Developed and published by Psygnosis in 1995, WipEout is a futuristic racing game, set in the year 2052, where you compete in an Anti-Gravity (AG) Racing League piloting dart-like vehicles that float above the ground and zip around tortuously-designed race tracks against similar opposition.
WipEout was a launch title for the PlayStation in Europe and became popular among rave culture-loving gamers due to its unique techno soundtrack and its cutting edge 3D graphics and Designers Republic marketing, cover and in-game design.
You choose a team and a pilot and then take part in championship races, firstly in the lower “Venom” class, and later – if you manage to beat Venom class – in the more advanced “Rapier” class. Each championship has six different race tracks that are located in futuristic versions of countries such as Canada, the USA and Japan, and if you manage to beat the Rapier Championship then a seventh hidden track – based on Mars – is unlocked and can be raced on. You can also compete in one-off single races and time trials on any of the six available tracks.
A two-player mode is also available, allowing players to race against each other, but this requires a link connection between two consoles and does not feature split screen play, which is an oversight in my opinion.
There are offensive and defensive power-ups that can be acquired by driving over certain pads on the tracks, plus there are boost pads (that look like blue arrows) that will give your craft an extra burst of speed.
Playing WipEout now, the game is still fast and reasonably exciting, but the collision slowdown is extremely annoying and bumping into other vehicles – or touching the track walls – can completely ruin a race if you’re not careful (or are just very lucky). The tracks are very difficult to race cleanly, and one lapse in concentration can turn a promising race into pinball, and can quickly end in frustration (or rage quitting). WipEout is not an easy game to master, nor is it a game that is particularly enjoyable – as racing games go. It’s still a retro gaming classic, though, all be it one that is a bit hamstrung by its difficulty.
More: WipEout on Wikipedia
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