Extreme G Racing 3
Platform:  PlayStation 2
Players:  1-2
Memory Usage:  284 kb

    Coolness, it has been the defining factor of 'the PlayStation experience' since the early days of the original PlayStation console.  The games were cool and mainstream and it was stylish to play them.  When the PlayStation 2 was launched, Sony attempted to recapture this feeling of the cutting edge of home video game entertainment.  This was apparent with games like SSX and updates to original PlayStation release games such as Ridge Racer V.  Yet, aside from a few sports titles, there were no games that said "I'm having a PS2 experience" until now.  Yes, Gran Turismo 3 A-spec falls into the category, but if more intense twitch racing is your style then look no further than Extreme G3.  (odd how the newest and coolest releases of GT and XG are both the third)

Description:  Extreme G was actually a launch title on the Nintendo 64 and one of my all time favorite games for that system.  It involved racing two wheeled bikes at insane speeds through courses that resembled a roller coaster more than a race track.  XG2 tried to capture the fun and speed of the first, but failed.  Now XG3 has brought the rush back again, and this time to the PlayStation 2.  You'll race against 13 bikes, earn credits, purchase weapons, and advance through the leagues.  It's a lot like Wipeout, but Wipeout never spun you around like this.

Graphics:  Extreme G3 is the best in the series in terms of graphic presentation, not because it's on a next-gen system, but because it maintains a solid frame rate throughout.  Each track you race on is designed wonderfully, from a city built in the ocean, to an island with huge cannons and missiles along side the entire course, to a track that twists around the skyscrapers of a vast metropolis.  Rain and snow realistically react to the bikes moving through them, rain droplets splash against the windshield and snowflakes flutter down from the sky.  Not much goes on outside of the courses surroundings themselves, transport ships fly by and billboards flash, but that's about it.  Truthfully, you're going so fast you really don't even notice and it in no way detracts from enjoyment of the game.  Diving through loops and tunnels may actually cause people to get vertigo, it must be seen to be believed at the speed XG3 conveys.

Sound:  The music is a little uninspired but isn't really all that noticeable.  Sound effects are where XG3 shines.  All the bikes make grinding sounds as they climb hills and hum as they fly back down them.  Each weapon has a individual sound.  Just by hearing one can tell what side an enemy is coming up behind you and what weapon they are packing.  This game is a must to have surround sound.

Play Control:  The controls may be a little loose to new players at first, as they are in the Wipeout games. After learning how to use the analog stick in cooperation with the left and right brakes, however, taking even the tightest corner at full speed becomes a breeze.  Everything is very fluid and responsive.

Replay:  Advancing though the leagues will take anyone some time.  Afterward there is a two player split screen option for infinite replay against a friend.  XG3 won't get old very fast.

Final Verdict:  The speed will bring you back again and again.  Especially when you break 740 and catch 'Extreme G's" the entire screen goes blurry as you break the sound barrier, it's quite cool every time one does it.  Sometimes even getting to the point of passing laser shots as they are shot at your bike is an easy task.  The best part of this game stands, however, as it just being cool.  Something the PS2 seems to be getting more and more of in the past few months.  Wipeout Fusion isn't going to be released for a long time, even when it does, Extreme G 3 will still kick.  Why?  XG3 doesn't try to be like Wipeout, it is its own game in its own right, and there's nothing wrong with originality.  Even if it is rooted in great franchises of the near past.  A port of XG3 is planned for the forthcoming Nintendo Game Cube as well.

Written on 08-29-01 by David, insanedavid@classicplastic.net
Last amended 04-13-06 by David, insanedavid@classicplastic.net

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