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Published and developed by Acclaim
Release Date:May 3, 2002
Age Rating:3+ for mild violence
Number Of Players:1-4
Memory Card Usage:6 blocks
Acclaim were quite a mixed company. It had many great games, like the original Turok games, Aggressive Inline and Extreme G-3, yet they had some less than stellar games. They had a track record for not doing so well on licensed games like South Park on the original Playstation. In 2004, Acclaim filed for bankruptcy. First released on the N64, the Extreme Racing series has been one of Acclaims main brands, competing well with Sony's famous Wipeout series. The first was a success, the second was disappointing, the third was another success and the fourth (and final) one was pretty average.
As far as controls go, they're perfect. To gas you press A, and to steer your car you use the left stick. The left and right air brakes can be used with the left and right triggers, which basically drives you into the direction of the trigger you press, which is a great way of killing yourself as you can smash yourself into the track sides. To look back you press the X button, to boost you press the B button and to fire your weapon you press Y. To choose your weapons you press one of the directional buttons. The controls are responsive and easy to learn, plus if you don't like the controls you can change them to suit your liking, which is pretty neat.
The main racing in G-3 revolves around you getting in first place, no matter what. Whether it's by boosting ahead in front of the competition blowing up your enemies with rocket launchers, it doesn't matter. the game consists of at least two laps, with 12 racers on the track, in which anything can happen. One thing about the game is that if you destroy a car, the car doesn't respawn but is eliminated from the race completely. Though this can make the game easier for you, it adds a whole ton of pressure, as if you die then, like other players, you're completely eliminated from the race as well. This makes the game much more intense and challenging. Also interesting is that your shield meter is also your boost meter. So if you use your boost meter up, you're on the risk of dying. This involves you using some tactical planning and careful consideration. This also makes the game much hard, yet furious.
You have many types of weapons in G-3. You have a total of eleven weapons, which include your standard cannons, rockets, mines, missiles and much more. One cool weapon is the leech, which basically sucks away shield energy from other enemies when taken into contact. This is helpful if you can't replenish your shield quickly, as it's pretty risky trying your luck if finishing the race with low health. The way weapons work is that you don't have ammo, but a meter, like the shield meter. You can use your weapon as much as you want until the meter runs out, but depending on the power of the weapon depends how many shots you can fire. For example if you have a weaker weapon you could fire up to 20 shots, whereas if you fire a powerful weapon then you could have up to 5 shots. The way to replenish your shields are to drive through these replenishing lanes called energy recharging lanes. They can be of any size and usually replenish about 4/5 of your meter. Though if you buy upgrades which scoop up more from the lanes, you'll get more out of them.
The main mode of play is the career mode, where you can compete in a number of races and many time trials, as well as practice. You can choose up to six teams, two characters on each team, though there's not much to differentiate them aside from different coloured bikes, so it really doesn't matter who you choose. You can compete in one of four things. The league lets you compete in many races, as you try to not necessarily win in first place, but to earn the most money. It depends what positions you come in as to how much money you need to earn, or what position you need to come in the next race. For example i needed to come in 7th place in the first race, but i came first so in the next race i only had to come 7th again. But before i came in 7th and then i had to come in 1st place in the next race. So it really depends how good you race on what position you need to come in on the races. There are a total of ten cups in the league, but once you finish the ten cups the first time, you have to do it all over again to proceed. This is kind of annoying, since more tracks would have been better than just re-using the old tracks again.
The other racing modes of career are training, practise and time trial. Time trial, as you can tell by the name, sets you up in a race where you need to beat the lap time before you finish a number of laps or before the time runs out. There's usually 15 minutes for each race, and there's about 9 laps as well. But the interesting thing about the time trials is that you have to gamble your own money to enter. Paying 1000 a time, it's not much of a loss but the stakes could be higher. The practise mode is where you can brush up your skills on any of the tracks you've unlocked.
The shop of the mode is called XG mall. This is where you can buy upgrades and weapons, as well as sell them. When i say you have to earn a certain amount of money, you can spend it without worrying about being on a tight budget, as it means how much money you've earned overall. Whether you spend all of it or save it up, your progress remains the same. This is great, as being on a tight budget is stressful. Unfortunately, the only helpful upgrade was the leech, as most of the upgrades felt a little useless and the weapons didn't help much. The save system makes the game a little harder, as if you don't save before losing a race, you've lost all your progress. This is worse if you don't save after a few races and lose, as you'll have to do all the races again. Overall the season mode is pretty darn great, and the beef of the game.
