Wipeout 64

a game by Psygnosis

Platform: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64

Genre: Racing

See also: Racing Games, Wipeout Games

Fasten your seat belt, strap down the cat and prepare for the ride of your life!

This issue has seen an absolute glut of racing games finally reach the N64, and one of the most highly anticipated among them has to be Wipeout 64. As with V-Rally '99, reviewed later on in this issue, when the original version of this game appeared on the PlayStation people leved it. if you're one of those people that reads your magazines from the back, then you'll already know that the N64 update of V-Rally wasn't quite everything it was hoped it would be.

Thankfully, Wipeout fans will be relieved to learn that Wipeout 64 fares slightly better.

For those new to videogames, or perhaps just those who never owned (or just plain despise) the PlayStation, Wipeout is a game which has a lot in common with F-Zero X. Both games involve racing cars that hover just above the track. Both games involve tracks which plunge, dip and twist all over the place, taxing your driving skills (or should that be piloting skills?) to the limit. The biggest difference between the two games, though, is the Wipeout element of weapons.

Air-Raising Thrills

In F-Zero X, aside from the two not-very-dangerous special attacks, players are forced to rely on their finely-honed driving skills to succeed. Conversely, in Wipeout 64, while driving talent is still more or less a prerequisite, players also have the additional option of blowing competitors off the face of the track with any of the ten different weapons, while at the same time using various defensive measures to foil any retaliation. Weapons are collected by passing over the weapon grids which you find on each track, plus there are also boost grids which give a temporary burst of speed whenever you need it -which is all the time!

One slightly disappointing element of Wipeout 64 is the number of cars and tracks that you get within the game. Players choose from a selection of only five different cars (compared to the 30 in F-Zero X), the first four of which are immediately accessible while the fifth must be earned during the game. As for tracks, the game boasts a rather minuscule seven (compared to F-Zero X effectively infinite number of courses!) with the final one again needing to be earned before it can be accessed.

There are many different playing modes within the game, which goes some way towards making up for the lack of tracks. You can race in Normal mode, where all weapon grids and boosts are active and the point is to come first any way you can. You can compete in the Racing mode, where the weapons grids are switched off and -like in F-Zero X - your flying/driving skills and 14 other ships are the only thing between you and the finish line. You can race solo in Time Trial mode with only a ghost racer for company, and there are also several challenges in which you must race a specific car on a fixed track under pre-set conditions (weapons, no weapons, and so on). These modes add a great deal of variety to the overall racing experience, but they don't change the fact that ultimately you're racing the same few cars over the same few tracks.

Wipeout AII Opposition!

However, where Wipeout 64 really comes into its own is with the racing classes. There are four classes in the game, Vector, Venom, Rapier and Phantom, and they are arranged in ascending order of speed. This means that the Vector races, while not slow by any means, are still the slowest of the game. As you move up through the classes, the races get faster, until you reach Phantom and the racing is so fast it's scary!

The best part of this is that unlike a game like XG2, where as the races get faster the vehicles get harder to control, in Wipeout 64 the faster the races get the better the craft handle. This is because in Wipeout 64 there's more vertical freedom as you get faster, and the higher off the track your car climbs the better you can anticipate the bends.

If you can keep up your speed without crashing, it's possible to have your car literally flying round the track, hardly coming near the walls and floor at all! And this is what makes Wipeout 64 so good. The more you practice, the better your car performs and the more you get out of the game as a whole.

Two's Company...

If the multiplayer mode were up to this standard, then you'd be looking at a 90%+ game. Sadly, although the two-player mode is great, the three and four-player modes let the game down a little. The player windows just don't show you enough to make playing with more than one other person anything like as good as the one-player.

This disappointment, combined with the fairly bad pop-up - which is nevertheless hugely less than the popup in V-Rally '99 - means that Wipeout 64 ends up as a great game, but one that doesn't quite fulfil its potential. If you liked Wipeout on the PlayStation, then you'll like this, although It has to be said that some of the tracks are scarily similar to the PSX version. If you've never played Wipeout before, then don't miss Wipeout 64, even if you've already got F-Zero X. No self-respecting N64 racing fan should pass up the chance to take Wipeout 64 for a spin!

2nd rating opinion

Wipeout 64 is fast, has excellent music and even makes a fair bash at a four-player game, but something's lacking. It feels a little bit dated, and the controls don't seem quite as well-tuned as the PlayStation game. F-Zero X is still the futuristic race leader.

