Critic Reviews add missing review
Average score: 77% (based on 33 ratings)
Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 82 ratings with 3 reviews)
By itself Wipeout is visually striking, designed to a tee by the Designer's Republic. The graphics were very attractive at the time, still quite nice nowadays, and as a showcase for the Playstation it sold many a unit. The soundtrack - including Orbital and Leftfield - gave the game and the console credibility amongst the twenty-something audience Sony sought, in contrast to the fannish teenage audience Sega seemed to be going for. That Sony have shaped the world subsequently is testament to their instincts; apart from Tomb Raider, what other Playstation titles from the first couple of years are remembered nowadays?
As a game, rather than a showcase for the Playstation, Wipeout is limited and very basic. Your opponents don't put up much of a fight and once you've memorised the tracks you'll never lose; furthermore you can't ever lap them. The racing league is flawed, in that you can win all but one of your races, fail the last and still lose the league (rather like real-life Formula One in the 1960s). The difficulty curve is initially annoying, as you tend to come to a dead stop if you so much as brush the walls, and you will. Overall the game has a very basic, spartan feel to it nowadays; Colin McRae's Rally and Gran Turismo were the Next Big Things on the Playstation and trump Wipeout thoroughly.
The Bottom Line
The Playstation's Killer App if ever there was one, although it came out on the Saturn and PC a year later. My abiding memory of Wipeout is seeing a Playstation and a Sega Saturn side-by-side in the local computer shop, the Playstation running this and the Saturn running Sega Rally Championship. I knew in my heart that it was all over for the Saturn at that point. Nowadays Wipeout is an interesting chapter in the transformation of computer games into big-budget mainstream entertainment, and widely available on budget. Once you get the hang of it the racing is fluid and entertaining, although taken purely as a game Wipeout is no classic.
PlayStation · by Ashley Pomeroy (225) · 2004
I liked Wipeout because it gave me a chance to see something awesome in my first year of owning a Saturn. I picked up the Saturn late in its life (the system was actually dead, and I got mine for christmas because my ma saw one on clearance for 120 bucks...I had wanted one for so long...). The game was fast, looked good, and had awesome music.
This was long long ago, of course. Now in 2004, I have had experience with every Wipeout game made, including the PSX version of the very first one. And I had since also gotten my chance to compare the two.
While Wipeout was amazing on PSX...the graphics were phenomenal, it was the first time a soundtrack like it had was ever really used in a game, blah blah blah... it wasn't a disgusting failure on the Saturn like other PSX to Saturn ports have been. People have said that the PSX version used music from Orbital and LeftField and Chemical Brothers... well they're wrong... but I won't go into that here, check the trivia section of this game, I'll have added an entry there.
The differences between the two versions set each one above the other in certain areas. The PSX version's graphics RAPED the Saturn. Greater polygon count, insanely smoother framerate, and texture-mapping ability in general. The PSX version also had the ability to create an echo effect on the music as you went through regions of track with high walls or in enclosed tunnel areas. The Saturn version, though, while it was unable to stay on par with the PSX as far as graphics were concerned, and it couldn't replicate the echo feature (well, it has the ABILITY to do it, because you can turn on an echo while using the Saturn's CD player...they just didn't implement the effect in the Saturn version), its sound effect samples were clearer due to the Saturn's ability to store uncompressed sound samples in memory. The graphics weren't completely horrid; although they didn't match the PSX, they were still average for Saturn.
The biggest difference, which often proposes the question of whether the Saturn version out-performs the PSX version, is the fact that Tantalus Entertainment (the people who did the Saturn re-work) tweaked the game engine a bit. One aspect of the PSX version, as noted even in Ashley Pomeroy's review of the Playstation game, was the control. When you hit the edge of the track, you'd stop immediately (much unlike the game's sequel of Wipeout XL/2097, where you could ride the walls lightly without slowing). This was due to the stilted control that was programmed into the game. While Wipeout was a release title for the PSX, was advertised heavilly everywhere (even gracing the silver screen as an early prototype version in the movie "Hackers"), and etc...we all know how early games for the "next-gen" era often fell short in respect to actual gameplay and control. Tantalus fixed this problem, giving the player greater control of the ship (even more control than you had if you used the NeGcon with the PSX version), and in correcting this one tiny problem, they managed to effectively turn the game's replay value around. Flying through the courses became faster, the excitement of blazing your own best times grew, and it allowed the player to take a greater appreciation of the game in general. Few devout Wipeout fans have ever gotten a chance to actually play the Saturn version, and for this, I offer my sympathy. It's just yet another game released for both consoles in which the Saturn version is a worthier purchase.
The only thing I didn't like about this game, is not console specific. I just wish it were longer... the hidden track is a good bonus, but even then, it still leaves you wanting more. Wipeout XL/2097 certainly expanded on the series, and is considered by some to be the highest point in the series' lifetime (thus far...)...but there's a totally different atmosphere created by the two games. The only compensation is given by the European and Australian "Wipeout 3: Special Edition" in which some of the old tracks from the first two games were re-visited. Too bad we didn't get that here in the US... we got Wipeout 3, but unfortunately it bombed hard...painfully obvious by the Amazon.com advertisement on the left side of this page right now;
"Wipeout 3" Activision (that's wrong Amazon) New $2.90! Used $3.95!
And I've seen it sell brand new in stores for about 3 - 5 bucks. We never even had a chance to see the special edition.
The Bottom Line
Nostalgic, ground breaking at its release, a long-standing classic. Pick it up, seriously, you won't be disappointed. It's fast, exciting, and if you turn out the lights and up the volume, you'll get whisked away into the future and never want to come back.
SEGA Saturn · by AG Wolf (274) · 2004
THERE WAS A LOT I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT THIS GAME.
