March, 1999 Send us your cars for Burnout. You must be using the Players Choice Edition for them to be posted.

October, 1998

Bethesda has released the Players Choice Edition of Burnout. The Players Choice Edition features 12 new cars from the Simulated Hot Rod Association, nitrous oxide injection, a full featured paintkit, in race cockpit view and much more. The cost of the PCE will be $39.99. You will also receive a $15 rebate if you send in the original Burnout CD and a copy of your invoice.


Burnout is in the tradition of X-Car. A very complex game that is difficult to setup, but once you learn the ins and outs can be quite a bit of fun. I am reviewing the game without the benefit of a 3DFX card on a 166mhz pentium system with 32mb ram running from a Windows 95 installation.

Installation of Burnout is not straight forward though and the non-3dfx version requires that you have VESA drivers installed on your system. The sound setup requires that you run a separate program to install sound to Burnout. Most common sound cards are listed.

Once you have installation complete and you start Burnout, there are 5 Basic menu entries. They are "Driver Car/Profile", "Quick Race", "Race", "VCR" and "Options". Let's take a look at each of them in detail.

DRIVER, CAR/PROFILE: This section allows you to provide basic information on the driver (you), the car as well as build and save setups. The setup (garage) portion of the program is what makes this a true simulation as it is by far the most advanced and detailed I have seen in a simulation to date.

The chassis types available in the game are:

Take these 14 great cars and add a detailed garage setting and you have simulation realism like no other. For starters we can use one of 3 pre-built setups or we can build our car from the ground up starting with the engine. With the engine we can choose everything right down to intakes, compression, camshafts, header ports, manifolds, stroke size and a good deal more. You can actually feel the grease and oil on your hands as you lift the engine in place and bolt the motor down !!!

The transmission is also built from the ground up. You choose the gear set, clutch, slip and every piece that goes into building the cars drive train. Then you can design the wings to achieve as much or as little downforce as you want. Tires give you great flexibility allowing you to choose different pressures, cambers, stiffness and other options.

And the suspension setup is also highly detailed by allowing you to fine tune the springs, damper, roll bars and steering lock. Finally you have the ability to choose between 6 different chutes to slow you down after your race. Bethesda has put a great deal of effort into the garage.

QUICK RACE: The Quick race will use as a default track the last track you raced on. The first track the sim will use is Rockingham. Quick race allows no garage tuneups and uses the defaults you have chosen under the options menu. If you need to tuneup your setup you will need to return to the driver profile section and make the changes there.

THE RACE: This is the heart and soul of the simulation. Under this option you can choose the track you want to race on, practice, run heat races, run races, choose the type of event you want to race, run seasons or even modem play with a friend.

The first option available under the race menu is practice. Practice gives you 6 additional menus. They are track selection, race, classes, shop, vcr and weather. Track selection allows you to choose the track, race takes you to the drag strip itself, classes allows you to choose a class to race in, shop takes you to the setup menu, vcr is the replay menu and weather allows you to set the weather you wish to race in. Each of these are explained in more detail a bit later on.

Single Heat is very similar to practice except that you have an opponent to race against. The menus are the same except that there is now a added menu entry for opponent as well. The event screen is very similar to the single heat screen except that it only contains track selection, race, class, shop and weather. It appears the opponent settings are preset from the defaults you chose earlier.

The Season screen has 5 different menu entries. New season, start season, class, shop and weather. I haven't played a season yet, but did put together a season calendar. The game allows you to design your own calendar from the tracks available.

Finally there are menus for network and serial games that allow for modem play. Also there is LAN connections are allowed for up to 32 players. Internet connections allow for 2 players.

Now let's examine each of the sub-menu's in the RACE SECTION.

There are a total of 20 tracks included in Burnout. These are selected in the Track Selection screens that are available in the practice, single heat and event menus.

