Wipeout 2097

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Wipeout 2097/Wipeout XL
Developer(s) Psygnosis
Publisher(s) Psygnosis
Series Wipeout
Platform(s) PlayStation, MS-DOS, Windows, Sega Saturn, AmigaOS, Mac OS
Release date(s) PlayStation
  • NA 30 September 1996
  • EU October 1996
  • JP 8 November 1996
  • EU 31 July 1997
  • NA 31 July 1997
Sega Saturn
  • EU 18 September 1997
  • JP 5 March 1998
Mac OS
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single player, two-player (via PlayStation Link Cable), multiplayer (via IPX, TCP/IP, modem, or null modem)
Distribution CD

Wipeout 2097 (released as Wipeout XL in the US; stylised wipE'out" 2097) is a 1996 futuristic racing game developed and published by Psygnosis. It is the second instalment released in the Wipeout series, and was released a year after the original game in the series. It was originally released in 1996 for the PlayStation and PCs running MS-DOS, and in 1997 for the Sega Saturn. It was later ported to the Amiga in 1999 and Mac OS in 2002.

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 Sega Saturn version supported analogue control by using the optional 3D Control Pad, whereas the PlayStation version supported analogue control by using the optional Negcon twist controller (as on debut release of the series).

The game received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the game for its unique blend of techno music and designer logos and cited that Wipeout 2097 was the beginning of a new trend in gaming to tap into popular culture and other arts. IGN ranked the game as the 13th best PlayStation game of all time in 2002.


Gameplay from the PlayStation version of the game

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, to finish in the highest position possible. To help them achieve this end, weapons were provided.

Though the Crafts move at very high straight-line 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 starts out gradually but as it continues, change in direction increases sharply. 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.[1]

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.[2] 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 to move on to the next one. Changing the difficulty level was simply that of upping the top speed of the craft, through four different classes (Vector, Venom, Rapier, Phantom). The number of laps needed to complete a race also increased with each new class.

Victory in the challenge modes was the game's ultimate accomplishment.[2] 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 three lives, which are lost by finishing a race in worse than third position. By winning all the races, the player is crowned champion and given access to faster modes, new tracks and ultimately the Piranha craft.[1]


As with the first instalment, Wipeout 2097 was developed by Liverpudlian developer Psygnosis and the promotional art was designed by Sheffield-based The Designers Republic. 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 eliminating 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5][6][7] 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.[8]


Similar to the first game, new music was mostly recorded from Psygnosis's in-house music team, CoLD SToRAGE.[9] The songs of the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and the Windows and Mac 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 an audio CD, though with a different artist and track listing.[10]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 94.75%[13]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 8/10[12]
IGN 9/10[1]

The game received considerable praise for its technically challenging racing and fusion of popular culture elements. Many critics praised 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.[3]

GameSpot gave the PlayStation version of Wipeout XL (as it is known in North America) a rating 8.6 out of 10, saying that the game "redefined the whole 'racing' generation, but [XL] took it to the next level". They also cited that the game improved on the gameplay, noting that the original had "everything but the gameplay".[11] IGN gave the PlayStation version a higher score of 9 out of 10 (90%), citing that "[Wipepout XL] marks the return of the popular futuristic racer to the PlayStation" and praised its new options and its new in-game physics, making the gameplay "more enjoyable".[1] In 1996, Next Generation ranked Wipeout 2097 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 demonstration for PlayStation."[14] Edge gave both the PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions a score of 8 out of 10, praising similar remarks of its improved graphics and its gameplay.[12][3]

In 1997, The Official PlayStation Magazine (PSM) named it as the fifth top PlayStation game yet.[15] In IGN's top 25 PlayStation 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 Wipeout 2097 was "the one they preferred to keep coming back to".[16] It ranks as the fourth best PlayStation game at GameRankings with an average review score of 94.75% from ten different sources.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d IGN staff writers (26 November 1996). "Wipeout XL". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Haas, Sean (3 August 2011). "The weaPons of wipEout (Part 1)". Visual Attack Formation. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Edge staff writers (24 February 2013). "The Making Of: Wipeout". Edge. Future plc. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Wipeout XL". GameFAQs. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Various – wipEout 2097". Discogs. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Cold Storage – wipEout 2097". Discogs. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cold Storage – wipEout 2097". Discogs. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Bussler, Mark (24 October 2010). "Wipeout 2097 – Sega Saturn". Classic Game Room. Inecom. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Hickman, Sam (March 1996). "The Thrill of the Chase!". Sega Saturn Magazine (Emap International Limited) (5): 36–43. 
  10. ^ "Various – Wipeout 2097: The Soundtrack". Discogs. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Gerstmann, Jeff (26 August 1997). "Wipeout XL Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Edge staff (24 August 1995). "Wipeout Review". Edge. Future plc. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Wipeout 2097". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  14. ^ Next Generation (21): 63. September 1996. 
  15. ^ Staff writers (September 1997). "Top 25 PlayStation Games of All Time". PlayStation: The Official Magazine (Future plc) 1 (1): 34. 
  16. ^ IGN staff writers (22 January 2002). "Top 25 Games of All Time: Complete List". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 22 August 2014.