"You're sooo slow, you'd probably lose a race against continental drift!"
My first thought was, "Oh yeah, you silly @$?%*?!. I got something for your silly @$$ to drift on!!" Yes, ESPN's Suzy Kolber has a way about her. But she is a rather insignificant piece of this huge puzzle called ESPN's Extreme Games, and it's almost possible to ignore her.
Graphically, this game is no Daytona Racing, but it does couple some decent scaling effects with fluid player animations. The rest of the graphics are bland and sometimes unclear. I myself had difficulty figuring out if upcoming objects were gates or goats. This though, is not a polygon based game, but the graphics are more up to 32X, not 32-bit standards
Thankfully, the tech designers focused more on the gameplay than they had on the graphics. Extreme can be addictive, because when you finish this game out of first place (which will happen quite a bit) you are always left with the feeling that you could've and should've done better. This feeling, of course, begs that you take a bite at the game again. Since the learning curve is not at all steep, you can pretty much jump right in and enjoy the fun. There are 4 vehicles, a mountain bike, street luge, rollerblades, and a skateboard, 3 upgradeable types of each, 5 race tracks (San Francisco, Utah, Lake Tahoe, Italy and South America), and a 12 race season. Each vehicle has it's own strengths and weaknesses. For example, a street luger obviously can't jump over obstacles, and a bicyclist obviously can't punch. Rollerbladers might happen to trip over certain obstacles that skateboarders don't, and so on, and so on. Earnings, season standings, and point totals are based on clearing a set of gates placed sporadically throughout each track. If you clear every gate on the track, you go to a special bonus round where each gate is worth $5-10. These are important and must be utilized if you plan to be sucessful on the track. Each track has a secret shortcut with gates galore, which add a welcome depth of complexity and cunning to the game.
The most important strategy in this game is fighting. Extreme Games has pretty clever computer A.I.. Unlike past games like Road Rash, the computer is impartial to all participants, which means they don't all come after you like you have a fat "Kick Me" sign on your back. They fight each other, are definitely not impervious to obstacles, and are basically, pretty, well,...human. On this game you have to know how to use the fighting moves, because a good lead is very hard to keep without someone gaining on you. Computer opponents can knock you down or into obstacles, and (this is my favorite) land on your head as they come off of ramps. Getting knocked down can easily drop you from 1st to 15th, so mastering the fighting maneuvers is important.
All in all, this a fun game and a decent sleeper that probably runs about $20-$30, a definite hit with friends. Would I recommend it? X-tremely!