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Video Game / Burnout

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You just had to cut me off, didn't you?

Battle Racing Ignited
Tagline from Revenge and Dominator in some regions

Burnout is a Racing Game series by Criterion Games with "full contact" rules, set on city streets, and usually densely populated streets at that. The older games had fixed tracks with a start line/finish line and some opposing cars. As the games advanced, so did the "contact" part of the game, starting with Crash mode in the second game, and the addition of Takedowns and Road Rage mode in the third. The game is known for being very "fast", with the screen blurring out at extreme speeds and handling becoming this side of impossible. Also known for its spectacular camera views of cars spinning through the sky or crunching under trucks, which is totally fucking sweet.

  • Burnout (2001): The original. An innovative racer at the time, Burnout placed a focus on stunts and extreme driving (much like Project Gotham Racing, which was released around the same time), and became known for its high speed and its spectacular crashes, which were quite detailed for the time and acted as an abject penalty for poor racing. The name came from the game's system of Nitro Boost — you can only use boost when your boost bar is filled, and you can chain boost bars together by performing stunts and dangerous driving while boosting. Released on PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, and published by Acclaim Entertainment.
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  • Burnout 2: Point of Impact (2002): The second game in the series. This game introduced Crash mode, a self-explanatory mode where the entire objective can be seen from the initial camera: a) you, b) a short stretch of road, possibly with jumps, and c) a crowded intersection, usually with a tanker truck passing along for additional fun. Simply run in and cause as much damage as possible. This game also featured a single "map" with tracks in geographic relation to one another, with some tracks being a combination of several smaller tracks, or even a single point-to-point route. Released on the same systems as the original.
  • Burnout 3: Takedown (2004): This game saw the introduction of the Takedown, which allows you to check other racers into walls or traffic to earn boost and get them out of your way. Along with Takedowns came Road Rage mode, where you have to wreck as many opposing cars as possible before a) the time ran out, or b) you took too much damage. Crash mode was also improved, adding power ups that increased (or decreased) money gained, and added Crashbreakers, which allowed you to blow up your car to do some extra damage. It also featured a similar map system to 2, only this time with three maps across the USA, Europe and Far East as part of the World Tour mode hosted by DJ Stryker on Crash FM. This game was originally planned to be released in 2003, but it was delayed for a year when Acclaim went bankrupt, finally getting picked up by Electronic Arts in 2004. EA would eventually buy Criterion outright, making Burnout a permanent staple of EA for the future. It was a smart move on their part — this game won widespread praise from critics, and it became a major hit, turning Burnout into a Cash Cow Franchise for EA and Criterion into their premier developer of racing games, including at least two installments in the Need for Speed series.note  Released on PlayStation 2 and Xbox (GameCube owners weren't so lucky this time around due to its lack of online capabilities).
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  • Burnout Legends (2005): A game released for the PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS. Released on the same day as Revenge, it's effectively a Best Of collection, being 80% a direct port of Takedown and 20% an adaptation of certain tracks and cars from Burnout and Point of Impact. The game also introduced Collector Cars: the name of your Profile when you create it determines an algorithm that unlocks one of five Collector Cars in each class in World Tour mode, meaning you have to race and win against human opponents to get them all.
  • Burnout Revenge (2005): Arguably the most combat-oriented game in the series, Revenge introduced traffic checking, which allowed you to ram through traffic and send it flying at rival racers and other vehicles. Instead of a World Tour, the game had you progress through ranks by earning Rating Stars for your racing (Single Event mode was also removed). The game also kept track of Revenge Rivals who took you down either during a single offline event or for all-time in an online event, hence the name. Also introduced was Traffic Attack mode, where you must use traffic checking to cause as much damage as possible, and Crashbreaker event variants let you use it in non-Crash events. Tracks are also much wider and have many more ramps than before to take advantage of the new Vertical Takedown. Crash Mode meanwhile removes the tokens from 3, but this time your car has a Crashbreaker meter that fills with each car that crashes (and it can fill multiple times), as well as a Target Car to nail worth a serious amount of cash. This is the last game in the series for the original Xbox, but...
