Reviews// Burnout Paradise

Posted 25 Jan 2008 18:32 by
The video games market is beset with sequels: games that take the success of a previous game and increment the features, change the player names or append a higher number to the end of the title in order to justify another release, another snout-session in the money trough. Often these games are subjected to blatant feature tinkering: a tweak here, a dabble there, all in the interest of tricking some more money out of mug punters (you and me).

So, when a well established game franchise (as the marketing types like to call them) introduces a new version that significantly changes and enhances the game-play, it's time to sit up and take notice. Because, you know it's... it's all a gamble, when you take something gamers know and love, and change it fundamentally. Especially when that 'franchise' is Burnout which, despite having fallen prey to the 'tinkering syndrome' described above, has always managed to come through with its head held high.

Most of you will be familiar with Burnout, it's a city-streets racing game that differentiated itself from the others (at least initially... later many copied it) by giving you a boost bar that filled in response to you driving on the limit. You were rewarded for drifting (or skidding as it used to be called), near misses and driving into oncoming traffic. That is "traffic" as a collective noun for cars and trucks. You weren't rewarded in any way for head-on smashes into individual vehicles. If you had been, I'd be world Burnout champion.

Once your boost bar was full you could use it to initiate a burnout: a sort of space-and-time warping nitrous-oxide boost, that saw everything stretch and blur; time dilated into one saturated smear of colour. Once in boost, even traffic going the same direction as you became a hazard - as you accelerated to speeds much faster than it could achieve, your relative velocity made it effectively a stationary obstacle. If you managed to use a whole boost bar in one burnout, it would refill and you could burn on. Adrenaline pumping stuff! Of course, burning through a whole boost bar, around bends and corners, over hilltops and into oncoming traffic most often ended up in a bone and metal crunching impact... and impacts were one of the things Burnout did best.

In other games, real cars were licensed. Car manufacturers do not like to see their product bent and wrecked, in fact they treat it like a capital crime. While it's admirable to know the manufacturers have our safety at heart, I can't see why they'd have such a strange attitude when it's just a game. So, the developers at Criterion had handcuffs placed on their ability to crumple and deform those cars in crashes.

The chaps, however, cheekily 'stole' their car models. So, while the cars didn't carry the manufacturer and model names of real cars, they did bear uncanny resemblance to many of the actual lumps of metal we see in the streets every day. So, free from the shackles of official licences we, in turn, were free to allow our motors to buckle, bend and shatter in crashes.
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tyrion 25 Jan 2008 19:08
1/12
the completist demon on my left shoulder (is that where the demon sits, or is that the angel shoulder?)

The demon must sit on the left (sinister) shoulder, surely?
DoctorDee 26 Jan 2008 08:15
2/12
tyrion wrote:
the completist demon on my left shoulder (is that where the demon sits, or is that the angel shoulder?)

The demon must sit on the left (sinister) shoulder, surely?

Predictably leftist statement there.

Sinister is no more than the heraldic and archaic form of left which you righties have turned into a term of approbation. It is no more acceptable to use the word sinister than it is to use racist terms. It is simply pointing out our difference, one that we are born with and cannot help, in order to belittle us. To imply that we are evil or untrustworthy.

Left handers face such considerable trials in society, scissors and only right handed clubs being available for hire at the driving range for instance, that many of us are forced to dabble in ambidextrosity. The human brain was simply not made to work that way, and as a result many of us are doomed to become psychopaths and basket cases.

Jimi Hendrix played a right handed guitar upside down because a left handed one was not available to him. To this day left handed guitars cost far more then their right handed equivalent. Imagine if vacuum cleaners cost more for black people, or toiletries cost more for lesbians. THAT would be discrimination. But charging lefties more for goods is acceptable.

If one looks at the fields of endeavour in which left handers are well represented, it's always ones where the equipment does not preclude it, baseball not golf, painting not kirigami.

It is to be thanked that Matt Groening, a left-hander himself, has brought the subject to mass attention by writing it, in the shape of Ned Diddley-ed Flanders Leftorium, into the Simpsons. It is ironic though, that even as one who you would expect to sympathise with our plight Groening made Ned a religious nut-job.

So please remember, next time, before you jump to abjure lefties that without them, the world would have not had the talents of: Kurt Cobain from out of Nivana, Diego Maradona, Mark Spitz from out of the olympic swimming, Jimmy Connors OR John McEnroe from out of the 1984 Wimbledon final, Goran Ivanesivic from out of another (more recent) Wimbledon final, Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth from out of American rounders and chocolate bars respectively, Peter Fonda, Matthew Broderick imagine a world without Ferris Beuller. Is THAT a world you would want to live in? Peter Fonda, Bruce Willis, Wil Wheaton, Christian Slater, Mickey Rourke, Keanu Reeves, Luke Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Nicole Kidman, Robert Plant out of the Led Zeppelin, H.G. Wells, Leonardo da Vinci or M.C. Escher (from out of the Blazing Squad???).

So we're all, like... sinister and you're all "adroit", and stuff?? Oppressive pig!

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Gareth Edwards 26 Jan 2008 12:03
3/12
To this day ginger haired people (of which I am one) get the piss taken out of them, even on prime time TV.

Learn to deal.

:)
DoctorDee 26 Jan 2008 12:29
4/12
config wrote:
To this day ginger haired people (of which I am one)

I thought you were more of a strawberry blond these days.

config wrote:
get the piss taken out of them, even on prime time TV.

I pity the ginner leftie!

PreciousRoi 26 Jan 2008 12:38
5/12
Ooh, the left-handed, red-headed stepchild...I know at least two of them, probably three...

