Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Split/Second (2010)

Go To
When speed is not enough, the city is your weapon.Trust us...

Split/Second: Velocity (simply Split/Second in North America) is an arcade racing game developed by Black Rock Studios and published by Disney Interactive. The action in the game is framed as a reality/Game Show in which racers compete through 12 episodes of an internationally broadcast reality television series, also titled Split/Second. The racing is much like it is in any arcade racer, with one key difference: instead of building boost through drifting, drafting and jumping, racers gain "energy", which is used to set off "Power Plays", action movie style explosions, to wreck their opponents. These range from propane tanks dropped from helicopters and cars and trucks on the side of the track blowing up to collapsing buildings to change the route of the course.

However, racing isn't the only mode available.

Why, yes, all of the game modes directly involve explosions in one way or another.

A sequel was in development, but Disney cancelled the project, leading to the studio's ultimate closure. In 2021, over 10 years after the original game and the closure of Black Rock Studios, a Spiritual Successor was made called "Detonation Racing", exclusively released for Apple's Apple Arcade subscription platform and produced by many of the original members of the Split/Second development team (who went on to form the game's developer Electric Square).

Not to be confused with the Tom Kennedy quizzer from The '70snote  or its 80s revival with Monty Hall.

Tropes featured in Split/Second include:

  • Advanced Movement Technique: With particularly drifty cars like the Ryback Firestorm, drifting at a slight angle down a straight section of the track can create a small speed boost and allows for easy power accumulation.
  • Artificial Stupidity: AI cars will sometimes open shortcuts but not take them.
  • Attack Reflector: Air Revenge focuses on gaining power to reflect the Air Strike helicopter's missiles right back at it to destroy it in the shortest time possible.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Elite Goliath. Good lord, is it built like a tank, but reaching top speed is not easy. Almost all of the other trucks suffer a problem in that it's easy for them to ignore shock effects, but if they're shoved far enough off course, they won't be able to recover in time and can crash anyway.
  • Big Dam Plot: Canyon's sole Route Changer involves the collapse of a dam, with the old route running along its inside wall.
  • Boring, but Practical: The helicopter-dropping-a-bomb Power Plays are easily the most boring ones in the game, both visually and conceptually. But they're reusable from lap to lap, are a near-guaranteed wreck if timed correctly, and most tracks have one just before the end, letting you destroy the car in front of you in the race's last seconds.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Getting achievements causes them to show up on your car as decals, as a way of showing people online just how much of a badass you are.
    • One of them, "Untouchable" (win a race event without crashing) has two spots on the rear of every car. That should give you an idea of how often you can expect to crash in this game.
    • The Ryback Firestorm car, awarded when the player reaches 3600 credits (meaning you have finished 1st in every single event in the game). By that point, you don't really need it for anything anymore. Even if you want to use it for multiplayer races, it'll only come in handy if you can drift well. In contrast, the penultimate car, the Hanzo FX350, is a very fast and controllable car that is much easier to drive than the Firestorm overall.
  • Car Fu: Besides the Power Plays, it's possible (though more difficult) to wreck other racers by ramming them.
  • Cliffhanger: For a racing game, interestingly enough— after the championship race, you're doing the winner's podium shots when things start being blown up, even though the power plays were supposedly deactivated, and then an army of rogue construction vehicles with mysterious "SƧ" logos on them show up, and soon after, the scene cuts to black with "TO BE CONTINUED" on the screen. If you listen to the guy on the mic, it sounds like he's talking about a now-defunct company that ran an earlier season of Split/Second until 1982. Apparently the company wasn't as dead as the current Split/Second team thought.
    • Left Hanging: Due to the cancellation of the game's supposed sequel.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In quite a few ways.
    • On each track on the hardest difficulty (which kicks in somewhere around season 7), there are one or two AI opponents who can (and will) drive the track with 100% precision, meaning the only way to slow them down is to hit them with Power Plays. If you let them overtake you and get out of sight, they'll have a 10-second lead on you in no time. This is more noticeable in the Elite Races, where Torpedo, Vixen and Raptor are the major offenders, and can rack up a 20-second lead if left to their own devices.
