There are two kinds of racing games in the gaming world: simulation and arcade racing. In the former, you get to fiddle with the engine, the tyres, the suspension, et al and then drive the car around at 70kmph, since it’s supposed to be realistic, see? In the latter, usually, you get to choose a cool-looking car, dive into city streets, slam on the accelerator and away you go, with the world rushing past you in a blur. Burnout is the latter kind and Dominator is what happens when fun meets over the top action.
Strictly speaking, Burnout 3: Revenge did everything right, and it would be pretty hard to top that on the PS2. Criterion games did the right thing by taking the “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” approach with Dominator, and so it takes the best of Revenge, adds some features and subtracts a couple, to come up with yet another thoroughly enjoyable drive fest.
For starters, Dominator offers varied racing modes that are similar-but-not-quite to Revenge. These events test your racing, drifting and road rage skills and offer plenty of rewards that are unlocked, depending on how you drive. The good news is that it’s not all that hard to unlock something even if you’re new to the event. You can always come back and do better to unlock more goodies.
Dominator also encourages you to keep your finger pressed on the afterburner throughout the race by way of the burnout meter. This fills up as you do some dangerous driving like driving in the wrong lane, missing traffic narrowly, drifting through corners, etc. When it’s full, you can boost your speed for some real white knuckle racing until you “burnout” the meter. If you do dangerous driving while on boost, you fill up a second meter, which will replenish your burnout meter when it’s done. It’s quite possible to keep your burnout meter topped up this way and race around like a madman for laps together.
Dominator, however, does away with the Traffic Checking and Crash Mode that were present in Revenge, which is a pity, because they were real fun. However, Dominator adds enough elements to keep the game as lively as Revenge and that’s a Good Thing (TM).
As far as graphics go, Dominator graphics are pretty similar to Revenge, which is to say they are excellent. You’ll have lots of interesting camera angles, special effects and over the top car physics that will never fail to keep you entertained throughout the game. The sound department needs special mention because the audio quality is superb and does much to add to the action. The packaged soundtrack is one of the best in the business, with tracks from Alice in Chains and Jane’s Addiction among others. I still think Revenge had the better tracks, but that’s probably because I’m a bit miffed at seeing Avril Lavigne on the Dominator list. But I suppose one man’s meat is another man’s poison. One thing is for sure, though—Dominator rocks.
Game: Burnout Dominator
Platform: PS2, PSP
Price: Rs1,658, available on www.play-asia.com
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