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Wipeout 64 Downloads

Nintendo 64 Wipeout 64 download

It's Faster, Smoother And Harder Than Ever

There's nothing like a bit of competition for places. Which, handily enough, is exactly what we've got herewith three future racers of the very highest order appearing on our marble doorstep within the space of a month. One's significantly better than the others, admittedly, but even so... what we lack in Gran-Turismo-a-likes, we make up for here, eh?

Here's what you'll have determinde so far: F-Zero X powered its way to a tasty 91% in last issue's rigorous PAL reviewm while XG2 managed to notch up a perfectly. Which just leaves Wipeout 64. Third in the reviewing scheme of things but, by no stretch of a sizeable imagination, third in order of merit. As you're about to find out.

The Wipeout games have a history almost as illustrious as F-Zero. The PlayStation versions - of which there were two - were universally adored when they turned up on Sony's machine. Version 2097 was undoubtedly better, but both games took the template laid jlown by Nintendo's original F-Zero on the SNES and turned out a future racer faster, smoother and floatier than a rocket-powered skunk. Wipeout 64, then, is the next stage. Again, it's challenging an F-Zero game head on, and again it's bigger and better than before. But, can it possibly surpass Nintendo's latest thousand mile an hour traffic jam? Read on...

Well, I love Wipeout 64 to bits. Equally, F-Zero X holds a special place in my bulging great heart, But, as you'll find out if you buy, play and compare the two games. Nintendo and Psygnosis efforts are very, very different. Certainly, F-Zero X is kinder to the player, at least during the 'learning' stage. Wide courses like Mute City set you off on the right foot while the last three-quarters of the game - particularly in the shape of the hideously tricky Space Plant - are the Devil's own work. However, even when you're battling with the corners of Big Hand, the game never stops you dead You can skim off the sides without burrowing into your speed-o-meter and then top up the old energy in the pits.

Wipeout isn't like that. Most obviously, it only has six courses so, unlike F-Zero X, there just isn't the capacity for Nintendo's introductory Jack Cup. Which is why Klies Bridge throws you straight into the action... and exactly why Wipeout 64 rubs some people up the wrong way.

See, until you understand Wipeout 64 completely, the game will frustrate more than anything in living memory. Comers swing round without any prior warning, opponents cut you up and don't let you pass, you blow someone to bits than accidentally ram into the back of them and, worst of all, you stop... completely dead... every time you hit a wall. This, in particular, is one of the most nerve-shatteringly annoying video gaming 'things' in history.

Single Race

Vital in order to gain a meticulous knowledge of the courses, the Single Race allows you to play any track you want with whatever craft or class you fancy. And that's pretty much that.

Two-player

The speed of the two-player game is the most staggering thing, especially given the fact that the backgrounds and environmental detail aren't sacrificed at all. And, to get the best out of the mano-a-mano scrap to the death, you really need to get to know the courses properly. Once there's two of you with Qoron IV etched on your brain like an Ordnance Survey map, battles become fantastic. A bit of a winner, and certainly puts the likes of V-Rally '99 to shame.

Four-player

Psygnosis always fancied doing a four-player game on the PlayStation, so now they've finally been given the chance. And the result? Well, not bad. They've come up against the old 'speed/background detail' problem and in order to keep four craft rattling along at 200mph. they've had to fog up the track a good 'un. As a result, it's often difficult to gauge where the track's going and who exactly is who. Pity, that.

Race

This is as close to an honest-to-goodness Championship as Wipeout 64 gets. With six separate challenges. Race sees you having to compete against CPU opponents and finish in one of the top three positions. The difficulty comes with the fact that the computer determines what craft, class and track you'll race with. The challenges obviously get harder as you get further into the game with, for example, the fifth option pitting you against the pure evil of Machaon II inside a Qirex. Get used to seeing third as the first and second-placed crafts make mistakes about as often as Bobby Davro makes a genuinely amusing gag. The computer also specifies weapons for you or, for some of the challenges, takes them away completely.

Secrets!

Cyclone: After completing the Race challenge with a minimum of six bronzes, you'll find an extra option cropping up in the Game Configuration menu. Cyclone technology means every weapon you pick up is twice as powerful, taking out many of the craft first time. Going back to the Weapon challenge, you'll find this super-useful, especially as it virtually guarantees gold.

