds. If you boost too long, you Overheat and stall out until your gauge resets.
  • In FAST Racing League and its sequels, you can get a boost by matching the color of your car to that of the tracks on certain parts of the course, or at any time by shaking the Wii remote (button press in the sequels) at the cost of energy. Hero Mode, from NEO and RMX, goes a step further, making the turbo gauge double as a damage meter - if you boost, you make yourself more vulnerable to wiping out, failing the race.
  • A strange take on this is in Final Fantasy XII — while riding Chocobos, you can feed them Gysahl Greens to temporarily speed them up. Their eyes light up bright red.
  • In the FreeSpace series, nearly every flyable ship (both fighters and bombers) come equipped with afterburners, which can give a temporary speed boost until their energy gauge is depleted and they need to recharge. The afterburners vary in effectiveness depending on the ship, with some barely providing any extra speed at all, and some nearly doubling a ship's maximum velocity.
  • YOU GOT BOOST POWER!! F-Zero initially had a boost charge system, with one rewarded per lap to a maximum of three and each machine had it's own boost top speed and boost duration, but all its sequels (sans Maximum Velocity for the Game Boy Advance, which played the same as the original game) let you boost whenever... but it draws from your energy meter, which is also your health. You also couldn't use the boost until after the first lap. The series also features some dash pads as well.
    • Interesting to note that dash pads also behaved differently from how the triggered boosts did. The original game and Maximum Velocity's pads launched your machine in the direction of the arrow, regardless of your orientation (which made maneuvering the tight, icy area in Ancient Mesa - Split Circuit much easier as they boosted you in the right direction even if you drove into them from the side). Whereas in other games, they simply triggered your machine's boost.
  • The Touhou Project fangame Gensou Skydrift has the Tengu Fan item. The Demon Lord Cradle and Stardust Reverie have similar effects, with the added bonus of launching the player into the air.
  • Batteries in the Glider games.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has Nitro as one of the customization options available at tuning garages, available for purchase in limited bursts. The reward for completing taxi missions is infinite Nitro bursts in all taxis the player enters. A modded PC version allows you to put nitros on vehicles that do not normally accept the modification, such as buses and bikes—try slapping one on a NRG-500.
  • True to form as a "driving simulator", Gran Turismo 4 has a NOS system which works almost exactly like the real deal. The system returned in 6 (after it was removed, but later found dummied out, in 5), with Nissan's latest Vision GT car equipped with F1-style KERS system. It later returned in 7, though some race events prohibit the usage of nitro.
  • In Half-Life 2 and Episode 2, the buggy and muscle car, respectively, have a built-in boost feature that makes the car significantly faster for a fixed period, at the cost of being nearly impossible to steer. The buggy's was used to jump a couple of gaps, while the muscle car's was mostly useful for beating DOG to White Forest.
  • In a non-racing game example, the Halo games from Halo 2 onward give all Covenant vehicles (except Halo 3's Prowler) the ability to do so. Even the Wraith tank can boost (though only in bursts)! For most Covie vehicles, notably the Ghosts, boosting can be done indefinitely; it decreases maneuverability and disables weapons, but allows you to quickly either escape or run over enemies.
  • Homeworld also had afterburners. On space fighters. Though it drained the fighter's fuel faster, Scouts on turbo could outrun missiles. Downside is, it didn't increase the pilot's maneuvering and shooting skills so in large swarms, Scouts had horrible accident rates caused by friendly fire and colliding with each other.
  • One of the first driving sims, Electronic Arts' 1990 game Indianapolis 500: The Simulation simulated a real racing engine's adjustable turbo boost dial, and even the increased engine stress and fuel consumption when running on maximum boost. Thus the player had to ration the boost like a real racing driver.
  • Iron Man's Off-Road Racing: You pick up nitro canisters as you race, and can also buy them at the store between races. It's not only useful, but in fact required in piles to beat the AI opponents. The last few races are practically unbeatable without buying 99 nitro packets and using virtually all of them.
  • Jak and Daxter:
    • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy: It seems Jak is very fond of zooming at high speed, as doing so boosts both Jak's on-foot speed and his Zoomer's speed for a limited time in among its other abilities in the game. Picking up more Blue Eco along the way will increase the time it was in use.
    • Generic-looking speed boost pick-ups were also used for the stadium races in Jak II: Renegade and the Wasteland vehicles in Jak 3: Wastelander (the latter even including an unlockable option for unlimited turbo use).