While the career mode is great, the multiplayer is really where the game shines. The game supports four player split-screen, unlike the PS2 version released months before this version, which is excellent. You can play in any of the race tracks from the career mode, and you play with other computer A.I., depending on how many people you play with depends on how many computer A.I are in the game. This is a really fun mode, as the racing is intense, but there are limitations which are annoying. You cannot choose whether you have the Computer A.I. on or off, which is annoying as i really think just having four players battling it out together would have been excellent fun. Also, you can't choose how many laps there are plus you can only have two which is too short in my opinion. Though the multiplayer is a little limited, it's really fun and can keep you busy for weeks.
The graphics in G-3 are excellent and really show off the Gamecube's graphical ability. Though the visuals aren't perfect, as the cars don't really differentiate from each other aside from team colours, making them look repetitive, and there are moments of slowdown. But overall G-3 is an excellent looking game with an excellent sense of speed. The environments in G-3 are impressive. They're not the most detailed but they're quite exciting. You'll explore many different environments, which include a massive futuristic metropolis, dried out deserts and ice fortresses, plus more. Also the way the tracks are designed add to the excitement. In the race, there are many loops, twists, hard turns and roller-coaster drops. These are all really exciting.
But the most impressive thing about the game is the effects. You see some excellent Heat wash as you race in the hotter levels, which looks excellent when at really high speeds. Also used is an effect in which once you begin the race, drops of rain begin to cling onto your screen like it would if you were in a car windshield and if boost then the raindrops strike your screen even faster and slightly obscure your view of the race. But the most impressive effect in G-3 is near the end of the game as once you get your hands on a higher-capacity engine, using the boost sends you really fast. What Acclaim have done here is when this occurs, the screen starts to ripple and distort, and the sound starts to drag and muffle like they're coming to you through an underwater tunnel. This is an excellent effect. And the frame rate is pretty stable, save for a few moments of slowdown where there's lots of weather effects.
As far as sound goes, it's pretty high standard. The soundtrack has been worked on with The Ministry Of Sound, which are known for their Techno. So G-3 has a electronic techno soundtrack, but does it suit the action? In my opinion, the answer is yes. The fast action really suits with the Techno vibe, as racing on high speeds with a bumpy sound is pretty sweet. Sometimes the music is a little repetitive, as one song keeps repeating 'Give me a fat beat! Give me a fat beat!', which isn't exactly great to listen to, but still the majority of the music is excellent and suits the racing. The effects are top notch as well. The jet engine sounds of your bike's motor gets louder as you move closer to an opponent. Yet as one speeds up towards you, you gain or lose pitch as you race up or down hills. It's such an effective sensory feature that you don't even need to have your eyes on the screen to know whats going on in the game.
Though the value is kind of lacking compared to the rest of the game, there's still great value to be found here. The main career mode will take you around ten hours to finish on your first time through. You can play the career on co-op as well, which adds time, as does the multiplayer. But beyond the versus mode, there's not much left to do. But hey, it'll take you 10 hours to finish the main career mode, and the multiplayer mode is really fun and adds much time as well.
Extreme G-3 is one of the most intense games I've played. It's fast and furious gameplay is worth buying the game alone, not to mention excellent visuals that keep up with the action and a soundtrack from the Ministry Of Sound which suits the action perfectly. If you love futuristic racing then you'd do well to give this a go, and if you want to get into futuristic racing then this is the game to do that. But the main appeal is to Gamecube only gamers, as if you're a Gamecube owner who's been craving for a Wipeout for your Gamecube, here it is!
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Amazon:Used and New from £4.39
Take a pinch of Tron's lightcycle action, mix in more than a dollop of WipEout and introduce the mix to the PlayStation 2, and you have Extreme G3. It's a tried and trusted formula--futuristic motorcycling on gravity-defying circuits with armaments on the cycles and turbo boosts which make everything go blurry--and it's utterly engrossing. There's no attempt at realism here; it's arcade racing at its best. Graphics are incredibly smooth, with no distance pop-up, and the background details are splendid--the cityscapes have a stark reality to them and the 360-degree loops are a joy to behold (if a little stomach turning). With a bike that's boosted to the hilt, hitting the turbo button produces an utterly stunning effect; the screen distorts as you hit high G and the sound goes woozy, waving in and out of phase to simulate the effect of raw speed. It's really very impressive. Add to this the novelty of the side-by-side two player mode and Extreme G3 is great fun and good value for money.