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Don't Take Me Down to Paradise City
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 11, 2008   |   Episode 140 (Show Archive)  

   

Burnout Paradise may be fun, but Criterion Games has to go a lot further if they are going to make a fully realized world to race in!
I'll be honest with you; I don't want to go to Paradise City. Oh it sounds like a great place to call home, but Paradise City may just be the single worst community to get a job and raise a family. It's not that the city is a scummy cesspool full of crime lords, dirty cops and massive shoot outs (that's Liberty City), instead it's a picturesque metropolis that seems to be missing some of the key components to a real city, a few of which are the difference between life and death.

As the song says, Paradise City is where the "grass is green and the girls are pretty." Only, that's not actually true. Yes, Paradise City does have beautiful green grass, but there's not a pretty girl to be seen. In fact, there are no girls to be seen ... not even four hundred pound Amazon-types with acne riddled faces and a massive scar that is as recent as this morning. There are no women, children,

If you believe the stories, then the original lyrics to Paradise City was: "Where the girls are fat and they've got big titties."
and yes, no men. Paradise City is completely devoid of human life, as if we've been teleported to a time when humans have been completely wiped off of the face of the planet. As peaceful as it sounds to be the only people in a massive town, living all by yourself in a city this size is bound to cause a few problems.

For one thing there isn't anybody to sell you fresh food, run the power company and keep the city from devolving into the kind of hellish society that you only see in the movies (and on Kid Nation). And that's not the worst of it, with nobody else living there with you who are going to teach your children to read and write?


Without a school in Paradise City movies like High School Musical won't make any sense (which may actually be a good thing when I think about it)!
Well, maybe Paradise doesn't actually need any teachers after all, because this is one city that doesn't actually have a school. It has a football field and an airport, but nowhere in this 250 mile-large city is there a public (or private) school. Not an elementary school, not a middle school, not a high school and, you guessed it; there isn't a single college to speak of (not even a community college). Apparently the founders of Paradise City didn't have a need for education ... which may explain why none of them live there anymore.

With a whole society of uneducated people, you can expect a high unemployment rate and crime to skyrocket. Unfortunately Paradise City is the first metropolis to go entirely without a police

I'm not exactly sure what you call the opposite of a police state, but it's pretty clear that Burnout Paradise is it!
force. Actually, that's not true, Paradise City does actually have two police cars ... but there's not one single policeman to be seen. Worse yet, the police cars don't actually have the ability to turn on their sirens and pull people oven, instead their only recourse is to slam speeders into the barriers and buildings lining the streets of Paradise City. Not only is this dangerous, but who is going to be the one to clean up all of the debris coming off of the cars and buildings. It won't be the garbage men, that's for sure, because there are no garbage men ... there is no landfill.

By now you should be starting to see the problem living in a place like Paradise City, it's the kind of place that can't sustain life for very

Stephen King fans will note that the last time we had to deal with living cars things didn't turn out so well for the humans!
long. But as bad as not having teachers, shop keepers and policemen is (and trust me, that alone is reason enough to cross this city off your list of possible places to visit), the real danger of Paradise City are the cars. That's right, I'm talking about the dozens (if not hundreds) of cars that are driving around the city without people driving them. You heard me, nobody is driving these cars. Instead we have a city that is filled to the brim with self aware vehicles, the kind that will race other cars and do everything they can to make your day miserable.

What are you supposed to do in a town where all of the cars seem to have a life of their own? On one hand that's really creepy, the idea of having your car suddenly spring to life and want to race around town may just be the kind of thing that keeps you up and night scared about your future. Could it be all of these cars are being piloted by the ghosts of the old Paradise City townsfolk? And

Without power, cable, internet access and Alcoholics Anonymous you might as well be living with Laura Ingalls!
if that's the case, is that really any better than believing that your cars have a life of their own and simply want to ram into buildings and take out other cars? Either way you shake it you're in for a dangerous commute to work.

On the plus side it shouldn't be hard to find work. Not only are there plenty of empty businesses just waiting for you to drop off an application, but you can also start work at the local quarry. Then again, if you're the only person in town then you're going to be doing all of the quarry work all by yourself, which will wear you out quicker than outrunning the out of control vehicles. And who exactly is going to be signing your paychecks at the end of the day? Talk about a thankless job, you're better off just sitting at home drinking all day and watching TV.

But wait; there isn't any TV ... because nobody actually works at the cable company. And you better not drink too much, because there isn't a local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to attend. And even if there was, it's not like you can call for directions, since there isn't a phone company. What about the internet? Same thing, without a

In a lot of ways Paradise City is like 30 Days of Night ... only without all of the night and the vampires!
phone company or cable company you're screwed, you're forced to entertain yourself, which will probably mean having more babies who will never have a chance to get educated and will grow up thinking that 2+2=5 and the opposite of up is cat.

Unfortunately it's even worse than not having the internet and being able to watch reruns of According to Jim, you also have to deal with days that never turn into nights. The big problem with a place like Paradise City is that at no point does the sun go down, it just stays up in the sky making it 80 degrees all day, week, month and year long. Have you ever tried going to sleep when the sun is beating down on you with its hot, hot heat? Now imagine doing that every day of your life, it's enough to make you go crazy. But you can't go too crazy, because there aren't any doctors to prescribe you medicine or counselors to talk you out of ending it all.

And because there are no doctors, there are also no hospitals. That's right; Paradise City is lacking a hospital, which

While Paradise City sounds like a terrible place to raise a family, I would still rather play Burnout Paradise than the Guns 'N Roses pinball machine!
seems incredibly ill conceived when you see how reckless all of the drivers are. Then again, none of the cars actually have real people in them, so I suppose there isn't much of a demand for an emergency room. Hopefully you won't get sick, because there's not going to be anybody there to help you out. Heck, you can't even buy chicken noodle soup since there are no shopkeepers, so you better hope that nothing bad ever befalls you or your family.

Of course, none of this should come as a shock to anybody. Despite the cheery name and upbeat chorus, the Guns 'N Roses song that inspired this Burnout city isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of this "Paradise City". In fact, one could read the

No, not that Paradise City you silly goose!
lyrics and conclude that Axl Rose, Slash and the rest of the gang is actually being sarcastic when they call it Paradise City. With lyrics like these ("Rags to riches or so they say/You gotta keep pushin' for the fortune and fame/When it's just a game you treat it like a capital crime, everybody doin' their time") it sounds more like Axl is talking about the corruption that has permeated its way through the city. Maybe that's why everybody left the city so quickly; nobody likes to live in a city as corrupt as Paradise City (even if the grass is green).

With all of these problems it's no wonder I don't want to go to Paradise City. The real question should be: who in their right mind would actually want to live in a place like this? Oh sure, Paradise City is a great place to bang up a few cars and walk around naked, but when it comes to actually living in the city you would be better off staying put in whatever crappy town you're in now ... even if that town is Detroit.
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