So you’re making a 32-bit console worth giving a darn, you need a game to get people interested in the console, so what do you think you need to do? Well, it’s the 90’s so it has to be cool, edgy, grown-up, be hip with teenagers who were leaving the toyish consoles and going into something new and breath-taking, to new worlds and explore anything that was possible. Let’s make a futuristic racing game set in the year 2052 that tries to give F-Zero a run for its money.
And that would be WipeOut, developed and published by Psygnosis and was released in 29th September 1995, same day the PlayStation was released, WipeOut was a launch title that was meant to show off its 3D capabilities.
The game is about racers in the future competing in the F3600 anti-gravity racing league, you can pick a number of crafts to race in, you will race in tracks but you hover on them because the future. During the game you can pick up numerous power-ups like shields, turbo boosts, mines, shock waves, rockets and missiles. Like in any racing game you play to win. There are seven race tracks, six are located in Canada, Germany, Greenland, United States, China and Japan, the 7th hidden one is in Mars.
The game was designed by The Designer’s Republic, a graphics design studio. Because the game was aimed at an audience that would go out clubbing and liked the ‘Now’ trends, the packaging, in-game branding and other promotional stuff had to reflect that. They also worked for other big companies like Adidas, Coca-Cola, MTV, Nokia and many more. The studio closed in 2009 but re-launched soon after but as a smaller company.
The gameplay is…terrible, I don’t mean to be hating on it because it’s a launch game…oh wait, I can, it’s a launch game; but in all seriousness, the gameplay is near broken or dated. First is the fact that 95% of the time you’ll be bumping around, it feels floaty and slippery to control, the tracks are not well designed in a way that the crafts can hover around on, with racing games, you must make tracks suited best with the vehicles.
Each craft has its own set of acceleration, top speed, mass and turning radius, something you never see in-game so you’re left confused. Maybe playing it back then was something amazing but this isn’t a good game, I can’t even win a race, the more you bump in the game, the less chance of you winning or even qualify. I hate to say this but…the gameplay feels like Sonic R but it’s a lot better than that, at least you can turn smoothly, though at least in Sonic R you don’t bump everywhere.
The music is a 90’s electronica beat fest composed by Welsh video game composer Tim Wright under the alias CoLD SToRAGE, other songs were also from Leftfield, The Chemical Brothers and Orbital; the Sega Saturn version included a completely different soundtrack since Sony was Sega’s competitor.
Overall, I like the design for the game and it fits the sci-fi feel and I have a love/hate relationship with the music, I like some but find some weird, but the gameplay as poor at best but could have been better if it was tweaked somehow but I forgive it since it was a launch title and is still considered a classic at best, but it’s not perfect but I respect it for being the game to lead the way for innovation in 3D gaming.
You can get it for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, MS-DOS, Windows and PlayStation Network.