In the UK version, with eight contestants, a question is asked to all eight of the contestants with a number of right answers, and one wrong answer. Each contestant chooses an answer they want, and if they are the only one who wants that answer, they get it. Otherwise, a tiebreak question is asked to determine who gets the answer they chose, and who would have to choose from the answers not picked yet. Whomever gets the incorrect answer gets eliminated from the show. In total, four rounds of this happen, whittling the contestant numbers down to three for the final round, where they must answer one more question with only one correct answer.
In the US version, with eight contestants split into two groups, each set of contestants answers an estimated guess question to determine the order they will play in (closest to the answer goes first, etc.). Then, a question with four choices is given, where three of which are correct, and one isn't. In order, the contestants make their claims for each answer. Whoever is unlucky enough to be stuck with the incorrect answer gets eliminated, and whoever answers correctly stays. The process continues with the two groups of three, with only three choices and two correct answers. Then, the final two from each group get back together for the final round, where they must answer one more question with only one correct answer. Whoever answers correctly wins, it's just that simple. Right?
Wrong! Because this is not a normal game show, the producers have (supposedly) come up with 101 different ways to eject eliminated contestants from this show, whose levels of ridiculousness increase every round. All are hopefully guaranteed to ensure Nightmare Fuel for the contestants, and Ensued Hilarity for those watching it at home. These have included, among other things, being flown off strapped to the top of a biplane, doing a stuntman styled drive over a ramp (complete with explosion), riding a pickup truck going off a cliff while attached to a cord on a helicopter (with an explosion below when the truck lands), being blasted down a zip line on a jetpack (which involves rockets, and may qualify as an explosion) or being blasted into the air with the use of explosives under your chair (which may also qualify as an explosion). You see where we're going here?
Oh, and you might had realised that the UK version seems to have one round fewer than needed in order to get to the final three. This is because, at the end of one of the first three rounds, an alarm sounds which means the remaining contestants have to try and avoid making an Emergency Exit down an 80 foot drop by hoping their name isn't pulled from a barrel - and if it is, they have to answer a question right to avoid the Emergency Exit that time.
And then for the final three or four, depending on which version you are watching, it gets worse. The final question is played while contestants stand on platforms that give way when a player is revealed to have answered incorrectly. The platforms, are of course, high above a pool of water. Sound familiar?
It's an uncomplicated premise; the U.S. version (which aired for a single season as a companion to sister show Wipeout) was helped along by a good helping of cheese courtesy of the host, Jeff Sutphen, and an altogether lighthearted tone.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Deadly Game: It's a given that they put in some safety measures for obvious reasons, but unlike last year's Wipeout Lead-Out With a Slim Chance of Returning Next Season, this one actually did try to play itself off as being something dangerous.
- And then, well, there's a reason for the "Slim Chance of Returning Next Season" part. It too was a one-season wonder, both for the UK and the US versions.
- Eject the Loser: The entire premise is to come up with new ways to turn this trope Up to Eleven.
This show provides examples of:
- "[If you answer incorrectly], you're off the show, and here's how!"
- "The wrong answer is..."
- Comedic Sociopathy: A good half of the show is Jeff gleefully tormenting the contestants over whatever doom one of them is about to face.
- Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Played straight, but also parodied in U.S. episode 3:Jeff: The wrong answer, is..." (music sting) Wait, I thought we were going to commercial...
- Fluffy the Terrible: In Episode 5, the vicious guard dog that is sent after the unlucky contestant in the second round is named "Twinkie".
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- In an elimination involving putting the contestants inside metal cage spheres (much like the ones of a certain other show), he invited the contestants to "check out our balls".
- Driving a pickup truck over a cliff with an explosion is known as "What the Truck".
- Luck-Based Mission: If you are last in the estimated guess game, better hope the other contestants don't pick all the right answers, leaving you with the wrong answer. And in the final round, better hope anyone in front of you doesn't pick the one right answer. Downplayed, in that ending up in this position means you had messed up on the educated guess and thus more or less deserve it.
- The same applies if you lose your answer in the UK version to the tiebreaker. Better hope that you can get a correct answer from the remaining ones - or, if there is only one answer left, that you haven't been saddled with the only wrong answer. And in the final, batter hope your first pick was wrong and that the right answer is still not yet chosen.
- Manipulative Editing: When a woman is sent rolling down a hill in a metal cage sphere, the in-cage camera shows that she is keeping her mouth clamped shut (presumably to keep out the dirt getting kicked up). Yet all the distance shots are accompanied by the sound of "her" screaming....
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Jeff reading off the answers for educated guess game:"10,000, exclamation point. 5,000, I love my mom."
- Refuge in Audacity: One of the penalties for answering incorrectly is being dumped into shark-infested waters. Properly chummed and everything. No safety gear, either, and they appear to be Left for Dead as the ship speeds away.
- Shout-Out: The in-house monster truck is named Truck Norris.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Ejections (barring the final round's ten-story drop) tend to involve (as Jeff puts it) fiery explosions. Cause why not?!
- Transatlantic Equivalent: The format made its premiere in the United Kingdom before it did in America, so of course there was some Early Installment Weirdness that was cause for concern when the U.S. version was announced, mainly because it was a game for The BBC, so of course the champion only won £10,000 (about $16,000 US), because Doctor Who and Sherlock are the only BBC series legally allowed to have a decent budget, and much like their version of Wipeout, they also filmed the show in Argentina instead of in Britain.