ESPN Extreme Games is a first generation video game that combines multiple extreme sports into one video game. This including skateboarding, mountain biking, street luge, and roller blading. The main goal of the game is to work your way through a linear track to get to the finish line. Additionally, players are able to kick and punch their opponents in hopes of stopping them from reaching the finish line.
It was eventually renamed 1Xtreme because the ESPN license had expired.
**The game will be reffered to as 1Xtreme throughout the article for the sake of brevity.
The gameplay in 1Xtreme is based around "the most radical human-powered speed equipment: street luge, in-line skates, skateboard and mountain bike." Although this equipment is all very different, they all control the same. You can speed up or slow down using the X or triangle buttons while the circle or square buttons allow you to jump over or crouch under various obstacles. Depending on your equipment of choice, you can also punch and kick your opponents in an attempt to make them wipe out.
There are dozens of different obstacles on each of the five courses which threaten to slow you down and knock you off your vehicle. Each obstacle has a different mass and stability, making some easier to overcome than others. The difficulty which you set the game to not only affects the AI skill, but also the amount of obstacles on any given course.
This is the games way of letting you avoid obstacles. This entails jumping over barrels, crouching under low-hanging tree branches or "extreme leaning" as a last ditch effort to not wipe out.
There are gates placed thorughout all the levels that either directly effect the level itself or how much money you accrue by the end of the race. Green gates give you more money, yellow gives more season points and blue gates open secret passages. Like-colored gates are placed together in sequence, and if the player manages to make it through all of them, a bonus is awarded. There's a special bonus to the player that manages to hit every gate on the map. Once the race is over and all gates have been hit, the player is sent to a special cash course where the sole goal is to make it through as many gates as possible to gain substantially higher amounts of money.
One of the more interesting parts of 1Xtreme is it's fighting system. Every player has a stamina meter which depletes as you wipe out, hit obstacles or getting punched and kicked by another racer. The less stamina you have makes the easier it is for another racer to knock you off your vehicle. But punching or kicking another player slows you down in the process, so a balance of out-maneuvering or out-fighting an opposing player is key. There are ways to recover lost stamina however. The faster you ride without hitting anything or needing to peddle/push increases your stamina accordingly.
There are four vehicle types in the game:
- Mountain Bikes
- In-line skates
- Street luges
Each vehicle offers different advantages for different situations. Luges have great speed, maneuvering and are hard to knock over. But they can't jump over obstacles and have slower starting speeds. Mountain bikes can handle obstacles the best out of any of the vehicles, but are also the easiest to knock off balance. In-line Skates offer the best starting speeds but suffer more from kicking opponents like those riding on Luges. Skateboards are the most balanced of all the vehicles offering decent starting speeds, good fighting skills and moderate maneuverability.
The season mode in 1Xtreme was simply to accrue as much funds as possible during the 12 race regular season in order to have the best equipment available for the final races in the season. At the end of each race, you're given a score based on your finishing time, place and how many gates you managed to hit. This score was then placed on a leaderboard specific to each race. At the end of the season all of your scores are added up, and placed on a season-wide leaderboard.
Pre and post-race cutscenes featured ESPN2 anchor, Suzy Kolber in her finest denim vest and tragic 90's hair detailing each race venue, congratulating the player on a first-place finish or ridiculing them on anything but a win.
ESPN Extreme Games was a North American launch game for the original PlayStation (PSOne) back in 1995. The game launched alongside nine other PS1 launch titles that included: