Wipeout 3

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Wipeout 3
Wipeout3.png
PAL region box art
Developer(s) Psygnosis
Publisher(s) Psygnosis
Designer(s) Psygnosis, The Designers Republic
Writer(s) Russell Coburn (manual)
Series Wipeout
Platform(s) PlayStation
Release date(s) Wipeout 3
  • EU 8 September 1999
  • NA 30 September 1999[1]
  • JP 3 February 2000
Special Edition
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer (split screen, link)
Distribution CD-ROM

Wipeout 3, released in Europe and Japan as Wip3out, is a futuristic racing video game developed and published by Psygnosis exclusively for the Sony PlayStation. The title is the fourth game in the Wipeout series, and was released in Europe and North America in September 1999. It was the first game to be released by Psygnosis's Leeds studio.[3] The game was re-released in Europe as Wipeout 3: Special Edition in August 2000. Players control extremely fast anti-gravity ships and use weapons to force other contenders out of the race.

Developer Psygnosis hired design studio The Designers Republic to create a simple colour scheme and design for in-game menus and race courses, to create what a Psygnosis staff member called "a believable future".[4] The game is one of the few PlayStation titles to run in high-resolution mode, offering crisper graphics and visuals, and also notable for having a widescreen correction option.[5] Wipeout 3 '​s soundtrack is composed of electronica tracks selected by DJ Sasha and features contributions by Orbital and The Chemical Brothers.

The game was positively received on release; critics lauded the graphics, music, and minimalist design elements. The high level of difficulty, perceived lack of new content and courses, and lack of new game features were seen as the game's primary faults. Despite generally good press, the game was a financial disappointment. Wipeout 3 was the last title in the series to appear on the PlayStation; the next entry, Wipeout Fusion, was released exclusively for the PlayStation 2 platform in 2002.

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot of Wipeout 3, showing the player's head-up display and racing craft

Wipeout 3 is a racing game that retains the same basic elements of its predecessors, and introduces players to the F7200 Anti-Gravity Race League. Set in 2116, Players control futuristic anti-gravity ships owned by racing corporations and pilot them on eight circuits (plus four hidden prototype tracks). Each craft is equipped with an energy shield that absorbs damage sustained on the track; if the shield is disabled, the player's craft can be knocked out of the race. Shields are regenerated in a pit lane that is set apart from the main course. The less time spent in the pit lane, the less the shield will regenerate.[6]

In addition to shields, each racing craft contains air brakes for navigating tight corners, as well as a "hyper-boost" option. Players can activate the hyper-boost to increase their speed, but the boost drains energy from the shields, making the craft more vulnerable.[7] Using special speed pads on the course allows players to increase their speed without resorting to the boost.

Scattered across each raceway are weapon grids that bestow random power-ups or items. Wipeout 3 adds new weapons in addition to the five retained from previous games.[8] Several weapons are defensive; for example, the gravity shield protects the craft from attacks and collisions for a time period. Offensive weapons are also available; craft can use rockets, missiles and mines to disable competitors. Players can use an auto-pilot power-up to safely coast through difficult turns.[7]

The default game mode awards medals to the top three finishing hovercraft. Each contestant must reach checkpoints on the course within a certain amount of time, or be ejected from the race. Winning consecutive gold medals unlocks new circuits and hovercraft.[6] Wipeout 3 features several other game modes, including challenges to complete courses in a set time.[7] In the "Eliminator" mode, players gain points for destroying competitors and finishing laps. The "Tournament" mode has players compete on several tracks, with points being awarded on race placement.[9] Players can engage in two-player racing via a split-screen option.

Development[edit]

In developing the next entry in the Wipeout series, developer Psygnosis retained many of the developers of the original game to preserve the distinctive racing experience of earlier games.[10] At the same time, Psygnosis sought to make the game more accessible to new players of the fast-paced racer, and kept early courses easier for these players; the difficulty was adjusted for later courses so that experts still experienced a challenge.[10] Wipeout 3 was the first Wipeout game to take advantage of PlayStation controllers with analogue sticks, used to offer smoother control of the player's craft.[7]

Psygnosis turned to the graphic design studio The Designers Republic to assist in development. The Designers Republic, known for its underground techno album covers, provided "visual candy" to Wipeout 3 '​s graphics, designing the game's icons, billboards, color schemes, and custom typefaces.[4] The look and feel of the futuristic courses was bounded by a desire to retain a believable sensibility; Wipeout 3 lead artist Nicky Westcott said that "[Psygnosis] tried to make it look like a believable future, instead of making the sky toxic orange with 10 moons flying around and the world gone mad. It's very low-key [and] a lot more refined."[4] Wipeout 3 '​s graphics were improved over previous games in the series.

Music[edit]

Wipeout 3, continuing the tradition set by the first game, contains electronica offerings from various artists, including The Chemical Brothers, Orbital, and the Propellerheads. Psygnosis' development manager, Enda Carey, focused on bringing together music early in the game's development cycle, instead of as an afterthought or last-minute addition to the game.[11] Unlike previous soundtracks, Psygnosis selected a single music director, DJ Sasha, who worked with artists to create a cohesive soundtrack.[11] Sasha included several of his own tracks made specifically for the game. The game disc is a Mixed Mode CD that allows Wipeout 3 '​s soundtrack to be played in a standard compact disc player. To promote Wipeout 3 and its game music, Psygnosis sponsored a Global Underground tour for Sasha.[12] Game pods featuring Wipeout 3 were placed at parties and venues, accompanied by a tie-in marketing campaign.[12]

Reception[edit]

Wip3out
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 87%[19]
Metacritic 89%[18]
Review scores
Publication Score
Famitsu 30/40[13]
GamePro 5/5[14]
Game Revolution 8.3/10[17]
GameSpot 8.3/10[15]
IGN 9.1/10[16]

Overall, critical reception of Wipeout 3 was positive; the game has an aggregate average of 87% based on 29 reviews at Game Rankings, and a metascore of 89 at Metacritic.[18][19] IGN named Wipeout 3 the most accessible game of the series, and in 2007 the title was named the 92nd best game by the site.[20] Despite generally positive reviews of the game, Wipeout 3 was not a commercial success.[21]

The fast-paced gameplay and graphics were singled out as strong features of the game.[16] Jack Schofield of The Guardian was surprised by the level of detail, stating that the "graphics are better than you'd expect the [PlayStation] to deliver".[22] Both GamePro and Game Revolution reviewers praised the new game features, specifically the new weapons and ability to challenge friends via splitscreen.[14][17] The Designer Republic's style was consistently praised as helping to make the racing locales seem real,[17] though David Goldfarb of the magazine International Design stated that the "techno-meets-Nihonpop-art visuals" had been executed better in previous entries of the series.[23] Wipeout 3 '​s soundtrack and sound effects were also lauded.[16][24]

A major fault reviewers found with Wipeout 3 was the steep learning curve of the game. David Canter of The San Diego Union-Tribune described the difficulty progression as "ludicrous", with the tournament game mode going from "easy as pie to tough as nails".[7][14][25] Though the use of the analogue stick was positively noted as helping to increase control over the onscreen craft,[15] GamePro found that proper handling required large amounts of patience and practice.[14]

Reviewers who gave Wipeout 3 lower marks noted a sense of disappointment that the series broke little new ground.[21] Stuart Miles of The Times admitted Wipeout 3 was a good game, but felt that he had been expecting much more from the sequel: "It's as if the programmers have concerned themselves more with the overall look and feel, rather than further developing the existing gameplay."[8] Alistair Wallace of Gamasutra, in a retrospective on Wipeout 2097, remembered that "I enjoyed [Wipeout 3] because it was more of the same and I loved it, but I think the series ran out of its innovation. Doing loop the loops isn't a big deal really."[26] GameSpot summed up its review of the game by judging Wipeout 3 an excellent racer, but not able to beat Wipeout 2097 as the best futuristic racing game of all time.[15]

Re-release and sequel[edit]

