Review by: Mike Laidlaw
Published: February 21, 2002
Having met with reasonable success on the PS2, Acclaim has decided to bring their racing series to the GameCube. Following in a trend that we can trace back as far as Tron, Extreme G 3 is the next step in high-speed cycle racing. Careening through winding tracks at incredible speeds, the hopes are that with the GameCube’s extensive capabilities for textures and graphical performance, we’ll be able to feel the wind whipping through our hair.
Set in the far future, the rationale behind Extreme G Racing is pretty much the same as any sport: it’s possible and entertaining, so lets commercialize it. With highly advanced construction technology at their fingertips and the ability to convert energy to matter ala the transporters or holodeck in Star Trek, the possibilities for racing become endless. The tracks are designed to wind up and down at nearly ninety degrees to the Earth, and even the weakest of engines can break the sound barrier with ease. Further adding to the allure of this sport is that it’s violent as well. The bikes are armed and shielded, and the most successful drivers are also dead eyes down a gun barrel.
One of the most fascinating aspects of these races lies with the shields. Most of the time, shields are independent from the rest of your bike and simply ablate as you take damage. These systems are wired a bit differently, though, as the shield battery also provides you with a reservoir of power to dump straight into your engine. Put simply, this means that every time you turbo boost your bike, you weaken its defenses. In the early stages, this doesn’t play a major role, but later in the game the enemy grows much more aggressive and shield management provides the only real way to survive a race.
Luckily for the boost happy riders out there, the helpful track architects have provided lanes in certain stretches of the courses. These green colored zones emit a constant pulse of energy and your bike comes equipped with specially designed “scoops” to pull the charge up into the battery. This is very useful, but at the same time you’ll have to drive fairly straight down this section of track, which might just leave you vulnerable to a particularly persistent enemy.
Of course, you’re not without your own offensive clout either, and your ammunition is held in a separate battery from the shield pool. Not surprisingly, there’s a corresponding purple lane in other areas of the track that will refill this vital supply. The ammunition crafts itself from the energy in the pool, meaning you won’t have to worry about multiple types, even if you’re using completely different weapons. At first, your bike will be equipped with an accurate but woefully underpowered machine gun, but later upgrades will find your bike sporting missiles of both dumbfire and homing varieties, heavier machine guns and even the mighty rail gun, which is capable of almost wiping out a bike with a single shot.