Shield pickup on a bridge.

Insane architecture.

Racing through the woods.

Oceania. One of the coolest track designs ever.

More crazy architecture. And yes, you really DO go around that loop.

Movie Download:

Breaking the sound barrier on Oceania. Very cool.
DivX AVI | Quicktime (About 3.5 MB each)

Story/History:
Extreme-G was one of the first extreme racing games on the N64. It was a very cool game with it's high speeds, wild twisting levels, and cool techno soundtrack. XG2 tried to go even farther with more detailed levels and more speed. Unfortunately, the N64 hardware limited the games with bad framerates and lots of fog.

Enter the next-gen hardware and XG3. The game FEELS much faster now, with higher framerates and much more detailed environments. The story is the typical futuristic racing league type thing.

Graphics:
The most important graphical element of this game is the framerate, which is vital for the incredible sense of speed. Fortunately, it stays high almost all the time, with only a slight drop here and there in the most detailed areas. Secondly, the track design: Wow. The environments are beautiful, and the architecture and track design are just insane. Huge loops, rollercoaster drops that go up, down, underwater, through cities and forests. These elements were in the previous games, but the level of detail and sharpness increases the experience dramatically. If I HAD to find something to complain about, it would probably be the textures, which aren't as high-res and bumpmapped as they probably could be, but they go by so fast, you wouldn't notice it anyway. Also, there is a raindrop on the camera effect like in WaveRace, but it's not nearly as good as the one in WR.

Sound:
I liked the original Extreme-G soundtrack, and this one is OK, but it's not outstanding. Most of the music was done by artists from the Ministry of Sound, which is like a techno/trance association in Europe. It's decent, and it fits the game, but I don't know that I'd buy the soundtrack. The sound effects are well done. Also returning from XG2 is the ability to break the sound barrier, which causes you to go in near silence for a few seconds, a very cool effect. See this effect, along with the incredible track design, in the video on the left.

Control:
The control works well, considering how fast you are going. Standard controls: Analog stick to move, A to accelerate. L + R for brakes, causing you to drift one way or the other. Y fires weapons, Z switches between weapons. X is turbo and B puts the camera at the front of the bike looking back, which seems pretty useless.

Gameplay:
You start the circuit mode by choosing a team. All teams are pretty similar, the riders handle differently, so you might want to try them out in arcade mode first. Once you have a team, you start racing. There are ten tracks total, and you start out with one unlocked. The first 9 tracks are split into 3 circuits. You must complete one to move on to the next. Your ability to go to higher levels is determined by your accumulated winnings, not by how much you have in the bank. So you can use your money to buy weapons and more powerful engines in the XG Mall. The higher you place, the more money you get, and you can also get money by breaking your best times in time trial mode. Once you complete all 9 tracks, you move up to the next engine class where you have to do it all over again. Each engine class is faster, and the computer opponents more ruthless (read: those blasted annoying mines they always drop at the 750G level GRRRR!).

In each race, you start out in 12th place, and you must gradually work your way to the front. The pack of bikes spreads out very quickly, so you are usually just trying to pass 1 or 2 bikes at a time. Usually you will try to shoot the other bike with some kind of weapon, then pass them with turbo. The weapon system is different from previous games. Rather than on-track pickups, you must buy a weapon in the Mall, then you have so much weapon energy, which can be recharged at the energy strips on each track. Another new strategy is the shield/turbo system, which works like F-Zero X. You have so much shield energy, and if you use turbo, your energy is drained. You pick up more energy on the shield energy strips which are also on each track.

Play/Replay Value:
You want to accumulate as much money as possible, because in the higher classes, it gets pretty tough. Once you unlock all the tracks/teams, there's not that much more to it. There is a multiplayer mode, but I didn't try it. It's quite fun though, so you might like to come back to it every once in a while for a (very) quick race.

Rating:
E for Everyone. Weapons on the bikes, but that's the extent of the violence. Also, don't drive like this in real life ;-)

Overall:
A pretty fun game, and a worthy sequel. If you can find it cheap, it might be worth the buy.

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I rent from GameLender. Great rental program.