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Jet X20 | review | game | Lollipop
(SCEA for PS2)
by Eric Johnson
Jet X20 is a pretty but depressingly standard-issue extreme racing game based on the occasionally exciting, but rarely innovative extreme sports racing formula that can be, and has been, applied to nearly every unconventional form of transportation available to the general public. This time around, the formula has been applied to the beloved Jetski, that aquatic crotch-rocket rabidly coveted by teens living within spitting distance of any large body of water.
Chances are, you've played a thousand games like this one before. The extreme racer formula is as follows: You try to be the first to cross the finish line against a couple of opponents armed with with hip clothes, bad haircuts, cultural stereotypes, and radical vehicles, while simultaneously picking up bonus points by catching air, doing flips, and other tricked-out shit, all while a computerized voice tells you how radical you are in annoying repetitive bursts of not-quite-contemporary vernacular. That much is as standardized as the chemical formula for table salt. So the million dollar question becomes: How does Jet X20 deviate from this architecture, and are those deviations adequate to make you want to check it out?
Well, after a few hours with this title, I came to the conclusion that this game has access to two bragging rights: decent graphics and interesting race courses. Water is a great element for generating some good computer generated imagery. So, as one of the few water-based games for the PS2, it's no shocker that Jet X20 looks good and gives you plenty of over-stimulating scenery to chew on. As for the tracks, they're far better designed than those found in aquatic titles available for other consoles. Courses snake down conspicuously Amazonian rivers, complete with branching paths, three-hundred-foot waterfalls, and an obscene number of environmental obstacles. Unfortunately, racing games are ultimately judged by their ability to communicate the sensation of speed and communicates the sensation of piloting a particular type of vehicle, and in this department, Jet X20 fails to deliver. The game just isn't fun enough to play for very long, and since sensation equals tension, and tension is addictive, without anything to get addicted to, you're left with a modified DVD case that sits on your shelf with this Harry Potter-looking guy thrusting his oversized fist into the air.