Velocitar: The seventh, secret track is actually easier than either Machaon II or Terafumos. In fact, after mastering both the aforementioned courses, Velocitar is a bundle of happy-faced joy. Chicanes adorn it and 90° bends and wide, wide corners live in perfect harmony. Our advice? Give the Qirex craft and Phantom class a nod and watch the game go whooosh!

reggie posted a review

This issue has seen an absolute glut of racing games finally reach the N64, and one of the st highly anticipated among them s to be Wipeout 64. As with V-Rally reviewed later on in this issue, jjWien the original version of this game peared on the PlayStation people ed it. If you're one of those people, t reads your magazines from the ick, then you'll already know that the 4 update of V-Rally wasn't quite lerything it was hoped it would be.

Thankfully, Wipeout fans will be relieved to learn that Wipeout 64 fares slightly better.

For those new to videogames, or perhaps just those who never owned (or just plain despise) the PlayStation, Wipeout is a game which has a lot in common with F-Zero X. Both games involve racing cars that hover just above the track. Both games involve tracks which plunge, dip and twist all over the place, taxing your driving skills (or should that be piloting skills?) to the limit. The biggest difference between the two games, though, is the Wipeout element of weapons.

Air-Raising Thrills

In F-Zero X, aside from the two not-very-dangerous special attacks, players are forced to rely on their finely-honed driving skills to succeed. Conversely, in Wipeout 64, while driving talent is still more or less a prerequisite, players also have the additional option of blowing competitors off the face of the track with any of the ten different weapons, while at the same time using various defensive measures to foil any retaliation. Weapons are collected by passing over the weapon grids which you And on each track, plus there are also boost grids which give a temporary burst of speed whenever you need it - which is all the time!

One slightly disappointing element of Wipeout 64 is the number of cars and tracks that you get within the game. Players choose from a selection of only five different cars (compared to the 30 in F-Zero X), the first four of which are immediately accessible while the fifth must be earned during the game. As for tracks, the game boasts a rather minuscule seven (compared to F-ZeroXs effectively infinite number of courses!) with the final one again needing to be earned before it can be accessed.

There are many different playing modes within the game, which goes some way towards making up for the lack of tracks. You can race in Normal mode, where all weapon grids and boosts are active and the point is to come first any way you can. You can compete in the Racing mode, where the weapons grids are switched off and -like in F-Zero X- your flying/driving skills and 14 other ships are the only thing between you and the finish line. You can race solo in Time Trial mode with only a ghost racer for company, and there are also several challenges in which you must race a specific car on a fixed track under pre-set conditions (weapons, no weapons, and so on). These modes add a great deal of variety to the overall racing experience, but they don't change the fact that ultimately you're racing the same few cars over the same few tracks.

Wipeout All Opposition!

However, where Wipeout 64 really comes into its own is with the racing classes. There are four classes in the game, Vector, Venom, Rapier and Phantom, and they are arranged in ascending order of speed. This means that the Vector races, while not slow by any means, are still the slowest of the game. As you move up through the classes, the races get faster, until you reach Phantom and the racing is so fast it's scary!

The best part of this is that unlike a game like X62, where as the races get faster the vehicles get harder to control, in Wipeout 64 the faster the races get the befferthe craft handle. This is because in Wipeout 64 there's more vertical freedom as you get faster, and the higher off the track your car climbs the better you can anticipate the bends. If you can keep up your speed without crashing, it's possible to have your car literally flying round the track, hardly coming near the walls and floor at all! And this is what makes Wipeout 64 so good. The more you practice, the better your car performs and the more you get out of the game as a whole.

Two's Company...

If the multiplayer mode were up to this standard, then you'd be looking at a 90%+ game. Sadly, although the two-player mode is great, the three and four-player modes let the game down a little. The player windows just don't show you enough to make playing with more than one other person anything like as good as the one-player.

This disappointment, combined with the fairly bad pop-up - which is nevertheless hugely less than the popup in V-Rally '99 - means that Wipeout 64 ends up as a great game, but one that doesn't quite fulfil its potential. If you liked Wipeout on the PlayStation, then you'll like this, although it has to be said that some of the tracks are scarily similar to the PSX version. If you've never played Wipeout before, then don't miss Wipeout 64, even if you've already got F-Zero X. No self-respecting N64 racing fan should pass up the chance to take Wipeout 64 for a spin!

reggie posted a review
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