Burnout Legendary Cars Pack

Burnout is the gift that keeps on giving.

Keep this in mind while you are reading this. Burnout:Paradise was released 13 months ago.

Let me say that again, because it’s important.

Burnout:Paradise was released THIRTEEN MONTHS AGO.

Thirteen months ago and people are still excited about it, and it is still talked about on an almost  weekly basis in the enthusiast press. This is remarkable when you consider that there have been major releases in recent weeks and months that have fallen by the wayside and garner nary a mention.

Part of it can be attributed to the intricate, yet user-friendly game play and part of it is the brilliant way in which Criterion has doled out update after update, tweaking the game physics, introducing new modes and a whole new way to play by dropping motorcycles into the Burnout universe.

Now, shortly after releasing the Party Pack, enabling players to indulge in ‘pass-the-controller’ offline multiplayer (for a fee) Criterion has dropped the long hinted at “Legendary Cars Pack” with four new vehicles that, while not exactly licensed vehicles are faithful proxies of iconic rides from classic 70’s and 80’s television and movie properties.

The car pack, like the party pack, is not free. The four cars can be purchased individually or in a discounted bundle.

I use the word ‘discounted’ only because it does cost $2.00 (U.S.) less to buy them together than the total cost of all four cars separately. But, considering, that these are just, at their core, really cool skins for similar cars already in the game, many may consider the $7.99 price tag for the collection a bit steep. Add to that, the one car that is markedly different than any other car in Burnout, the ’88 Special’, based on the flying DeLorean from the ‘Back to the Future’ films, is skewed higher at $3.99 while the remaining three are $1.99 each.

Pricing aside, these are also not ‘God cars’. They will give you no more advantage in any of the game modes than any other mid to upper level vehicle will. Which, in fairness, is good news for those who were worried that not shelling out extra cash would put them at a disadvantage in online play.

And, yes for all of you trophy and achievement whores out there (I count myself among you) there are a small group of baubles that you can earn with the new cars. Also, as a side note, I downloaded and drove these cars on the PS3 version of the game.

So, what do they do? Are they worth it? I can answer the first question for you…you and your wallet answer the second.

The 88 Special

The 88 Special

The 88 Special

As mentioned, the 88 Special is based on the flying car featured in the ‘Back to the Future’ films. While it does not fly, per se, it does, with a press of the L3 button, hover a few feet off the ground until you hit the button again to return it to the ground. Be warned, when you do activate the mode, a distracting banner will pop up telling you that you just did the thing you wanted to do. A similar banner will pop up again when you deactivate the mode as well. The 88, as with all the other cars, can be used in all off and online modes.

It actually handles quite well in hover mode and there’s something really satisfying about gliding into opponents at top speed and ramming them off the road in Road Rage and floating away on a cushion of air…or ions…or whatever.

Another nice touch with the 88 is when you activate the boost, a dual trail of flame will be laid down behind your car, similar to the famous effect in ‘Back to the Future’ when the car broke the 88 mph time barrier. For an extra treat, hit your emergency brake and do a whip-turn after laying down a fire trail and you’ll see it remain on the road behind you for a few seconds. The same effect happens when you boost in hover mode, but leaving burning flame trails in mid-air looks kind of glitchy to me. But, I’m also the guy who noticed the actor fall flat on his face at far left hand corner of the screen during the grand entrance of the Navigator during the opening scenes of David Lynch’s ‘Dune’ so take it for what it’s worth. I notice weird stuff. (I may be wrong about this…someone pointed out to me that at the end of part 2, the car left trails of flame while in mid-air. If that’s the case, I stand corrected and applaud Criterion for their attention to detail).

The hover mode does take some getting used to, but it’s nowhere near as difficult to get the hang of or as hard to control as a vehicle in ‘Wipeout HD’, for example. just a little different.

Manhattan Spirit

The Manhattan Spirit

The Manhattan Spirit

Keeping with the movie homages, the Spirit looks a lot like a certain refurbished hearse used in the catching and disposing of ghosts featured in a small, insignificant comedy from the mid 1980’s.