    • Burnout Revenge [Xbox 360] (2006): The Updated Re-release of Burnout Revenge released a few months after the original with several extra features, and is the first Burnout game on Xbox 360. The menus were given various visual tweaks and the maps for each track removed, while the visuals were given a visual upgrade to 720p HD with better textures, blooming effects and crash particles. Probably the most trademark of these upgrades was the paint being able to scrape off the body of the car. The game also featured online tracking of Revenge Rivals (racers who took you down), as well as a Clips system that saw the one-time return of the replay feature that could now be shared online. It also included ten bonus Crash junctions and removed the Boost Launch system from the original. This is also the first Burnout game to feature DLC in the form of sponsor cars. This version of Revenge was made backwards compatible with the Xbox One in May 2018.
  • Burnout Dominator (2007): Released for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, this game was meant to tide fans over before the release of the series' next-gen debut. It returned to the series' roots by bringing back Burnouts (which had disappeared starting with the third game), and improved them by having a dedicated meter showing you how close you were to earning another Burnout. There is less verticality this time around and tracks are not as wide as in Revenge, but the Signature Takedown feature from Takedown and Revenge was reworked into Signature Shortcuts, yellow barriers in the track that would be knocked down by forcing a rival to crash into it. It's main new game mode is Maniac, which is a precursor to Stunt Mode where players would earn points through dangerous driving that is multiplied by your Burnout count. While the Crash Mode was gone, the Crashbreaker is now featured in every single event in the game. Dominator, alongside Legends, is the only game in the series that was not developed by Criterion, as they were busy working on...
  • Burnout Paradise (2008): The first Burnout game to come out on PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows, along with the Xbox 360. This game completely overhauled the series, putting it in a Wide Open Sandbox called Paradise City. Crash mode was replaced with Showtime mode, which allowed players to instantly turn any road into a crash junction in what almost feels like Katamari Damacy with explosions. Takedowns and Road Rage mode returned, but traffic checking could only be done by the heaviest vehicles, and Aftertouch Takedowns were sadly removed. New for the series were Stunt Runs, where players had to rack up points pulling off stunts (essentially a skateboarding game with a car), and Marked Man mode, where you have to get to a destination while being hounded by supercharged armored cars trying to wreck you.
    • Burnout Paradise Remastered (2018): A complete remaster of the game for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows with 4K/60FPS support on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro (native 1080p on older Xbox One and PS4 models) and all DLC included (except the Time Savers Pack). While a few textures were replaced and a song or two removed for licensing reasons, this is considered to be the definitive edition of Burnout Paradise, especially for PC players who can finally enjoy the Cops and Robbers mode and (officially and in full) Big Surf Island.note  In particular, improvements to online gaming in the intervening decade means that online co-op challenges are much more feasible to complete. A Nintendo Switch port is slated for a June 2020 release, making Paradise Remastered the first Nintendo-platform Burnout game in 15 years since Legends.
  • Burnout CRASH! (2011): The first digital-only installment of the series, released on PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE Arcade. Taking the basics of Crash Mode from previous Burnout installments and expanding it into a full game, CRASH! is a different spin on the Burnout family. CRASH! takes place in "Crash City" and is played from a top-down perspective rather than from behind the car. There is no racing component as the game focuses purely on causing as much destruction as possible. The game features more fantastical elements than the rest of the series, such as UFOs. This installment also brought in the Autolog system used in the Criterion-developed Need for Speed games.

Tropes used in the Burnout series:

  • Announcer Chatter: A rather annoying one (to most) in Burnout CRASH!
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • Amazingly for what it is, the original Burnout had one: crashing would often respawn you further up the track from when you crashed.
      • Ironically, the traffic density itself is also this; assuring that your opponents are just as likely to wreck as you are.
      • Difficulty is determined by the starting position of the AI drivers, meaning that the AI driver that starts in last place will be the Easy/worst driver of the race, while the AI driver that starts in first place will be the Hard/best driver of the race, meaning that, while it's a good idea to be driving a good car in the first place, you could end up with the AI driver that started the race in first place driving a crappy car, meaning that even the AI will struggle to stay in 1st Place, if not end up crashing alarmingly often, sometimes end up crashing in front of the Player, while the driver that started in last place to end up driving the best car in that class or range but end up dead last anyway due to being prone to crashing all the time. This feature can be found in the first game and onwards.
    • Traffic is determined by position and distance in relation to the Player and Opponents, this means that the Player that is in 6th Place/Last Place will have less traffic to deal with, decreasing even more if said Player is behind by several seconds, while the Player or the AI that is in 1st Place will have much more traffic to deal with, with traffic increasing even more if the Player or AI is leading the race by several seconds. This ensures that exceptionally good Player(s) or AI(s) will end up crashing sooner or later to allow the lesser skilled Player(s) to catch up, while the Player(s) that are lower skilled will be able to catch up by dealing with lesser traffic, thus fewer dangers ahead. This feature was incorporated starting from the very first game in the franchise.
    • "Burning Laps"; which focus on finishing a lap as quickly as possible, often have reduced traffic and accelerated boost gain.
    • Starting from 3: Takedown, players who aren't very proficient in combat but are very good drivers will have the option to intimidate AI opponents by staying close to them by tailgating them, causing the AI opponent to panic and end up crashing or causing an accident involving multiple opponents. This is known as a Psyche Out Takedown. (Interesingly, a couple of other racing games that are from other companies and franchises entirely that don't have combat mechanics have a similiar feature, for example, most Codemasters racing games, including Race Driver GRID, feature this as the AI opponents will panic and end up causing an accident involving multiple opponents or simply taking themselves out of the race if the player tailgates them long enough)
    • In Burnout Revenge, activating Aftertouch would point the camera backwards down the track, allowing the player to see if there are any oncoming racers. This is because in the game before it, 3, the camera would just be the normal crash cinematic camera, which often made it next to impossible to tell if any racers were coming to aim for, let along judge the depth needed reach them.
    • Also in Revenge, checked traffic tend to gravitate towards other racers, as otherwise actually getting a takedown by that method would require an absurd level of precision.
    • The AI is also happy to subtly help you get a takedown against them. If you shunt them close to a wall then they may choose to drive into it, most noticeable if you are approaching an obstacle in the middle of the track such as a column.
    • If you are approaching an obstacle during a takedown cutscene, the AI that briefly takes control of your car will prioritise moving out of the way. The game also gives you temporary invulnerability during and shortly after the cutscene, so even if you do hit something you can shrug it off.
    • Traffic will never appear in blind spots around corners, so you won't crash into a car you had no way of knowing was present.
  • Artifact Title: The "Burnout" gameplay mechanic isn't available in Takedown, Revenge, and Legends due to a modified boost system. Gets "de-artifacted" with Dominator and Paradise, then re-artifacted in CRASH!.
  • Artificial Brilliance: At least in Takedown, opponents will almost never crash unless provoked by other racers.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Boosting in the first game. Unless you're on a long straight, the extra speed makes even the Supermini a slippery beast in the turns. It's often safer to not use Boost at all for most of the race, not even getting into trying to get a Burnout chain going. The one upshot is that, unlike every other game with Burnouts in it, you're not punished for disengaging the Boost by having to fill the meter up again.
  • Background Music Override:
    • In Burnout 1, if the player crashes more than four times in a given race, the normal BGM is replaced by a far more dramatic-sounding "tragic" counterpart tune, sounding more akin to an action film soundtrack.
    • In CRASH!, most Features you've activated play their licensed classic pop song. (e.g. '"It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls for Thunderstorm; "Dr. Beat" by Gloria Estefan when the Ambulance appears, etc.)
  • Boring, but Practical: Thanks to slippery handling, high traffic density and easy crashes of the original game, many of the faster, more sporty cars are impractical to use. Ironically the slower speed and grippier handling of the starting Supermini makes it a very solid choice for nearly every race.
  • Bullet Time: Starting with Burnout 3: Takedown, the player can activate Crash Aftertouch to steer their wreck after crashing. In Single Player, this activates the slow-motion Impact Time. The PS2 and PSP titles are also the only ones to use Bullet Time for when you Takedown an opponent.
  • Camera Screw: As mentioned in Anti-Frustration Feature above, activating Impact Time in Burnout 3 wouldn't move away from the cinematic crash camera, often making it next to impossible to actually aim at oncoming racers to hit. This was fixed in Burnout Revenge.
  • Canon Immigrant: An odd case- CRASH! utilized the Autolog system Criterion had used in the Need for Speed titles they developed.
  • Car Fu: The style of the game since Takedown.
