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The first version of WipeOut was a good racing game that satisfied people who were looking for speed and action in a video game. Now that excitement is back even stronger in WipeOut XL (WipeOut 2097) with improved graphics, game play, sound and much more! The results are just splendid and make the first version of the game seem dull when compared to this one.

WipeOut consists of futuristic racing in the year 2097 where your craft hovers above the ground and you can shoot your opponents. A new possibility in this version is that now you can destroy your opponents, and they can also eliminate you. Check points, pit lanes and shield energy have been added to provide more competition as you race against the clock going from one check point to another and restoring your shields in the pit lanes. If you let your shields decrease to nothing, your craft won't be going far afterwards as it will stop and explode. Hits from your adversaries and bumping into the walls will reduce your shields quickly, so precision driving is a must which makes the game very competitive.

Seven weapons are available to you in the game for firing at your foes. The game now includes an intelligent weapons distribution system that provides weapons and power-ups according to your position in the race. The weapons consist of a small trail of Mines can be dropped behind your vessel in hopes that your enemy will run into them. Thunder bombs will take a large chuck of energy shield power from all the visible crafts in your site when fired. It will also eliminate any mines that may be in your way. Rockets are still available, but now they fire three in a row side by side which helps give you a better chance for hitting your opponent. Missiles are back and work in the same way, except now you can also fire your missiles backwards if you have a lock on someone back there. The Electro Bolt will cause a ship to stall, making it difficult to control and cause a shield energy drain. The Plasma Bolt is a very useful weapon when used at close range with a direct shot. This nice new weapon will completely destroy and eliminate your adversary, guaranteeing you at least an 11th place finish instead of 12th. The last new weapon is the Quake Disrupter and the manual says it will "make you laugh like an idiot for days". Although the laughing I had didn't last for days, it is a very funny weapon to watch. It will throw all the crafts in front of you off the road by shaking the road like a carpet. This makes a wave go out on the road clearing a trail for you.

Some goodies that you may pick up over the weapon grids includes an E-Pak which will boost your energy shield (very useful if you need it and forget to pull into the pit); Autopilot which will guide your ship through curves with no trouble at all and can be activated when you desire (very useful for a track with many twists and turns); Turbo Boost to speed up your craft; and the Shields to protect your craft during attacks.

Three racing classes are available from the beginning of the game providing different levels of difficulty. They are the Vector class for beginners, Venom for experienced players, and Rapier for experts. Each class contains two tracks from various regions of the world. Tracks are located in industrial areas, cities, jungles, and some are even set at night.

Once you have placed first winning a gold medal in all six of the tracks, you'll be granted access to two new faster tracks that are 50% faster than the expert mode. This really makes the game challenging as the expert mode is already difficult.

The graphics are of an awesome quality and make up one of the biggest differences between this version and the first. The textures are more colorful and fluid with no noticeable polygon tearing, and the effect of graphics popping up in the background have been eliminated. The game runs at 30 frames per second for the NTSC version and at 25 frames per second on the PAL version. Many special lighting effects have been added including a sort of ion gas shooting out of the back of the crafts. Weather conditions such as rain, snow, thunder and lighting are also incorporated. There are some tunnels in the game that are not well lit at all, so expect to hit the walls a few times until you get accustomed to the track. Also, when you hit the walls, if it's only slightly, you'll be forgiven for it and sparks will fly to indicate that you are scratching your craft against the walls. Sometimes you'll think that you are just destroying the paint job on your ship!

Four racing teams are available for choosing your craft, each from different areas of the world, such as Japan, Europe, America, and Russia. A rumor has been going around about an unconfirmed new prototype craft that is very controllable and extremely fast! Looks for it as you progress in the game. Each of the teams have their crafts decorated differently, supplying a different look for each.

The music was composed by seven different UK techno bands and has 11 sound tracks plus the introduction. Some of the music is good and others can get on your nerves. Luckily you can set the music track you'd like to listen to during your races so that you won't have to hear any of them if you don't want to, or just a specific one that you like. There are a few good tracks on there that give you that racing/competition feeling as you chase your opponents trying to run them off the track. The manual includes a Discography on each of the groups and has photos of the band members.

From the main menu, you'll be able to choose between the Arcade mode and the Time Trial mode. In Arcade mode, you can have weapons set as optional and play any of the above tracks we have discussed. The number of laps are different for each of the difficulty levels starting at 2 laps and increasing to 4. The Time Trial mode lets you race against the clock without any weapons or other crafts to help you improve your driving. A ghost ship will be shown on the screen representing your best race. Each lap completed in a Time Trial mode will give you a Turbo Pick-up.

The game can only be played by one person on one PlayStation unit. However, if you link it two of them together, two players will be able to compete in the same race! This mode is very enjoyable when you have a friend to compete against.

The options menu will allow you to configure the audio settings (volume levels and tracks), set the controller buttons, set your preference for an interior or exterior view as default, and load/save games. You'll also be able to view the best arcade times for each circuit and the best Time Trial times for each.


WipeOut XL is everything WipeOut had plus much more! If you enjoyed the first version, don't miss this beautifully upgraded version of the game with all the new features that make the game superior.

Written by Trevor Bennicke

Click here for screen shots.


Overall: *****

Developers and Publishers

In North America:

919 East Hillsdale Blvd., 2nd floor,
Foster City, CA 94404.

Technical Support:415-655-5683
Order line:800-438-7794

Internet Support: Psygnosis Technical Support
Web site: Psygnosis

In Europe:

In UK:

Napier Court,
Stephenson Way, Wavertree Technology Park,
Liverpool, L13 1EH.

Web site: Psygnosis

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