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North America

Extreme-G 3

by Mike Hrusecky - January 14, 2002, 9:42 pm EST


Early N64 adopters are familiar with the name. Though Extreme-G 3 packs an aural and visual wallop, the racing action doesn't quite hold its own. Try before you buy, because XG3 is an acquired taste for some.

The Extreme-G name is nothing new for early Nintendo 64 adopters. The first title of the futuristic racing series was released back in 1997, and a sequel followed on its heels a year later, which was greeted with a cool reception. Though Extreme-G 3 carries the black eye of a failed predecessor, Acclaim would not be deterred from giving new life to the four-year-old name by bringing the latest of the series to the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. After racking up some of my own 'extreme' racing, it's clear that XG3 gets the job done with moderate results.

Your extreme racing experience takes place in the 23rd century. As with most racers, there isn't much of a story to be told. You command any of 12 magnetic, super-charged bikes through 10 visually impressive circuits to come out the winner. At your disposal are weapons, shields, and turbo boosts along the course to slow down and pass your competition. Do well, and your sponsors will reward you with credits that you put towards vehicle upgrades, as well as continue to the next race.

There are a number of modes, options, and leagues that may be confusing to figure out due to the oblivious iconic menu system and layout Acclaim incorporated into the game.

Arcade is a standard racing option enabling you and up to 3 others to compete with one another. You're encouraged to use this mode just for fun, and to learn the tracks and weaponry that are at your disposal.

XG Career mode is just what you would suspect. You are a rookie beginning your new career in extreme racing. Each of the speed classes (250G, 500G, 750G, 1000G) contains a number of leagues. To progress, you have to accumulate credits by competing successfully.

XG Team Career is your Career multi-player option, enabling you and a friend to join the same team and tag-team the competition.

Time Trial is a Career option that allows you to attempt to break records, which sponsors love and pay handsomely for.

With that out of the way, your racing action begins. You are first presented with a visual display of the course you are preparing to race. The futuristic in-game graphics and visuals are solid, and the framerate rarely misses a beat. Some courses are rather visually ho-hum, but as you progress through the later courses, things start to get much more interesting... almost to the point of distraction. Your engine is so powerful and efficient by that point that the screen ripples and warps as the turbo boost practically sends your racer into "Ludicrous Speed." (If you've seen the movie this refers to, you'll respect this joke -- and the game -- all the more.) The various visual and sound effects add a tremendous feel for speed. The racers themselves are also nicely designed and textured, but the course landscape is truly the champion of this game.

The racing action itself is a mixed bag. Weapons and boosts clearly add a lot of value to the experience. Too often, the opposing racers are so spread out along the track that instead of competing with them in traditional racing game fashion, you attempt to pass them one by one. If you're lucky, they won't tit-for-tat and blast you with a gun and turbo boost right past you again... as you no doubt did to them. You'll be lucky to see more than two (out of 11) other racers on the screen at any given point. If it weren't for weapons, boosts, or playing with a friend, I wouldn't be able to find much entertainment in the racing action at all. More often than not, you're the ONLY racer on the screen! It would help the game greatly if opponents were closer together. Extreme G doesn't feel very competitive or energetic because you're basically forced to play long distance catch-up.

Speaking of the racing experience, weapons, and boosts, Extreme G 3's control is quite solid. The control setup is completely customizable, but most will be content with the default setup. Almost every button on the GameCube controller has a distinct purpose. The C-stick controls the camera. The 'L' and 'R' buttons are used for left and right breaking. 'A' is your forward acceleration. 'B' is your boost. 'Y' fires your weapon. 'X' shows you a reverse view. The D-pad and Z button cycle your weapon arsenal, the Start button pauses your game, and of course the control stick controls the direction.

Extreme G 3 features a quality techno soundtrack by the "Ministry of Sound," with the only major downfall being that there are only 5 tunes. The techno music is not for everyone, however, but I thought they were pretty entertaining and catchy, fitting the game perfectly. The sound effects also add to the illusion of speed fairly well. Pipe your GameCube up to a game-supported Dolby Surround system, and you will be rocking.

The redeeming value for EG3, if any, would be the Career mode(s) and multi-player options. The CPU can be a little too predictable and monotonous, so burning rubber with some friends will add value to this title in the long run. If the other racers on the market -- or Nintendo's classic F-Zero style -- have spoiled you, this title may be of interest to you, but it won't quite be of the same caliber as those you are more familiar with. At the end of the day, Extreme G 3 is best picked up at your BlockBuster to try before handing over your cash.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8 8 9 6 7 7

The courses vary from nice to gorgeous, to the point where they may be almost distracting. Nifty visual effects. Solid framerate. You can't ask for much more than that.


The Ministry of Sound pumps out 5 great tracks for EG3. Pump that sound through some Dolby delight, and you're ready to go. More tracks, please.


With some practice, the default control setup has you off and running with very little error.


The lack of truly a competitive "racing" feel left a bittersweet taste in this reviewer's mouth. If it weren't for wanting to see the beautiful later courses, there isn't much desire to continue.


The career mode is sufficient, but once you complete it, then what? As usual, the multi-player options are the saving grace. Find a friend and race to your heart's content.


Extreme-G 3 is an acquired taste of racing flavor. It lacks the competitiveness and, thus, entertainment of traditional racers. While much work went into the visuals and soundtrack, the gameplay doesn't hold its own, as your main goal is to essentially pass your opponents one by one, hoping to pass them all before the race is over. Try before you buy.


  • Catchy soundtrack
  • Nice selection of racing vehicles
  • Nice-to-gorgeous courses and visual effects
  • Solid control
  • Confusing "icon" menu layout
  • Doesn't feel like a "real" racer when playing against the CPU.
Review Page 2: Conclusion

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Genre Racing
Developer Acclaim
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Extreme-G 3
Release Nov 27, 2001
jpn: Extreme-G 3
Release Mar 15, 2002
RatingAll Ages
eu: Extreme-G 3
Release May 03, 2002

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