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G1 Jockey 3 - PS2

G1 Jockey 3 Lets You Live Out Your Seabiscuit Fantasies

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

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Koei is just crazy about horse racing, and they are hoping you are too. G1 Jockey 3 casts you as a an aspiring jockey, determined to make up for height with speed. If you like horse racing, and the ultra detailed sim / arcade / role playing hybrid genre of games, then have I got the game for you
Violence, sex, futuristic weaponry, and stealth action is exactly what G1 Jockey 3 is not about. Instead it is a very deep horse racing role playing / arcade / sim that will push your ability to analyze an insane number of stats and work your way up the ladder as a pro jockey. Ok, there is some violence, occasionally you do whip your horse when you in a clutch situation... and I guess you could call coming up from behind stealth action... but I stand by the fact that there's no sex or futuristic weaponry!

Off the bat, G1 Jockey 3 is slow. Now, the actual racing isn't, but if you dare to step into the quest / career mode you will notice that racing seems to be a very small part of the game. I invited a friend over to experience G1 Jockey 3 firsthand with me and watched as he started a new career. After choosing a name and a stable, from a list of shady owners, he met practically every 2D horse racing character on the planet. First he ran into his competition, other Jr. Jockeys, they threatened him, flirted with him, and generally rambled on about nothing of consequence. Then came his trainer who had mildly interesting and utterly useless information to offer.

Now the voice acting was tolerable, as there was none, and the Japanese synth pop Midi background songs were fun. But I figured it was time to add a little excitement to our gaming session, so I went to make a couple of sandwiches and mix up some Tang. Hey if it's good enough for astronauts, it's good enough for virtual horse jockeys.

When I returned he was staring at the TV, eyes glazed repeatedly hitting the X button. He mumbled something about endless text and having only answered 2 yes / no questions so far. It had been about 20 minutes. Once we waded through what must have been the world's longest non-interactive tutorial it finally looked as though Chris was going to race a horse. But before he would be allowed to, he had to remember the color of the horse. Having guessed wrong, "What! Aren't all horses brown?!?" He had to wade through another week of stats, charts, and babble before getting another shot. This time he guessed right, and he was off to the races.

The race was exciting, if a little short, and he did well and came in last place. Hey, in latter races we would actually wreck our horses by bumping into other riders, so actually finishing is something of an accomplishment.

As far as games go, I've played a lot worse. The graphics, while not stellar, did the job. I actually enjoyed the J-Pop music, and the controls, while totally unintuitive, worked once you figured them out. But is it fun. Mmmmm sorta.

The actual horse racing, and you can just dive in and not have to wade through the career mode, is pretty darn fulfilling. It is less of an arcade experience, and more of a flight simulator, where you have to get the bit just right in the horses mouth, not expend it's energy to quickly, position yourself properly, then beat the tar out of it with a little whip at near the finish line. I know it's evil, but I did feel a tinge of guilty pleasure at the last part.

So how does it rate? That's a tough one, it's certainly a niche title. If you are not into horse racing, I can guarantee you won't be into G1 Jockey 3. But if you are, this may be as close as you'll ever get to being a jockey. The details are on, and it certainly had that sim / role playing feel to it. So for those you who spend more time at the track than with your spouse, I'd give it a solid 3.5 stars, for the rest of us, it lands a solid 1.5. So all in all, I'm giving it a 2.5 due to it's limited appeal and slow, overly detailed nature.

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