Criterion have taken one of the side games from their hit Burnout series and made a XBLA game out of it; but those expecting a mini version of the popular Crash games will be in for a shock, but that does not mean its a bad thing as this is more akin to an explosive pinball game than the race frenzy that Burnout is known for.
The main aim of the game is destruction on a catastrophic level, with each level requiring you to just steer your chosen vehicle into traffic and then control the resulting carnage with carefully placed explosions and after touch. Crash offers 6 main areas split into three sub sections to dominate from simple crossroads to more complicated road layouts, leaving you to decide where to place your explosive car to maximise destruction and of course, your resulting score. Each level has been split into a further three modes with slightly different game rules to test your destructive skills.
The first mode you come across is Road Trip which has a very harsh restriction, let five vehicles escape your sights and it’s game over. Whilst relatively easy at first the later levels really cause great stress with multiple on and off ramps making it extremely hard to track all of the cars and where they are going. To remedy this you have a special bonus bar that builds up, granting you a random power; this could be a bank truck that spews bonus bags of cash, an ambulance that restores your car limit or a petrol truck that causes a huge explosion. If you make it to the end of the time limit you will be granted with a special ending, with finishers like a meteor shower pouring on the destruction and boosting your score even further.
The more fun modes are Rush Hour that gives you a flat 90 seconds just to wreak havoc, finalising with a huge score boosting inferno and finally Pile Up, which throws a set number of cars at you and a 5x score multiplier. The idea is to hit every car that comes your way, with ones that you miss reducing the score multiplier which at end game gives you the opportunity to knock and blow up whatever is remaining. Each level and mode has a progressive star scoring system that keeps you hooked and replaying by way of earning new cars with better after touch and power and extra levels.
The pinball feel is noticeable throughout the game from the initial charge up the road to the physics game play required to plan projectiles caught in your explosive wake all the way to the audio, with snippets of pop songs appearing alongside events like Dr Beat when an ambulance turns up or Bad Boys when police patrol the area.
Though no online gaming as such, high scores are logged and updated with each attempt via an Autolog system which pitches challenges for you and your friends to try for the highest score. This works well as long as you have friends with the same game but even then the unknown bonus element puts high scoring games more down to luck than skill.
To add to the experience there is a also a Kinect mode and whilst fun for a short period with moving around the room and swinging arms, jumping and kicking to explode your car you don’t get the same level of control, still, it’s nice for the choice.
Burnout Crash is a good idea but it does get repetitive very quickly. Try out the demo, nothing much changes other than the difficulty so if you enjoy it then give it a spin.
Rating: Average Review policy