Extreme G Racing
Review By: Jared Black
Acclaimís Extreme G
series has always been a very solid set of games that was slightly ahead of its
time. While it was never among the upper-echelon of futuristic racers, it was
always a technically sound and fun racing experience. However, since it appeared
on the Nintendo 64 previously it always had several problems related to that
platformís limitations. These problems included framerate problems, horrible
filtering, and limited texturing. With this new hardware generation, the
concepts this series began with (fast racing, incredible lighting, etc.) are
finally attainable. Luckily, Acclaim capitalized on this and delivered the type
of game Extreme G fans have been waiting for.
The primary element of XG3
is delivering an incredible sense of speed. Other series in this genre (Wipeout,
F-Zero, etc.) have always been able to deliver a sense of speed, but
never has a game delivered it to this degree. Once you work your way up to the
higher speed classes, things get really faaaaaassssttttt. The great thing
is that, no matter how fast things get, the game remains very playable. Even at
the highest speeds, rarely does the player get the feeling that they are not in
control of whatís happening. This is due to a finely tuned control system and
wider tracks (most of which have banked turns ALA NASCAR) then youíll find in
most games. The control scheme is what youíd expect (ex: "X"
controls acceleration), and feels very intuitive. Since the square and circle
buttons handle the fire weapon and turbo functions, the player can easily roll
the thumb over to the one they want to use while keeping the acceleration going.
Unlike the Wipeout
series, weapons and accessories in this game must be purchased using the money
won from each race. Once a weapon is purchased, you can use it anytime you
please. The catch is that your ammo meter must be full enough to allow you to
use it, and since each weapon uses varying amounts of the meter a lot of
strategy is involved in choosing what to use and when. In a way this adds to the
tension of the race, as you must cycle through and choose a weapon youíve
purchased before using it. Thus, you have to learn to watch where youíre going
and select at the same time. Turbo works in much the same manner, as using it
will deplete your shield. Since your shield protects you from other racersí
weapons, itís smart to use the turbo sparingly. Both meters are replenished by
driving over energy recharge lanes, with purple filling up ammo and green
filling up shields. While I personally prefer the Wipeout approach (weapons are
gotten by riding over specific areas), itís a system that works well enough
and helps to differentiate the series a bit.
Graphically, XG3 is an
incredible package. Acclaim always tried to do too much on the Nintendo 64, but
on the PS2 their vision has finally been realized. Each of the 6 teamsí bikes
(there are two riders per team) look very realistic and distinct, and itís
easy to spot out your ally during the race. Each of the ten different courses
has their own distinct look, with some incredibly complex environments. In
particular, the bustling city of Megalopis 7 is awe-inspiring. There are flying
vehicles everywhere around the track and going 700+ mph weaving in and out of
skyscrapers is incredible. The weather effects, while not overwhelming like Wave
Race: Blue Storm, are also well done. Acclaim Cheltenham showed some graphic
prowess in RC Revenge Pro, but XG3 shows that the team has made incredible
progress since then.
Theyíve also made great
progress in the sound department. Utilizing Dolby Surround Sound, the
techno/rock soundtrack sounds very good. However, while all of the tracks are
excellent technically, a few of the tracks arenít very different and quickly
become repetitive. All of the sound effects sound really good, sounding just
"over the top" enough to seem futuristic. A very solid and technically
excellent sound package.
- Excellent graphics. XG3
has a unique and cohesive style that sets it apart from other racers.
- Good use of sound,
including mostly-good music and great sound effects.
- Speed speed speed.
- Despite having multiple
speed classes, having only 10 tracks limits replay value.
XG3 Extreme G
Racing is a great racing game that finally establishes this series as one of the
best. While itís still not a substitute for Wipeout Fusion, it is a great
racing game that will make speed freaks ecstatic. And with Wipeout Fusion being
delayed until early 2002, this becomes a must-buy for fans of the genre.