The car is built solidly, but does run a little top heavy, with a great deal of lights, sirens, gizmos (that’s a technical term) and other ghost-busting equipment stacked on top. It’s strong and heavy enough to make it an excellent choice for Road Rage or any other event or mode where you just want to smash the living crap out of everyone else on the road.

A press of the L3 button will activate the lights and sirens on the top of the car, and that iconic sound of the claxon should bring back sweet memories of marshmallow men and crossed streams to anyone who’s a fan.

Carson Nighthawk

GT Nighthawk

Carson Nighthawk

From movies, Criterion moves to television with the remaining two cars and they are, arguably, the two most iconic t.v. vehicles from the last 30 years. (the ‘Love Boat does not count).

The Nighthawk bears a striking resemblance to the Trans-Am that we all know and love as the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT) from the original ‘Knight Rider’ (I will not acknowledge the abomination that is the current remake), complete with the iconic ‘swooshing’ back and forth light.

Two important differences regarding the light. One, it’s a bluish-white instead of the cylon-like red we grew up with and two, Criterion quite wisely (despite its appearance in the photo to the left) put the light on the rear of the vehicle, realizing that no one would be able to see it throughout 90 percent of the time driving it if it were on the front. The light activates automatically when boost is applied and the Nighthawk is the only one of the four cars who’s color scheme cannot be changed. Black, and black only folks. Which is a shame, because aside from the light, there’s really not much else to distinguish the Nighthawk from the other sports-class cars already available in the game. Another problem is that the Nighthawk is built with speed-class boost, meaning that you can only activate the boost when the meter is topped off, leaving you without the car’s one really cool feature most of the time.

The car does move like it just saw a sign for free iPods up ahead and handles very smoothly and doesn’t lose the back end during high speed cornering or drifting either. But, again, aside from the light and some high tech dashboard graphics visible through the windows, the car doesn’t do anything else.

Cavalry Bootlegger

Cavalry Bootlegger

Cavalry Bootlegger

When it was announced that Criterion was including a car that was an homage to the General Lee from that pinnacle of high-concept television art known as ‘The Dukes of Hazard’, I will admit I was a bit nervous.

Call me a guilty liberal, call me a tree-hugging P.C. Hippy, but the out-of-context use of the Confederate Flag makes me a little uncomfortable, not to mention slapping it on the side of a vehicle in the game, runs the risk of offending many others.

Criterion avoided that trap by, instead, emblazoning the flag of Mexico on the roof of the car instead, thereby only potentially upsetting those who haven’t gotten over the whole Alamo thing yet.

The one thing that is in place is the horn. Oh, the horn. The horn sound that every guy in my high school with a piece of crap Corvette and an even bigger piece of crap mullet had to have installed in their car. And it never got old. (that was sarcasm, btw)

But, now years removed and with a sense of nostalgia and irony, I can appreciate the horn for what it is…a great way to taunt folks that you’ve just passed and/or taken down by blasting ‘Dixieland’ as you do so. There is something very satisfying about doing that. And, as a bonus, blasting the horn as you complete a specific jump will net you one of those aforementioned trophies/achievements.

As with the other cars, it drives and handles well, but again, will not give you a decided advantage over your competition unless they are very easily distracted by the sound of a horn.

In summary, the car pack is a great idea and well executed. Each car introduces at least one new element to the game who’s cars had been, up to this point, pretty static. If you’re a huge fan of any or all of the franchises represented by proxy here, you may want to plunk down the money and grab them (it’s a very small and quick download).

If you’re not a huge fan, or are not a completist, you may want to hold out for a price drop or wait for the ‘Toy Car’ pack, which looks to really shake up how the game works. Truth be told, I will probably use these four cars quite a lot as I keep working towards my Elite License and adding the remaining cars into my collection.

And if you’re online and see a purple Delorean flying by, try to knock me into a wall and say hi.

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