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Reviewed by Hans Bergengren ---PAL--- Version I bought the game with some hesitation, the only information I had was the headlines in's Review House section (which all were positive) and a few previews from various web pages. Probe aren't well-known for producing top-notch games, even if they have had a few hits. What I remember are a number of really dumb film licenses and other lackluster titles back in the C64/Amiga heydays. Well, all my worries were literally BLOWN AWAY the moment I flicked the power switch. The game is a full-screen PAL implementation like all RARE games, and also titles like Shadows of the Empire, Hexen and more. Excellent! My ratings (listed at the end) use a 21-graded scale (zero being absolutely atrocious, and twenty being the total opposite. Ten in the exact middle of the scale means *average*, not "crap", as most people seem to think one means by an average score).


Just incredible! After showing some copyright information, the title music starts playing and the Acclaim logo spins onto the screen, framed by what looks like smoke. Then the Probe logo follows, a missile (or perhaps it's a spaceship, I'm not sure! :-) then appears and swings around the logo, painting a red semi-circle in the process. Very nice! Then the Magbikes appear on a desert track and sweeps by the camera. A wipe follows, and the game displays the logo, followed by a series of shots showing the bikes in action, all of it very slick. I'm especially fond of the nice and professional video wipes the game employs when switching scenes. Hitting START brings up the title screen, which offers four choices. There is single player racing (practice and time trial racing, plus shoot 'em up mode), an options screen for adjusting sound/music volumes, language (English, German, French, Spanish and Italian is available), and if weapons should be allowed or not, amongst other things. The title screen also offers the Extreme Contest option (with three "cups", each covering more races than the previous), and a multiplayer option which I haven't tested in reality except for a brief moment to check it out, but there are several modes of play here too. Again, Probe's polished design can be seen when selecting bikes. They rotate on-screen above an impressive organic-looking background while green lines sweep across the bike itself. Yummy!


Some people have called this game Wipeout on wheels. Personally, I don't know what they have been smoking, the comparison is VERY far-stretched, Extreme G plays nothing like Wipeout (2097). Sure, they both have Techno-ish music, weapons picked up from the track, limited shield power and are set in a futuristic environment, but that's IT as far as similarities go. They actually are two very different games, and Extreme G is the clear winner of the two. Extreme G may very well have been influenced a quite lot from Wipeout, but this game manages to graciously avoid Wipeout's most glaring faults, the largest being the sticky walls of the track. Hitting the scenery in Wipeout would in most cases bring the hovercraft to an almost dead stop, Extreme G is much more forgiving in this manner, which is really nice, since the track moves at such a tremendous pace, especially when using the nitro booster. There are twelve tracks spread across four distinct graphical styles, and they are all well designed and unique; no track looks, or plays the same as any other. The weapon pickups are plentiful, there's a large assortment of missiles, mines, shields and other armaments ready for use. The only problem is that it's somewhat difficult to distinguish all those icons, so often you just pick something up and have no idea what that particular weapon does. Fortunately, the weapon mounts itself either on top the bike, or trails it just behind, so it is sometimes possible to recognize a certain weapon from it's polygonal shape. Actually, the Magbikes have two kinds of weapons, one primary, that is standard-issue with every machine, and then the other type described above. The standard gun has a lot less punch than the pickups, and has limited ammo as well, although picking up shield recharges when your shield is fully topped up gives you a few rounds of ammo, or lapping the course will reload it completely. There are three types of these guns, usually a bike with a smaller weapon will have a larger ammo capacity, so it's relatively easy to find a good trade-off between the two.