    • Blue Eco power-ups in Jak X: Combat Racing provide a stored-charge boost, filling up the car's turbo meter.
  • The Rocket Rider enemies in Kingdom Rush use one when hit, turning them into the fastest enemy unit in the game for 2 seconds. This makes them very dangerous as they are Airborne Mooks that cannot be blocked or ensnared in any way.
  • The Pegasus Seeds of the The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games are a rare example of a Nitro Boost used on a humanoid.
  • The Magic Candle has two variations:
    • The drelin mushroom temporarily raises your characters' overworld walking speed. They still move one tile at a time, but less in-game time elapses. Since your party is only as fast as its slowest member (probably a wizard) and time is of the essence in this game, drelins are handier than they sound.
    • The "Flee" command will move you two tiles instead of one. This is very hard on your party's energy, but if an enemy party is on your tail and you're not up to fighting them, this is often the only way to escape (enemy parties move no faster than yours, but they can move diagonally and you can't, so it's hard to shake them).
  • Mario Kart:
    • The series has the standard red-spotted mushrooms from its platformer cousins as a storable speed boost. In Double Dash, where two characters rode on a single kart (one to drive, the other to use items) the character in back simply shoves the Mushroom into the Kart's tailpipe to activate the boost. Every Mario Kart game since the Nintendo 64 game has had mini-turbos in it (a technique to get boosts on corners through drifting).
    • Since Mario Kart 64, there is also the gold mushroom, which instead of being usable for a limited number of boosts is usable only for a limited amount of time—but within that time limit can be used as many times as desired.
    • The Stars grant higher top speed and nullify friction from the off-road ground for a short period of time.
    • Mario Kart Wii: Bikes can wheelie for a slight speed boost in exchange for the ability to get 2nd-tier mini-turbos. Mini-turbos themselves have been nerfed quite a bit in the transition to this installment.
  • The MechWarrior series, set in the BattleTech universe, often features the Myomer Accelerated Signal Circuitry upgrade. MASC can boost the top speed of a Humongous Mecha, but generates heat when used which if left unchecked results in the standard fair for these games. In the canceled Mektek 4.0 update for Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries, excessive MASC usage could cause crippling leg actuator damage, reducing the 'Mech to a crawl.
  • In BattleTech itself, the MASC's size and weight depends on the 'Mech's own tonnage and activation requires a roll of 3+, otherwise the actuators freeze and the 'Mech is rendered immobile. When activated, the 'Mech can run at double it's walking speed (for example, a Shadow Cat Prime that walks at 68.4 km/h or has 6 movements per turn can run at 129.6 km/h which translates to 13 movements in a single turn with the MASC activated). Each successive use adds two to the number you have to roll while each turn not spent using it reduces that number by two. The uses of such can range from making a 'Mech harder to hit, using Hit-and-Run Tactics or bringing a Mighty Glacier into brawling range more quickly.
  • Several Mega Man X stages put your character on a Ride Chaser; pressing the dash button usually gives a burst of speed. Useful, but you can't dodge at the same time, so you're more likely to smack yourself into a wall. X8 has two Ride Chaser stages, one of which has more traditional Nitro Boosts (you have to keep picking up weapon energy to use them). The other gives you both dash and brake buttons — when an enemy jetbike comes up behind you, you can brake and watch it speed ahead and crash. There are also playable characters in Mega Man X have "emergency acceleration" systems, commonly called dashing, available to give them a speed boost whenever they need to get away from something. Of course, since you can spam it indefinitely, it doesn't end up being used for emergencies so much as just finishing a stage in half the time. The same applies to Zero in Mega Man Zero, and most of the armor forms in Mega Man ZX.
  • Midnight Club lets you outfit vehicles with tanks of nitrous, with how many a vehicle can hold depending on what it is. Using it gives you an acceleration boost, and can only be refilled by completing a lap or in LA driving through a petrol station. Unique to the series is that drafting an opponent gives you a free boost with the same properties as nitrous as long as you are in or have just left the slipstream.
  • The MotorStorm games have a heat gauge that fills as you boost that you can use 10 seconds after the race has begun (5 in Apocalypse). If you go over the maximum, your vehicle explodes, although this can be exploited to break a tie at the last second by literally exploding over the finish line.
