Pierce-nosed, heavily tattooed, nine-inch-nail-through-the-eyelid sports freaks are going to get busy this season with 3Xtreme, the latest gonzo sports game from 989 Studios. This is definitely an Xtremists' dream--and it's sure to attract a few newbies to the franchise.
Skate, Rattle, and Roll
The third in 989's extreme-sports series, 3Xtreme lets you ride a trio of '90s transport modes: BMX bikes, in-line roller skates, and skateboards. As in the first two games, you dash for cash against a horde of opponents, blasting through streets and over highways while busting harrowing jumps and even discovering a few shortcuts along the way.
Prize money buys upgrades to your equipment, but don't expect it to come easily--3Xtreme's A.I. is pumped way up. You can rush through gates for spare change, but going airborne off ramps during a race is where you make the big bucks. While up there, you can pull off 45 tricks; the more difficult the trick, the more money you earn. Landing incorrectly, however, not only voids all credit, but also usually dumps you in last place.
The 27 tracks are packed with challenges, and the layouts are much improved over earlier versions. Racing A.I.-controlled players in Circuit mode kicks, but the game's real fun lies in its two-player game. As in Road Rash, you can punch any opponent who gets near you, turning the race's momentum in your favor. There are also tons of obstacles with ramps galore, while the variety and length of the tracks--which include urban skate parks--guarantee maximum replayability.
Xtreme Look And Feel
Like its predecessors, 3Xtreme's sound and visuals are solid if unremarkable. The graphics still show their pixels, but the speed and fluid movement of the contestants are a plus. As for the soundtrack, its a mix of thrash metal and techno music that does a good job of pumping the adrenaline.
The controls, however, are a little tough to handle: Minor skids and baby jumps can often turn into major wipeouts. Also, the equipment classes handle differendy, so don't expea the bike to respond as fluidly as the in-line skates.
An Itchy Rash
3Xtreme is definitely a cool Road Rash-style ride for thrashers. It's fun, competitive, and full of energy--but it's also fairly niche-oriented. You gotta love extreme wheels to get into this game. If you do, you'll be Xtremely pleased.
- To knock someone on their Xtreme ass, get in front of them, slow them down just a bit, then swing away.
- Different rides handle differently. For example, when you ride onto grassy areas with the bike, it stops almost completely.
- All participants can ride rails. Look for other areas where you can skim something rail-like, such as cinder blocks or staircases.
- Whenever you come to a fork in the road, take the split opposite the one your opponent takes. You'll end up ahead of them every time.
- To grasp a course's layout, race around a few times. Then go back and aim for the first-place spot. Watch the computer-controlled players for tips.
- Landing correctly is key. Don't extend your tricks too much-in other words, give it up before you start your descent.
- Newbies should avoid the ramps until they've got a complete set of racing skills down.
Although it's still a pixel party, 3Xtreme does a nice job on the secondary graphics such as the countryside backgrounds and the stun and trick animations.
Thrash metal rules, but it doesn't go overboard. It would've been nice to hear some more diverse themes like hip-hop or hardcore rap. And, unfortunately, the voice effects all sound the same.
Control can be a monster when making tight turns; even minor jumps off the end of a staircase, for example, can end up turning you over. This game's learning curve is steep.
This third installment of 989s extreme-sports thrasher wades through some flaws to deliver a real rush. 3Xtremes A.I. is merciless, the action is intense, and the game is so like Road Rash that the racing's sometimes secondary to the combat.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP