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Video Game / Cars 3: Driven to Win

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Cars 3: Driven to Win is the seventh game in the Cars franchise. The game was developed by Avalanche Software as their first game after their reopeningnote  and released for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U on June 13, 2017. This is the first Disney-based game to not be published by Disney Interactive Studios after they were closed down in May 2016. Instead, it is published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It virtually uses the same gaming engine as Cars 2.

This game takes place after the events of Cars 3. The first race is the Thomasville Flashback, where Lightning and Cruz race racing legends like Doc Hudson, Junior Moon, Louise Nash and River Scott via a Virtual Training Simulation, to make it look like the two are actually racing with them. Soon afterwards, you can unlock new tracks by partaking in them. There are 21 tracks to unlock, including Fireball Beach, Thunder Hollow, Radiator Springs and Florida 500. Five tracks from Cars 2: The Video Game also make an appearance.

There are six modes to unlock:

  • Race: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Battle Race: Racing but with weapons.
  • Stunt Showcase: Landing as many air tricks as possible within a time limit to get the most points.
  • Takedown: Taking down as many Crash Karts as possible within a time limit.
  • Best Lap Challenge: Trying to beat the all-time record for best lap on the picked track.
  • Thomasville Playground: Where you can practice stunts and tricks, play minigames or just drive around.

    List of characters 
  • Lightning McQueen
  • Cruz Ramirez
  • Tow Mater
  • Sally
  • Ramone
  • Guido
  • Mater the Greater (can be unlocked by beating him in the Stunt Showcase Master-Level challenge)
  • Bobby Swift (can be unlocked by gaining 4 skill checks)
  • Brick Yeardley (can be unlocked by gaining 7 skill checks)
  • Chick Hicks (can be unlocked by beating him in the Takedown Master-Level challenge)
  • Natalie Certain (can be unlocked by gaining 17 skill checks)
  • Fabulous Lightning McQueen (added via update)
  • Arvy (can be unlocked by gaining 40 skill checks)
  • Dr. Damage (can be unlocked by gaining 70 skill checks)
  • Miss Fritter (can be unlocked by beating her in the Battle Race Master-Level challenge)
  • Cam Spinner (can be unlocked by gaining 50 skill checks)
  • Rich Mixon (can be unlocked by gaining 85 skill checks)
  • Jackson Storm (can be unlocked by beating him in the Race Master-Level challenge)
  • Junior Moon (can be unlocked by gaining 27 skill checks)
  • Louise Nash (can be unlocked by gaining 57 skill checks)
  • River Scott (can be unlocked by gaining 77 skill checks)
  • Smokey (can be unlocked by gaining 124 skill checks)
  • Mack (can be unlocked by collecting all ten of his hats in the Thomasville Playground)

