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XGIII: Extreme G Racing Package Art
†GENRE
††Racing
†DEVELOPER
††Acclaim Cheltenham
†PUBLISHER
††Acclaim
†NUMBER OF PLAYERS
††1-4
†CONNECTIVITY
††no
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XGIII: Extreme G Racing

There are few excellent racers on the Nintendo GameCube. The Nintendo 64 had its share of wonderfully entertaining racers such as F-Zero X. Acclaim, however, had its own take on extreme futuristic racing with Extreme-G. The title provided an excellent feeling of speed and beautifully crafted landscapes. Unfortunately, after an extremely unsatisfactory sequel, it was hard to believe that they could create a next-generation title that captured the same pulse of the original. However, Acclaim apparently made a good call once they took the reins from the N64 developer, Probe, into their own Cheltenham development team. XGIII: Extreme G Racing is probably one of the greatest futuristic racer on any console. It offers terrific visual style, excellent music, and intense, crazy speed.

visuals

There is no doubt that the art direction in this title is phenomenal. The track design is a cross between wonderfully classic inspirations such as Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and Star Wars. The blending of the two provides the racetracks with a uniquely futuristic tone. While they don't share the same attention to detail as the original title did on the N64, it is still beautiful to look at as your vehicle breaks sound barriers. The vehicle design is developed rather well and is enough to bring a different look to each individual bike, even though each shares the same visual model. The streaks of colored light trailing from the bikes are a cool effect; you'll always know whom you're passing up before even seeing the bike itself. The coolest visual effect in the entire game, however, is when you use the speed boost, tracking up numbers close to 550mph while the screen blurs in a force factor effect as you crack through the air. If any next generation title captures the essence and intensely brutal sense of speed, XGIII does, and it does so with style.

audio

The music in XGIII is amazingly well composed. It is hard enough to create a sense of speed, but to create a score of adrenaline pumping electronica to match that feeling is a feat in and of itself. Each level features an excellent, professionally mixed track that doesn't disappoint the ears. The only flaw in the music is that I had hoped for clan-specific themes to set them apart from one another. The sound effects are amazingly well produced and some are on the verge of revolutionary. While cracking the sound barrier during speed boosts, you'll hear cars whizzing by as you pass them in muffled, drowned out churns of the engine. This is definitely the most impressive technical achievement of this title.

gameplay

To progress through the game is fairly similar to other games. Starting off in the circuit mode, the player will rip through several courses using their overpowered bikes in an attempt to win the biggest pot of prize money. This cash can be used to upgrade the bike or participate in Time Trials for even more prizes. It is fairly common to use this purchasing system for a racing title and it does neither harm nor foul for this title. I would have liked to see some more weapons and especially more armor upgrades, but the selection here is admirable. In order to complete each race, you must use your speed boost and weapon cache strategically in order to take the upper hand. However, these two advantages deplete quickly and can be restocked by running over power-up strips along the course. This addition to the title and the genre itself is amazingly well executed.

The bikes themselves are extremely easy to control once you get the hang of the scheme. The track design, however, only allows you to win if youíve learned the course like the back of your hand. Once youíve gone through the course a few times, youíre well on your way to getting first place. The controls are even better than its PS2 counterpart in mostly every respect. Thanks to the button layout on the GameCube controller, itís much easier to boost and fire your weapons without taking your thumb off the acceleration. Another improvement is the ability to play with up to three of your friends in a four-player race rather than the two-player mode featured on the PS2. With these improvements, Acclaim has definitely created one of the more entertaining racers on any console.

multiplayer

The four-player racing is insanely fun. While it still only supports the split-screen mode, the action and adrenaline rush in playing with three of your friends is crazy. Thanks to the improvement over the PS2, racers can go through a course on four-way split-screen and still not see any slowdown in the graphics at all. It might have been better to feature some new modes like a stunt battle arena or something, but this is plenty.

overall

With F-Zero GX already released and XGRA on its way, XGIII probably won't be among the best racers on the GameCube for long. In the meantime, it shouldn't be overlooked at this point in time as it still offers some excellent gameplay and a fun multiplayer racing experience. It has some faults, but what racing title doesn't? Show me one and I'll show you a racing title that can do the can-can as well. After playing through all four circuits, you can easily push this one aside and take a crack at the upcoming titles. That's what it's all about.

dojo doubletake
XGIII was a perfect fit for a GameCube launch title, offering up a racer to go with the various other genres Nintendo had available from the get go. Being a launch title, it thankfully sold more than it likely would have during any other period in the GameCubeís lifespan. While the sequel, XGRA, is only a matter of weeks away, XGIII has a lot to offer casual budget gamers.

In addition to speed and slick design, XGIII boasts the sounds of roaring engines and clattering metal. When you accelerate to what I like to call an "extreme" level (pun intended), the existing velocity is so great that your vehicle actually breaks the sound barrier. Likewise, all sound in the game ceases. This was a nice detail on the part of Acclaim, and little things like this are littered throughout the game.

With slightly better graphics than its PS2 counterpart, and an accessible four-player mode, the GameCube version of the game is definitely the one to get. And, at a meager price point of about 20 dollars, itís a great way to supplement F-Zero GX when you feel like playing some other racer. 7.5/10

-- William Jacques



final score 8.9/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Austin Starr
Staff Profile | Email
"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"


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