  • Competitive Balance: All CRASH! car stats are indeed 100% Yin-Yang. Little cars have weak explosions but moves faster, while oversized have giant explosion radius but are sluggish.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • All the place names in Burnout Paradise are taken from earlier games in the series, right up to the original!
    • CRASH! did the same with some of the roads, including one for Criterion's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • The AI rivaling cars love to smash into big rigs and the like while completely scratch free, while you still have to maneuver your way carefully. See Luck-Based Mission below.
    • In Burnout and Point of Impact, the other racers are not under the same Checkpoint time restriction as you are.
    • In Takedown, during a Face-Off event, if your rival passes you, it will rubber-band away from you and make it practically impossible to catch. This is made even worse when there's more than just one rival and they all are fighting for first while you're sitting back here trying to get back to fifth.
      You are 15 seconds behind!
    • Also in Takedown: It's entirely possible for AI racers to teleport from the sky and crash into you.
    • In Legends, your car is the only car able to crash at seemingly low speeds, while every rival can blast (and even teleport) through the biggest traffic jams and still go on as if they had hit nothing.
  • Cool Car:
    • It goes without saying that a game like this would have tons of Cool Cars — unlicensed cars, mind you, but still cool nevertheless.
    • Paradise DLC adds a levitating DeLorean knock-off, and other cars based on movies.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • The cover for the original game depicts a Corvette-looking red car driving between a sedan and a big rig. Not only is that car not in the game, but the amount of rubbing shown in the cover would result in a crash if attempted in the game itself (not to mention, vehicles typically swerve away from the player when you speed at them).
    • Point of Impact shows the Custom Coupe Ultimate causing the Japanese Muscle to crash much like a Takedown. These wouldn't appear until the next game.
    • Legends shows the Super DX from 3 (which like other DX cars was cut from Legends) in a livery it didn't have taking down the Coupe Type 3. Unless playing in multiplayer, this is impossible as the other vehicles will always be in the same class of car that you chose.
    • Paradise depicts a rather artful depiction of a car that isn't like any one car available in the game. This would be remedied in Remastered by showing the car it most resembled, the Rossolini Tempesta.
  • Darker and Edgier / Bloodier and Gorier: Burnout Revenge. The levels are much more "industrial" and dirty, with more dark colors compared to Burnout 3, and the soundtrack is much harder and raw compared to the rest of the series, in addition to the tracks being more combat oriented and the introduction of Traffic Checking. Burnout Dominator would retain some of this, but the colour palette is arguably the most saturated in that game compared to all the others.
  • Death from Above:
    • One of the most difficult, but arguably most epic ways to take down your opponents is by jumping off a ramp and landing on top of your opponent, dubbed the Vertical Takedown.
    • Airplane, Asteroid, and UFO in CRASH!
  • Denser and Wackier:
    • Revenge manages to combine this with Darker and Edgier from above. In addition to the fire-bathed, oil-soaked aesthetic and soundtrack, the game introduces the rather ludicrous idea of Traffic Checking that shunts same-way traffic forward like pinballs, as well as being able to blow up your car in mid-race and multiple times in Crash junctions.
    • To a certain extent, CRASH!, with it's more surreal and cartoony inclusions to the gameplay.
  • Developers' Foresight: The sides of tracks will often have some pockets, alcoves, or barely visible protrusions to punish players who continually hug walls for "safety".
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Any car that is put in the Super class is likely to be this, and nearly every car in the Special class is definitely this. The difficulty comes from the sheer speed of these vehicles, but if you can handle it, you get truly awesome speeds and get to feel like a badass.
  • Difficulty Spike: In Takedown, Revenge and Dominator, the player can unlock Special Events, where they must complete a Burning Lap in one of the fastest cars in the game (these events are unlocked as early as the first half-hour of play). Two particularly famous Special Events from Takedown involve using an F1 car on the longest track in Europe and the longest track in the game in the Far East, with lap times so stringent you can't get the Gold time if you crash even once.
  • Disaster Movie: Most of each Super Features in CRASH! are likely based on one of these.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Invoked; the whole point of the series is to drive like a goddamn maniac.
    • Heavily invoked on Crash Mode: Once the player's car reaches the designated zone and hits something, the other drivers apparently set their cars to lose your fucking mind mode and smash the gas pedal to help facilitate bigger and more violent pileus.