Cars 3: Driven to Win contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Badass: Natalie Certain and Mack are fully capable of keeping up with the other cars despite demonstrating no racing skills in the movies. Since the races are actually training simulations, it's fully justified.
  • An Aesop: Mentioned by Lightning to Natalie in the opening cutscene:
    Lightning McQueen: See, that's the problem, Natalie. You can't rely on numbers alone. Racing's something you have to feel and experience.
  • Always Night: Arizona Sundown Run, Midnight Run, Thunder Hollow Destruction Derby, Florida International Speedway and Go Go Tokyo!.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Both Lightning and Mater have alternate paint jobs (the former's "Fabulous Lightning McQueen" Doc Hudson-esque getup and the latter's "Mater the Greater" getup) that can be unlocked by fulfilling certain requirements. Strangely, both paint jobs function as two separate characters.
  • Announcer Chatter: Darrell Cartrip announces at the beginning of and throughout each race and the characters comment on their experiences throughout.
    Darrell Cartrip: Boogity boogity boogity! Let's go racing!
  • The Artifact: The game's battle race mode heavily involves weapons like machine guns, bombs and oil being used to attack other racers; this is directly lifted from the Cars 2 video game. But while that game was justified in having weapon-based gameplay due to the movie it's based on being a spy thriller that actually did use said weapons, there's very little justification for this game to have weapon-based gameplay considering the movie it's based on lacks the spy-theming. To the game's credit, though, the weapons have been redesigned to look more cartoonish.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Natalie Certain has a much bigger role in the game than she had in the film. Here she's a playable character, and is one of the guests on the Chick's Picks monologue following an event.
    • Next-generation Piston Cup racers Cam Spinner and Rich Mixon were extra racers to fill in the ranks of Piston Cup competitors with no lines or characterization. Here, they are not only promoted to playable characters, but also receive voice actors.
  • Bomb Whistle: Done literally with the bombs weapon - it makes a whistling sound whenever you fire it.
  • Boss Battle: Each of the four Master Level events consist of your car competing against another, with Jackson Storm's event as the Final Boss.
  • Bring It:
    • Your car will say something like this once they reach the final lap.
    • An early one done by Cruz when Jackson challenges Lightning and herself to an all-out match:
    Cruz Ramirez: Top notch? Hey, I beat you once, Jackson, and I'll do it again!
  • The Bus Came Back: This is Sally's first appearance in a Cars video game since the start of the franchise.
  • Call-Back:
    • Many to the video game adaptation of Cars 2:
      • The controls, such as side bashing, backwards driving and two-wheel driving, are exactly the same.
      • Five of the tracks are re-skinned versions of Runway Tour, Buckingham Sprint, Casino Tour, Vista Run and Timberline Sprint.
      • Battle racing returns, with some of the weaponsnote  being adapted from the previous game.
      • The Takedown mode has a similar premise to the Attack mode from 2, only with the Lemons replaced with test karts.
    • Often when Lightning jumps from a really high height, he lets his tongue flail out the side of his mouth, like how he did in the first film when he jumped the wreckage.
    • Some of Cruz's lines are callbacks to Cars 3 when she was a trainer.
  • The Cameo:
    • Sheriff, Fillmore, Sarge and Flo appear as spectators in the Radiator Springs races.
    • Demolition derby participants High Impact, Broadside, Bill and Airborne appear driving around in Thunder Hollow Speedway. Bill is also an AI competitor in the Battle Race Master-Level Event.
  • Clone Army: The Master-Level takedown event to unlock Chick Hicks requires you to take down a hundred Chick Hicks clones in the span of five minutes, all while the clones boast to each other about how good they are.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • If your car is in the lead during Battle Races, be sure to watch for dangers the A.I.s will toss at you, as much are imminent. Road Mines can also be dropped, and there's a chance you'll run into one of them and you only have some time to lob it onto another opponent before it goes off.
    • Racing in Hard mode gives the A.I.s incredible amounts of speed, almost impossible to pass.
  • Death Glare: Sometimes your car will give one of these, though it's with determination rather than malice.
  • Digital Destruction: The Wii U and Switch releases have rather lower-quality animation than the PS3, PS4 and Xbox One releases. Specifically the characters' eyes and decals are a bit pixelated and the backgrounds aren't shaded as much.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Pressing the left control stick will switch your car's headlights on and off. It doesn't have any major effect, it just illuminates your way through.
    • Pressing the weapons button when you have no weapons ready to fire honks the horn. You can choose which horn sound your car makes prior to racing.
  • Funny Background Event: If you wait long enough on the main screen, you can see Chick Hicks being replaced with a cardboard cutout of himself.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Specifically the goal for the player is to fulfill all skill checks, though they only need to collect 90 to face Storm.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Averted. Lightning has shown to have gotten better with the simulator here, as opposed to the movie when he immediately goes out of control and destroys it the moment it turns on.
  • I Can See My House from Here: Whenever Junior Moon jumps from a really tall height.
    Junior Moon: Hey, I can see Thomasville from here!
  • Incoming Ham: Miss Fritter's unleashes one in the intro to her Master Event:
    Miss Fritter: Not so fast!
    Chick Hicks: [Lightning's] not so fast. Never has been.
    Miss Fritter: Oh-ho, yeah! Here I come! [Barges through, knocking Chick's Piston Cup off the set]
  • Irony: Seeing the Warner Bros. logo every time the game starts is surreal to those who know about Disney and Warner Bros. being industry rivals. This was far from the only time Warner Bros. worked with Disney to some capacity though, case in point Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Not to mention that the game was published around the time Avalanche Software was acquired by WB, hence why it was published under the WB Games label.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The intro cutscene spoils the defeat of Jackson Storm at the Florida 500.
    • The game also features Lightning McQueen's "Fabulous" paint job as a playable character, which doesn't come in until the movie's final scene.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Hard difficulty setting, mostly for the A.I.s.
  • Nostalgia Level: Five tracks from the Cars 2 video game are unlockable with Skill Checks.
  • Off-Model:
    • For a strange reason, Lightning's usual model doesn't have the small #95 on his right cheek.
    • During promotional shots advertising the "Lightning Storm Cruise", Cruz is in her pre-Cars 3 appearance before she became a racer.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Your car may show this expression if they're overtaken by an AI.
    • An early one is done by Lightning when he realizes Chick's show is still recording and he wound up in the middle of the episode.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Due to having a different voice actorinvoked, Lightning almost completely loses his minimal southern accent.
  • Proscenium Reveal: The opening scene shows Lightning and Cruz in Thomasville while the former races the old legends, including Doc...then it's revealed to have come from the simulator he's trying out.
  • Racing the Train: One of the Radiator Springs tracks has a train that you have to jump clear of.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Both versions of Arizona's Copper Canyon Speedway, as well as the Radiator Springs Red Dirt Derby.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Both Radiator Springs tracks take place in winter, just like in the film.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The music speeds up and modulates up one step on the last lap.
  • Splitscreen: The boxart, as seen above, depicts the three leads in a different major location visited throughout the film: Cruz in Thomasville, Lightning at Fireball Beach, and Jackson at the Florida 500.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Just like the game before it, your car will instantly drown if it falls in the water, before getting re-simulated back to the track.
  • Terse Talker: Like in the film, Dr. Damage only speaks by imitating an ambulance siren.
    Dr. Damage: Wee-oo-wee-oo-wee-oo!
  • Timed Mission: In the Takedown event, your car has to blast a variety of simulator cars within the time limit. The challenges in the Thomasville Playground are timed, too.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When you beat Jackson Storm in the final Master-Level race, Storm will have one of these:
    Jackson Storm: That race was fixed for ratings! You know I can beat you anytime, Lightning. I can beat anyone, anywhere! Just bring it!
  • The Voice: Darrell Cartrip provides commentary throughout the events, but we never see him onscreen.
  • The Voiceless: Unlike the previous games, Guido is completely silent.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Side-bashing an opponent will cause them to yell at you this way, with some cars referring to each other by name.
    Miss Fritter: (after Arvy side-bashes her) You're just making me madder, Arvy!