It's amazing that Macrospace was able to cram the dozens of racetracks and options onto the cell.
Crash 'n' Burn is a large game--so large that it's amazing that Macrospace was able to cram the dozens of racetracks and options onto the cell. I'm also in shock over how damn addictive this racer is.
The overhead game features you--initially the owner of a slow jalopy--against three aggressive opponents on an asphalt racetrack. The tracks span several screens and take at least a minute or so to lap. You get points and money based on your final ranking, which in turn allows you to access new levels and buy items.
The racetracks themselves are curvy and unpredictable, fostered by dangerous lakes, cut-off lanes and heart-stopping ramps. At any given point you'll be driving in any of the eight cardinal directions to follow the action. Luckily, the controls are kept simple; the 6 and 4 keys are used for turning clockwise/counterclockwise and 8 is for braking. The car automatically moves forward.
Adding to the insanity are the weapons and such that can be used against foes. Missiles, shot with the 5 key, come out of your hood to temporarily debilitate race leaders, while oil slicks, dropped with the 7 key, slide tailgaters off course. Nitros, activated with the 2 key, shoot a flame from your trunk and give temporary superspeed--something that can actually lead to your doom if you don't know how to handle your car. All items can be purchased at the store in between races.
What really makes Crash 'n' Burn a pleasure is the sheer amount of variety. There are two dozen tracks, all emphasizing different skills and challenges. The first four areas, Madrid, London, Oslo, and Cancun, are straight races. The fifth track, Prague, sets up a solo race through cones to test your driving accuracy. By the time you reach the sixth track, Detroit, you're racing in a Championship for a (sorely needed) new car.
The game also encourages intelligent racing to win. On the first couple of tracks your car and weaponry are subpar, making it impossible to outrun or attack other cars effectively. Instead, you have to outsmart opponents by pitting them against each other. My personal favorite move was swerving between a leading and a lagging opponent, waiting until the lagging opponent shot a missile, and moving so the missile would hit and stop the leading opponent, allowing me to take the lead. The sound effects are weak, but appropriate, and the graphics aren't groundbreaking by any means. Nevertheless, I can see myself still playing this title weeks from now. Recommended for anyone looking for a nice, enduring challenge.