TGS 2001 Fall: First impressionAlpine Racer 3

Namco's new skiing game is early in development but still in playable form at the Tokyo Game Show.

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Alpine Racer 3
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For better or worse, Namco's long-running arcade skiing series is finally getting a home release. Alpine Racer 3 for the PlayStation 2 is a racing game that takes place on various snow-filled mountain tracks. The game simply requires you to be the first one down the mountain, de-emphasizing tricks and other sideshow elements in favor of pure speed. In fact, the version shown at the TGS only requires you to steer--no button pushing is required to play.

The game will feature several tracks, but only one was on display at the show. Similarly, the game will feature at least six skiers, each rated in three different categories, like speed. While there's something to be said for the game's unflinchingly straightforward manner, the relative dullness involved in simply steering your skier down the mountain left us hoping that the game was simply incredibly early, and that a trick system and other objectives will be added before the game's eventual release.

The game does try to spice things up a bit with interesting track design. On one part of the mountain, a series of avalanches send speed-reducing powder into your path, giving you some obstacles to avoid. Also, the game breaks up the mountains using a series of fade transitions--when you reach the bottom of one section, you'll fly off into a patch of fog, only to emerge with a new section of mountain ahead of you. Additionally, the game features a Ridge Racer-like announcer who eggs you on as you make your way down the mountain.

Alpine Racer 3 is scheduled to hit Japan in 2002. No US plans have been announced at this time.

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