A futuristic motorcycle racing game with guns probably doesn't appear to be many peoples idea of a must own game. The description, although a crude one, is exactly what Extreme-G 3 (XG3 as we'll call it from now on) is. This description falls short of showing the excitement, exhilarating speed and sheer enjoyment that this title is capable of giving you. XG3 is the third in the series (the others being on the Nintendo 64) and without a doubt it certainly looks and plays the best.
Basically speaking the gameplay is straight forward and involves you racing around a futuristic track against your opponents. What gives the game it's uniqueness is the fact that you are equipped with an exhaustible boost and weapons. Your bike also has a shield that, if damaged sufficiently will put you out of the race. To aid you in your efforts there are, in certain parts of the track, green and purple energy recharge lanes.
The heart of the game is the XG Career mode. You have to pick a team to race for and a character to race as. There are six teams on offer and range from the all girl team Vixen to the glamorous Terranova. Once you've decided who to race for it's time to enter a competition or league as they are known in the game. Initially there is only the Lithium League that you can take part in. The Lithium League is played out over three races. In each of these races there are eleven riders competing against you. To open up other competitions you need to have earned 25,000 credits by the end of the three races in the Lithium League. For winning a race 12,000 credits are awarded so as you can imagine a good performance is needed in the three races in order to progress. Should you fail to have earned the 25,000 credits then it is game over. Thankfully you can save in between races so you can always drop back to your last save should you fail.
After the Lithium League there are other leagues to compete in. There is the Rubidium League (3 tracks), Caesium League (3 tracks) and the Francium League (1 track and this is not available for the smaller engine speeds). To succeed in these leagues you're going to need to upgrade your engines and weapons. Engines come in many different sizes. There's leagues available for 250G, 500G, 750G and finally the 1000G. At the beginning you'll only have access to the 250G. Engines are not the only important upgrade though and Shield Boost & Scoop, Ammo Bank & Scoop are also essential for competing in the higher leagues. Weapons also play an important part in the game and again there are plenty of upgrades that you can purchase to give you that extra edge against the competition. The Destabilizer for instance can disable the handling system of enemy bikes that are within a certain distance to you and the Heat Seekers can home in on unsuspecting riders. What you have to bear in mind though is that the AI riders will use all they can to stop you.
As well as the XG Career mode there is also the XG Team Career where two players can join the same team and play through the leagues together. There is also an Arcade mode where you can have a one-off race with 1-4 players although you are going to need a big TV to enjoy a four player split screen race.
The game looks great and all of the 10 tracks look great. Whether its the ice covered Crystalaria or the desert based Pion 6, the tracks all look different and are surrounded by beautiful scenery. The best news of all though is that in spite of the visual beauty on offer the game remains at a constant 60 FPS. Not even the 4 player split screen mode can slow the game down.
In terms of appropriateness for deaf gamers there are only a couple of problems. During a race you are verbally told the status of your shields and this is not displayed visually. At the beginning of the race you are unable to use your boost or weapons. After a short while you are told that the systems are activated. A deaf gamer would be unaware of this and the only way they would know that the systems have been activated would be by pressing either the 'X' or 'Y' button, boost or fire, to see if it responds. This only happens on the first lap though but it still is an inconvenience.
Extreme-G 3 is certainly one of the best racers on the GameCube and if you like your games fast and furious they don't get any better than Extreme-G 3. There are a couple of problems for deaf gamers but they can be overcome if you are interested in the game.
Overall Game Rating: 8.2/10 A superb vehicular combat/racing game whose sheer speed will amaze everybody.
Deaf Gamers comment: Shield status comments and systems activated comments should have been subtitled but otherwise the game is fine for deaf gamers.