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Test Drive Unlimited is a sub-series of Driving Games in the Test Drive series. Unlike earlier games in the long-running series, these games are set on fairly accurate recreations of real islands where players are free to roam around in gorgeous cars, beautiful houses, and even do a bit of gambling if one wants to. The first game, first released for Xbox 360 in 2006 and later released for PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, and PlayStation Portable in 2007, is set on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu (where the state's capital and largest city Honolulu is located). The second game, released for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in 2011, adds the Spanish island of Ibiza as a location and revamps Oʻahu to keep things interesting for returning players. Both those games were developed by Eden Games, who previously made the V-Rally games.
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A Test Drive Unlimited 3 is currently in the works by Bigben Interactive, who brought the rights to the franchise from Atari SA (although Atari will still own the rights to the first two games).

Tropes in this sub-series include:

  • A Taste of Power: The dream at the beginning of the second game gives you a fairly high performance Ferrari California to try out. The Convoy missions in the Discovery DLC typically put you in many of the DLC or otherwise special cars you won't be seeing much of like the Police Viper. It also applies to any car as you can test drive one before buying or to know what it's like.
  • All Just a Dream: Part of the intro to the second game starts out as your birthday, Tess has gotten you a Ferrari California as a gift. During your drive of it, you hear her voice telling you to wake up and... turns out you're her chauffeur who had fallen asleep in her California. That being the last straw as she was about to fire you, but not before at least giving you the chance to join the Solar Crown racing series.
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  • Aloha, Hawaii!: The first game is set on Oʻahu. It is joined by Ibiza in 2.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: Close; you can recolor or choose different pieces of furniture in your house, but you can't re-arrange them.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Time penalties are disabled in off-road time trials since some of the tighter paths on Hawaii can have you constantly bumping into the fences (or Spanish ruins on Ibiza) and it's also hard to tell where the game would consider you off-track in that situation. Some time trials also disable it such as the Diamond Head Challenge in the A1 High championship where you're expected to be going top speed around the course for two laps. The Ibiza and Oahu Tour time trials also disables the penalty, meaning you can slide off road or smash into a traffic car and still wind up several minutes ahead of the par time which in itself the high par time is an anti-frustration feature as Cup events require you to place 1st in order to continue or win the Cup.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: You win vouchers from the Hitchhiking and Top Model missions.
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    • The Fashion slot machine in the Casino, the jackpot combination awards you with a really neat suit jacket for males or a pretty and luxurious dress for females.
    • Your reward for finding every single wrecked car, completing every mission, finding all of the photo spots and filling in every road on both islands? An explorer's costume.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The traffic on the roads realistically follows traffic laws, uses turn signals, and has fender-benders.
  • Artistic License – Cars: One of the cars acquired through collecting wrecks in the second game is the Shelby Daytona. In total, you have to find ten Daytona wrecks which is three more than existed in real life. (It's entirely possible that they're replicas, but this is never mentioned in game.) The Nissan Skyline GTR R34 in the original is depicted in LHD form, even though it was never produced in LHD form.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The second game's version of Ibiza has a desert northwest of the island's main city. There is no such desert on the island in real life; Eden Games added in the desert because they didn't like how there is so much farmland on the real Ibiza, and they already had a lot of farmland in the game's Ibiza.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Class C2, C1, B2, MA2 and MA1 in 2 if you don't play multiplayer events, they're not used in the single player Solar Crown series and they're either obtained from wrecked cars or DLC. Having them is more of a Bragging Rights Reward.
  • Badass Biker/Biker Babe: You can become one yourself in the second game if you've purchased the DLC for a bike and you also get a selection of biking outfits. Either a leather biking suit jacket with an open-face helmet or a full-body racing bike suit with closed helmet. Either set has three distinct, matching colors.
  • Betting Mini-Game: The casino, it all comes down to luck and, in the case of Texas-Hold-'Em Poker, finding player tells and psyching out your opponents.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Preordering the second game from Walmart gives you the most powerful car in the game, the Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 Super Sport, which blows all the other cars away in the majority of competitions (however, a patch not only buffed the Koenigsegg CCXR to make it compete with the Veyron, it also imposed multiplayer restrictions on cars).
    • Pre-ordering from Steam gave you an exclusive Pagani Zonda Tricolore (that you had to unlock by getting the required A1 license through regular gameplay).