The RACE!!!!!! Ok, here is where it gets complicated and it is very much suggested that you read the manual to understand what is going on. For example, being the stock car driver I am my first impressions were the first guy across the finish line wins. WRONG ! I couldn't figure out why I kept losing. After reading a section on handicapped racing I learned that that I was blowing away my dial in (time trial) time and the slower car was beating me because he wasn't "breaking out" (he was beating his dial in by less time than I was beating mine). So for awhile no kisses from the pretty girls in the winners circle :(

There are several classes available in Burnout. They are as follows:

Heads Up	Unlimited		Pro-Start
8.9 Bracket	8.9 seconds		Pro-Start
9.9 Bracket	9.9 seconds		Pro-Start
10.9 Bracket	10.9 seconds		Pro-Start
11.9 Bracket	11.9 seconds		Pro-Start
Open Bracket	Varied Times		Handicapped Start

The Handicapped start means that the car with the slower dial in time will get a head start. This too is a tricky way to race and even though you beat your opponent across the finish line doesn't necessarily mean you will win the race. The game is very complicated, but until you read the manual, and understand drag racing in particular you won't appreciate fully the extent realism of this simulation.

The shop menus were already covered earlier. They are identical to the menus in the driver/car profile menus. Weather though is something in the game that is completely beyond me. For example. Why include winter? Who drag races in winter? I have tried on many occassions to adjust weather factors to my liking and have yet to figure them out. They are extremely complicated. The best settings to use starting out are random. The weather menu itself allows for Typical, poor weather, excellent, high altitude, desert, tropical, winter and custom weather settings. You can alter the humidity, wind direction and wind speed, barometer, altitude and temperature. In short, you nearly need to be a meteorologist to figure it out.

The opponent menu allows you to choose your opponent. The classes are Stock, 11.9, 10.9, 9.9, 8.9, Pro-stock, Your dial in, random and custom.

THE REPLAY SYSTEM (VCR): The VCR system takes after the rest of the game. Fairly complex :( The camera replays included with it are Front Bumper, Hood, Follow Car, Helicopter (overhead), and Trackside. One nice thing about the camera is that the telemetry option allows you to show various stats in the replays. You can show the throttle, brake, speed, engine rpm, clutch rpm, front wheel rpm, rear wheel rpm and the gear. Also, you have the options to save your replays and view them at a later time.

THE OPTIONS MENU: The options menu is where you setup the game. You can setup two different input devices as well as design your controls to the input device. Both of these options are very easy and straightforward. Also you can adjust the volume of the sound in the game here and control the what graphics are turned on and off in the game. A couple notes about the graphics though. In the regular version (since I cannot test the 3dfx version yet) it appears that you cannot adjust the detail level on the road, building and the car. These will all remain low. However people and buildings can be adjusted between none, some, most and all. Smoke can be turned on and off as can the horizon, clouds and smoke. Bethesda tells us that minimum system requirements for the game are Windows 95, pentium with 8mb of ram. I am testing on a 32mb ram pentium and running at the highest detail available with no framerate problems at all.

As in other simulations you have the ability to set the difficulty level as well. In Burnout that level is from Rookie to pro (on a sliding scale). Damage can be set at none, minimal and full. The fun part of the game (the BURNOUT STAGE) can be set at either manual or auto and the number of racers can be set from 2 to 64. The default number of racers on installation is 16. You probably don't want to go any higher than 16 though as the bracket type racing can take forever to complete !!! Also, the parachute can be set to manual or auto. The chute really doesn't make a difference though since you can't reach the wall at the end anyways.

The weather can also be adjusted in the options menu but this was discussed earlier. One final thing that can be setup are the gauges and how they display for you. The guages available to you are a speedometer, tachometer, oil temperature and oil pressure gauge. Also available are line lock, gear indicator, trans-brake indicator and a 2-step indicator. These are adjusted by simply using the mouse to drag and drop them in any location on your screen you desire.

FINAL COMMENTS: Burnout is a 9 on a 10 scale for simulations. Graphically the game is ok although I haven't seen the 3dfx version yet. The game is difficult to learn for those that do not have knowledge of the sportsman class of drag racing, but if you take the time to read the manual it makes the game much more enjoyable. The overall time that went into the development of the sim is obvious as it is painstaking detailed in all areas including the garage.

Good job Bethesda.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO CHRIS RHYNOLD for his assistance in the review of the sim and in getting us these links !!!

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