Review by JPeeples

Reviewed: 02/27/01 | Updated: 02/27/01

An excellent game that does an admriable job of representing all of the events.

Xtreme Sports was released in December of 2000. It was developed by Innerloop and was distributed in the U.S. by Infogrames. Xtreme Sports is one of the most unique video games to come down the pike in quite a while. You see, the object of the game isn’t just to win at one kind of event, but to win numerous types of racing events in a single race. The amount of events changes based on the course; some courses have three sections, while others have five sections. There are six types of events in XS; there is an ATV section, a snowboarding section, a speed gliding section, a mountain biking section, a bungee jumping section, and a sky surfing section. You can choose to play as any one of four characters in a race. Now then, without further ado, let’s get on to the review.

Graphics- 10/10- The graphics in this game, are, for the most part, amazing. After all, the game’s many locales are wondrously detailed, the frame rate is pretty high, the character models are silky smooth, and their animation is top-notch. Not to mention the numerous minute graphical touches in the game. For example, on the snowboarding sections, a slight dusting of snow will rise from the ground while you are racing. Well, the only real problem with the graphics, and it’s a big one, is that texture warping occurs on the tracks. This rather odd problem causes the textures on a track to wobble. This can become a huge problem for the player, it can make you lose track of where you are in the game, but that’s a worse case scenario. Overall, the graphics are great, the texture warping keeps them from attaining perfection though.

Pros- Silky smooth character models. Excellent animation. Tons of details in the locales. Solid frame rate.
Cons- Texture warping can disorient you.

Sound- 9/10- The sound quality in XS is, for the most part, beyond reproach. The in-game music is excellent; it has a European sound to it that fits the atmosphere of the game perfectly. All of the characters feature their own unique voices with ascents that are good, but a bit on the stereotypical side. The sound effects are pretty good overall. The wind in the game sounds realistic, as does the sound of the snowboard moving in the snow. The only serious downside to the sound effects is the weak engine noise in the ATV sections, it sounds like mosquitoes.

Pros- Excellent music that fits the game perfectly.
Cons- Character voices are a bit stereotypical.

Gameplay- 7/10- First things first, the game engine is a perfect example of the statement “jack of all trades, master of none” in that it does a good job of representing the feel of most of the events, it just doesn’t capture everything. It does some of the events better than others; i.e. the snowboarding sections are done very well, but the speedgliding sections come off a bit flat. This kind of this is inevitable with an engine that tries to do it all. Thankfully, the game is very fun. There is an abundance of modes to play in XS. You can practice, play a single track, or go for the championship. Like many racing games, there is a time limit, however, in XS the time limit continues during your transition between events, it is imperative that you get to the next event quickly, or else you run the risk of running out of time.

Pros- The snowboarding section is done well. The game engine tries to do all events justice, but...
Cons- The game engine falters with some of the events. The time limit can be a bit consrictive.

Control- 7/10- The control suffers the same fate as the gameplay; the control is better in some events than it is in others. For example, the control in the snowboarding section is perfect, while the control in the speedgliding sections is a bit too touchy. The R Trigger is used to accelerate in all events. While the L Trigger is used to slow down. The control, in most events, is exceptional.

Presentation- 10/10- XS features a super-slick interface. the menus and text are all in 3D, the menus are easy to navigate through, in my opinion, this really helps to enhance the overall look of the game. 3D models of the vehicles spin back and forth in the game's menus, this adds yet another subtle enhancement to the presentation.

Challenge- 9/10- The artificial AI puts up quite a battle. There are three difficulty levels in XS: Easy, Hard, and Expert. No matter which difficulty level you choose, the AI puts up quite a battle for the lead. The time limit factors into the difficulty quite a bit. If you don’t do well in all of the evets, you will probably find yourself running out of time, this, in-and-of itself can be quite a challenge.

Replay Value- 10/10- While the game may not seem too deep at first, trust me, it is, that is if you dig deep enough. XS will make you want to unlock everything it has to offer. It is just that fun. XS also allows you to go online through the Dreamcast and download new tracks. Thus giving the game more replay value.

Overall- 9/10- Innerloop did an admirable job trying to cram six games into one, but some sacrifices were made. The game falters with a few of the events, and does a flawless job with others. There is no real middle ground with this game. The graphics are amazing. The same can be said for the sound. The gameplay is a bit of a mixed bag, but on the whole, it’s wonderful. The control is decent across the board. Overall, XS is a remarkable game, however, the “jack of all trades” game engine keeps it from attaining perfection.

Final Thought- XS is out and out fun. There is so much to do in this game that you will never be bored. While the game engine might not capture all of the events well, it does get the job done. Innerloop had a tall task ahead of then when they created this game, and, for the most part, they succeeded.

Buy or Rent?- Buy- The game is fun, and it shouldn’t set you back more than $30. That’s a great deal for a game that provides so much entertainment. I would not recommend
renting the game because there is so much to do, you’ll never be able to get the most out of it.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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