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Next up, I opt for a run in Tom Dwelle’s Race 10, Critical Mass. I’m determined to show this computer that I’ve not forgotten how to fly the "virtual skies!"

Into the hangar for some engine work and wing clip settings and I’m ready…

Coming down the chute after the magic words "you have a race," I push the Nitrous button and am greeted with a new sound; my engine is obviously perked up at this additional fuel to the fire!

By the way, once the engine damage feature is installed in the release version of Xtreme Air Racing, my "drain the tanks" strategy would end my race before I’d want it to; however today, I've got a truckload of engines and I’m "loaded for bear!"

...and what’s even better…I’m in the lead!

Down the straightaway; around pylon one; up the hill past two and three, now knowing to follow the guide markers; lining up for pylon 4, which just as in real life is quite invisible until you are nearly on top of it; past pylon 4; adding jusssst enough left rudder to keep my nose down; trying not to gain any altitude; I’m off for 5 and 6, then on to the "Valley of Speed."

Victory Interactive’s development team added a very nice feature to Xtreme Air Racing, called "Pylon Padlock View." For those of you familiar with combat flight simulations you will recognize the term "padlock view," commonly associated with fixing your screen view on your opponent to simulate your natural head movements when locked in ACM engagements.

Xtreme Air Racing’s pylon padlock view is a bit different, in that it follows your normal head movement towards the next pylon and ahead, which in this case, with your skewed angle is…"up". As with any padlock view, this can be slightly disorienting at first, but with very little time spent flying this mode, you’ll not want to go back to a "fixed" forward view.

Back to racing!

Leading the pack for the first three laps, I’m feeling pretty smug and then it hits me… I don’t feel very good.

My god…sitting in front of my brand new 19" monitor, totally immersed in this world of 3D airplanes and terrain, viewed from my constantly changing head position, that has become my reality for the moment...I’m getting air sick! Literally!

I don’t mean to scare anyone who might be thinking that "this does not sound like fun," — sitting at your desk, getting queasy flying a game!?

...but Xtreme Air Racing is that disorienting! Having your world skewed around, with the ground rushing at you lap after lap —especially with a big monitor— Xtreme Air Racing becomes very real...very quickly!

Fortunately for me, my propensity to motion sickness (yes, I’m one of those unfortunate’s who gets pretty queasy on the whirly rides) subsided after a few days of working with Xtreme Air Racing. I never needed to mount the "barf bag" on the monitor, but I did wonder about it for a while…

As mentioned earlier, your choice of racers to strap on in this simulation is vast, including many airplanes currently raced at Reno; a selection of racers from Reno’s past; and some types that have never seen the pylons, or - for that matter - some airplanes that never actually saw construction!

Familiar airplanes in this alpha build of Xtreme Air Racing include: Voodoo, Dago Red, Strega, Rare Bear, Critical Mass, Miss America, Super Corsair, and a very nice rendition of the original Super Corsair, the Sohio Race 57 of the Thompson Trophy days.

The list does not end here and as I mentioned.. there is quite a large stable to choose from.

Additionally, there are several P-38’s in various paint schemes, and the Sea Fury fans will not be disappointed with their choices, several of the Hawker fighters in various forms are available for racing action.

(Author's note: As of this writing, negotiations with several additional race teams were underway for inclusion in the Unlimited Class - Stay Tuned!)

Also included and available in free flight mode - but not race ready at this time of writing - are the Gee Bee, an F-82 Twin Mustang, a very pleasing-to-the-eye Messerschmidt ME-109; a very strange looking Japanese high-tech pusher, "Shindin;" a recreation of "Stiletto;" a very immaculate stock P-51 ("Pat’s P-51"), and an airplane so beautiful in its graphic recreation that we featured a screen shot of it as picture of the week a few weeks back: the "Bardhal II"

All told —as of this writing— there are twenty raceable, Unlimited Class airplanes, and seven available for free flight only.

You might have seen various screen shots of the other racing classes at Reno: Sport Biplane; International Formula One and T-6… These airplanes are currently modeled as "generic types" and we have been flying them in the alpha builds of Xtreme Air Racing. Due to the favorable response from the Unlimited Race Teams being included in the initial release of Xtreme Air Racing and the potentially vast increase in sponsor recognition for the race teams, Victory Interactive had to make a tough decision.

Victory’s Pat Hunt told us: "We want to open the door to all the groups currently racing at Reno, but due to the time involved with re-skinning the airplanes to match the additional team paint schemes and markings, our release date could be pushed to beyond September. It’s a tough call but we want to give all of the racing groups at Reno a chance to appear within Xtreme Air Racing" Hunt continued: "The initial release of the simulation will have the Unlimited racers, we will offer an update package, probably sometime after September, that will include the additional race groups and a lot more"

Pat told us the "update package" will be much like the "track packs" that are offered in various wheel based racing sims but will be offered as a free upgrade to anyone who gets in on the pre-order list for the initial release. The "track pack" will include many more racers, more race courses and updated paint schemes for the current Unlimited field..

Be The First One On Your Block Order Now

The pre-release price for Xtreme Air Racing is discounted to $29.95 plus $5.00 shipping and handling for domestic orders, international orders will pay an additional $5.00 to cover the extra shipping costs. Post release orders will be filled at the same shipping cost but will carry the still reasonable price of $39.95… With the "track pack" offered at a "yet to be determined" nominal fee.

Victory will also offer extra incentive to sign up for the pre-release ordering… All pre-order customers for Xtreme Air Racing will be automatically entered into a drawing for some pretty cool prizes. Exact details of the prizes were not available at the time of this writing but would likely involve a ride in a real racer and a weekend with one or more of the top racing teams in the sport…

(author's note, as of final edit of this review, Victory has begun pre-release ordering at thier website http://xtremeairracing.com )

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