    • On Elite Races, the other Elites will hardly ever use Power Plays on each other, and have a seemingly infinite power meter, which they'll use to throw every single Power Play on the track at you if you're in first place. Good thing they can't use them too well and that most are easy to recover from.
    • Also on Elite Races, Raptor will always come at least second. At least, the results board will say so. This makes coming in first in every Elite race almost necessary, because Raptor will always get the full 9 points in the championship standings and make it a major pain in the ass to come back, as even if you win the race, Raptor will still get 8 points and make the gap the race should have made almost nothing again.
    • It's a small blessing that the AI really cannot handle being on the receiving end of Power Play shockwaves; if they're nudged off course, the drivers sometimes panic and swerve straight into walls. Sometimes, shockwave-based Power Plays (gas stations, tanker trucks, etc.) can cause even the built-like-tanks trucks to outright fall apart where they stand, even when it'll do hardly anything to your probably fairly flimsy supercar on a direct hit.
      • An exception to this exists in the gas station Power Plays; if timed right, your car won't make it through in one piece. The window to wreck AI opponents in gas stations is, however, much larger.
  • Continuing is Painful: In Air Strike and Survival, being blown up means losing your streak... and thus your score multiplier. It certainly doesn't help that the truck or chopper won't go easy on you in the slightest after you respawn.
  • Cool Car: Plenty, ranging from sports and muscle cars to heavily armored SUVs and even a prototype race car.
  • Crosshair Aware: You can see where the missiles are going to land in Air Strike and Air Revenge modes. This allows you to dodge them and rack up points based on how well you avoid getting hit (or in the case of Air Revenge, build up your Power Play meter to send the missiles back at the chopper).
  • Deadly Walls: You can throw the side of your car against a guardrail at near-top speed with only scratched paint to show for it, but if you tap it at a near-perpendicular angle, your car won't remain in one piece.
    • Also applies to AI opponents caught in shockwaves—even brushing against a wall can cause their cars to disintegrate!
  • Death Course: In the Detonator mode, the player has to complete a hot lap of the track while the majority of the offensive Power Plays trigger in front of them. Every barrel, fence, car, train, building and bridgenote  can and will explode as you drive past it in an attempt to send you into a wall. In short, this mode could be renamed Everything Trying to Kill You.
  • Death from Above: Air Strike Mode, in which you are being chased by an attack helicopter that fires volleys of missiles at you.
    • A "generic" Power Play on every track is a helicopter that drops exploding propane tanks onto the track. One of these is usually positioned before the finish straight as a last-ditch Power Play.
    • Both Downtown Central and Airport Terminal feature Route Switchers in the form of tall towers toppling onto the course. During the next lap of the latter, a jumbo jet may come in for a crash landing on said runway—while you're racing on it.
    • The under-construction high-rise in Construction Site can drop a section of itself onto the ground, forming a makeshift ramp.
    • One of Dry Docks' Route Switchers has a crane drop a massive marine engine onto a ship, with explosive results.
    • Expressway has level 2 Power Play that detonates explosives under an overpass to launch cars onto the track.
    • Storm Drain has a Skycrane helicopter pull a mining dump truck through a bridge note  and drop it onto the track below.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If your car gets wrecked, you simply respawn after a few seconds without a scratch. On the other hand, considering this is an action-packed racing game, those are still precious seconds being wasted. However, this is averted in certain game modes, where the player's lives are precious few.
  • Death Mountain: The Quarry and Minepit Park tracks.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Airplane Graveyard.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Level 2 Power Plays can be completely ineffectual if you time them wrong or if there aren't enough cars to be hit by them when you fire them off. On the other hand, if timed near-perfectly, it's entirely possible to wipe out the entire race in one fell swoop (and get an "Ultimate Wreck").
  • Don't Try This at Home: In no small part, the developers and the game itself make quite the effort to tell you that everything portrayed within is entirely fictional, and should not be attempted in real life for any reason. This is Disney we are talking about.
  • Down L.A. Drain: Storm Drain and Storm Drain Speedway. Duh.
  • Downloadable Content: In addition to several car packs, there are three packs that each include a new game mode, a new track, and a few cars. The new modes are Survival Race (racing in Survival mode), Deadline (Detonator with timer-pausing pickups), and Onslaught (racing in Air Strike mode).
  • Disaster Movie: Many of the Level 2 Power Plays look like they came out of one of these, especially the Route Changers. These range from collapsing a building to detonating boulders out of a cliff face and even showering the race course in derailed train cars.