Controlling the bikes is initially somewhat tricky and daunting, the powerslide button has to be employed with care to be able to take some of the more violent turns without scraping along the edge the whole time. One soon gets the hang of it however, even though mastery of the controls probably requires much practise. I really don't want to know how it plays with a digital D-pad, probably quite awfully. :-) The joypad layout is simple in theory. I reconfigured it slightly, so the secondary weapon fire is located on C down, and nitro on C left. Powerslides are activated with the R button, the gas is on Z and break on B, that's it. All that's needed from then on is a deft left thumb and some quick reactions... The bikes have vastly differing performance, some just stink when racing on the higher skill levels, they might take turns like a F1 racer, but when they accelerate like they were loaded with five sacks of cement, some of them just don't cut it. Others are the total opposite, and also are very hard to race with. Then there are the Roach and the Neon bikes... The Neon has a wimpy primary weapon (laser), but is maxed out in every other respect, the Roach has the excel cannon and slightly lower performance. I still prefer the Neon of the two, but it's so incredibly fast it's easy to scrape the walls despite it's excellent turning ability. Activating Nitro on the "Meltdown" cup... Now, *that's* *speed*!


Astounding, simply astounding! This game MOVES (although the frame rate is a little sluggish in places, mostly when lots of stuff is exploding on-screen), and it is so incredibly beautiful at the same time. I was fearing spartan environments and wimpy weapon effects and find exactly the opposite! There's a LOT of transparency effects, and the game pushes an impressive amount of geometry around the screen as well. Fogging isn't anywhere as bad as I had expected, the "horizon" is no closer than Wipeout on Playstation/PC, f.ex. On the other hand, the fog in the game almost completely obscures pop-up, something Wipeout never managed, even though the tracks twist and turn quite a lot. The fog works better in this game than in many others on the N64, the dystopic and futuristic graphics together with the fog gives a direct impression of badly polluted landscapes. I like it! I said in my Goldeneye review that it had the best graphics so far on the N64; I may have been wrong. This game is perhaps even more impressive! The tracks are very long and winding, many of them even have multiple paths in some places, something that surprised me quite a lot the first time I played the game. There's plenty of colored lights and shading on the tracks, lots of alpha channel effects too. Hardware bi-linear filtering for the textures and edge antialias on the polygons is used (of course), and just about everything looks great. There fortunately is very little glitching in the game, there really isn't anything that glares the player in the eye except in the multiplayer battle mode, where there is some texture folding problems. On the other hand, who has time to look at that while duking it out in a deathmatch?


Excellent. Not that varied, but then again, why would it have to be? Engine noise is convincingly futuristic and high-techy, and each bike has it's own distinctive sound. Weapons sound nice; there's a nice "plonkk!" sound when releasing a mine behind the bike, and explosions are bassy and very pleasing to the ear. The title music is somewhat flat and unconvincing, the in-game music is much more exciting. Extreme G's thumping soundtracks stir the blood and gets the adrenaline pumping, the tunes fit each track exactly. I'm very impressed, even though techno-style music is *not* one of my favorite styles of music. I am also very impressed by the good use of doppler distortion, hearing the bikes approach, the whine of their engines lower sharply as they pass. It is equally exciting to hear the Static Pulse weapon approach with a roar that gets louder and louder as it comes closer...


This game is one of the funniest games I've played in ages. The somewhat sensitive controls fortunately doesn't distract the player from noticing that this is a Bloody Fun Game! It's got that instant hookability most simple concepts have (Rock 'n' Roll Racing on the SNES comes immediately to mind), and coupled with it's glorious visuals, it's a clear winner. It's multiplayer support seems solid enough, frame rates doesn't drop too badly (most of the time), and I can't wait until I get a chance to test it for real. Rumble pak support is excellent, much better than in Goldeneye. Maybe not as good as in Star Fox/Lylat Wars, but still very effective. Banging into things and feeling the pad vibrate actually does improve the game, even though it doesn't sound like that just by reading about it. The only thing I worry about is the long-term interest this game may be able to generate. How fun will it be in a couple of weeks, or months? We'll just have to see, there are twelve tracks after all, plus some hidden stuff, and not to forget; the battle mode tracks and multiplayer options as well. Maybe longevity isn't much of a worry after all...

Ratings: (Min: 0, Max 20)

Playability: 18 Presentation: 17 Graphics: 19 Sound: 16 Music: 16 Overall: 18

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