"Beat him like a red-headed stepchild" was a popular phrase I still use to this day...despite knowing several.

What about us poor brunettes? Many of us tormented by the media's depiction of blondes as superior, so many of our women with such self-hatred that they bleach and attempt to "pass". We're an opressed semi-majority, I tells ya...
Maines Stassive 26 Jan 2008 13:01
6/12
DoctorDee wrote:
M.C. Esher (from out of the Blazing Squad???).

I'm pretty sure MC Esher was part of the Sunbury Massive.
PreciousRoi 26 Jan 2008 14:05
7/12
I shoot pool left-handed...when I have to...much easier than going behind the back. I actually think I'm almost better at simple shots left-handed, with my right I'm capable of too much nuance...left-handed I'm only capapble of, and hence less likely to screw up , nice straight shots...

...also, I went on wiki to look up massive, as I knew it was a UK specific hip-hop term...it came up with (my best guess) a conglomeration of posses, but under posse theres not good, hip-hop related definition, did a bit of work on it...but someone could do better
DoctorDee 26 Jan 2008 14:48
8/12
PreciousRoi wrote:
...also, I went on wiki to look up massive, as I knew it was a UK specific hip-hop term...it came up with (my best guess) a conglomeration of posses, but under posse theres not good, hip-hop related definition

I tried to be funny by suggestion that MC Escher was one of the Blazing Squad, a 10-piece chav-pop-rap act from North East London, nine of whom bore an "MC" name: MC Spike- E, MC Reepa, MS Strider etc. MC Kenzie once famously admitted to having anal sex (with a girl!) on BBC's Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

The idea that he was one of the "Sunbury Massive" is far funnier. A Massive is sort of a loosely defined group of friends, who will hang and party with one another. They are usually not organised enough to be considered a gang, and their main focus is on turntablism and clubbing. Unless any of our cooler readers have a better definition.

The reference above alludes, I think, to the Staines Massive, who are featured in the Ali G In Da House movie, by Sacha Borat Cohen. Staines is a working class area on the west of London, near to Heathrow Airport. Although its demographic fits with the likelihood of it having a "Massive" its profound uncoolness does not, hence the humour of Ali G being one of the Staines Massive. The UK band Hard-Fi come from Staines, and their lyrics evoke it well. It's near enough to London to be caught up in its sprawl, but too far from it to be cool.

Sunbury is a much more middle class area to the south of it. Esher is a small, leavy suburban village near to Sunbury.

PreciousRoi 26 Jan 2008 16:23
9/12
You know anything about its etymology? Does it relate to the adjective, denoting size and mass, or the noun, referring to a solid front, as a monolith, that such a group should aspire to present?
DoctorDee 26 Jan 2008 18:28
10/12
PreciousRoi wrote:
You know anything about its etymology? Does it relate to the adjective, denoting size and mass, or the noun, referring to a solid front, as a monolith, that such a group should aspire to present?

It's not a subculture I have much to do with. It's all to do with rave culture, and clubbing. I'm from the skater/grunge sub-culture, with a bit of emo thrown in for good measure (though strictly speaking, I'm older than the average emo's dad - but I dig Thursday, Saves the Day, Get up Kids and the Promise Ring).

I had always assumed it was in some way related to the saying " 'Avin' it large!" Which is (I think) club kid speak taking it to the max:

"Yo, dude! I 'eard you was 'aving it large last night".
"Large, bud? Nah! we was 'aving it MASSIVE! It was well mental"


PreciousRoi 26 Jan 2008 19:20
11/12
Now that I fink about it, I seem to recall hearing it in connexion with Rastafarian/Jamaican slang...

"An' 'ow was dat party y'went ta?"
"It was irie massif, mon, 'dere was a trailor load uv gurls, 'dere, mon."

but that still doesn't link with it being used for a group of delinquents...
LUPOS 30 Jan 2008 18:06
12/12
DoctorDee wrote:
many of us are forced to dabble in ambidextrosity. The human brain was simply not made to work that way


Actually there are a great many naturally ambidextrous people out there (my mother can right with both hands simultaneously in opposing directions as if theres a mirror in the center of the page, not terribly useful but it looks really cool). There is very little backing for the idea that we are pre-disposed to one side or the other. There are some who contend that we tend to impose handedness on children and they then develop more on the appropriate side of the brain and that it may well actually effect there personalities and not the other way around as is commonly thought. As I've recently taken to the study of martial arts (bout 4 months now) I have endeavored to favor my "bad hand" whenever possible in order to improve my use of it. I have to say that after only a few months of very mild training I have seen drastic improvements in my dexterity with it and am inclined to believe that we just reside in a one handed world.

Millions of martial artists the world over can't be wrong.

On a related note a saw an episode of NOVA the other day about a family some where in the middle east where in almost all of there children (5 of 7 i think) are quadrupeds (walk on their hands). It was initially suspected to be some sort of genetic disorder and they hoped to be able to use them to find some of the genes that cause humans to stand up right in the first place. After a lot of reserching however they could get no consistent result between them and realized it was a case of nurture of nature. Many baby's start walking that way (bear walk/crawling) shortly after they learn to crawl and then usually, with the aid of the parent learn to do it upright. They believe that for whatever reason they where just accepting of their children the way they where and never forced or encouraged them to walk upright as they assumed they would figure it out themselves. So after spending upwards of 30 years walking on their hands and feet they discovered htat with some physical therapy they could indeed learn to walk up right properly (albeit a bit awkwardly).
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