In spite of everything, I did it.

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I just finished Burnout 3 with all gold medals. So it isn't impossible. But it's damn close.

The next to the last race is actually quite a lot tougher than the last one. In the last race, which is a GP, you need only race one lap, whereas in the Sphincter Cup (as I like to call it) you are stuck in that infernal F1 and have to complete two laps on every course.

This is probably the hardest I've had to work on completing a game in ten years at least. Getting gold in this game took more blood, sweat and tears than every game I've played in the last year- combined.

But like Samwise said, "Let's be rid of it, then." I think I'll play the much more stress-free Fable and get lost in its beautiful world. Good luck to those who plan on trying to beat this game with all golds. Your sack is sure to hurt afterwards. I know mine does. But at least you know it is possible.

It's highly possible, even probable....

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That the final GP in Burnout 3 is unbeatable. Here's what you're up against:

They put you in the filthiest, most slippery, banana peel, three'frickin'-stooges, wannabe F1 car. Then they put five other cars of the same ilk who drive like they have hemmorhoids out there with you. Then they put said POS vehicles on a course that twists and turns through the mountains, which, incidentally, is cram full of traffic. Old geezers in Winnebagos and Sunday Drivers.

I love the game, don't get me wrong. But there are some serious flaws with how they made the racing portion of the game that only begin to become noticeable after extended playtime. The most crippling flaw in Burnout 3 is that no matter how well you race, no matter how far ahead you are, the game decides whether or not you will win. How is this? It's simple really- cross traffic. There are times when it is physically impossible to avoid crashing into this cross traffic and what's worse, it seems like the game will place a car right in your path when you are in first. How convenient. Yet you never see this happen to the AI cars. I've actually watched AI cars crash right through traffic sometimes. To say that this is frustrating is an understatement.

The second crippling flaw is the rubber band AI. I usually don't have a problem with this, but when the screen notifier flashes "You are 8 seconds ahead" and you are slammed (and taken out) as you make the last turn to the finish line, that's a problem. This again makes the player feel like it's the game, not your skill that decides if you'll win a race or not. If they leave you alone, you'll win, but more often than not, you'll have to replay a very tough race because you got hit by a nonexistent car that wasn't there one second ago. It all feels very cheap... and staged a little. The other flaw with the game is that just as hard as the races are, the crash modes are too easy. Simply point your car towards the 4X multiplier and you'll beat the crash portion of the game without breaking a sweat. The wild mood swings the game has in regard to difficulty drag it down a little. The crash mode is too easy and the race modes are sometimes too difficult.

I'm actually on the next to the last race in the game. I've gotten golds in everything except the last two races. I've played the game for around thirty hours- all offline. So I think I've earned the right to say that I would score this game an 8.9. You take the good with the bad. And Burnout 3 has so much good to it that it's not even funny. But these flaws stand out to high level players like a cockroach on a wedding cake. My initial read on the game was just as Gamespot scored, a 9.5. But after playing extensively, I think there's a few flaws in the game that Gamespot either missed or didn't feel were as detrimental to the fun factor of the game as I do.

It's still a great, great game, and does most things better than other games in its genre. The sense of speed is simply astonishing, the graphics are great, the sound is generally good (except the DJ, who can and should be turned off) and the handling on most cars is tip top. But the few things it does poorly weigh the game down. Coupled with a few other head scratchers like the crash cam being semi-static and the custom soundtrack being a tad wonky, it relegates the game from perfection to mere greatness. But how great it is.

I found out I still possess an adrenal gland today.

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My hands shake as I sit here typing this. I just went out and hotboxed a smoke. Six drags and one three inch cherry. AC/DC pours out of the TV speakers while scenes of the most incredible vehicular mayhem play out on the screen. Should I go back in for another round? The sweat hasn't finished drying on my clammy palms yet. Oh well.

I've got this weird cramping feeling around the bottom of my rib cage. It's an odd feeling. One not felt in a while. Heart attack? No, my ticker's good. Perhaps it's time to snag the GBA and visit the porcelain god. No, it's too high up for that. Maybe dinner didn't agree with me. Oh that's right, I haven't eaten yet. No, this pain can only be one thing. The tortured scream of my adrenal gland that is overworked from constantly blasting my system with shots of adrenaline.

What's caused this normally stoic gamer to become a quivering heap of raw nerves and sweat? Why Burnout 3 of course. I like racing games. I played GT3 until my eyes bled. I played Gotham online until my wife threatened divorce. I played F Zero GX until I thought I would snap.

However, none of those games are in the same ball park as Burnout 3. It has redefined the very concept of a racing game. Take everything you knew about racing games. All the rules and conventions. Now throw them out the window. Crashing is a good thing in this game. Well, not a good thing, it can be a good thing.

But enough for now. I've got a multi-million dollar pileup to cause. I'll post more on this later, but let's just say it's been a very good day.