  • Dumbass DJ: Stryker in the third game, and arguably Atomika in Paradise.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Burnout 1 oh-so-much. There's no Takedowns (that came in 3), races operate on a timed Checkpoint system (went away in 3), you have to fill the boost meter completely before you can use it, there's no licensed music (again, 3), there's a slim selection of vehicles, and there's no Crash Mode whatsover. On a positive note, this is the only game featuring Burnouts where you aren't punished for disengaging the Boost by having to fill it up again.
    • Burnout 2 isn't even able to escape this: the high production values and licensed soundtracks didn't show up until 3 when Criterion were snapped up by EA. Crash mode is also much trickier as you cannot use Crashbreakers and Aftertouch to move your car to a different part of the intersection after the initial crash, nor pick up tokens. And while they are more lenient, it also still has the timed Checkpoint system from the original.
    • A rather unique instance appears in Legends on PSP and DS: many of the tracks from Burnout and Point of Impact simply aren't designed for the revolution brought about by Takedown and can be incredibly wide, incredibly thin, and/or feature obstacles on the sides that aren't present in most Takedown tracks (such as intersection safety walls not blocking off the corners). This can make it very hard to score Takedowns and make it quite easy to crash out yourself.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: In Crash mode, to facilitate gameplay (exploded cars even act as a score multiplier in Revenge). The ambulance is especially delicate.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Marked Man and Road Rage events.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Crash mode. You deliberately have to crash your car in a dense traffic.
  • Excited Show Title!: Given the exclamation mark, Burnout CRASH!.
  • Expy: A great range of the cars on offer in every single game either modify elements of an exiting real-world car or combine those of several, whilst still maintaining the general appearance. For example, the Custom Coupe Ultimate is based off of a Honda Civic, the Roadster looks like a Lotus Elise, the Carson GT looks like the 2007 Camaro, and Dominator's Super Prototype looks like a Bugatti Veyron.
  • Explosion Propulsion: In the Crash modes of Takedown and Revenge, as well as the races of the latter and Dominator. Not only are Crashbreakers useful for causing massive destruction, they frequently launch the car into the air, allowing you to use Aftertouch to move your car to a new area. Many Gold medals in Revenge Crash juctions can only be achieved by moving to a new part of the junctions, for example blowing your car off an overpass onto the freeway below.
  • Flawless Victory: What's practically required for some Burning Laps. In particular, the Coastal Dream and Tropical Drive Burning Laps in Takedown have Gold medal times so stringent that you absolutely cannot crash or else you won't make it in time.
  • Fragile Speedster: Speed-style cars. In particular, every game since Takedown has included open-wheel, Formula 1-style race cars as part of the vehicle lineup. Heaven help you if you touch anything when driving these while boosting. Including the walls.
  • Glass Cannon: If you're driving an open-wheel car like an F1 or Indy car, expect it to perform like this. They'll crash incredibly easily (even on curbs!) and won't last long if chosen for Road Rage or Marked Man events, but if you can avoid doing that, literally nothing else can catch you.
  • Have a Nice Death: Whenever you crash, you're treated to a clip of your car spiraling gracefully through the air, shedding metal shards everywhere, frequently in slow motion. In Burnout 1 and the 360 version of Revenge, you can even save these for posterity!
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The heavy traffic can appear almost anywhere, and there's sometimes not enough time to react before your car and the traffic vehicle collide. While the later games slide away from this by reducing traffic, the original has realistic amounts of traffic that can be all but impossible to avoid if you're in the wrong place.
    • This is made even worse when you realize The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, particularly in that they do not have to adhere to the Checkpoint timers.
  • Marathon Level: The tracks that take place over multiple combined tracks can veer into this, but it can also be invoked by the player by taking a slow car onto a track designed for faster ones. Two examples in particular stand out:
    • The original Burnout has this on every track due to the careful driving required and always having to do three laps. Gets taken Up to Eleven with the US Marathon track: it's a combination of the three US tracks that is so long a single lap takes up to six minutes. And you still have to do three whole laps of it!
    • In Takedown, the Tropical Drive track. While it's only a combination of two tracks, they are so far apart that the roads connecting the two practically count as a track and a half all on their own! One event in particular has you do two laps, which will still mean it will take about eight minutes to complete the race.
  • Meaningful Name: Every subtitled entry in the series:
    • Point of Impact: so-named for the Crash Mode, where success is often determined by where and when you crash into the intersection.
