This article focuses on the multiple unique gameplay elements featured in Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race. Many of these have functions similar to those of The Amazing Race, which is the reality show that The Ridonculous Race is based on.
Don Boxes resemble the appearance of the host Don and contain a Travel Tip that dispenses from its mouth when the button on its head is pressed. The first Don Box appears in the pilot episode. Occasionally, the appearance of the Don Box changes to fit the country visited, which Don frequently shows disdain for. In certain episodes, the Don Box also randomly dispenses a Boomerang attached to the back of some Travel Tips to some teams.
Interviews are the Ridonculous Race counterparts to the confessionals from Total Drama. Much like its counterpart, the interviews are used by the teams to talk about their time on the show. The interviews usually take place in a black room showing a world map in the background. Alternatively, teams are sometimes interviewed at their current location and also when they are eliminated.
Travel Tips are blue and black cards that provide clues and instructions for the contestants to get to their next location, or how to perform a challenge. Contestants must acquire them to advance in the game. A Travel Tip is usually dispensed from a Don Box or is given by a Travel Tip giver. In episodes utilizing a Boomerang, the red boomerang card is found on the backs of some tips. A golden Travel Tip is found in the finale, as the final tip and contains a map to the finish line. The team to reach the final Chill Zone with it is declared the winner.
Chill Zones are symbolized as an area around the Carpet of Completion, a golden round carpet which serves as the starting and finishing point for each leg of the race. At every Chill Zone, Don waits for teams to arrive and announces their placement on the leg. If a team is penalized, they are forced to wait near the Chill Zone until their penalty is over. The last team to arrive may or may not be eliminated. A twist occurs in French is an Eiffel Language where despite both the Tennis Rivals and Reality TV Pros reaching the Chill Zone at the same time, the former are eliminated, as Gerry's foot wasn't completely in the circle. The finale has two Chill Zones. The first serves as the midpoint of the episode where the last team to arrive is automatically eliminated, while the second one serves as the finish line of the entire Race where the winner is crowned. Unlike normal Chill Zones, the carpet for the midpoint Chill Zone is bronze instead of gold, which represents the final team to arrive is ranked third in the Race.
Chill Zone is equivalent to the Pit Stop from The Amazing Race, with the difference that a local is usually present with Phil Keoghan to greet the first team to arrive in the latter. Two differences from The Amazing Race Pit Stop is that the winners of a leg in The Amazing Race win either a vacation or money, whereas in The Ridonculous Race, there were only a few episodes with a reward and they were minimal in comparison (first class on a flight, free food, a phone call for home), and that contestants who place last in non-elimination legs in The Amazing Race have to perform an additional task called a Speed Bump while in The Ridonculous Race, they face no further punishments after getting last.
An All-In is the most commonly recurring challenge in The Ridonculous Race, appearing in almost every episode. The number of All-In challenges in an episode may vary between one or two. Both members of a team must compete in an All-In challenge or they will be penalized. The first All-In of the Race is introduced in None Down, Eighteen to Go - Part 2.
An Either/Or is a type of challenge in which teams must choose between one of two tasks. If a team faces difficulty in completing one task, they are free to switch to the other task. Usually, Either/Or challenges are given unique names for both tasks, such as Feast or Fossil. The first Either/Or challenge to appear is in None Down, Eighteen to Go - Part 1. Either/Ors seem to be the least recurring challenge in the race, only appearing in five episodes, with all but one featuring a non-elimination.
The Either/Or is equivalent to the Detour from The Amazing Race.
It is interesting to note that a similar-style challenge was used in the opening episode of Total Drama World Tour, where the contestants chose to race either over or under the pyramid, with their finish determining the teams.
Botch or Watch
A Botch or Watch is a type of challenge in which only one member from each team is allowed to participate, while the other watches without helping their partner in any way. In the next Botch or Watch, the member who didn't partake in the previous challenge will perform the challenge. A team will be penalized if the same member competes in two Botch or Watches in a row, which nearly happened to the Rockers in New Beijinging. The first Botch or Watch appears in None Down, Eighteen to Go - Part 2.
An alternate form of the challenge is called a Random Botch. Unlike a regular Botch or Watch, depending on the episode, either the contestant who did or did not collect the Travel Tip from the Don Box must perform the challenge.
The Botch or Watch is the equivalent of the Roadblock in The Amazing Race. Unlike Roadblocks however, contestants are required to alternate at every challenge unless instructed otherwise, whereas in The Amazing Race, contestants are allowed to do whatever Roadblocks, as long as they do not exceed the maximum of seven.
The penalty clock indicates the time given to a team who is penalized when they break a rule anytime during a leg in the race when they reach the Chill Zone. Reasons for a team incurring a penalty include:
- Not completing tasks as exactly written.
- Using an unauthorized method of travel.
- A team member fails to participate in an All-In challenge.
- A team member assists their partner in a Botch or Watch challenge.
- A team member competes in two consecutive Botch or Watch challenges.
- Flagrant cheating.
When a team is penalized, they are forced to stand next to the Chill Zone and wait until the time expires. The length of the penalty is at Don's discretion, with the shortest being 10 minutes and the longest being an hour. The first team to be penalized were the Reality TV Pros in French is an Eiffel Language, after Owen ate his team's cheese. The Ice Dancers have been penalized the most throughout the game (prominently close to the end of the season) for their cheating, having been penalized three times.
A Boomerang gives the ability to force a team to redo the previous challenge. It is randomly found on the back of a Travel Tip of the first Don Box of the visited country. It can be used at any point until the next Don Box, in which it expires. There can be more than one Boomerang in a single episode, with both the Ice Dancers and Police Cadets use theirs on each other in Shawshank Ridonc-tion, the episode it's introduced in. A Boomerang can also be used by a team on themselves, as done by Stephanie against Ryan in Lord of the Ring Toss.
The Boomerang is similar to the U-Turn from The Amazing Race. However, U-Turns force a team to complete the other Detour task after completing the first and can be accessed by anyone who hadn't used it yet, whereas the Boomerang forces a team to repeat the previous challenge and is assigned randomly.
A Superteam is a type of challenge in which multiple teams must work together to complete a challenge. The first time a Superteam introduced is in Ca-Noodling where three teams must work together to noodle six catfish.
The Superteam is equivalent to the Intersection in some seasons of The Amazing Race.
The Zip-It Ticket made its first appearance in Ca-Noodling. The Zip-It Ticket allows a team to skip any remaining challenges and go directly to the Chill Zone. Due to its introductory challenge being a Superteam challenge, the Ice Dancers, Police Cadets, and Daters are each given the Zip-It Ticket, earning a three-way tie for first place.
The Zip-It Ticket is the equivalent to the Fast Forward from The Amazing Race.