Burnout (series)

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Burnout logo.jpg
Genres Racing
Developers Criterion Games
Platform of origin PlayStation 2
First release Burnout
1 November 2001
Latest release Burnout Crash!
20 September 2011

Burnout is a series of high-speed racing games for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 game consoles. A Microsoft Windows version of the latest installment in the series, Burnout Paradise, was also released.[1] The game series was developed by Criterion Games and published by Acclaim Entertainment for the first two games and later Electronic Arts from the third game onwards. Burnout and Burnout 2: Point of Impact received critical acclaim and a large fanbase in Europe, as well as an underground following in the US. It was not until the release of Burnout 3: Takedown that the series gained mass appeal to US players. In April 2013, Alex Ward said that Criterion was steering away from the racing genre, placing the future of the series into question.[2]


Main series[edit]

Year Title Developer(s) Publisher(s) Platform(s)
Sony Microsoft Nintendo
2001 Burnout Criterion Games Acclaim Entertainment PS2 Xbox GameCube
2002 Burnout 2: Point of Impact PS2 Xbox GameCube
2004 Burnout 3: Takedown Electronic Arts PS2 Xbox
2005 Burnout Revenge PS2 Xbox, X360
2008 Burnout Paradise PS3 Windows, X360


Year Title Developer(s) Publisher(s) Platform(s)
Sony Microsoft Nintendo Other
2005 Burnout Legends Criterion Games
Visual Impact
Electronic Arts PSP NDS
2007 Burnout Dominator EA UK PS2, PSP
2011 Burnout Crash! Criterion Games PS3 X360 iOS


The most notable feature that the series is known for is its crash modes. This series is well known for its emphasis on aggressive driving and high speed. In-race rewards are given to a player if they take risks such as driving towards oncoming traffic or deliberately attempting to make their opponents crash. In Burnout 3: Takedown the latter action, referred to in-game as a "takedown", was showcased extensively and gave rewards such as points and boost when successfully performed.

It was not the racing element of the game but the slow motion replays of crashes that show the cars being deformed realistically that brought Burnout to the attention of the public. Criterion picked up on this and introduced a special "Crash Mode" as part of Burnout 2: Point of Impact. In this mode players are instructed to cause as much damage as possible by crashing their vehicle into traffic in a specially designed level featuring "crash junctions", areas where lots of vehicles are passing by (such as a highway). During these events, traffic is constantly the same, utilizing a trial-and-error method to succeed. The mode was excluded from Burnout Paradise due to the arrival of Burnout Crash!.[3] Instead, it is replaced with a "Showtime" mode, which allows the player to crash "anywhere, anytime". [4] Point of Impact also introduced a Pursuit mode, where the player drives a special police car and must chase down a speeding racer and stop them before the race course ends. This mode was discontinued, but it was featured in Burnout Legends and has reappeared as an available upgrade for purchase in Burnout Paradise known as Cops And Robbers.[5]

The takedown element of Burnout 3: Takedown is what differentiates it from other racing games. It is an essential strategy for winning races, especially in single player. There is also a "road rage" mode in which the object is to takedown as many opponents as possible.

Burnout Revenge was released on 13 September 2005 for Xbox and PlayStation 2, and later for the Xbox 360. This game introduced the "traffic check" feature, which made it possible for the player to hit smaller traffic vehicles without crashing and to use them to try to take down rivals. Burnout Dominator was announced on 5 December 2006, only to be released for the PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation Portable and without the inclusion of the crash mode from the previous games. Dominator mainly focuses on the original game's "Burnout", which is using up the entire boost meter non-stop and trying to chain boosts as long as possible.

Burnout Paradise was announced on 29 August 2006, for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This Burnout game added new features such as its open world gameplay where players could explore Paradise City at their leisure and race whenever they want once they get to race-starting areas called "intersections". It also introduced a feature called "mugshot" where, using the Xbox Live Vision camera or PlayStation Eye, it takes a "mugshot" of their opponent once the player took them down.[6]


Burnout originally featured a small collection of cars, including the small Compact, the Saloon (as well as a sports-modified GT version), the Pickup and the Muscle. This collection grew in Burnout 2 to include cars such as the Oval racer, the Cop Car, the Classic, The Gangster and the Hot Rod. Once Burnout 3: Takedown was released, the original cars were no longer used, with the exception of the Custom Coupe Ultimate, a lime green Coupe that was one of the "Custom" cars in Burnout 2 (this car also reappears in Burnout Legends, Burnout Dominator, and Burnout Paradise (The Paradise version is called the Hydros Techno). The same happened in Burnout Revenge where the car collection was entirely new. For the most part, Burnout Paradise's car collection is all new but there are some vehicles (such as the aforementioned "Custom Coupe Ultimate" and the Custom Roadster from Burnout 2 or the Revenge Racer from Burnout Revenge) that are models from previous Burnout games. Paradise is also the first Burnout game to designate manufacturers and realistic car model names for its vehicles (such as the "Carson Annihilator" or "Nakamura Ikusa GT").

Another thing to note is how many of the cars could be based on their real-life counterparts, especially the vehicles from Burnout Revenge and Burnout Paradise. An example is the "Carson GT Concept" from Paradise, which resembles a fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro.

Certain games in the series also have compatibility with other games, such as in Revenge, where players can unlock the Madden Challenge Bus by having a save file from Madden NFL 06,[7] and a Burnout 3: Takedown save file unlocks the Dominator Assassin.


  1. ^ "Burnout Paradise The Ultimate Box for PC - EA Games". Ea.com. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  3. ^ Federmann, Chris (11 July 2011). "Crash Mode Kept Out Of Burnout Paradise Because Of New Downloadable Game - News". www.GameInformer.com. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Burnout Paradise Q&A: It's Showtime". GameSpot. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "Burnout Paradise Cops And Robbers Micro-Review". Kotaku.com. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "E3 '07: Burnout Paradise Hands-On - GameSpot.com". Uk.gamespot.com. 12 July 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Madden Challenge Bus in Burnout Revenge - Xbox". News.teamxbox.com. 2 August 2005. Archived from the original on 20 July 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 

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