Burnout 3 (2004-04-28 demo)

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Burnout 3 (2004-04-28 demo)
Build Info
Platform: PlayStation 2
Compilation date: April 28th, 2004
Also known as: "April Build"
Released publically: Yes

This promotional demo for Burnout 3: Takedown (then known as simply Burnout 3) was compiled on April 28th, 2004, exactly three months before the game's final retail version. Its executable was recently patched to activate a functional menu system, revealing lots of normally hidden content and a considerable amount of differences.

Notable Differences[edit]

Since this demo was initially compiled 3 months before the retail game, it is quite different in several areas.

Menu UI[edit]

While the menu UI remains mostly the same, the demo does see a few changes here and there. The event locations in the Crash Nav have indicators marking different hazards or features that may have an effect on the player during races. The loading screen is also far different, and instead of featuring a picture and a caption, it just has the controller setup and a display for gameplay tips at the bottom.


This HUD dates back very far within the game's development timeline, and was pulled shortly after the demo released once manual transmission was gutted entirely. The color palette of the text and UI elements was also changed from orange and yellow to blue and gold for the final game. The on-screen text that appears comes with a small icon in the shape of a road sign, of which they're not only older textures, but in this era of the game there was 3 different signs you could receive as opposed to only 2 in the retail game. The crash screen has a more simplistic and dramatic design, featuring black bars that are also seen during replays in the retail game. The layout is different in some modes, staying compact but displaying lots of information at the same time. The most different is crash mode, with a timer and crash damage amount always being displayed throughout the event, likewise to Burnout 2. The boost bar shakes intensely during use, which was also likely at the end of its lifespan by the time the demo released, and was promptly removed sometime before E3.

Damage Model[edit]

Due to this being around the time the damage modeling was starting to be overhauled, this demo uses a combination of the chassis crumpling seen in earlier versions, and the bending/stretching of later versions. Deformation is very intense but to a degree realistic, with most parts rarely ever breaking free from the vehicle besides wheels, the hood, and bumpers not well hooked to the chassis seen in older vehicles (Mostly 60s and 70s cars), akin to a real car crash. This demo also saw the last appearance of a damage feature nicknamed "Folding", where the vehicle's chassis violently compresses and folds vertically. Explosions are not presented this early in the game's development, however the vehicle's radiator will still emit smoke and hiss during some crashes.

Early Vehicle Designs[edit]

While all other releases of this demo contain only three player vehicles, the NTSC-J release contains over thirty, many of them featuring designs that likely date to circa May 2004. Some vehicles feature early, completely different designs, and some also include LOD models based on even earlier versions of the vehicle's design. Many feature placeholder or, in some cases, never-before-heard engine sounds.

Map Changes[edit]

While Downtown overall is not much different from retail besides lacking EA-sponsored or Axe billboards, maps themselves were met with some characteristics later removed. In the demo, there's a lot of spots on corners shortly after the barriers of which riding the wall will be met with instant death. It's possible this was introduced as a way to keep players off the walls with the removal of the wall speed penalty, but was later removed, only still present on select maps in distinct spots in the final game.

Car Combat[edit]

Unlike the retail game, combat behavior in this demo varies among vehicles, with some being better at combat than others. The demo's ValueDB contains per-vehicle masses and values for reactions to attacks, indicated very prominently by a select few vehicles that will barely react to violent slams and shunts. In this demo there is also a mechanic of which when battling another car in a heavy vehicle, you can put constant pressure on the door area of their vehicle and they will tip sideways, giving you a takedown if you manage to get them off all of their wheels. A similar characteristic to this can be seen in some real car crashes.


Cars have a much different and more grounded sense of handling in the demo. Different cars can feel tighter or looser and heavier than their retail counterparts. The in-game crashes feel much lighter than in the final game, as vehicles are able to get insane amounts of air time and cover much larger distances even when making contact with the ground. The differing physics also likely has a part in the previously mentioned "tipping" mechanic.