  • Need for Speed:
    • All games after Underground feature a nitrous oxide system. The higher its level, the more boost you could use. The first game had one single fixed charge of nitrous, akin to real life; the second game has a nitrous tank refilled by pulling stunts, and the two games after that (Most Wanted 2005 and Carbon) have a nitrous tank that continuously and constantly refills itself. (Note for the unwary - you can't just call it NOS, because as The Fast and the Furious people found out the hard way, that's a specific company who will sue you. Most of the games feature both Holley Performance Products NOS and Nitrous Express NX as available systems.) There are cars available for Need for Speed: High Stakes already that simulate Nitro Boost with a modified reverse gear. At the cost of being able to move backwards, the car seems to develop a power boost and increase both its acceleration and maximum speed dramatically.
    • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010 has every car fitted with a race-spec nitrous kit. Racers build their boost by driving dangerously, such as in oncoming lanes, near misses, and drifting. Cops don't get any boost for driving in oncoming lanes, but instead constantly regenerate nitrous, somewhat faster at higher speeds. The biggest difference is that a full racer nitrous boost will last twice as along as a cop's boost, but has less power per second than the cop boost.
      • Hot Pursuit 2010 has, for Racers only, an extra type of Nitro Boost called "Turbo". Racers start with a limited amount of them, and once they hit the button, they can't stop it except by crashing, hitting a spike strip, or getting EMP'd (which is nearly impossible considering a car on Turbo will easily escape EMP range). What it does is give a massive boost to acceleration and top speed, for a short duration. Leveling up the powerup increases its power and duration. And yes, it's available alongside normal nitrous.
    • Shift 2: Unleashed also introduces nitrous kits that can be added to your car and works in a realistic fashion.
    • Most Wanted 2012 also features nitrous boosts but it first has to be unlocked for every car via a challenge which also has several variants from the standard burn nitrous to powershot nitrous that cannot be used until the meter is full and drains it in an instant while propelling your car to near top speed. A DLC pack introduces jump nitro that boosts the cars speed while in mid-air. Also, like the Burnout examples below, driving dangerously fills up your nitrous faster and performing takedowns on other racers/cops instantly fills the meter; very useful with the powershot.
    • Need for Speed Rivals mirrors the Hot Pursuit 2010 examples above, with nitrous boosts for both sides where dangerous moves refills nitrous for racers while high speed refills cop nitrous, and Turbo available as Pursuit Tech to Racers. For both Most Wanted 2012 and Rivals, driving through a repair shop grants a full nitrous meter alongside the other benefits. Players monitoring your game using Overwatch even have the ability to refill or drain nitrous at the cost of their fuel.
    • The 2015 reboot and Payback lets you choose between nitrous that refills over time and nitrous that refills with stunts like drifting and narrowly dodging traffic.
    • Need for Speed Unbound has two types of nitrous: a normal nitrous (indicated in blue) which is filled up over time and three bars of Burst Nitrous (indicated in yellow) that are filled up by doing stunts.
  • The 1990 Psygnosis computer game Nitro has turbos that are called nitros.
  • Nitronic Rush has nitro boost as a default ability. Unlike being a decreasing meter when you use it, this is an increasing heat meter, which leads to Explosive Overclocking when overdone, tricks reduce your heat meter, glowing arrows also cool you off when you drive over them, hovering rings also cool you off mid-flight as well. The unlockable Goldenceptor can never overheat and certain levels also allow unlimited boosting.
  • Dash pads are found in Pizza Tower from floor 3 onwards. These help the player to instantly reach high speed. In Peppibot Factory level, there are even machines that produce them.
  • The Flash ATV and Harasser buggy in PlanetSide 2 can equip a Turbo Booster, which allows them to massively increase their top speed and acceleration for a very short amount of time, after which the turbo needs to regenerate. The booster seems to work almost like a rocket strapped to the back of the vehicle - engaging the booster in mid-air will catapult the vehicle huge distances.
  • Pokémon has several moves that raise Speed or strike first (Quick Attack and Agility for example) and whilst these aren't strictly the same as this, there are three other abilities/moves that simulate boosts in a manner like racing games.
    • There's an actual move called Nitro Charge in the Japanese games (Flame Charge, unfortunately, for the English localizations) that raises the user's Speed when it hits. The move Tailwind causes your team's speed to be increased for five turns, whilst the Ability Quick Feet raises your Speed when under a status condition, even Paralysis!
    • These moves work in a more traditional fashion in the Pokémon Rumble games, boosting the movement speed of the user. When coupled with a naturally fast Pokemon like Ninjask and the Speedy ability, you can attain a level of speed that lets you get through levels in a matter of seconds (Handy when for searching for rare Pokémon).