A special edition of Wipeout 3 was released exclusively in Europe on 14 July 2000.[2] Wipeout 3 Special Edition featured many minor changes to gameplay, such as different craft physics, auto-loading of saves and AI bugfixes. In addition, eight courses from previous Wipeout titles (three from Wipeout and five from Wipeout 2097) plus two hidden prototype circuits previously only available in the Japanese version of Wipeout 3, were added giving total of 22 tracks.[27] Special Edition also allowed for four-person multiplayer, using two televisions and two PlayStation consoles.[28] Wipeout 3 was the last game in the series made for the PlayStation. The next entry in the Wipeout series, entitled Wipeout Fusion, was released in 2002 exclusively for the PlayStation 2. The game introduced new tracks, ships, and weaponry, as well as enhanced artificial intelligence.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tactical Surveillance: WipEout 3 (PS)". Gamespy. Retrieved 21 June 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Game Summary: Wip3out Special Edition". GameSpot. Retrieved 29 July 2008. 
  3. ^ Retro Gamer issue 102, April 2012, page 68, article: Racing By Design: The Complete History of WipEout
  4. ^ a b c Herz, J. C. (26 September 1999). "The Game as Elegant Fashion Statement". The New York Times. p. G4. 
  5. ^ http://www.absolute-playstation.com/api_review/rwipeout3b.htm
  6. ^ a b Psygnosis (2001). "Wipeout 3 > Game > Gameplay". Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Retrieved 22 June 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Canter, David (26 October 1999). "Wipeout 3 by Psygnosis". The San Diego Union-Tribune. p. 19. 
  8. ^ a b Miles, Stuart (1 September 1999). "Not quite a Wipeout, but...". The Times. p. 8. 
  9. ^ Psygnosis (2001). "Wipeout 3 > Game > Modes". Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Retrieved 22 June 2008. 
  10. ^ a b Perry, Douglass (26 August 1999). "Wipeout 3 Preview". IGN. Retrieved 23 June 2008. 
  11. ^ a b Psygnosis (12 July 1999). "The Return of the Game That Kickstarted an Era; Psygnosis Announces Complete Band Lineup for Wipeout 3". Business Wire. p. 1. 
  12. ^ a b Staff (1 July 1999). "Psygnosis and DJ Sasha Begin the Summer Groove". IGN. Retrieved 2 July 2008. 
  13. ^ プレイステーション - WIP3OUT (ワイプアウト3). Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.23. 30 June 2006.
  14. ^ a b c d Staff (1 January 2000). "Review: Wipeout 3". GamePro. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2008. 
  15. ^ a b c Fielder, Joe (27 September 1999). "Wipeout 3 for PlayStation: Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 1 June 2008. 
  16. ^ a b c Sanchez, Rick (24 September 1999). "Wipeout 3 Review". IGN. Retrieved 23 June 2008. 
  17. ^ a b c Staff (1 October 1999). "Game Revolution Review: Wip3out". Game Revolution. Retrieved 12 June 2008. 
  18. ^ a b "WipEout 3 (psx: 1999): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 12 June 2008. 
  19. ^ a b "Wipeout 3 - PS". Game Rankings. Retrieved 20 April 2008. 
  20. ^ Staff (2007). "IGN's Top 100 Games: #92". IGN. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  21. ^ a b Salgado, Carlos (1 March 2001). "Hall of Fame: Wipeout". Gamespy. Retrieved 30 July 2008. 
  22. ^ Scholfield, Jack (2 September 1999). "Games review: Ripe wipe". The Guardian. p. 6. 
  23. ^ Goldfarb, David (November 1999). "Wipeout 3". International Design 46 (7): 112. 
  24. ^ Mitchell, John (20 September 1999). "Tripping out on a wicked race experience". Daily News (New York). p. 4. 
  25. ^ Cheung, Kevin (27 September 1999). "WipEout 3 Review". Gaming Age. Archived from the original on 7 May 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2008. 
  26. ^ Wallace, Alistair (14 May 2007). "Desert Island Games: Creative Assembly's Dan Toose (Medieval II: Total War)". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 24 June 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2008. 
  27. ^ "WipEout 3: Special Edition Game Profile". IGN. Retrieved 29 July 2008. 
  28. ^ Staff (August 2000). "Wipeout 3 Special Edition". Official UK PlayStation Magazine 1 (61). 
  29. ^ Staff (21 March 2002). "BAM! Continues To Bring European PlayStation 2 Titles To North America". GameZone. Retrieved 24 July 2008. [dead link]

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