Game Check

Tech

October 06, 2005|By NEWSDAY

Burnout Revenge

Electronic Arts

[PS2/Xbox] Rated E

Burnout Legends

Electronic Arts

[Sony PSP] Rated E

After hours of playing Burnout Revenge on my Xbox, and then playing more hours of Burnout Legends on the PlayStation Portable, I can confidently report the following: I suffer no burnout from Burnout.

Burnout Revenge is the sequel to last year's excellent Burnout 3: Takedown, while Burnout Legends is an amalgam of previous games in the series and is the first to appear on a portable device. Both would surely be destined for the Wreck and Roll Hall of Fame, if I hadn't just made it up two seconds ago.

The draw of both games is the virtual re-creation of boyhood sessions playing with Matchbox cars, where every scenario -- a flood of apple juice, a Godzilla-size baby sister -- inevitably and satisfyingly led to massive, multivehicle, bedroom-floor pileups. Because in Burnout, the point isn't only to crash into other cars, but to look good doing it.

Burnout Revenge has taken the basics of its predecessor and tweaked the formula a bit. No longer are you guaranteed to crash if you hit a stationary car or one that's going in your direction; instead, you just bump it out of your way, into the path of others. Also, in addition to the bronze, silver and gold medals you can earn during races, you're now given a rating, from one-star "OK" to five-star "Perfect," which helps you improve your ranking so you can unlock other events.

There are seven types of races in Burnout Revenge, including one in which you keep the timer from running out by ramming cars out of your way, and another in which the goal is to knock out as many of your fellow racers as you can. Thankfully, also returning are the crash events, where you launch your car into a heavily trafficked intersection in an attempt to cause as much monetary damage as possible. Now, however, you can adjust the variables by choosing which car to use and how fast you're launched from the start.

In Burnout Legends, the developer has mixed together elements from previous games, including one where you're a cop trying to catch up to the bad guy's car and take it out. You can flip back and forth between races and the crash mode, the latter of which is equally as addictive on a handheld as it is on a regular TV screen. This is possibly the best PlayStation Portable game yet released.

Bottom line: If "crashtastic" were a word, that's how I'd describe both games.

--NEWSDAY

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