    • Pokémon Dash, as a racing game, has a much more traditional version. Stepping on pads scattered across the course nullifies the speed decreases that otherwise happen when racing off-road.
  • The Rayxanber series features the self-regenerating boost.
  • RC Pro-Am on the NES had "zippers," a set of chevrons painted on the track that would give vehicles a short boost.
  • Red Dwarf XII: The Game features "temporal space deformations", rings in space that boost Starbug's speed in "Explore Mode".
  • Re-Volt has a battery powerup, which momentarily speeds up your RC car while making it glow with yellow electric energy.
  • Nitro boosts are a crucial element in the Ridge Racer games since they were introduced in the PSP games. Nitro tanks are refilled by drifting (the faster and longer you drift, the faster the tanks refill), with a maximum of three. Ridge Racer 6 introduces Double and Triple Nitrous, which use two or all three nitrous tanks for stronger and longer-lasting boosts. 7 has other, unlockable Nitrous types, such as Flex Nitrous - a single, massive Nitrous tank that can be used anytime, Hi-Nitrous - the same as normal Nitrous but with shorter and stronger boosts, Long Nitrous - two Nitrous tanks that are as large as a normal tank and a half, and Reverse Nitrous - in which you can only charge Nitrous up while using it.
  • River City Ransom had Karma Jolt, an item that boosted you...and then made you go really slow. It was probably a Shout-Out to Jolt Cola, with all the sugar and twice the caffeine.
  • The Road Rash games had bikes with a set number of nitro boosts per race.
  • Rocket League has boosting as a core mechanic, letting you move your vehicle move quickly and, at top speed, ram into opponents to blow them up. As well, boosting is required for high aerial plays on the ball, a common tactic in high level competitive matches that can result in some matches taking place almost entirely in the air! The boost also has unlockable appearances, including confetti, Tron Light-cycle trails, slime and flamethrowers (and the licensed cars have their own boosts exclusive to them).
    • The Mutator update allows the modification of the boost amount, including regeneration and unlimited, as well as the exact strength of the boost (1.5, 2 and 10 times!).
  • The Saints Row series has this available as a car upgrade at the various mechanics. The third game, in keeping with its over the top theme, has a high level perk the player can buy that installs this on ALL of the cars they drive. Even the old beaten up ones they just picked up off of someone else.
  • Scorcher by Zyrinx offers stored boosts that can be replenished by collecting rotating green wireframe triangles, as well as extra-speed lanes opened by green ground switches on the tracks.
  • Skunny Kart: One of the items that can be picked up is a turboboost, which is a frog riding on a rocket.
  • Somewhat surprisingly for a game all about speed, it wasn't until Sonic Rush (released 14 years after the original) that Sonic The Hedgehog got access to the tension gauge-powered 'Boost' ability. Before that, there were boost pads which remain to this day.
    • If you squint, the Super Sneakers power-up are sort of like dash pads. You smash an environmental object and you get a big boost in speed. And true dash pads that push you forward featured at least as early as Sonic 2's Chemical Plant Zone to get you through some loops.
    • From Sonic 2's Chemical Plant Zone, they moved onto Sonic CD's Stardust Speedway, and then Sonic 3's Hydrocity, and some variation of dash pads have been present in almost every Sonic game since then.
    • In Sonic R, Amy's car could boost its speed periodically.
    • The Speed Break and Sonic Boost moves from Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors takes the Boost move from Sonic Rush and applies it to the 3D plane, for the same basic purpose. Unlike the Tension Gauge-powered Boost from the latter game, the fuel for the Sonic Boost is rings (Soul Pearls and White Wisps, for Secret Rings and Colors, respectively).
  • Spy Hunter:
    • The top-down games starting from the arcade original had a "High Gear" selection that functioned as a Nitro Boost. Enemies wouldn't spawn while in High Gear, and it was the only way to speed up to get into a Weapons Van. You couldn't start from a dead stop in High Gear, however, and avoiding obstacles suddenly became quite the challenge. It did mean covering more ground for higher scores.
    • The 3D games have a (slowly) regenerating boost gauge that can be used for a short burst of acceleration and higher top speed, but it's one of the items jettisoned when the Interceptor sheds armor to gain speed. This downside is tempered somewhat by the fact that the resulting motorcycle has a higher top speed and better acceleration and handling, reducing the need for the boost. The 3DS game gives the player a more traditional Nitro Boost system.
  • Speed Kills has both the stored boost and dash-pad variants (providing pretty much the exact same boost). Activating them at the wrong time can have unwelcome consequences, especially if you hit a Ramp Jump at the wrong angle and go flying off the track.