The Bottom Line
So, Wipeout. Everybody loves Wipeout right? Even the first one? Not so much. There are a number of reasons for that. First, a little info. In the future there is, get this, hover crafts! Really fast hover crafts! And just like today, humans must professionally race things that go fast! The manual tells the story of how this sport got to where it is, but it basically boils down to being the Indy 500 of the future. But with repulsors, not V12s.
So you start out the game, and from the get go, you have a generous selection of crafts and and tracks to choose from (Six tracks in total.). One class of crafts is unlocked in championship mode. The other class has four craft manufacturers, and two crafts for each one. Each one varies in weight, but I couldn't tell a difference on the track.
The game features the standard championship, single race, time trial and multiplayer modes. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Except the multiplayer. I was going to check out that option and, what the hell? Searching for other Playstation unit? What does that mean? Oh yeah! The parallel.. link.. cable. Did anybody ever buy that? I have exactly ONE other game that even uses it. Why can't I use the second controller port? Who wants to drag a console, another copy of the game, AND A TV to their friends house just to play a game? Err. So multiplayer is out the window, but I'm sure the single player will be better! Siiigghh
Now before I get to the racing, I simply have to mention how GORGEOUS this game is. Especially for such a early PS1 game. Almost everything is brightly colored, well texured polygons. 98% of the stuff on the side of the track is polygon as well. Giant signs, structures and rolling landscapes add to the atmosphere. There isn't much pop-up or clipping either. Aside from the tracks, the crafts themselves look great. The different crafts are really just the same model with a different set of textures on them, but they look really cool. Even the menus look cool. The icons are all large polygon objects that look reasonably close to the real thing. (Memory card, controller, exct.)
The game in general oozes visual style. I'm not sure what you would call the art style of this game, but I'm going to call it...post modern\communist urban techno scifi rave style. (Don't you just love art?) You know the kind. Futuristic fonts, lots of little moving lines, cubic and circular character designs, unknown text and numbers all over the place pointing to things? It's great eye candy and adds extra flare to a already awesome looking game.
Well enough blabbering about the graphics, onto the racing! The controls are pretty basic. X is acceleration, circle fires your weapon, triangle toggles between first person or external view, and the R2 and L2 are the air brakes. The air breaks are tricky. When you go into a sharp turn, you have to hit them at just the right time, or you'll crash into the corner. But then again, you might be crashing a lot anyway.
Why? Well, once you start a race, you get up to speed pretty fast. The sense of speed is exhilarating! But the first tight turn you come to and, BAM! You hit it! And then you're ping ponged a few times on the walls before you get going again. This happens a LOT. Why? Well, the manual say that the game is compatible with the PS1 Mouse. Hmm. Why would that be? Could the D-pad on the controller not be precise enough to properly steer the ship? Why I'll be damned, IT IS! At first anyway. You can play with it, but it takes a LOT of practice. Just to review this game, I had to use a third party PS2 controller that lets you use the analog sticks to play regardless of whether or not the game uses them. The handling was dramatically smoother, and more precise. But even then, I found myself still eating it a lot.
It's even worse when you're racing against other people though. They're always hitting you with weapons. Don't worry though, they're not very powerful. I never seemed to get anything but lock on missiles, and even then, they only worked when the target was directly in front of you. There's also a shield, but it barely lasts one section of track. Why include the weapons at all? Sure they do some damage and slow you down a bit, but it's not like they're strategic or anything. They just seem like a randomly tacked on feature.
Then there are the speed boost arrows. (Blue arrows on the ground always make hover craft go faster right?) This would seem to be a good thing as they're all over the damn place! It's as if the developers knew that players would be constantly slowing down so they put them all over the track. But you're already going really fast, and these arrows make you go so fast, it's hard to adjust to the new speed. Tight turns? Not even the air brakes will save you. Which brings up another thing. What's with the air brakes? Why do I need two drift brakes when a single regular brake would have been just as good, or even better? I can't even make tight turns WITH the air brakes!
Which brings me to my biggest complaint. All the problems this game has could have been greatly alleviated by one, simple thing: WIDER TRACKS. The first track is plenty wide, and only has one narrow area. But subsequent tracks get so narrow, and have such tight turns, if you make one mistake, you lose you field position. It's even hard to get a position above seventh most of the time. All of this has ruined what once could have been a decent racing game.
OK! So the racing isn't so hot. Please tell the music and sound effects are good at least! You know what? I couldn't fricking tell you! This is the part that makes me really mad! The sound effects and music volume move in unison. But not like you think. Turn the music up, the sound effects go down. Turn the music down, the sound effects go up. Who the hell told Psygnosis that was ok?!?!?! If you want to hear both, you have to turn the volume on the tv waaayyy up. Not that it ultimately matters. The sound effects are pretty boring, but at least the music doesn't sound horribly dated. It's 90s techno, so I'm not sure whether that's good or bad, but I thought it was rather unremarkable. At least the audio is consistent with the game environment. Go through tunnel? It echos. Get near the grand stands? You hear the crowd cheering you on for some reason. Small, but nice touches.
So let's recap. The graphics are gorgeous, the controls are highly suspect, the game would have been better with wider tracks and the sound is boring. I really wanted to like this game, but it just has way too many flaws to forgive. It's a interesting historical item, but little else. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a post modern\communist urban techno scifi rave to go to.
PlayStation · by GAMEBOY COLOR! (1990) · 2011
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Critic reviews added by Big John WV, jean-louis, Tim Janssen, RhYnoECfnW, Scaryfun, Riemann80, Kohler 86, Patrick Bregger, Terok Nor, Jeanne, mikewwm8, CalaisianMindthief, Apogee IV, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), Tomas Pettersson, Alaka, Wizo, Sun King, sayewonn wisseh, Alaedrain, qalle, Kris Genthe.