Psygnosis has hit the PC with a revolutionary racer title in the form of Wipeout XL. This futuristic racer comes packing some very sweet eye candy, as well as containing some of the most unique level designs ever to grace a racing game.
Wipeout XL plays exceptionally well. The control flows evenly and is very responsive. The control does vary, depending on which racing class you choose. Each class has its own set of attributes, both positive and negative. The controls are hard to gain a grip on a first, as you'll find yourself becoming friends with every wall before you get the gist of the control. The levels are very complicated, and some difficulty comes from the fact that the track can become hard to see due to the dark nature of the game. This is probably the biggest problem in the entire game.
Graphically, Wipeout XL is very sweet. The levels are highly detailed and have a neon glow to them that looks wonderful. Every texture and polygon is crisp and clear, however, there is a substantial amount of pop-up and clipping in this title. Blazing down a speeding ramp only to have the track pop up and turn out of nowhere can be a little unnerving.
Coinciding along with the game's techno theme, the sound effects and music are all very techno-ish sounding. The cpu announcer has a digitialized sound, and the missiles zip and twirl down the strip as they explode nicely upon impact. The music for the game is so great that Psygnosis released a separate CD for the music itself. Music by Prodigy, FSOL, and Psgynosis' own in-house music division, Cold Storage, all pump players up for racing and combat.
Wipeout XL represents all that is good in a racing game. Despite its minor flaws, any self respecting gamer owes it to his/herself to pick this title up and play it. It's well worth the price of admission.
Graphics: Bind blowing neon lights light furiously fast and astounding tracks. Layout is fantastic and the level of detail in the game is off the charts.
Sound: Ear numbing explosions and techo sound effects, backed by a hot techno soundtrack by some of the best techno music ever heard in a game.
Enjoyment: Racing and mind numbing speeds across wicked track designs, what is there not to like about it? Wipeout XL offers up a plateful of enjoyment.
Replay Value: With fifteen tracks to master, as well as having more hidden tracks as well as the hidden racer class, Wipeout XL will leave you coming back for more.
Definitely one of the best futuristic racing games ever made, Wipeout XL not only once again cements Psygnosis' reputation as the powerhouse of action genre, but also introduces many novelties to the genre. The game takes place 97 years after the events of the original Wipeout, when improvements on Anti-Gravity Ballistic Racing technology have enabled sleeker and more maneuverable hovercrafts. You know the drill: blast down futuristic raceways, hit speed-up icons, pick up different weapons, and lay waste to whoever might stand in your way. But even if you've seen it all before, Wipeout XL is still a fun, incredibly addictive racer you'll want to play more than once.
While the original game's graphics are inferior to the better-selling Playstation version, Wipeout XL takes advantage of 3D accelerators to produce one of the best-looking games on the PC (although it probably doesn't support all modern 3D cards released after 1996). With all the graphic effects turned on, the game is simply breathtaking -- with transparent vapor trails spewing from the sterns of opposing ships, subtle colored light-source shading, and bilinear filtering. DirectX mode for people like me who don't have a 3D card is still very pretty, although of course not on par with 3D accelerated mode.
Graphics aside, it's the game that counts, and here Wipeout XL delivers plenty of satisfying destructive mayhem. The game is much more difficult and realistic than Wipeout. Whereas you can easily blow up your opponents in the original game with a well-placed missile or two, this time around all vehicles sustain damage first before they spectacularly explode. The selection of weapons has been expanded, and ranges from proximity mines to track-shredding earthquake bombs. If your energy is running low, just fly through one of the pit stops and you'll be back in one piece. You can even turn the weapons off altogether if you prefer more pure racing.
The only bad thing you can level about this game is the disappointing lack of network play, so you can't blast your best friends on-line. Other than this obvious oversight, though, just about everything else in Wipeout XL makes it a great game that will hold your interest until the wee hours.
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