    • Certain, high powered cars like a Corvette ZR-1 or Ferrari F40 also require AT (Atari Tokens) to purchase, it's also the only way to ride a bike.
    • Averted with the AutoPack (which is compatible with Unofficial Patch V0.4), the mod unlocks all DLC cars in the game without penalty.
  • Call-Back: Two of the default AI names in 1 are called Dennis and Donald, which are perhaps references to the previous game, Overdrive.
  • Camera Perspective Switch: Being a driving game, you have access to different camera perspectives on your car or bike and they cycle between five of them, far third person, close third person, cockpit, hood and bumper. Interestingly, the bumper camera adds a speedometer alongside the tachometer that appears when not in the cockpit view and, if the car's dashboard is designed as such, can be merged together like on the Corvette ZR-1 or Pagani Zonda series, especially the CCXR's two needle gauge with the longhand tachometer and the shorthand speedometer.
  • Continuity Reboot: Unlimited could be a fresh reboot of the entire Test Drive series.
  • Cool Bike: The trope image, the Harley Davidson Fat Boy Lo, is available as DLC in the second game along with the Ducatti Diavel Carbon and Desmosedici RR. Unofficial Patch V0.4 adds the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and does not require Atari Tokens to unlock.
  • Cool Boat: A yacht can be purchased on either Ibiza for $5,000,000 or Hawaii for $7,000,000 Which features an elevator to park your car on and a ventral mounted six car garage which is actually less than the four-star mansions and is more of a Bragging Rights Reward.
  • Cool Car: Pick any one you like. From Ferrari's to any other brand you could think of. The unofficial patches to the second game are adding even more cars like the BAC Mono or bringing back other brands from the first Unlimited like Lamborghini. The AutoPack adds even more cars, particularly 90s classics like the Diablo SV, Ferrari F50 and brings back the McLaren F1 of the first game. The first game's Ultra Community Pack also includes some vehicles returning from the previous games.
  • Cool Garage: Where else are you going to keep those cars? The garage for the palace homes on Hawaii is probably the most expansive looking with an individual space for each car and even a service platform (not that you ever use it).
  • Cool Hat: Of course, you can buy various hats from the clothing stores to turn them into a signature hat for yourself. This crosses over into Cool Helmet for the biking helmets you can wear.
  • Cool House: You start from a measly caravan with space for two cars to a house built into the side of a hill with waterfalls and an eight car garage, one of them, the Mineral House, is even close to the yacht on Hawaii. There's also a palace like home with another eight car garage such as The Orient.
  • Cosmetic Award: Averted: you actually have to earn achievements to advance in the game.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Ariel Atom 500 V8 in 2, even if it's only won after finishing the Solar Crown Championship. It's wheels spin out really easily even on Full Assistance but if you can master it then the car can out-accelerate almost every other A1 car in the game and has a lot of grip thanks to it's lightweight body and down force provided by the spoilers. The only other cars that rival it are in the Unofficial Patch V0.4 with the BAC Mono and the Ferrari F2012 in the AutoPack.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Most classes of vehicle have one, but none play this straighter than the Chevrolet C6 and Z06 Corvette coupes. Due to their stable handling, they also can function as Jack-of-All-Stats. Some of the cars earned by finding all car wrecks in 2 can be this if you go get them at the very start of the game.
  • Downloadable Content: Certain cars, bikes and the ability to enter a casino in the second game requires Atari Tokens, bought with real money. Some DLC is added to the game for free such as the Discovery DLC that adds the special Timed and Extreme Convoy Missions, doing them reveals special wrecks that allow you to find the Lancia Stratos Group 4 rally car in Ibiza and the 1970 Dodge Charger R/T in Hawaii and there's even an explorer's outfit you can obtain by completing all of the non-Casino Discovery objectives.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The game encourages you to do this to earn money. While flat out crashing into things are still discouraged, zipping past oncoming traffic, drifting and jumping will fill up your F.R.I.M (Free Ride Instant Money) gauge, which will give you money once it's full and progresses through ten levels, giving you a brief chance to bank the money at each level or otherwise continue filling the meter but collisions with cars and walls will reset the meter and it will also drain/fill depending on the speed of your car in relation to it's top speed (meaning it'll fill just as fast in 1960 Volkswagen Beetle going 60 mph as a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport going 265 mph). It becomes upgraded when your Competition level reaches 11, increasing the money you obtain for each level. On bikes, drifting is replaced by doing wheelies (leaning back and accelerating) and stoppies (leaning forward and braking) which you can fall off if you overdo it.
