Researching the feature for last month's cover was certainly a reassuring experience. Despite the fact that the whole world seems to have gone PlayStation and next generation console crazy, it looks like the pc isn't going to get left behind. If anything, it would appear that we are all going to benefit from the renewed 'mainstream' interest in video games.
By now just about everyone must surely have experienced the PlayStation launch hype; it's been out in the shops for more than a month and we've had it exposed to us in virtually every way possible, short of it dropping its pants and whopping out its tackle. The PlayStation is here to stay and it has some bloody good games already.
One of the first particularly bloody good ones is this little beauty from Sony Interactive (previously Psygnosis, in case you didn't know). If you've been watching all the multi-format games press recently, you'll probably have heard of Wipeout - it's one of those games that has got everyone talking because it looks so damn impressive.
So what's so hot?
As you can see from the screenshots. Wipeout is quite evidently a rather flash-looking 3D thing. Quelle surprise - it's a PlayStation conversion. But hey, unlike some of the others knocking around at the moment, like er. Destruction Derby (which we've covered extensively in this issue), this a futuristic 3D thing. At absolute base level it's a racing game but, like Bullfrog's Hi-Octcme, it adds a little spice to the overall proceedings by introducing some 'fun' bits.
Firstly, like Hi-Octane, the 'cars' are extremely fast hover-ship thingies that float a few feet above the ground and can zip around at about mach 12 or something stupid. Yet while this is all incredibly hip and hi-tech, it does make life a bit unusual on the old controls front. There are four different racing 'ships' to choose from, and each one behaves very differently in the way that they accelerate or turn.
On top of this though, you also have the ability to pick up a variety of single-shot weapons; these vary from dumb rockets which just fly forwards until they hit something, to cool heat-seeking missiles that streak after your nearest opponent. As I'm sure you're all well aware, racing games are fun - but racing games where you can shoot at everyone else are even better. Immersing yourself in such a game just seems to wrench the road-rage out of your system and ultimately proves incredibly satisfying.
But that's not all! There are a number of hazards which the six different tracks will throw at you, and these range from the usual racing game fare of bends and chicanes to the more elaborate Fatal Racing-style jumps and stunts that crop up from time to time. The jumps are especially well executed, as they actually manage to convey the feeling of the ground just falling out from underneath you.
Okay, so it's not the most original concept that we've ever come across, and it does bear more than a teensy weensy bit of a similarity to Hi-Octane, but the whole product is carried off with such style and panache that it's easy enough to forgive. As you'd expect, the presentation of the visuals is absolutely second to none. The texture-mapped polygons are some of the fastest we've seen outside Screamer, and the fluidity and speed at which they move is absolutely splendid. The tracks themselves are all suitably hi-tech and 'space-age', while the track side scenery is both beautifully texture-mapped and animated - something that we tend not to see that often.
It's clear that the PC version has benefited from Wipeout's heritage k though. Any of you that have seen the PlayStation original can't possibly deny that it's gobsmacking and it's clear that the pc team at Sony Interactive has , pushed the pc as hard as possible to match the original. The only real noticeable differences are that the pc game runs in 255-colour VGA while the » PlayStation version runs in some weird I "billions of colours' graphics mode. But as we mentioned in our feature last month, there is now a symbiosis between the pc and the Sony platforms that means both systems will push each Other in terms of both gameplay and presentation quality.
Aside from this cosmetic detail though, the pc version is in some ways an enhancement of the original. Because of the networking and multiplayer facilities that the pc has at its disposal, we can expect to see a multiplayer option within the game that will allow at least four players to compete; however, this has yet to be confirmed as we go to press, as there may be support for more players (Destruction Derby has provision for 16 players, so who knows?).
Impressed? You will be
Finally, one of the elements that ought to get some of you excited is the music you'll hear when you play Wipeout. Whereas most software houses employ an in-house musician to crank out a variety of suitably atmospheric tunes, Sony has gone one better and employed the undisputed talents of Leftfield and The Chemical Brothers, who have both provided remixes of some of their tracks. And on top of that, Orbital have composed a new tune for the game. Cool or what? The throbbing nature of this music is absolutely spot-on for this style of game and is testament to the fact that games are now being taken far more seriously by other elements of the entertainment industry.
Sega should not release this game, period. If ever there was a red flag which showed the differences between the PlayStation and Saturn, this is it.To put it simply, Wipeout on the Saturn looks terrible compared to its PlayStation counterpart. Now, maybe this is because the boys at Psygnosis aren't that familiar with the workings of the Saturn (they were, until now, PSX-only developers), but either way, the differences are staggering.
The sound and overall playability remain intact, but the clipping and smooth graphics--the two features which made Wipeout such a remarkable racing game--are greatly inferior.
Graphics - 6
Sound/FX - 9
Gameplay - 6
Rating - 7
Formula One racing takes a gut-wrenching leap into the future - namely, the Formula 3600 Anti-Gravity Racing League - in Wipe Out.
You'll choose from eight customized vehicles (armed with one of nine randomized weapons) and race through ten antigravity tracks laden with hang-ten jumps and hairpin twists and turns. The play modes range from time trials and practice circuits to championship leagues. And these babies fly over gorgeous 3D texture-mapped graphics.
Psygnosis' game makers are huge Ridge Racer fans, so they've set a goal to make their futuristic game better than that arcade and PlayStation powerhouse. Wipe Out will drop you into the seat of a mean antigravity racing vehicle for wild, stomach-twisting driving around ten tracks. You can choose between eight antigrav craft, but it's the nine strategic weapons you'll really need.
WipeOut wowed 'em at E3. In this slick futuristic racing game, you'll pilot sleek antigravity vehicles that will whip around ten wild tracks. WipeOut's game designers love Ridge Racer, so they tried to do their favorite auto racer one better. The animation here will pop at 30 frames per second. That's plenty fast, and the driving perspective in the E3 demo was so awesome, it was almost startling.
Formula One racing's taken a gut-wrenching leap into the future-namely, the Formula 3600 Anti-Gravity Racing League. Choose from eight customized vehicles (armed with one of nine randomized weapons) and race through ten antigravity tracks with obstacles that include hang-ten jumps and hairpin twists and turns. The play modes range from time trials and practice circuits to championship leagues and game saves for fastest laps. And these babies fly over gorgeous 3D texture-mapped graphics.
The game with roots in the Nintendo classic F-Zero brings gamers the second version of its intense futuristic race action. WipeOut XL for the PlayStation seems to be a close re-creation of the original with new and updated tracks. The size and action in the stages seems, again, very close. Players can probably expect new and better weapons to use on the enemies as well as more intense challenges. No matter what is new, the thrill of playing WipeOut XL is in the tracks and the skill required to get through those hairpin turns with the confidence of a seasoned professional. Even if nothing has changed except the track challenge, there is still plenty of gameplay to absorb and the same number of players as the original. Players need to wait patiently for its arrival late this fall. More info as it becomes available closer to the release date.
- MANUFACTURER - Pgygnosis
- THEME - Racing
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
The smoothest graphics around can be found on Psygnosis' stellar title, Wipeout. You play a futuristic race driver armed with missiles and a hovercraft. Zip along the track at blistering speeds, soaring over huge chasms and plunging down narrow tunnels.
With a second Playstation, you and a friend can go head-to-head. Although this is a little annoying--requiring access to another PlayStation, television, link cable and all--it beats dealing with a slower frame rate and a split screen. One of the best games to date for the Playstation, Wipeout stands as a mark of excellence for the developers at Psygnosis. Good job, boys!