Burnout Wiki

Disambig iconThis article is about the original game. For other Burnout titles, or the boost mechanic, see Burnout (disambiguation).

Burnout is the first game in the Burnout Series. It was developed by Criterion Games and published by Acclaim.

It was released for PlayStation 2 in North America on November 1, 2001 and Europe on November 16, 2001; for the GameCube in North America on April 29, 2002 and Europe on May 3, 2002; and for Xbox in North America on April 30, 2002 and in Europe on May 5, 2002.

As the first entry into the Burnout franchise, many elements of the series began here, including Boost and Burnouts, Face-Offs, vehicles based on real-life counterparts, races based on real-life locations, and of course dangerous driving and extravagant crashes. However, it is also much more like an arcade racer than later games such as Burnout Revenge due to having Checkpoints and a score system with High Scores.

It is also widely regarded as the most difficult game in the series, due to the clunky handling of most of the vehicles, the numerous tight corners, and the traffic, which is known to be very dense and also has a habit of blind-siding the player either by appearing out of a corner suddenly or a larger vehicle like a bus blocking the player due to small alleys with cross-traffic.


The main gameplay mode in Burnout is the Championship mode, which is a selection of events with three or four races in each (or one, if the track is a marathon). Here the player competes against three other cars on various courses. Each event gets harder and requires the player to use faster cars to reach first place. After completing a Championship event, a Face Off challenge is unlocked which in turn unlocks a new car if won. Other modes include single race, time attack, and multiplayer modes. Single race is a mode where the player races against three opponents, and is very useful for practicing tracks before tackling them in a Championship. In time attack, the player must finish a lap in a certain amount of time.

Three other game modes are also available: Survival, Free Run, and Free Run Twin. Survival is as it says, where you need to complete a Time Trial race without crashing ONCE. Free Run is the opposite, a breath of fresh air as you race with no traffic. Free Run Twin is the same but with a second player.

Main article: Events (Burnout 1)


In order to travel faster, the player needs to accumulate Boost. This can be done by driving down the wrong side of the road, drifting around corners at high speeds and near missing other vehicles. The boost meter, however, can only be used when it's full, but if the Boost used up in one go, the player performs a Burnout]. But if the player further drives dangerously during this time, they will be able to perform a Burnout Chain, where the Boost Bar will refill, allowing the player to speed on.

The ever frequent crashes will deplete a significant chunk of your boost. This, along with the frequent heavy traffic, make the original Burnout one of the hardest games in the series.


Burnout features a small collection of cars, including the small Compact, Saloon, the Pickup and the Muscle. Each is vaguely based on real life vehicles. Further cars can be unlocked by beating them in a Face Off, and they are subsequently unlocked by completing Championships.

Main article: Vehicles (Burnout 1)


Each track is connected with "Sprints". Each location has a distinct collection of traffic that distinguishes one continent from the next; e.g. American taxi cabs versus European taxi cabs and so forth.

Main article: Locations (Burnout 1)


The composer for the music in Burnout is Stephen Root, who, along with the following, made the Menu and Credits music.

  • Nought 260
  • Oversteer
  • Eurorush
  • Heart Failure
  • In Control
  • Dead Ahead
  • 66 Kicks
  • Whiplash
  • Downtown Drift
  • Fatal Instinct

Burnout's music player is accessible in the specials menu. All tracks come in two versions: a version shared between Mono and Stereo output, and a version used specifically for Dolby Surround output.

Each race track has a specific 'casual' and 'tragic' music track. For example, at the start of the race. 66 Kicks is played on Interstate and Rush Hour. After the song for the track is played or when the player has crashed more than once, the tragic track is played (in this case, Whiplash). This pattern is present on all tracks, going from a moderate upbeat song to a suspenseful song.

In Burnout Paradise, the same tracks return, except having their names changed, and the tracks will no longer loop, but instead fully play until it finishes (in the original game, a track repeats itself as the player passes through every second checkpoint). Only Whiplash is not present in Burnout Paradise, but this is augmented by a track called Tokyo Nights, a track that was originally intended for a Far East track that was cut during production of Burnout.

Looking through the files on the game's disc. reveals that there are two unused music tracks intended for a Far East track; Tokyo Nights, called J-Rock in the game's files, which was most likely the casual music for the course, and a music track called Mental Oriental which, due to the tone, was most likely the tragic music. These two music tracks are only in Mono/Stereo format, lacking a second variant for Dolby Surround output, like all of the other music tracks do, indicating that the intended course must have been cut pretty early in development, rendering these two music tracks unused.

Main article: Soundtrack (Burnout 1)


  • Driving Hero was the pitched working title for Burnout.[1]
  • Secret Driving Game was the Burnout project's nickname.[2]
  • Shiny Red Car was the development codename for Burnout.




There are two trailers showing some beta gameplay. in these trailers, the Sports Coupe is more square with fixed headlights like its Xbox final counterpart. There is an unknown car that could be Saloon. There is a Mustang like car that appears for a brief moment in the second video.


Burnout 1 PS2 Amazing Trailer


Burnout - trailer