KOEI has provided us with the final Japanese version of G1 Jockey 3, the latest in its jockey simulation series. Like its biggest competitor, Gallop Racer, the game has a strong simulation component that includes negotiating for horses, working out your mounts, and generally improving your abilities as a jockey. G1 Jockey 3 also focuses a lot of attention on the actual action-oriented portion of horse racing, giving you full control of your steed as you thunder toward the finish line.
An English version of G1 Jockey 3 was recently released in Europe, but unfortunately the build we received of this very text-heavy game hasn't seen any efforts toward translation, so we weren't able to delve too deeply into the hard-core simulation aspects of the game. However, the racing component was fairly accessible even in Japanese, and it demands a lot of patience and even-handed control of your horse to keep it running hard until the end of the race. The game shows you a basic heads-up display that keeps track of your speed, stamina, and potential. The first is self-explanatory; the second shows how much more running your horse can endure; and the third indicates how slowly the horse's stamina will decrease when running at high speed. You can also raise and lower the horse's bit to vary speed. Further, a radar display indicates your horse's mood in relation to other horses that are around him. This display lets you know if the horse is feeling boxed in by other horses, for instance, or if he's getting nervous because other horses are approaching from the rear. Racing in G1 Jockey 3 is nothing like the typical car racing game--there are a lot of factors to keep up with. Since your method of transport is in fact a living animal, you must pay attention to its mood, its preferred style of racing, and its energy level to keep it performing well.
G1 Jockey 3 looks to be a solid and engrossing game for fans of horse racing sims. We'll bring you more information on the in-depth aspects of the game when an English version becomes available. For more information, check out our previous coverage.