1XTREME / Sony / PS1
 
 
ESPN Extreme Games (later renamed 1xtreme for a re-release after the ESPN license ran out) is sort of like Road Rash without any sort of motorized vehicles. You choose a player character (from a huge list of random schmoes), then choose your muscle-powered conveyance of preference - mountain bike, skateboard, rollerblade or ... luge thing. Then you're turned loose to race through one of five long tracks against 15 other competitors. Don't worry too much about the physics of all this, as the designers clearly didn't.
 
It's just not an authentic San Francisco cycling simulator without a button to complain about drivers while simultaneously careening through crosswalks and sidewalks recklessly.


I'm impressed with the track design. Instead of a short track that puts you through multiple loops, each area (San Francisco, Utah, Lake Tahoe, South America & Italy) consists of one really long track that sort of briefly covers the famous geographical and archealogical highlights of them - for example in Italy you'll go through the countryside, then some Roman ruins, then the narrow streets of a modern city all in one go.
 


Unfortunately this is also one of those games that starts you out with shit equipment, and makes you grind money to get stuff that makes the game more playable. It was one of the earliest releases for PS1, so there was no dual analog control yet - you're stuck with the stiff d-pad. It also doesn't appear to be true 3D but some sort of sprite scaling going on, so things can get a little wonky at times, particularly after a collision.
 


The game is kind of slow and kludgy, but still fairly playable, and impressive for a PS1 launch title.
 
 
 
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