SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$44.99

DEVELOPER
Power & Light

PUBLISHER
989 Studios

RELEASE
09/99

Jet Moto 3 Review

By: John Doe


Back for round 3, the latest installment of Jet Moto takes hover-bike racing to the extreme with wild tracks, crazy stunts, bottomless pits and a feeling of speed unrivaled in a PlayStation racer. One can only wonder how amazing beautiful Jet Moto 4 for the PlayStation 2 is going to look...


Highs:
Lows:

The first thing you'll notice when you start a Jet Moto race, is how freaking fast you are going. Then you'll notice a wall and then you will smash into it. Be prepared to do a lot of that at first. Once you find a bike that suits your racing style (each bike is based on speed, acceleration, weight and handling) you will improve dramatically. Like most three-quels, Jet Moto 3 assumes you've mastered the previous games and are ready for the mighty challenge ahead. Like it or not, the developers have no choice. They have to push the challenge further otherwise what would be the point?

Don't expect mind-boggling graphics in this game. The need is for speed, not beauty. The graphics are decent, but a little blocky and rough around the edges, but that will make little difference at the speed you'll be travelling. You won't have time to take in the scenery; the scenery will take you in, if you get my drift. The track designs are devious and dangerous; hairpin curves, deadly falls, huge ramps...you name it. Pulling off stunts in Jet Moto 3 is almost always foolhardy during a race. Somersaults look cool, but if you don't land your bike properly you'll lose valuable time. Save the stunts for the excellent Stunt Tracks that appear one by one when you complete a difficulty level in the Season Mode.

Once you get the hang of the hover-bike physics, you'll find the control is very good considering the speed at which you are travelling. Mastering the Grappling Beam which you use to magnetically connect to poles strategically placed around the tracks, is imperative for winning. This beam allows you to take 90 degree turns with ease, as long as you know when to connect and when to let go so the beam acts as a magnetic slingshot, sending you in the right direction without loss of control or speed. I personally found the digital control easier to use than the analog, due to the loosey-goosey feel of the analog. The digital pad allows you to steer in increments of angles which I found tighter and more responsive for this game.

The tunes in Jet Moto 3 are what you would expect; banjo melodies and yodeling with a dash of Dixieland piano and washboard bass. Okay, maybe not. Actually the soundtrack mixes it up quite nicely with the obligatory techno thrown in around some attempts to cater to the surroundings. Devil's Canyon provides some nice flamenco flavored guitar stylings while other levels are more subdued musically.

At its heart, Jet Moto 3 is one of the toughest racing games available on any system thanks to the wild track designs. On the later levels, one mistake will cost you the race for two reasons: 1) Later levels are bi-level which means if you fall off a ledge, you'll find yourself way behind the pack. 2)When you crash or fall into a bottomless pit, the game doesn't put you ahead, oh no, it puts you back so you can try again and again until you get it right. No doubt this will frustrate racing fans used to sissy games that compensate for your bad driving.

Complaint Dept. I won't complain about the high level of difficulty since it should serve more as a warning to Jet Moto newbies rather than be a legitimate complaint. If you haven't play a Jet Moto game, start with games 1 & 2, then buy 3. I will complain about the collision detection glitches that allows falling or passing through the environment which accidentally places you further back on the track and takes you from 1st place to last place. That's always fun. It didn't happen constantly but it occurred with enough frequency that I couldn't believe it wasn't picked up on in testing. Another complaint is with the track design itself. It seems as though each new curve tries to out-do the last one, making some tracks impossible to navigate without mistakes; especially with all of those bottomless pits. If the Turbo feature would have allowed you to fly for a short distance or at least given you the ability to get your bike back on a ledge, it would have given the game more of a strategic element. At least you'd know that you could have saved yourself if you were quick enough. As it is, the magnetic Grappling Poles are few and far between and the ledges and pits are numerous. Lastly, considering the blistering framerate that Jet Moto 3 runs at, it would have been nice to have some levels where there was more of an emphasis on racing rather than maneuvering. Too many levels are start-stop affairs because of the level design.

With everything that Jet Moto 3 does to frustrate you, it sure is hard to put it down. It will literally beg you to sit down and beat it. With all of the great levels and the equally cool Stunt Tracks, there will be a whole lot of fun to be had. Jet Moto 3 has more of everything than it's predecessors and if you are looking to put your gaming mettle to the test, step up to the Jet Moto 3 challenge. If you are a Jet Moto newbie, rent first. Now I've got to go and satisfy this insatiable craving for Mountain Dew, Doritos and Slim Jims.

OVERALL
7.0

GRAPHICS
8.5

CONTROL
7.0

MUSIC/FX
7.5

FRUSTRATION
9.0

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