    • Takedown: for the Takedown mechanic where you can wreck opponents for boost.
    • Legends: the game features several classic "legend" tracks from the first and second games, and returning cars from those titles are all named "[X] Legend".
    • Revenge: for the Revenge mechanic, which while present in 3 is greatly emphasized here. In particular, the game will keep track of your Revenge Rivals online. It also lets you get revenge on previously deadly same-side traffic.
    • Dominator: each car class now has a Dominator car. While these were in 3, in this game they are unique vehicles, and pool together to form the Dominator car class.
    • Paradise: named both for the setting, Paradise City, and for the setting itself being a haven for racers with miles upon miles of open roads and events, both online and off.
    • CRASH!: the game is focused entirely on the Crash mode, which is now more puzzle-oriented than ever.
    • Cars with "Assassin" in thier name tend to do particularly well in "Road Rage" events.
  • Multi-Platform:
    • Burnout, Point of Impact, Takedown were released n PS2, Xbox and Gamecube.
    • Revenge released on PS2, Xbox, and Xbox 360.
    • Legends was released on PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS, while Dominator was on PS2 and PSP.
    • Paradise came out on PS3 and Xbox 360, with its remaster coming out on PS4 and Xbox One.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: As explained earlier, the opponent racers in Burnout 1 and 2 do not have to follow the same Checkpoint timers as you do.
  • Nintendo Hard: The original Burnout. Unlike later games, crashing is a SEVERE penalty as not only do you lose a lot of ground and respawn practically at a standing start, but you have to make it through Checkpoints before the clock runs out (something which your opponents aren't obliged to do), with times much more stringent than in the second game. On top of that, Championships have a credit limit that locks you to three retrys for the entire event. Boosting is also not as useful because you have a high likelihood of crashing, which often loses you so much time it's better to just not Boost at all. Winning is often a matter of driving carefully rather than dangerously!
  • Nitro Boost: You earn this for dangerous driving (drifting, passing close by traffic, driving on the wrong side of the road, etc). However, it operates slightly differently every few games:
    • In Burnout 1 and Point of Impact, Boost can only be used once the meter has been filled. After this, you can use it at any time until it's either empty or you crash. If you drive dangerously enough whilst boosting, the meter will refill, and doing it enough will fill it completely, starting a Burnout Chain.
    • In Takedown, Legends and Revenge, Boost can be used at any time, and the Burnout mechanic is gone. In its place, the meter can now be extended by up to 4x its original length by scoring Takedowns. You lose a chunk when you Crash. Getting a Takedown also fills the boost bar.
    • Dominator returns to the system from the first two games, with two important additions. First, you can use the Boost at any time, however you can only activate Burnout Chains if you fill the meter and turn the Boost blue. Secondly, the chevrons underneath the boost meter show how far you are to earning a Burnout. As in the previous games however, scoring a Takedown can either fill the bar instantly to Blue Boost or, if the player already has that, instantly qualify for another Burnout.
    • Paradise uses multiple different systems:
      • Stunt Boost has a fixed length and can be used at any time. It gets Boost through stunts like air time and barrel rolls.
      • Speed Boost works just like in 1 and 2, with the Takedown perks of Dominator.
      • Aggro Boost can be extend its bar via Takedowns, but are tricky to use as they get Boost mainly for those and by destroying the scenery.
      • Switch Boost is only with the Hawker Mech: it can change its Boost type between the above three, which also adjusts its handling
      • Locked Boost is exclusive to the Extreme Hotrod: the bar is always full, and once active the car will boost forever until it crashes or can be safely stopped.
      • Boostless cars appear only online, but compensate by being either extremely tough or having extremely high base speed stats. Bikes also fall into this category.
  • No One Could Survive That!:
    • The crashes. All of them. Played more straight when a car (including yours) is rammed off a cliff: you'll all respawn back on the track to continue the race!
    • Ultimately a Zig Zagged Trope across the franchise: in Takedown and Legends, the drivers are wearing helmets and racing fire suits (even the traffic cars), while in the first game they're textured black and are so low-poly it's impossible to tell. Fully Averted with Revenge, Dominator and Paradise: all the cars are empty, and the Bikes in the latter have riders who disappear the moment you get into a crash.
  • No Plot? No Problem!
