If Jet Moto was needlessly difficult, and Jet Moto 2 was even tougher, then the third incarnation of the Jet Moto series reaches the summit of crafty tracks and challenging racing. I just couldn't see Jet Moto existing as a real life sport - the careers of racers in the league would be horribly short, until the up-and-comer blazed around a corner and right off a cliff. Jet Moto 3 indeed brings the pain - but it does it in a nice, cheerful way.
If doing a flip on a pair of roller skates these days is considered extreme, Jet Moto racing needs a brand-new term to describe it. Jet Moto is hard-core, in your face, fall-into-a-bottomless-pit-and-like-it racing. Want more brutal, daring tracks? Jet Moto 3 has got them. In fact, Jet Moto 3 boasts ten of the most difficult tracks I've seen in a racing game. Nothing will frustrate you more than when you accidentally miss a 2-inch-wide ledge and lose a lap because of it. But somehow, Jet Moto 3 makes this all bearable, and the adrenaline-fueled racing combined with sadistic track design make Jet Moto 3 one hard game to put down.
The graphics say one thing to you - speed. The graphics engine was built to show off exactly how fast you can blaze through the tracks. As such, attention to details is sometimes sketchy. Your Moto racer himself looks a little on the stickman side, while the backgrounds are nice and pretty unless you get too close. The grapple effect looks downright lame, and the poles themselves stick out like a sore thumb. All the CGI in the game is frightful - none of the characters look even fractionally human. But most of this really doesn't matter when you're flying through a volcano at 150mph and the frame rate is just humming.
The soundtrack is good - not good enough to record and play while you're in traffic, but good nonetheless. Each track has its own theme song, which usually has to do with the track itself. Catchy Spanish guitar strums away on the South American track, while haunting chords and menacing voices whisper one liners through the forbidden temple track. The sound effects are standard racer fare - a growling engine peppered with boost-like noises.
But Jet Moto 3 confuses me. A lot of the game takes place in tunnels, or in a series of banked turns. Surely a game dedicated to speed would take advantage of it with better track design? Too many of the tracks have speed-killing turns, and the grapple poles suddenly seem to be on the endangered species list. Jet Moto 3 also relies a lot on you shifting your weight on the bike to compensate for banked turns and jumps - but while this is a great concept in theory, in application it's almost not worth it. You can get through most of the tunnels pointed up, down, left, right, inverted - you name it, as long as you're holding on to that accelerator button and tapping boost every now and again.
Still, obvious improvements have been made over the other Jet Moto games. Now there are only five other racers on the track with you, so collisions are less common and regaining rank after a disaster is much easier. The graphics are noticeably better, the courses are more inventive, and there are a lot more racers to choose from. But definitely the best aspect of Jet Moto 3 is the fact that there's an escaped prison convict who races a Slim Jim bike. If you're playing as anyone but him you're just playing yourself.
Jet Moto 3 is by no means an easy game. It's a difficult, brutal romp through a ton of unforgiving courses applied in a futuristic setting. But it still manages to be a whole lot of fun, and it almost guarantees that you'll be playing through each course more than once. The feeling of badass-ness from placing first on a difficult track is more rewarding than any CG sequence in the game. And the gameplay itself is sure to make you hope that one day you'll be seeing the Jet Moto championship on your favorite sports network. And while sequels in the movies usually never reach the same status as that of the original, Jet Moto 3 proves that the higher the number, the better the game.