WipEout was first released in 1995, being a launch title during European release of PlayStation. The game was developed and published by Psygnosis and was one the first recognizable franchises of the platform. Even if it was a very related to PlayStation since the very first moment, those days Psygnosis still has some independency, so the game was later ported to Sega Saturn and PC.
The game is a classic racing game at its core, with some nice additions and changes, not all original. First, this time we compete in an anti-gravity league, piloting flying ships instead of cars, something similar to previous games like Powerdrome (1988) or F-Zero (1990), but taken to another level thanks to PlayStation capabilities. Those ships also feature weapons we can obtain randomly passing over some pads, a gameplay mechanic really similar to Super Mario Kart (1992), an influence the developers themselves admit.
WipEout CG Intro
What the game adds over those more or less familiar mechanics and where the game really stands out are all the art and design and the music, something that was carried over during the following years to all the titles of the saga. All the art and marketing design was developed by The Designers Republic, giving the game (and saga) a really distinct design. The music was mostly composed by CoLD SToRAGE with some additional tracks by some of the most well-known electronic music bands of those days, like The Chemical Brothers, Orbital or Leftfield. The game’s soundtrack was a massive success, probably the first big hit of a videogame soundtrack outside the medium.
Personally, my first experience with the saga was with the sequel, WipEout 2097 (WipEout XL), playing a demo in PC. The game was really demanding, so it wasn’t very fluid, something critical to enjoy it. The game that got me in love with the saga was WipEout HD, a game carrying content from PSP games Pure and Pulse released in 2008, with Fury expansion released the following year. I’ve already talked about that game in previous posts and I still enjoy it. Even if PS3 was gorgeous (dynamic 1080p, 60 fps), can´t wait to play it again this time on PS4 thanks to WipEout Omega Collection releasing this week, which also adds the chance to play 2048 in full screen (already played on Vita).
The first time I played original game was when it was released digitally for PSN in 2007. Being honest, when I played it I found the gameplay a bit rough, difficult to control, something that happens with many of those early 3D games. The following sequels refined the formula giving us some the finest arcade racing games ever.
The game features three basic modes:
- Championship: here you can find a series of consecutive races, where you can earn points according to your final position and you have to finish in the top three in order to progress to the next race.
- Single Race: just choose a track and a team and compete against AI in a 3 laps race.
- Time Trial: in this mode you drive 3 laps alone trying to beat your best accumulative time.
Previous to mode selection there’s a speed class selection which also serve as difficulty levels. In this first game there were only two options: Venom and Rapier, with the latter being unlocked by winning Venom Championship. Later games of the saga added more speed classes and additional difficulty settings apart from speed (in HD, for example, the medals you obtain are different according to that setting).
There also is a two player option, but requires using a link cable with two PlayStations.
For all the previous modes previously commented, you can choose to drive with different teams. There are four teams, the classic ones that can be found in most of WipEout games. Each team has two different pilots, something that was dropped in later entries of the saga:
|AG Systems||John Dekka|
|FEISAR||Sofia de la Rente|
The game features 6 main tracks, each one set in a different country, with an additional secret unlockable track:
Weapons / Power Ups
While driving, you can get 6 different weapons and power ups:
And finally, a video showing all the details of the game and gameplay.
[Note: video will be appear here in two days. I’ve had to decide between finishing video editing or playing WipEout Omega Collection. You can guess who has won xD]
Featured image from recent WipEout concept art selection by PlayStation Blog