  • Star Fox features a boost meter that can be used for various moves, including Nitro Boost. It recharges while no such move is performed. In Command, its length varies from ship to ship.
  • In The Stretchers, this is the first upgrade the ambulance gets courtesy of Professor Doctor. It comes in handy when you need to get to the medical center with Dizzies in tow as soon as possible...or simply want to burn rubber all over the game world.
  • Stunt GP makes heavy use of boosting for its RC cars, both for overtaking and for doing more daring stunts (i.e. with more flips, which needs more space). The boost unit draws energy from the main battery/fuel tank, so using the boost means you have to go to the track's designated recharge tunnel sooner. Although if you are good with stunts, you can easily recharge power with them too, since time spent in air is converted to aeromiles, and then to power. The boost unit can be upgraded in multiple levels. Heck, the game even has a "sharp turn" key, which helps to steer while using the boost and going at high speeds, and while this could help to avoid flying out from a track curve, precise sliding and boosting to counter the centrifugal force may help a lot more...
  • Super Mario 3D World have dash pads that automatically makes the player run and increases their running speed. Super Mario Maker 2 has the same dash pads as a course element if you use the 3D World game style.
  • TerraTech has booster jets and rockets which can be added to techs. Boosters provide a short burst of speed, after which they have to regenerate their fuel supply. Adding extra fuel tanks lets them fire for longer.
  • Some multiplayer versions of Tetris have an item that boosts your opponent's speed. This is a Nitro Boost that you don't want to get, unless you're comfortable with high gravity.
  • TIE Fighter has one flyable craft, the missile boat, which is equipped with a special SLAM system, that can temporarily double its speed at the cost of rapidly draining its laser bank energy. Considering that the missile boat only has 1 laser cannon and relies on missiles to do most of its fighting, this is a small downside for becoming the fastest craft in the game, by far.
  • In Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Lara has to McGyver a nitro boost for an old motorbike from items she finds in order to clear certain obstacles.
  • Unreal Tournament III's light support vehicle, the Scorpion, can give itself a massive boost while moving which regenerates over time. It can be used for kamikaze attacks.
  • Wacky Wheels has speed boost sections on some tracks and a command-line parameter cheat that can give you unlimited turbo as long as you hold down the required key combination.
  • Water Warfare has roller skates which temporarily boost your speed.
  • The Wipeout games have blue squares that give you a considerable speed boost if you drive over them. They also have the turbo power-up, which gives a much stronger pulse of acceleration, such that even the camera following you is unable to cope for a brief moment.
  • In X: Rebirth, the Albion Skunk starship has a pair of massive afterburners that get repaired in the first mission. The burners ramp the ship up to stupendous speeds but consume (regenerating) shields in the process. The engines can be upgraded and switched to variants biased towards maneuverability or pure speed. The massive mile long capital ships use a high efficient but low thrust thruster when operating in zones of interest, but for traveling between zones the thrusters are catalyzed with special fuel cells, causing the enormous craft to rocket across the map.

  • Tom, in the web comic Misfile, installs one of these on his car. It almost gets him killed.

    Web Original 
  • Dreamscape: Drake can skate across the ground on arrow-shaped runes.

    Western Animation 
  • Hot Wheels: AcceleRacers : In the original, Highway 35, Nitrox is the only way to reach 300mph, which allows the drivers to enter the titular highway. In Acceleracers, though, Nitrox is mainly used as a speed boost for dire situations. The original Nitrox does come back, though it is only used near the end of the fourth movie. It is significantly faster than the normal version. As Kurt (purposely) and Markie (accidentally) demonstrated on several occasions, Nitrox also makes for an effective explosive if ruptured in some way.
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Hank and his friends compete in a lawnmower race. Dale, in an attempt to beat Hank, decides to install a tank of nitrous oxide on his, resulting in him fucking his engine up. (He still beats Hank because of another act of cheating.)
  • This happens several times in Motorcity, particularly in the episode "Power Trip."
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: In "Roar of the White Dragon", Mike Chan has a NOS-button on his steering wheel that he uses to beat Lance during a drag race.
  • In TaleSpin, the Seaduck used to be equipped with an Overdrive module that would deploy additional intakes on the engines, allowing them to take the plane to jet-like performance levels. Unfortunately, it was only good for a few seconds, otherwise "Boom-boom bye-bye." The module burned out in the last episode of the pilot series, and was never repaired or brought up again.

