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|Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3|
|Series||Shutokō Battle series|
Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 (known in Japan as Shutokou Battle 01) is a racing game for the PlayStation 2 and the follow-up to the 2001 game Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Zero . The game was also released in North America, but unlike the series' previous entries, was not published in Europe. It is the last game in the series to take place on Tokyo's vast highway system. It was later followed up by Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Drift (prequel) and Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Drift 2 (sequel), which instead take place in the mountain regions of Japan.
Two years after the events of Shutokō Battle 0 (and some time after the events of Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Drift 2), news of the 13 Devils' defeat has been spread through all of Japan. Tokyo is plunged into chaos, and now two more cities want to compete: Osaka and Nagoya. The racers here will have to beat every team in these 3 cities, and maybe, have the opportunity to challenge the best drivers in each: Speed King & Dejected Angel in Tokyo, Seeks, Genesis R & D3 in Nagoya and No Loser & Darts in Osaka.
The game is split in two parts, where the player must first defeat all bosses on the first level in each city on a limited play area. After doing so, all cities open up to the player, letting them choose which city to race in at will, and the full maps unlock, leaving the player to choose how to progress through the second half of the game.
Tokyo : 1st level : - Setsuko Kuroe, Dejected Angel : Former member of the 13 Devils. Having been defeated by a "Wanderer" (a racer with no team affiliation) two years ago, she swapped her Nissan Silvia S14 for the newer S15 model.
2nd level - Motoya Iwasaki, Speed King/Jintei : Former leader of the 13 Devils (13 Military Ogres in US version), he was the best driver on the highway. However, he lost to an unknown driver two years ago (see Shutokou Battle 0), after which it was rumored he disappeared from the highways. Driving his blue Nissan Skyline GT-R R34, he returned with increased power and is subsequently one of the most difficult opponents in the game.
Nagoya : 1st level : - Nobuhiro Oda, Darkness Seven : He has had a long career as a racer, having raced since graduating high school. Driving a black Lexus GS300, he is both a rival and a comrade with Seeks' leader, Yota Takino, and together they join forces to fight a common enemy.
- Yota Takino, Ogre Deity : The leader of racing team Seeks. Driving a brown Toyota Supra, he is a both rival and a comrade with Genesis R's leader, Nobuhiro Oda.
2nd level : - Hiroaki Sakabura, The Rook : One of the members of Nagoya's strongest racing posse, D3. There are many true believers of his complete racing method. He has scrutinized parts in his grey Toyota Supra and doesn't allow for any margin of error.
- Shinichiro Kanatani, The Bishop : One of the members of Nagoya's most powerful racing posse D3. His machine, a white Toyota Supra, on whose settings he has labored tirelessly, is sometimes referred to as "a racing work of art".
- Keita Arai, The Knight : One of the members of Nagoya's strongest racing posse D3. A former detective, he now works in private investigation. Even amongst D3, he has an outstanding technique when he drives his black Supra.
Osaka : 1st level : - Toshifumi Asakawa, Naniwa's Warship : Leader of the team No Loser, he believes that the vehicle itself is the most important factor in highway racing : in other words, if the vehicle is well tuned, which is the case for his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V, the driver's skill does not matter.
2nd level : - Noboru Kawajiri, God's Estuary : Leader of the racing team Darts in his Ford GT, he was formally provided with the team's sticker after systematically battling over 70 members of the team. He only races against opponents who have recognized capabilities, refusing to battle those he feels have not proved themselves.
Bonus : Unknown : Unknown is the game's final boss, and appearing only if you have defeated all 600 rivals in the game. Unknown drives a ghostly mirrored version of the player's car, leaving it invulnerable to traffic.
The premise of the game is identical to the previous variants of the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series: the player cruises the highways of Japan at night, while challenging opponents to impromptu battles. When the race begins, each vehicle has an overhead meter (labelled "SP"). This bar acts as the vehicle's health. The vehicle trailing the leader will have its health slowly drained over time, increasing with the distance between the cars. The meter is also drained by collisions into walls, traffic or other racers. The player can use the car's indicators to let the opponent know where they are going, after which the opponent will attempt to follow the player. If the two battling cars take different routes, the match will be ended as a draw.
In the beginning of the game, the player will start with a small variety of stock cars, most of which either entry-level sports cars or large sedans. As the player progresses, by beating either a team leader or a wanderer driving a certain type of car, they can unlock the car driven by the opponent for purchase. The game totals over 100 cars from 15 manufacturers, including Japanese, American and European brands. Handling characteristics of cars can vary greatly, which smaller, lighter cars handling significantly better, but lacking in power compared to bigger and heavier cars. Cars can be customized both internally and externally, and there is a livery editor where the player can put the sticker of their choice on their car. Up to 5 cars can be owned at any one time.
Throughout the story (or "Quest") of the game, the player is tasked to race against and defeat team members and the team leader, who will appear after all other members have been defeated. Furthermore, the player can encounter "Wanderer" drivers, who have no team affiliation and often drive completely unique cars, some of which are highly modified. Many wanderers require specific parameters to be met, such as the in-game calendar being a specific day of the week, a certain vehicle mileage having been achieved, or a certain amount of money having been amassed. The player has three locations to choose from, being Shuto Expressway, located in Tokyo, Ring Route, located in Nagoya, and Hanshin Expressway, located in Osaka.
The game was met with mixed reception. GameRankings gave it a score of 64.64%,while Metacritic gave it 63 out of 100.
While critics praised the stellar graphics, impressive depth of car customization and lengthy storyline, it was also criticized for repetitive gameplay, floaty handling model and poor translation.
The North American version especially drew harsh criticism because of a currency conversion bug that prevented players from completing the game. One of the rivals named "Whirlwind Fanfare", located in Osaka, requires the player to have 100,000,000 CR in order to appear. However, the game enforces a limit of 99,999,990 CR, meaning the amount can not be amassed and the game cannot be fully completed without cheating. The sole cause of this bug was an oversight during localization in which CR values for the North American release were intended to be 10% of their Japanese counterparts to represent US dollars instead of Japanese yen; the developers forgot to update the CR quota for challenging Whirlwind Fanfare.
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