  • Nostalgia Level: Legends takes drivers back to tracks from the first three installments (though it includes only one track from the original game). Also includes throwback cars from the previous games.
  • Oddball in the Series: Burnout CRASH! and, to a certain extent, the very first game.
  • Oh, Crap!, This Is Gonna Suck:
    • You, the player in any of the games. When your car is blasting through traffic at ludicrous speeds, anything you hit is going to turn your car into a pile of scrap. If you see a wall or traffic coming at you at over 100 mph, this is going to be your reaction.
    • Subverted in Revenge, since most of the traffic can be utterly destroyed by you.
  • One-Word Title: Burnout, which, as a compound word, is also a Portmantitle.
  • Optional Traffic Laws: Optional? Try none.
    • Except for when there's heavy traffic, so sticking to the correct side of the road is mandatory for survival.
    • Though, in the first and second games, the car will turn on its signal/indicator lights when there's a significant turn ahead. Paradise does the same while in events, as the game's way of recommending a route. It's probably more as a player aid than anything else.
  • Product Placement: Starting with the EA titles, nearly every game has had this:
    • Takedown included many billboards for brands like Axe and other EA titles like Need For Speed Underground 2 and Battlefield 1942.
    • Revenge upped the ante by supplementing the billboards with branded cars. The base game has cars for EA, Logitech, Black, Nixon, EA, Criterion and Etnies, but through Downloadable Content you could also get cars in the 360 vesion for Alienware, Dolby, Plantronics, Spike TV, Xbox LIVE, Circuit City, BestBuy, Gamestop, Carl's Jr, Madden 2006, Monster and Yellowcard.
    • Dominator returned to the billboards of the third game.
    • Paradise had billboards as well as unlockable cars for Circuit City, BestBuy, Gamestop, Walmart, Micromania, B'z (albeit across different regions). This game is particularly infamous for its dynamic billboads that would change as companies bought the ad space, specifically for when Barack Obama used a few billboards seen in certain states for his presidency campaign.
  • Pun-Based Title: The Crash events in Takedown and Revenge ("Forest Bump", "Mighty Docks", "Van-Fire Strikes Back"), as well as many event names in Paradise.
  • Racing Game: If you haven't picked up on that already.
  • Ramming Always Works: The most common form of Takedowns: the best way to score a Takedown is often to drive under the car's own power and then Boost so you ramp into the back of another racer: since they always drive according to your speed, the huge impact will cause them to swerve and hit a wall.
    • Deconstructed in the first and second games. It causes the Player to end up crashing with the AI instead of gaining any sort of advantage, in other words, a double crash. Except in Pursuit Mode in Burnout 2, and even then, it plays out more like a game of tag with the opponent having a health bar.
    • This is also the modus operandi of Traffic Checking. Except when it isn't because it doesn't work on anything bigger than a van.
  • Real Is Brown: Played so very, very straight in Burnout Revenge: more than half the tracks are bathed in orange light with brown being the predominant texture colour (many cars feature orange as a paint colour, which only Revenge does). The Xbox 360 port takes this Up to Eleven: being a launch-window next-gen title, the tracks are bathed in blooming effects that seem to distract more than they awe-inspire. This was also the case in Paradise too, which had a desaturated, high-contrast look. This was eventually patched to a more colourful aesthetic when the Day/Night cycle was introduced.
  • Reality Ensues: In every crash in every game. Not to mention the realistic amounts of traffic in the first game with gratuitous cross-traffic: well, what did you expect would happen when you sped into an open public intersection a 80mph?
    • Survival Mode on the Special menu in the first game where the player only has one life and completely random traffic patterns. Crashing a car at high speeds would leave the car completely destroyed, thus rendering it undrivable in real life after all, if not outright end up dying in the crash.
    • Driving at high speeds in congested traffic in any of the games causes the player to end up crashing with a car that happened to be crossing at an intersection, with little to no time to react. Running red lights, stop signs or yield signs would eventually end up causing you to crash in real life with someone else who legally had the right of way or someone who was distracted while driving after all. This can happen to YOU or your opponents/to the AI in any of the Burnout games.