  • Effortless Achievement: Split Second contains an achievement for triggering your first Level 1 Power Play, which is almost required to win any race.
  • Epic Fail: You know you (or the other AI cars) are doing terribly in an Elite race if Rigg is in first place, because he drives the Elite Goliath mentioned above. Even under AI control, Rigg is basically the Butt-Monkey of the Elite team and will almost always come in dead last regardless of everything that happens in the race.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Detonator events, where the course's Power Plays trigger by themselves, forcing you to outmaneuver them and maintain your speed. During Season mode, these must be beaten in a certain amount of time (which is rather unforgiving; scraping by with mere milliseconds is par for the course and you will restart most of the time).
    • Even more so in multiplayer when you're driving ahead of the pack, bombarded with the combined power (and bodywork) of everyone behind you. And with drifty cars like the Firestorm, power flows in like water.
  • Excuse Plot: It could easily be argued that the whole "reality TV show" thing is an excuse plot for racing with gratuitous explosions.
    • The developers flat out admitted that they came up with the Stuff Blowing Up concept first and only later asked "OK, how do we justify this?"
    • Was intended to be subverted, as the ending of the Season Mode suggests that more is taking place than meets the eye, but that's never gonna happen.
  • Exploding Barrels: Survival mode has you dodging as many of these as you can. You get bonus points for overtaking the trucks dropping them.
    • A common Power Play utilizes a helicopter dropping a propane tank onto the track.
    • The Route Switcher at Ferry Wharf that has you drive on top of an aircraft carrier also has you pass through it on the following lap, where driving into one of the yellow cylinders rolling across the floor can prove deadly.
  • Fauxrrari: The vehicles in the game's roster are heavily inspired by real world brands, as are their manufacturers.
    • Ryback builds chunky muscle cars and trucks that resemble modern American offerings.
      • The Brawler bears a heavy resemblance to the fifth generation Chevy Camaro and the Thunder is a cartoonish take on a Ford F-250.
    • Cobretti cars are low-slung coupes and supercars inspired by a variety of European car manufacturers.
      • Notable cars include the Porsche 911 inspired GT RS, the unmistakably Lamborghini-like Vortex, the GT500, which takes inspiration from the Maserati Gran Turismo, and and the Severus, which is essentially a more modern mid-engined take on the TVR Cerbera.
    • Hanzo specializes in sports coupes and supercars inspired by Japanese sports cars.
      • The Hanzo GT is based on the Nissan GT-R and the Bayonet is a mid-engined supercar reminiscent of the post-facelift Honda NSX.
    • Elite isn't based on any one manufacturer, but their stable includes a supercar reminiscent of the McLaren 12C and a truck inspired by the Land Rover-based Bowler Nemesis.
  • Guide Dang It!: Some of the later Detonator events seem next to impossible to beat, but the target times are more attainable if you try to drift as little as possible (even in a car with a high drift stat).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: It is very possible to get caught by one of your own Power Plays, and the game will point it out to you with a message saying "You Wrecked Yourself".
  • Infinity -1 Car:
    • With the Cobretti Slipstream, throwing the rear end out and keeping it there is hilariously easy, making racking up power manageable on any track.
    • The Elite 440 Special is the ultimate all-rounder, with every stat at 6 or 7.
    • If drifting's not your thing, the Cobretti 530 GTS and Ryback Cyclone RS are among the fastest cars in the game, with great acceleration to boot.
    • The Ryback Titan, the game's final truck (Hanzo Kanobo aside), is surprisingly competent in races despite its size and weight. It has the same top speed as the 530 GTS and the highest acceleration among all the trucks. Moreover, being a truck, it's also quite tough and stable to handle, leading to fewer slowdowns.
  • Infinity +1 Car:
    • The Hanzo FX350, awarded for reaching 3300 credits and likely the penultimate car you will unlock. It's the second fastest car in the game without being made of paper, it's decently driftable, and it's got good grip for tighter turns or for when you just don't feel like drifting. That says volumes about its practicality, considering how the fastest car in the game (the Elite GT12) is pretty much just a Leeroy Jenkins and the ultimate car (the Ryback Firestorm) is just a pure-bred drifter.
    • While the Firestorm isn't perfect, the sheer ease with which it can drift (without losing speed, at that) makes it worthy of being Post-End Game Content. Enjoy topping up your power bar in a matter of seconds.
    • The DLC Hanzo Kanobo is faster than the Titan, and despite its drift stat, can drift faster too.
    • Elsewhere in the DLC lineup, there's the stronger Ryback Cyclone Special, the quick and decently drifty Cobretti Severus, and the Cobretti Centaur and Ryback Javelin, two drift machines to rival the Firestorm.