Responsive AI[edit]

In split-screen modes and Championship events, the AI opponents are far more aggressive, so much as that they will try to take out the player even if it puts them in danger. Their average speeds usually exceed that of the player even in the same vehicles, and will rarely slow down until the final lap (A customary AI behavior in the Burnout games). The AI also have a tendency to crash more often, giving the player a minuscule time window to avoid them now and then. Taking down AI cars doesn't render the player invincible to their victim, as plowing through a car you've taken out will still kill you if hit with enough force. This also applies with aftertouch takedowns, as simply grazing passing drivers will not kill them unless they hit you with a major difference in speed. Opponents, when the player wrecks take on a characteristic from Burnout 1 and 2 nicknamed the "Panic Effect" of which they may not hit the player, but instead the environment or nearby traffic due to being in a panic to avoid the incoming madness. This was removed sometime before E3 and was never seen in another Burnout title again.

Mode Changes[edit]

Every mode like Burnout 1 and 2 begins with a grid start, and the player is able to accomplish a Boost Start which works the same in both Burnout 2, and online modes for Burnout 3 and Revenge. The standing countdown is also presented in crash mode in the final game, but the player always starts rolling in every other mode.

Road Rage in the demo is mostly the same on the surface, but it has a few differing mechanics. Instead of battling the same 3 vehicles the entire event, the player is now pitted against 4 other opponents. Upon taking them down, they are considered "Eliminated" and another car in the same class is supposed to spawn to take its place.

Similar to Burnout Revenge Crash Mode, the demo features a crashbreaker that must be charged, although instead of getting a number of cars to crash or explode to fill it, the player must instead travel lots of distance and/or collide with vehicles. Since explosions are not present this early on, initiating it sends all nearby cars into an airborne stasis indicated by the same distinct sound and particle effect used when the player vehicle propels itself off the ground in a crash. Impact time tracks play in the demo Crash Mode but usually are cut off momentarily until crashbreaker is initiated.

Camera Changes[edit]

The demo features a set of after-race cameras that aren't presented in the final game. As opposed to the camera sticking in place, it follows the player vehicle around shortly before sending you back to the start menu of the demo, and in split-screen it will initiate a replay.

The demo's unique crash camera works based on events happening around the player vehicle, but the camera with its removed functionality is still seen in the final game's crash mode. It appears rarely in the final game but generally only for a few seconds before changing or ending the crash. The crash camera stays fixed to the player car, rotating and panning to give a view of each subsequent wreck as well as approaching rivals, allowing the player to avoid or aim for them. Crash cameras present before this point and in the Crash + Burn trailer are used as post-race and replay cameras here.

Darker Undertones[edit]

Earlier versions of Burnout 3 are thought to be a lot more grim in tone, and this demo is no exception. Impact Time tracks are far more brutalistic and audibly violent compared to retail's, and audible screams or shouts of pain can be heard when the player or nearby AI drivers crash. Text strings in the executable indicate these undertones being much heavier even before this point, with the HUD message for a Psyche Out takedown possibly having been Caused A Suicide!

Known Issues[edit]

 Issues marked with * are only presented in the modded demo featuring functional menu systems.
  • Outside of Championship events and Split-Screen modes, the AI do not act as they are meant to, being far less aggressive than they should be.
  • Replays do not work for single-player modes; the player is simply sent back to the main menu shortly after finishing an event.
  • Running out of time or being totaled in a Road Rage event will soft-lock the game.*
  • Road Rage is unable to pool in new cars of the same class after a rival is eliminated for reasons unknown, and will reuse the same vehicles similar to retail.*
  • In a similar instance to Road Rage, Race events' rivals will copy whichever car the player is driving.*
  • Crash Mode must first be completed through the dedicated menu before being able to play in Single Event.*
  • Reverse tracks in Single Event will respawn you facing the wrong way; Race and Championship events are the only exceptions to this.*
  • The option to enable vibration for the controller does not do anything.*
  • Due to the lack of tracks, a sizeable portion of the game is inaccessible and much is still unseen.*
  • The dedicated Crash Nav does not work; it attempts to load a Crash event instead of initializing the Nav itself.*
  • Several menus are inaccessible without replacing an existing menu:*
    • The Championship event list featuring Race, Road Rage and Crash events
    • The proper Crash Nav menu
    • The full Driver Details menu (then known as My Burnout), featuring lap records and completed Takedown Milestones