    • Trying to perform a Takedown in the first and second games will cause the Player to end up causing a double crash with the AI and the Player. You ARE hitting another car with a lot of force, at high speeds on top of that. Of course your car would end up getting destroyed alongside with the car of your opponent, if not end up with much worser damage than the car of the opponent that you tried to run off the road, if the crash didn't ended up killing you and the opponent at the same time. There's a good reason why cops use a device known as the Bullbar in real life when they need/have to force the suspect off the road.
    • In Paradise, this is the fine line between a Driveaway and an outright crash. You can mess up the body all you want, but if the chassis warps or a wheel pops off, it's counted as a crash no matter what else happens.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Manages to happen twice in the franchise: Burnout Legends' soundtrack is literally half of what's in Revenge, while Burnout Dominator shares half of its music with Burnout Paradise (whilst still having some tracks unique to both).
  • Revenge of the Sequel: The fourth game, titled Burnout Revenge. Apt as the game places much more focus on enacting revenge on the person who took you down, including for AI racers.
  • Rule of Cool: Why can you drive F1 cars in the game? Why does traffic speed up into a pileup in Crash events? Why can you send same-way cars flying like pinballs by rear-ending them? Why can you blow up your car after you crash and then direct where the wreck goes? This is the answer to all those questions and more.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: Of sorts. If an oil tanker shows up in a Crash event, your best bet is to head directly towards it as fast as possible to blow it up and cause as much carnage as you can (or get next to it in Revenge for your Crashbreaker). Not only is this shown rather plainly in the Takedown Crash junction "Marina Mayhem" (an oil tanker is the first vehicle you can collide with), it's shown at the end of the game's intro!.
  • Signature Move: In Takedown and Revenge, there are special areas that grant the player a "Signature Takedown". Some notable examples are Tram Ram, Rumble in the Jungle, and Tuk-down. In Dominator these are Signature Shortcuts, which unlock quicker routes.
  • Spiritual Successor: Most of the games developed by Three Fields Entertainment, which were founded by Criterion Games co-founders Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry. Their Danger Zone games are a spiritual successor to the classic Crash Mode feature of Burnout, Dangerous Driving is a spiritual successor to Burnout's high-speed destructive racing aspects, and their recently-announced Dangerous Driving 2 will be open world like with Burnout Paradise.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Starting with 3, which introduced the Crashbreaker for Crash Mode, as well as oil tankers and just cars exploding if you drove into a big vehicle hard enough. In Revenge you got the ability to blow up your car multiple times, and it would gradually introduce Crashbreaker events where, after crashing, you could use your remaining boost to fuel an explosion to take out other racers (Dominator would make this standard for all'' racers).
  • Super Prototype: The final standard car unlocked in Takedown's race tour, along with the World Circuit Racer.
  • Taking You with Me: Aftertouch Takedowns and, in Revenge and Dominator, Crashbreaker payback Takedowns.
  • Technicolor Fire: With the Boost meters. In Dominator, the normal boost meter is the usual orange, however, once it's filled it turns blue, meaning you can try for a Burnout. In Paradise the meters are coloured for their type: Speed is yellow, Stunt is green, Aggro is red, Locked is cyan and Boostless is grey (Showtime only).
  • Variable Mix: In the first and second games:
    • Burnout had a loud heartbeat sound which slowly faded the BGM out the faster the player drove while boosting.
    • Point of Impact had a two-stage music mix— a quieter, less-complex mix while off the booster and a louder, more rockin'/thumpin' mix while using the booster. Another, slightly-different mix of the level's theme played in replays— these were the mixes carried over to Paradise's soundtrack.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: many Crash Junctions need a fair bit of finangling to figure out how to get the Gold medal. But the game that takes the cake is the original: the traffic is always the same with each and every race, including cross traffic. In addition to being really careful, you also need to learn which side of the road to be on for Lap 1 to avoid that bus driving across the fifth intersection, for example, and the game takes no prisoners.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Crash/Showtime and traffic checking.
  • Wacky Racing: We can't emphasize the Wacky part enough.
  • Wreaking Havok: The slo-mo close-ups on your car aren't to show off its damages. You can steer your crash into Rivals who try to pass through to score "Aftertouch Takedowns".
  • You Break It, You Profit: Crash events, Showtime mode, and the entirety of CRASH!

Alternative Title(s): Burnout 2 Point Of Impact, Burnout 3 Takedown, Burnout Revenge, Burnout Dominator, Burnout Legends


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