Billed as the unofficial sequel to Burnout’s popular “Crash” mode – a fun mini-game in which you attempt to destroy as many cars as you can by ramming your own vehicle into traffic – Danger Zone hews closely to the winning formula set by that cult classic, but does so to enjoyable effect.
The big draw of Danger Zone is the gratification of initiating a pile up of cars with your strategically directed collisions, and the game fully delivers on this front. Hurtling your vehicle into a jungle of moving traffic and watching the chain reaction unfold is endlessly addictive, accentuated by the ability to self-destruct multiple times with a juicy sound effects board of bangs, screeches and everything in between. Of course, there is a “game” sat behind all the explosions, and it is here where Danger Zone beings to fall slightly short of the standards set by its inspiration.
Danger Zone lives and dies on the inconsistency of its twenty levels, some of which are brilliantly designed while others come across as stale or overly complicated, testing the temper rather than working as a form of euphoric stress relief. In the lead up to the inevitable crash, players can collect pickups for more points or “smashbreakers” (that aforementioned self-destruct ability), but the strategic depth of the trial-and-error attempts to score as many points as possible doesn’t run too deep. The satisfaction of the impact never loses its gleeful sense of self-indulgence, then, but the journey there isn’t always so entertaining.
For a game about epic displays of destruction, you might expect top of the range particle physics and lighting effects on show from Three Fields Entertainment, but Danger Zone is also visually dull in many respects. It doesn’t help that every level of the game takes place in a simulation, instead of actual traffic highways or crossroads. It’s as if what should have been the tutorial setting got drawn out to be used for the entire game, and this doesn’t allow any of the levels to look distinctive from one another, or distinctive at all for that matter.
Still, these visual redundancies only dilute the impact of the vehicular bedlam by a small margin, allowing the game to generally leave a positive impression as a restrained but enjoyable successor to the glory days of Burnout. For less than fifteen bucks, it’s a fair price for a fairly decent game.