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by Ken Baum
Picked up S3D last night and played it for about 3 hours, plus 15 minutes this morning.
Bottomline: A fun one player racing game with good graphics hindered only by a low frame rate at times and cheesy low-fi music.
Graphics: The ingame screens appear to be 8bit color, nicely done with the ground textured or shaded to look like dirt. The texture of the dirt aids in showing the track as its made of vertical lines primarily, which help you to see turns,berms and jumps. The stands are full of tmapped fans much like Nascar and there is a giant videoscreen in the stands were you can see yourself racing.
Sound: Probably the weakest part of this game. The music sounds FM and tinny, but luckily can be turned off in game and with the "0" button on the menu screens. The in game sounds consist of bike revs which are good, a slamming sound when you land off a jump and a yell from the driver when you endo. They are all a little thin sounding also but do the job.
Gameplay: If you've played Super Burnout then you're pretty familiar with the options. You can practice any of the 14 tracks, race a single track or enter tournament and race the complete circuit. Game save is available in tournament mode. You can tune your shocks,tires and gearing to match the track and pick your color. You race 7 other riders at a time, which makes for a pretty hectic race. The control is a little awkward at first but becomes easy after a couple laps. The tracks are tight and made up of straights and 90 or 180 degree turns which actually work well with the digital control. The framerate is a little low at times, like when your turning and the whole stadium is being rotated(probably what made the other person ill) but when your intensely fighting for 1st place you don't really notice it to much. The animation is also a little jerky when turning, probably not enough animation frames. The other 7 riders are competitive and will really fight you for the lead. The collisions aren't that sensitive in that you can bang into other riders without wiping out. However, your direction is altered when you bang into other riders. Unfortunately, if you go off the track you do an endo and will most likely be passed by several riders. This happens a lot on inside turns if you cut the corners and if you hit the barriers on outside turns. Usually on outside turns you catch the berm which keeps you on the track. You can also wipe if you hit a jump at the wrong angle that lands you off the course. An instant replay can be turned on to replay your wipeouts and finishes. Overall, I'm having a good time with this game so far.
Bug: The one small bug I found in the game is that in tournament mode I have come in "2rd" and "3th" places a couple of times. No biggy.
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