  • Escort Mission: In a way, Driving Convoy missions in the second game task you with taking someone's car to a shop to be serviced without it being damaged or dirtied. The payout for the mission decreases depending on how damaged or dirty the car becomes but there's no time limit in the missions. The Discovery DLC introduces Timed Convoys where you have to get the car to the location in question under a very tight time limit or Extreme Convoys, where any significant collision will fail the mission (going off-road or hitting objects like road signs will not count, sometimes you can scrape a wall or another vehicle at a low enough speed and it won't count). The Convoy missions, especially in the Discovery DLC, act as A Taste of Power by putting you in many of the most expensive and/or DLC cars you won't be driving any time soon if at all.
  • Fanservice: The only reason why having your cars washed by Hood Ornament Hotties in skimpy clothing is so expensive.
  • Fiction 500: You'll slowly become this as you complete races and missions or otherwise gaining money through F.R.I.M. Multiple homes on both Oʻahu, Hawaii to Ibiza, Spain on the other side of the world with extremely expensive, rare, and/or vintage super cars stored in mansions, palaces and even a yacht or two.
  • First Person Snapshooter: You'll have to take photos of specific places of Ibiza and Oʻahu to complete a photography side-quest which contributes to your Discovery level and rewards a small sum of money for each one. Many photo spots can be done at any time, others require a specific time-frame, weather conditions and sometimes even a specific car along with having to find the right direction and zoom level. These pictures can even be used on your MyTDULife profile and in picture frames in your various homes. You're also able to take a picture at any time from a third-person perspective around your vehicle.
  • Getting Arrested is a Slap on the Wrist: Much like the Need for Speed: World and Most Wanted (2012) examples on their pages. Getting busted only results in a $1,000 or so fine which a little F.R.I.M. session can replace. It's even beneficial as it helps your Social level if several players had joined the chase to stop you. The most painful part is the fact that it will reset your Outlaw rank and said fine increases with your Outlaw rank.
  • Game Mod: While the games themselves do not natively support game modding, this hasn't stopped the community from making rather impressive mods for both games. Highlights include the Ultra Community Pack - which has been succeded by the mammoth TDU Platinum - and fanmade servers for the first game, and the Community Patch for TDU2.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Many of the final Achievement Points you earn are of this type. Most notably, the points for "finding all roads". (Hint: they mean all segments of all major roads. Except in 2, where you actually have to find every single segment.)
    • The Collection leveling in 2 contributes to your player level and increases with the houses, furniture, clothes, cars, sticker packs and upgrades for them you buy.
  • Hard Mode Perks: In a way, 2's assistance settings acts as Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels with Full Assistance for easy, Sport for medium and Hardcore for, well, hard. A few perks when driving with less assists is that it's easier to perform drifts on the Sport and Hardcore settings whereas the traction control on Full Assistance can overcompensate and spin you out or simply stop your drift in the middle of it.
  • Hummer Dinger: SUV's, including the Trope Namer, can be purchased for the sake of off-road races, much like their "supposed" purpose of being off-road utility cars. Alternatively, you can find dedicated off-road cars from the wrecks in the second game, first being a brandless dune buggy (though the European Tuner labels it under Eden Games) and a Lancia Stratos rally car.
  • Idle Animation: Your character has these on a bike when stopped and not turning the handlebars, ranging from looking around, tightening their gloves, etc.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Chrysler ME Four-Twelve in the PS2 and PSP versions of TDU. It is the fastest, quickest and grippiest car in the game, and is able to make a whole lap of the Oʻahu island in an hour or less. However, for unlocking it, you have to win the Supercar Series, which is unlocked very, very, very late in the game, as it's the third-to-last championship in the game, before the King Of The Hill and the Viaggio Grande; this championship is only open to class A cars (such as the Lamborghini Murcielago and the Koenigsegg CCR), and is composed of 5 long, high-speed races which can take at minimum 3 minutes and at maximum 8-10 minutes with the final race. However, once you unlock it, the rest of the game is a walk in the park.
  • Joke Character: For some reason, you can unlock the Citroen 2CV and a Beetle Type 1 in Unlimited 2. The Beetle is actually the best car for F.R.I.M. because the gauge filling speed is relative to the car's top speed. Since it is rather slow but incredibly easy to drive, driving at little over 60 MPH against the traffic in the freeways makes maxing F.R.I.M ridiculously easy.