    Real Life 
  • The idea of nitro boost is to inject nitrous oxide into the cylinder intake. The nitrous oxide will decompose, adding extra oxygen and extra pressure into the combustion chamber. It works as a chemical supercharger.
    • A close relative to nitro boost is water-methanol injection, where water-methanol mixture is injected into the supercharged intake air stream. It will lower the temperature of the intake air, thus decreasing its volume and allowing more air to be charged in. It works as chemical intercooler.
    • In theory pure oxygen would work even better than Nitrous Oxide, as it contains even more oxygen atoms per volume. However, there are hardly any engines adapted to it and the need to carry pressurized oxygen makes it all Awesome, but Impractical even though the emissions values for a pure oxygen engine would be great as Nitrous Oxides cannot emerge if there is no nitrogen in the intake air.
      • Now replace the gaseous oxygen with liquid oxygen, which is some 600 times denser... And you got yourself something only rockets are built to withstand. In fact, from the Nazi German V2 (Liquid Oxygen and Ethanol) to the NASA Saturn V and Space Shuttle (Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen) Liquid Oxygen has commonly been the oxidizer for the rocket fuel.
  • Turbonique, a hot-rod company in the early 1960's produced a jet driven supercharger that could double an engine's horsepower. They also produced a special rear axle that had a similar rocket fueled turbine attached directly to it, allowing a driver to engage a 1,000 hp turbine with the push of a button. These were obviously limited by both the auxiliary fuel supply and the amount of stress the engine could handle, but are probably the closest reality will come to the video game "Nitro Boost". You can read more here.
  • Ever hear the urban legend of the guy who strapped a JATO (Jet-Assisted-Takeoff) rocket to his car?
  • The GM-1 injector ('Ha-Ha Gerät'), designed for use in Luftwaffe aircraft. Stupid Jetpack Hitler at its finest. Even funnier as all modern nitrous oxide systems (from NOS, NX and a full panel of other producers) are directly derived from it.
    • Nitrous boosting was known before the war, much of the development for aircraft applications occurred between 1919 and 1939, the British also used it in some marks of the photo recon Spitfires and Mosquito night fighters.
  • The MW-50 succeeded the GM-1, while not needing the heavy pressure cylinders for nitrous oxide gas and not being prone to explosion. It injects a 50:50 mixture of methanol and distilled water, hence the name. Used sparingly over decades for early turbocharged car engines as a "chemical intercooler" to lower the combustion temperatures, prevent knocking and increase power. It became popular among WRC racers, tuners and modders after 2000, when it fell just right: modern turbos have small rotors and run very, very hot, electronics eliminate the need for complex adjustments and the ready source of methanol is the ubiquitous windshield washer fluid.
  • KERS (Kinetic energy recovery system) in Formula One, where energy is stored from kinetic energy under braking to be used within a limited amount per lap via a button push, invoking slightly higher max speed for overtaking or defending.
  • Fanboost in Formula E selected drivers in each race have access to an extra 100 kilojoules of energy (temporary horsepower increase). Fanboost is distributed to drivers based on fan voting from 2 week prior to 6 minutes into a race.
  • A closely related concept was "war emergency power," a throttle setting on some military vehicles built during WWII. Usually there was a mechanical device to prevent activation of WEP during normal use—for example, a wire across the throttle level slot which could be broken with enough deliberate force. If the plane or jeep came back with the wire broken, the mechanics knew to give it an extra-careful inspection. The actual method of providing power varied, usually involving water injection or methanol-water injection, and usage was limited to between one and five minutes depending on the craft, to prevent excessive damage to the engine.
  • Most steam locomotives around the world were either coal or oil-fired, but Bulgaria and Romania had " dual-fired" steam locomotives with tenders that could carry both coal and oil for fuel. In normal service, engine crews would use coal, but if they needed a sudden burst of speed and/or power, they could use the oil tank to spray a fine mist of oil from a nozzle into the engine's firebox.
    • Similarly, early steam-powered warships universally burned coal. Even once oil production started to ramp up, some countries without access to large amounts of oil (like Germany and the UK) fitted oil sprayers to their warship fireboxes. In this case, the oil was meant to raise steam rapidly (as firing the boilers at full capacity all the time would quickly deplete the fuel reserves). Eventually, oil replaced coal for warships, as it was much easier to load, didn't need dozens of men to shovel it into the boilers, and didn't produce explosive dust.

Alternative Title(s): Nitrous Boost