  • It's Going Down: If you see anything big, tall, and cool-looking in the level scenery, there's a pretty good chance that it's going to be blown up in a Level 2 Power Play.
  • Limit Break: Level 2 Power Plays, which use your entire energy bar and often have a far greater impact on the race (changing the route or taking out several racers at once).
  • Macross Missile Massacre: You are on the receiving end in Air Strike mode. Air Revenge mode turns the tables on the chopper.
  • Minimalism: The HUD lacks any unnecessary elements, such as a speedometer or track map, and is kept fairly small. Otherwise, you'd miss all the explosions.
  • Old Save Bonus: The "Have We Met Before?" decal, which shows up if you have save data from Pure, another Black Rock game.
  • One-Hit Kill: In Survival Mode, some of the Exploding Barrels launched from the semis are red rather than blue and will wreck you instantly. Once time's up, you enter Sudden Death and the trucks only drop reds. Good luck.
  • Painting the Medium: You'll see a small "BR TV"note  watermark in the corner of the screen from time to time, and wrecking opponents with certain Power Plays grants you the opportunity to view TV show-style "instant replays". Not to mention the intros and outros with credits that play between episodes...
  • Player-Exclusive Mechanic: As noted above, your non-player opponents have a much greater chance at wrecking from just shockwaves.
    • The shortcut in Construction Site is practically unknown to the AI. Justified in that they'd give it away otherwise.
  • Recurring Riff: There's a very distinctive melody that plays throughout many of the game's pieces, from the intro to the Elite Race themes.
  • Rubberband AI: Two-way until the higher difficulties. No matter which car you pick for any race in any season, you can easily manage to pull middle of the pack at the very least, unless you drive atrociously and crash into every Power Play on purpose. The AIs will rarely get too far ahead or behind. This means you can't take a hypercar back to the first episodes and clean housenote  by zooming into the lead far ahead of all the other cars.
  • Rule of Cool: The reality TV premise would be impossible in Real Life; it's more or less just an excuse to blow as much stuff up during a race as possible.
  • Runaway Train: One Route Changer sends a train careening down a track next to the course before being blown sky-high. You can get a decal for taking out three or more racers with this: "The Pain Train".
  • Scenery Gorn: The most likely state of the course after a few laps.
  • Shout-Out: The entire game is one long love letter to summer blockbusters.
    • Survival Mode, in which you have to overtake a series of semi trucks that are dropping explosive barrels to stop you, is lifted almost directly from similar scenes in Bad Boys II and The Island (2005).
    • The achievement/trophy names have shout outs to Hercules, of all things— the ones named Going the Distance and Zero to Hero specifically. Yeah, Disney Interactive published the game, but still.
    • The car manufacturer Ryback takes its name from Casey Ryback, the main character from the action movie Under Siege, while the Cobretti brand is named after Marion Cobretti, the protagonist of Cobra.
  • Show Within a Show: Well, within a game, but you get the point.
  • Skill Gate Cars: The trucks. Sure, not being shoved into a wall by an adjacent explosion is nice, but with the exception of the DLC Hanzo Kanobo, they lose too much speed in drifts to remain viable in the later stages.
  • Snowy Screen of Death: Should you be buried under the rubble of an opponent's power play, the camera feed will be replaced with static.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Anything that looks like it would wreck a driver when it explodes most likely will.
    • No better way to take in this trope than the Detonator event, where every power play is triggering on its own and timing is critical to survival.
  • Variable Mix: The menu music, when you advance past the title screen and select an event.
    • Each theme during a race has three variations which play at different stages in the race, with each variation adding more instruments in order to ramp up the intensity as you close in on the finish. The music segues whenever it's forced to pause (such as a noteworthy Power Play or if you crash). On three-lap courses, each mix plays on the start of a new lap, while two-lap races begin on the second variation. The easiest way to force the game to switch music is by pausing and unpausing the game as long as you know the points at which the theme changes. If nothing forces the music to pause, it'll just keep playing the same theme (so if you're driving a particularly fast vehicle on Easy difficulty, you can keep the music the same for the whole race by outrunning everyone and never triggering a Power Play).
  • Wacky Racing: It's an arcade-style racer with the added bonus that you can collapse bridges and blow up buildings to wreck your rivals. Need we say more?
  • Wreaking Havok: What do you expect from a game that actually uses the Havok physics engine?

Alternative Title(s): Split Second Velocity, Split Second