  • Last Lousy Point: A lot of people seem to be unable to find the very last road segment in Ibiza Zone 2 for the second game. It's usually a tiny road leading to a windmill southeast of the airport.
  • Left Hanging/Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The opening cinematic in Unlimited is never explained, resolved, or even alluded to in the game.
  • Lighter and Softer: Unlimited uses bright colorful graphics and more soothing music, opposed to Overdrive which relies on dark tones, Serious Business storyline and Heavy Metal music. The Genre Shift Wide Open Sandbox helped this trope.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Timed Missions with randomized traffic.
    • The Casino in 2, natch.
  • Male Gaze: Your avatar will only and always flirt with the (female) Top Model hitchhikers, whichever gender you picked.
  • Made of Iron: The Player Character, not only can they survive a crash in a Veyron at speeds over 250 MPH, looking nothing worse for wear (and the car in question would have a few scratches and dents), they also survive falling off their Harley or any other bike from a crash or a bad wheelie/stoppie and respawn a few split seconds later.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Downplayed, you can change the shape of your head and face but you have to wear bandages for an hour in real time before they come off. There's even an achievement on Steam called "Mummy" which involves completing 20 multiplayer challenges while wearing the bandages.
  • Marathon Level: Eliminator races tend to be much longer than normal races, even with the laps themselves being short, they're typically made up of 30 or more checkpoints with a time around 10 minutes. The Island Tour timed races put this Up to Eleven. To give you an idea of how long they are, the Ibiza version, which is the shortest, has a par time of 54 minutes, and is around 71 miles long.
    • What helps is that the par time is really high and forgiving and it disables the penalties for collisions and driving off the road meaning even if you've smashed into a car at 150+ mph, you can still continue driving and wind up over five minutes ahead of the par time at the end of either challenge.
    • Another thing about both challenges is that, while the Oahu Tour is longer than the Ibiza Tour, they last roughly the same amount of time because you complete the Ibiza Tour in an A6 car which can be something like a Subaru Impreza WRX STi whereas the Oahu Tour has you drive the course in an A1 car which, in something like a Bugatti Veyron or Koenigsegg CCXR, makes the distance more bearable.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • The driving schools in Test Drive Unlimited 2. They force the handling model to be set to Sport, meaning if you're used to Full Assistance then be ready to spin out with some of the lessons having tight time limits and unforgiving conditions where touching an obstacle or another car you need to overtake fails you instantly. At least the instructors don't chew you out and encourage you to try again.
    • The special missions in the Explorer DLC, denoted by the golden bomb icon and last for half-an-hour on the map, are not only incredibly hard but are required if you want to find the special wrecks for the Lancia Stratos Group 4 on Ibiza or the 1970 Dodge Charger R/T in Hawaii. The Extreme Convoys are not that bad provided you're careful about your driving and maybe even follow traffic laws to reduce the chance of a fender-bender, it's the Timed Convoys that are really difficult with a time limit that can run down even without crashes and off-road slides, enforcing you to both drive extremely fast and not bump into anything, throw in randomized traffic, tight corners, up/downhill driving and maybe the car in question having the tendency to spin out even with Full Assistance turned on makes these missions a stone's throw from impossible. Be ready to be called incompetent a lot before finally succeeding.
  • No Fair Cheating: Entering user-made events that promise players a huge payment for driving only a very short distance will get you banned from re-entering the community racing center, and you will not get paid anything. Yes, this still happens as recently as 2017.
    • Using programs to unlock DLC content in official multiplayer servers will boot you back to the menu and all of your DLC vehicles will be replaced with Miami Harris' pink Mustang. This would be okay if the servers wouldn't falsely detect this and you lost, say, the $5,000,000 Ferrari 250 GTO.
  • Obvious Beta: TDU 2 suffered from a massive amount of bugs and server failures when it was released. The PC version of the game would often times flat out refuse to let players play due to server overload.
  • Optional Traffic Laws: The police won't mind if you drive in the oncoming lane, barrel down at over 200+ or lose control of your car and slide all over the road but they will only take notice of you if you hit them/other cars, hit signs, blow past a red light/stop sign or take a turn without indicating. Heck, a head-on against a cop will only fill the "Traffic Violation" meter halfway and the car you hit will simply continue on without a care for you. If you want to though, there's nothing stopping you from realistically following the traffic laws, the AI will (mostly) do the same.
