30 Days of Xbox: Burnout 3: Takedown

So very dumb, but so very addictive.
Burnout 3: Takedown is a game that I consider to be on a level with, say, the Nicolas Cage Classic Con Air. To refresh your memory, in case it’s been a while…

Con Air knows exactly what it is. It’s mass market trash that’s about as subtle as a kick to the groin, and it never, ever shies away from that core premise. Con Air isn’t a classic movie in the Citizen Kane sense, but it’s very much one of those guilty pleasure movies, because there’s something simple and addictive about trashy viewing that appeals to the lizard parts of our brains that like watching things go boom.
Burnout 3: Takedown plays with exactly the same emotions, except that I’m behind the wheel of some very shiny, very destructible vehicles, causing mayhem while the bro-iest of announcers talks about how absolutely awesome it all is.

It’s dumb to the extreme, whether you’re talking the suspect physics, the challenges that involve deliberately causing as much insurance damage from the one crash as possible, or the way you earn boost by driving as dangerously as possible.
There’s a fascinating contrast here with Outrun 2, which I’ve already covered as part of this challenge, because both are high speed, high fun arcade style games. Outrun 2 uses speed but it’s speed-as-danger, because you never, ever want to crash, whereas Burnout 3: Takedown uses speed-as-opportunity, because a lot of the time you want to create crashes, usually not for yourself but for your opponents.
It’s big, it’s glossy, it’s noisy, it’s stupid as hell and it’s also awfully good fun. Which is going to make the next decision really hard…

Fat Duck Tech Retro Xbox Game Rankings

  1. Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time
  2. Taito Legends 2
  3. Sid Meier’s Pirates!
  4. Panzer Dragoon Orta
  5. Burnout 3: Takedown
  6. Outrun 2
  7. Ninja Gaiden
  8. Black
  9. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
  10. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
  11. Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb
  12. Godzilla: Save The Earth
  13. The Punisher
  14. The Hulk
  15. SSX Tricky
  16. ToeJam & Earl III
  17. NFL Street
  18. Disney Extreme Skate Adventure
  19. FIFA 2004
  20. NHL Rivals 2004
  21. Rocky
  22. Spy vs Spy
  23. Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers
  24. Rugby League
  25. Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
  26. Wrestlemania 21
  27. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball

I’ve been back and forth about a dozen times trying to work out whether Burnout or Outrun deserved to outdo the other. I like both a lot, and OutRun 2 is the more technical racer with the better pure arcade pedigree but… Burnout 3: Takedown is my Con Air. A guilty pleasure, but one that I’ll indulge in happily if given the choice, even if I know I could be doing better things with my time.
Next time: The reason I never got into World Of Warcraft

About the author

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

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