Even NASCAR fans will cringe when their character slams to the asphalt with a fleshy "smack."
2 Xtreme is the sequel to ESPN Extreme Sports. The latter title is no doubt familiar to most Playstation owners - it was featured on the demo disc that was bundled with the unit. Though 2 Xtreme lost the ESPN license, the game itself sports improved graphics, sound, and gameplay - though these elements could have just as easily been delivered on a 16-bit machine. But that doesn't mean 2 Xtreme isn't fun to play, especially in two-player mode.
The races in each area highlight a different apparatus, and players can race on three courses within each of the four different locales. There's snowboarding in Japan, cycling in Africa, in-line skating in Vegas, and skateboarding in, where else, Los Angeles. The courses are diverse and interesting, and despite the 2-D rendering (no polygons to be seen in this game), they're OK to look at. 2 Xtreme is not visually stunning, but players are there to race, not dawdle, and they'll find the action to be excellent.
2 Xtreme pays less attention to real-world physics than did its predecessor, making it more fun to play. Turns are sharper and jumps work better. And though the game provides a great feel for motion, the sound is pretty barren. Even so, the sound is effective for various collisions and spills - even NASCAR fans will cringe when their character slams to the asphalt with a fleshy "smack."
2 Xtreme is at its best in two-player mode, where players can punch or kick each other when it's neck and neck, down to the wire. As a one-player game, however, this game is more a contest of course memorization than anything else. It's a big game, with 12 courses in all, which on the surface provides some replay value. But thanks to the so-so visuals, the three courses in each territory don't distinguish themselves.
For those who have a racing buddy, and the desire to work through their aggression in a desperate game of speed, 2 Xtreme's a fine choice. But for those going solo, other prettier racing games dish up more satisfying courses.