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|Wipeout 2097/Wipeout XL|
|Mode(s)||Single player, two-player (via PlayStation Link Cable), multiplayer (via IPX, TCP/IP, modem, or null modem)|
Wipeout 2097 (or Wipeout XL in the USA; styled wipE'out" 2097) is a 1996 racing video game. It is the second game released in the Wipeout series by developers Psygnosis, and a year after the original game in the series.
Whereas the original game introduced the F3600 anti-gravity racing league in the year 2052, Wipeout 2097 is set over four decades later and introduces the player to the much faster, more competitive, and more dangerous F5000 AG racing league. The game is set exactly 101 years after the actual release year of the game (100 in the Saturn port's case).
The Sega Saturn version supported analog control by using the optional 3D Control Pad, whereas the PlayStation version supported analog control by using the optional Negcon twist controller (as on debut release of the series).
Gameplay did not differ much from the previous title. Aside from the different circuits and new weapons, the fundamental aspects were kept. Pilots would race each other or computer controlled A.I. opponents, in order to finish in the highest position possible. In order to help them achieve this end, weapons were provided.
Though the Crafts move at very high straight lines speeds, Wipeout takes its inspiration from Formula 1 breakthroughs by aspiring for even greater turning speeds. Using the Formula 1 parallel, rather than using aerodynamics to increase wheel grip by down-force for faster turning speeds, Wipeout uses the fictitious air-brakes for ever greater turning force. Just moving a craft left or right alone is very responsive, but by applying an air-brake in the direction of movement, players zip around very tight turns at near top speed, including those greater than 90 degrees. By applying an air-brake, the turn tends to start out gradual but as it continues, it violently increases the change in direction. Where necessary, the player may also use dual air-brakes for rapid deceleration, typically used if the pilot has flown off the racing line in tight corners and needs to steady. Due to the unfamiliarity of controls and relentless succession of tight turns at high speeds, many took a long time to get used to handling the craft, but for those that persevered, it offered great rewards.
Aside from the usual tactical aspects of racing, Wipeout 2097, (unlike its predecessor) offered the chance to eliminate competition (or at least subdue them temporarily) by the use of weapons. Each craft had a shield energy quota, and when this quota reached zero—either from damage sustained from weapon attacks, or impact from other craft or the edges of the circuit—the craft would blow up. The craft would also blow up if a certain time limit was not reached, though this only applied to human players. The biggest weapon introduced in 2097 was the Quake Disruptor which has been a series hall mark ever since. This weapon cause a quake to thrust a destructive wave down the track that dunks the crafts it smash into.
The aim of the game was simple: Complete various and increasingly difficult challenges in order to move onto the next one. Changing the difficulty level was simply that of upping the top speed of the craft, through four different levels (Vector, Venom, Rapier, Phantom). The number of laps needed to complete a race also increased with each new level.
Victory in the challenge modes were the game's ultimate accomplishment. These modes are similar to a Championship where players have to race every track to become champion, however, rather than tallying up points, Challenge mode took a very single player centric approach by only allowing progress to the next track by winning the current track (not coming first meant it had to be repeated). Players could lose the mode by losing all 3 lives, which are lost by coming worse than 3rd. By winning all the races, the player is crowned champion and given access to faster modes, new tracks and ultimately the Piranha craft.
Wipeout 2097 moved the franchise forward, introducing vastly improved graphics over the original, many more tracks and more innovative track designs, and new teams and craft. The game also featured the new ability to actually damage your opponent's racing craft instead of merely stalling them as in the original game, and even potentially blowing them up and therefore removing them from the race and lessening the number of opponents. The player can also take on damage from enemy fire and be blown up, but the ship can be "recharged" to health at the pit stop in exchange for a precious few seconds of the race. Added to this new tactical combat element is an array of new weapons in addition to the ones established in the first game, such as the Quake Disruptor (which sent a ripple down the track) that became instant fan favourites. To cater for the increase in Wipeout players, an easier learning curve was introduced whilst keeping the difficulty at top end for the experienced gamers.
The Designers Republic returned to work on the visual style and artwork, as they did in the previous game. Music artists contributing to the in-game soundtrack included The Prodigy, The Future Sound of London, Chemical Brothers, Fluke and Underworld. There was also a popular soundtrack album. An entire nightclub tour was also initiated in conjunction with Red Bull energy drink, which was featured prominently throughout the game, before the drink actually gained popularity in the American market.
The songs of the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and the Windows versions could also be listened to by inserting the CD into a CD player (and skipping the first track). The soundtrack was also released as a music-only CD, though with a different artist and track listing.
- Track listing PlayStation version
|1.||"We Have Explosive" (from Dead Cities, 1996)||Garry Cobain, Brian Dougans||The Future Sound of London||5:53|
|2.||"Landmass"||Garry Cobain, Brian Dougans||The Future Sound of London||4:29|
|3.||"Atom Bomb (Straight 6 Instrumental Mix)"||Fluke||Fluke||5:33|
|5.||"Dust up Beats"||Ed Simons, Tom Rowlands||The Chemical Brothers||6:07|
|6.||"Loops of Fury" (from Loops of Fury, 1996)||Ed Simons, Tom Rowlands||The Chemical Brothers||4:41|
|7.||"The Third Sequence" (from The Third Sequence / Titan, 1996)||Rupert Parkes||Photek||4:48|
|8.||"Tin There (Underworld Edit)" (from Pearl's Girl, 1996)||Darren Emerson, Rick Smith||Underworld||6:08|
|9.||"Firestarter (Instrumental)" (from Firestarter, 1996)||Liam Howlett, Keith Flint||The Prodigy||4:39|
|10.||"Canada"||Tim Wright||Cold Storage||6:14|
|11.||"Body in Motion"||Tim Wright||Cold Storage||5:14|
Track listing Saturn/Windows versions (with different track order)
- CoLD SToRAGE: "Canada"
- CoLD SToRAGE: "Body in Motion"
- CoLD SToRAGE: "Kinkong"
- CoLD SToRAGE: "Plasticity"
- CoLD SToRAGE: "Messij Xtnd"
- CoLD SToRAGE: "Tenation"
- CoLD SToRAGE: "Surgeon"
- CoLD SToRAGE: "Hakapik Murder"
- CoLD SToRAGE: "Messij Received"
- CoLD SToRAGE: "Body Plus" (Saturn exclusive)
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The game received considerable praise for its technically challenging racing and fusion of popular culture elements. Many sources cite the unique blend of techno music and designer logos in one cohesive futuristic racing universe as the beginning of a new trend in gaming to tap into popular culture and other arts, which was made possible by the new storage space of the time.
In 1996, Next Generation ranked it as the 32nd top game of all time for how "playing linked Wipeout comes close to gaming at its very best," noting that the game "could very well be a technology demo for PlayStation." In 1997, PSM named it as the fifth top PlayStation game yet. In IGN's top 25 PSX games of all time list it ranked 13th, noted for being often considered the PlayStation's best racing game of its time and was chosen ahead of others in the series because its the one they prefer to keep coming back to. It ranks as the fourth best PSX game at GameRankings with an average review score of 94.61% from 9 different sources.
- Official PlayStation Magazine - Australia: 10 out of 10 (100%)
- Official UK PlayStation Magazine: 9 out of 10 (90%)
- IGN: 9.0 out of 10 (90%) (PlayStation version reviewed)
- GameSpot: 8.5 out of 10 (85%) (PlayStation version reviewed)
- GameSpot: 7.1 out of 10 (71%) (PC version reviewed)
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