Danger Zone ReviewPrice:
Three Fields Entertainment
Three Fields Entertainment
If you’ve followed the press around Danger Zone at all, you may well have come across the phrase 'Danger Zone is Burnout’s Crash Mode: The Game.' Although this is true, the emphasis here should be placed on those last two words. Burnout’s Crash Mode was a side-dish to the main event, an opportunity to indulge in the game’s stunning ability to render vehicular destruction without all that pesky racing getting in the way.
Danger Zone could have copied Crash Mode exactly, and it would have been well received. But it goes a little further than that. It takes Burnout’s basic concept of turning a motorway junction into headline news and gives it a proper structure. The result is a spectacular, highly reactive puzzle game a little bit like pinball. Only the bumpers move around as well as the ball and both tend to explode.
The setup couldn’t be simpler – drive your car into oncoming traffic to cause the biggest pile-up possible. Danger Zone sets the scene slightly differently from Burnout; you’re partaking in a VR crash-test simulation instead of driving real cars into highway intersections. Otherwise, Danger Zone is stylistically very similar to Criterion’s classic series. The way the cameras follow individual vehicles to their fate, the soupy explosions and rivers of sparks produced by colliding vehicles, even the way Danger Zone tallies your damage in millions of dollars all deliberately evoke Crash Mode in tone.
Where Danger Zone departs from Burnout is in its 'Smashbreaker' mechanic and how it uses this to expand the concept from a guilty pleasure into a tactical challenge. Once you’ve caused a certain number of wrecks, you can trigger Smashbreaker to blow up your car, catapulting it into the air. While airborne, you can nudge your smouldering wreck in any direction, manoeuvring into a new lane or intersection to cause even more destruction. Yet unlike Burnout, you can also pick up additional Smashbreakers placed as power-ups around each stage. Using these, you can blow up your car three, four, maybe even five times, leaping around the road like a rocket-propelled flea.
Each of Danger Zone’s crash-tests requires you to wreak a set amount of havoc before you can progress to the next stage. For the first few rounds, you won’t need to worry too much; simply piling into the nearest intersection will usually do the job. As you reach the later levels, however, things become more complicated. Gradually, Danger Zone layers in multiple intersections, stacked highways, and parallel roads raised at different elevations. Moreover, the number of cars on each stage is limited, while the flow of traffic is carefully choreographed so that it flows along different roads at different times.