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Extreme-G Review

Publisher - Acclaim
Developer - Probe
Platform - N64
Type - Racing
Score - 9/10

Extreme-G is a racing game like none other on the N64. This game injects you in a high-speed, gravity-defying, futuristic race between fantasy motorcycles. Expect a mad and vicious ride filled with sharp turns, staggering drops, and non-stop combat. It's Mario Kart with a nasty streak a mile wide.

Extreme-G allows up to two players to participate in an insane grand prix race over 12 psychotic tracks. It also allows up to four players to play head to head or in battle mode. Players win races not only by competent driving, but also by good aim and defensive skills. Each bike is equipped with a primary gun and pistol-packing power-ups are abound. Secondary weapons include several types of forward and backward firing missiles, super shields, and control scramblers. Hitting an opponent won't actually destroy him (except in battle mode) but rather slow him down. With the fire power you command in Extreme-G, no lead is certain, and holding first place is always a battle. It's an exhilarating experience if you're up to the challenge.

The graphics in this game are simply fantastic. Acclaim set a graphical precedent when they published Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Extreme-G follows suit with mind boggling speed and outstanding special effects. Each track has superb design and each is successively more unbelievable then the last. There are several tracks that will make your jaw drop in awe. No other racing game will give you a similar, insane scenario: tracks plummet with no warning, parts flip and loop over itself, and you may find that you end up racing on the ceiling at times. All ten bikes look sleek and futuristic and they move fluidly and naturally. On top of all this, Extreme-G flaunts the drawing power of the N64 with extras such as birds flying overhead and spooky UFO's barnstorming the track.

The graphic quality is slightly less than perfect in multi-player mode, but it is as good as Starfox's four player split screen. Extreme-G gives you the option of splitting the screen into three parts rather than four parts in three player mode. That's something special; all the other three player games split the screens into fourths and leave the last fourth unused. Extreme-G gives you the option of using one 1/2 screen and 2 1/4 screens or four 1/4 screens. It handles multiple sized screens with no performance hits. Extreme-G almost never has slow down or draw in problems. I was able to slow the game once, but that involved three simultaneous players, all 8 grand prix racers on each screen, and the massive fire fight that resulted. In short, it takes a lot of abuse to make this game falter .

Backing the incredible graphics are bass thumping techno tracks that fit the feel and pace of the game superbly. The soundtrack is augmented by searing sound effects for the bikes' weapons and scraping noises that result from dragging your vehicle along the side of the track. The sound matches the visual style of the game giving this title a keen audio-visual synergy that creates an immersive experience. Did I say this game is good?

It should be clear by now that I really dig this game, but I have to admit that it may not be for everyone. The hardest part about Extreme-G is keeping your car from bouncing all over the track. It requires very subtle maneuvering of the control stick and younger children may have a hard time learning to play this game. Another point to make is that Extreme-G is both rumble pak and memory pak compatible. The rumble pak is optional, but a memory pak is almost a requirement for this game. Extreme-G ships with access to only 4 of its 12 tracks (well, technically there's a 13th hidden track...). You have to beat the game on different difficulty levels to unlock the other tracks. Because this cartridge is not equipped with any memory, it won't remember which tracks are unlocked unless you save that information in a memory pak. If you don't have a pak, the game issues passwords that you have to enter every time you play. That starts out as a minor inconvenience but becomes a major pain in the neck if you lose your passwords.

This game is one of the best racers available for the N64, and also one of the most original. This game is definitely worth the rental and it's absolutely worth owning.