Danger Zone

Pared-back and wonderfully focused, this is a welcome blast of Burnout magic.

Danger Zone review

RecommendedDanger Zone review

Always crashing in the same car.

I don't like to watch the flythrough. I like to find everything out in the moment. And 'the moment', in Danger Zone, means the same moment your front bumper first kisses the front bumper of another vehicle travelling at high speed. Or maybe it kisses the tailgate, and sends everything into a spin. Or maybe it kisses the side, and all that momentum results in a skidding stop as metal grinds against metal. The flythrough is there to give you a chance to plan your route: first collision here, over to that Smashbreaker, over to that Smashbreaker, and then into that chain of points booster pickups. Done.

Yeah, done, I guess, but where is the fun in that? Planning still feels wrong here, no matter how precise Danger Zone becomes in some of its final demands on its players. Precision is one thing, but I like to find everything out in the moment.

Like traffic-checking. A guilty pleasure imported from Burnout Revenge, I think. Possibly a step too far at the time, even for a series that prided itself in stepping too far. Traffic-checking meant that you could smash into any car that was travelling in the same direction you were headed in, and you would just bat the car in question aside with no real loss of momentum, without it registering as a proper collision and taking you into that glorious thick-air slow-mo and then restart. Traffic-checking saw you Katamari-ing your way down a track, gathering up any nearby travellers who would then just bounce along with you in a chummy muddle, wiping out all incoming cars.

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Dangerous Golf, the first game from Three Fields Entertainment, a studio founded by a bunch of the people who made Burnout's legendary Crash Mode, was basically Crash Mode indoors and with golf balls. The team's latest game, called Danger Zone, has an even simpler sales pitch: it's Dangerous Golf outdoors and with cars. It's Burnout's Crash Mode. There are tweaks, which I will get to in a second, but the glory of the thing is its insane purity. Burnout's slow-mo sparks and lovingly-indulged collisions, reduced to a bunch of promising junctions, this time located within a sort of futuristic test chamber. All ready and waiting. All waiting to be transformed into baroque automotive pile-ups. Remember the way that collectable score boosters used to float in the air in Crash Mode? They float in the air the same way here. Remember the noise they used to make when you collected them? Guess what. Guess what.