I've never been to Las Vegas…
Have you? In 1997, I was surrounded by my extended family when I happily stuffed Mario Kart 64 into my new Nintendo console. Like the stereotypical grandparents I've come to know and love, the older relatives around me commented that the rainbow-colored item boxes sounded exactly like Vegas slot machines.
How was I supposed to know what those sounded like? I was nine-years-old! In my mind, Vegas slot machines sounded like Mario Kart, not the other way around. Burnout CRASH is the same way. Players are challenged to a handful of different modes to rack up as much damage as possible, all while the score tallies up, lights flash, bells and whistles chime, and a dollar amount crawls to greater heights.
You've played Burnout before, right? The racing series that focuses on the sensation of dodging cars by mere inches and then finally plunging headfirst into destruction's path has always included a high score Crash mode, where players are set up miles away from a spectacularly crowded intersection and given one singular objective: break shit.
Burnout CRASH takes that concept and shines a spotlight on it, shifting the perspective to above the action, top-down action. Like some kind of sadistic Micro Machines God, you'll steer your vehicle into traffic and then repeatedly detonate it to cause as much property damage as possible.
Each mode offers a slight variation on this solid concept. You could call it Burnout Pinball or Burnout BUST-A-MOVE, but it won't change the fact that all you're doing is crashing cars, and then crashing some more, and then doing it again for a high score.
There are fifteen different intersections to play in and tons of different bonus power-ups to earn. Each map has set scores to beat to unlock the next intersection or a new car to play with. The core gameplay is plenty of fun, but aesthetically, Burnout CRASH feels too much like one of those stories that should have stayed in Vegas.
Visually, the cartoony graphics get the job done but fail to be a convincing case for all the explosive magic that's supposed to be happening around you. Buses, buildings, and all of those poor in-the-way drivers lack the weight and crunch of the traditional Burnout bystanders.
Audibly, Burnout CRASH sounds like all the terrible cabaret slot-machines you've managed to avoid playing. Even the announcer becomes grating in short fashion. "COOOOOOooooOOOLLLL!" NO! Not cool! Stop yelling at me! I'm trying to play a game here.
In the end, Burnout CRASH is enjoyable in the briefest of playtime. While the overall concept turns Burnout's Crash mode into an addictive, destructive puzzle game, the graphics and sound will have you reaching for your console's power button. "PIZZA TRUCK!" Oh, will you please shut up!