  • Schmuck Bait: The car delivery missions. These are well-paid to begin with, and you can earn a 50% extra bonus if you deliver the car without a scratch, which you can easily do by driving slowly, safely, and responsibly, as there is no time limit. But since these missions invariably involve the fastest, most expensive cars in the game, are you really going to? Extreme Convoys in the Discovery DLC take this further, a collision with a wall or car will fail the mission (off-road slides and hitting objects like street signs don't count), this wouldn't be so bad if you weren't put in some of the most insanely fast cars in the game like the Ariel Atom 500 V8 which you'll only obtain after winning the entire Solar Crown series in single player (and said Extreme Convoy starts you in an inconvenient position with the GPS telling you to turn onto and go the wrong way on a highway).
  • Shows Damage: On a cosmetic level in both games. Your vehicle can get scratched, dented, dirtied and sometimes the front and/or rear bumpers may come a bit loose but damage does not affect performance and it's repaired and/or cleaned when switching to a different vehicle or entering an event.
  • Shout-Out: From event names to AI drivers in the original and 2. The AI driver names are filled with names of actors/actresses, and the fan-made Ultra Community Pack of 1 adds more than 40.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Subaru Impreza WRX STI in 2, easily one of the best cars in the A6 class as it's all-wheel drive train makes it incredibly stable and actually hard to lose control, even on the Hardcore assistance setting. Said AWD and high ride height also makes it surprisingly fast and adept when off-road as well.
    • The road legal track cars also count such as the Caterhams and Ariels (and in UP V0.4, the BAC Mono). They have low top speeds and pitiful engines but their light weight and aerodynamics gives them ridiculous acceleration and superior cornering ability compared to other cars of their classes. The only times where they are not practical is in the Speed and Speedtrap challenges or otherwise in other events that involve long straightaways where, even with their lightning fast acceleration, a Veyron or CCXR will eventually catch up to them.
  • Socialization Bonus: Literally, of the four main ways to increase your player level is being social with other players and that means inviting to instant challenges, giving a player a ride/riding with a player, playing multiplayer events, inviting them to your house, uploading/playing CRC events, etc. increases the Social Rank. The casino also has its own separate Social Rank to contribute to a separate casino rank as well.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Your avatar if he/she fails a mission or gets arrested. In 2, he/she also says hi to the cameras at the beginning of the game. Otherwise, they keep mute for the rest of the game.
  • Stalking Mission: A few.
  • Taunt Button: As per usual for a Driving Game, you can honk the horn of your car which varies, some of the more unique ones include an old-time klaxon on the V8 Buggy that's tied to your engine speed. Other horns include the General Lee jingle on, unsurprisingly, the 1970 Dodge Charger R/T though it's also present on other cars like the Ferrari Dino 246 GTS. You also have a gesture wheel when in homes or other on-foot areas. Playing Poker in the Casino also has it's own four sets of gestures and taunts you can perform (Victory, Defeat and two Trick sets) like doing tricks with your chips, greeting, laughing, getting angry or facepalming and even ordering cocktails for yourself or another player either as a friendly gesture, an insult (there's a reason you can order the "What a Pity Smoothie") or even as a means of flirting. While the on-foot gestures are all available, you slowly unlock Poker gestures as time goes on in the Casino.
    • On bikes, the roof and window options are replaced with a greeting and challenge gesture, respectively. They even change depending on the pose on the bike (sitting with legs forward on a Harley compared to saddling with legs down on the sport bikes) and if you're moving or stopped.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Your avatar is costumed in whatever clothes you bought as you play.
  • Wanted Meter: A neat variation. The "Traffic Violation" meter only goes up when you hit another car, signs, turn without indicating or blow past a stop sign when you're actually in the line-of-sight of a cop unlike other games where they magically know you're doing something wrong. It also goes up when you hit a government vehicle such as a firetruck or ambulance but will not witness you committing other violations. It's disabled completely when riding a bike since, because the player is easily knocked off the bike by collisions, a chase on one would be one sided against the bike rider. On a different level, you have an Outlaw ranking that increases with each time you escape but each chase after which makes it more likely for other players to be called in to stop you.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Once you've bought your first house and first car, (that is, about three minutes after starting), you are perfectly free to drive (almost) all over the island. And there are no invisible walls hampering you. That's right. NO. INVISIBLE. WALLS.

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