|Developer(s)||Sony Studio Liverpool|
|Designer(s)||Sony Studio Liverpool
Wipeout Fusion is a 2002 racing video game that has been the only original release of the Wipeout series of racing games for PlayStation 2 (Wipeout Pulse for PSP was ported to the system in 2009). Players compete in the F9000 anti-gravity racing league, which is set in the year 2160.
The game introduces the player to the F9000 Anti-Gravity Race League, which 6 years later after its "opening" in 2156 would be revamped. From that time, Anti-Gravity Racing was given mostly mixed reactions despite getting more aggressive. Tracks are changed somewhat from previous Wipeout games. Each track in Fusion is now a group of 3 tracks, each of which can be run in forward or reverse mode. Many tracks also contain a "trackless" section, generally a wide tree- or boulder-strewn field which offers several paths for pilots, making navigation tricky. Several tracks feature split sections, in which there are multiple paths for players to follow. A few tracks also contain shortcuts, which are hidden behind false walls, or require a turbo boost power-up to successfully navigate.
The basic single-race and league modes are still the core of the game, and the two-player split screen mode is continued from Wipeout 3. The single race mode, called Arcade mode, is used to unlock new tracks. When a player wins a gold on a given track, either another course in that same track group, or another group of tracks, is unlocked. AG League mode has had some changes to it from previous Wipeout titles: instead of having league challenges which encompass the entire set of tracks in sequence, there is a progression of leagues, each with a selection of between 3 and 7 tracks. The outcome of each race is scored by points, which are awarded for both finish order and eliminations. Total points determine the winner of the league. A win on a given league challenge unlocks the next (more difficult) league, or in some cases, a personal challenge against one of the pilots of a new team. Beating a pilot's challenge unlocks the team for which that pilot flies.
Challenge mode, which was introduced in Wipeout 64 has been enhanced in Fusion. Each team has its own set of 6 challenges, selected from race, time, or elimination. Each challenge must be completed with a medal to unlock the next challenge in the sequence, and the final challenge for a team must be unlocked with a gold medal in each of the other challenges.
Fusion features an increase in the use of weapons; weapon pads are more plentiful, and the AI pilots seem quite a bit more aggressive with weaponry than in previous Wipeout incarnations. New weapons have been added to the game, including the proton cannon, grav stinger, flamethrower, and gravity bomb, as well as super weapons. Each team possess their own super weapon, which becomes available for that team's pilots when player obtains special super weapon licence, awarded by completing that team specific challenges in the Challenge mode. Some of the weapons have also been modified (the 5 mines are now dropped individually, instead of in a single-fire sequence), and many weapons which normally fire forward may now be fired backward; in particular, the quake disruptor, a weapon that previously could only be fired forward, may be fired to the rear.
Another fairly large change from previous Wipeout titles is the addition of ship upgrades. AG League races, in addition to points, also net the player credits based on performance in race (finishing order), damage (to other players), skill, and time. These credits are used to upgrade the top speed, thrust (acceleration), lateral stability, brake force, weapon power, and shield strength of a single ship. The upgraded ship is available in Arcade mode as well, though is only available to the pilot whose ship it is; the other pilot on a team must have his/her ship upgraded separately. Upgraded ships are not used in Challenge mode; each challenge is played with the basic unmodified craft.
The in-game branding and menus were designed by Good Technology rather than The Designers Republic, who had worked on all of the previous titles.
A new and popular mode called Zone mode has become a hit with fans. The goal of this mode is to drive as many laps as possible on a track while the speed of the player's ship is slowly increasing; when the ship's energy shield is destroyed, the game is over.
Only three teams that were featured in Wipeout 3 make a return appearance in Wipeout Fusion (except AG Systems and Qirex) - FEISAR, Auricom, and Piranha.
This is the first, and so far only, Wipeout game that features two individual pilots for each team since the original instalment.
The player initially only has access to the first three teams. The rest are unlocked by winning one-on-one races with the second pilot of that team during AG League mode.
- FEISAR (European Consortium)
Lead Pilot: Daniel Johnson (GBR), a much-hyped, first year pilot who has just signed the largest rookie contract in FEISAR history.
Second Pilot: Carlos Beneto (BRA), a veteran of over fifteen seasons who has been demoted from lead pilot in favour of popular rookie Daniel Johnson.
- Van-Uber Racing Developments (Germany)
Lead Pilot: Songen Grey (USA), the founder of a religion known as "Gangoism". Grey is contemplating retirement at the end of the season.
Second Pilot: Nami Mishima (JPN), a massively popular pilot often compared to the F3600 legend Arial Tetsuo, but has frequently been the victim of several sabotage attacks.
- G-Tech Systems (Japan)
Lead Pilot: Roberto Sergio (ITA), a former FEISAR pilot famous for his physical fitness and prior romantic links to notable female pilots in the league.
Second Pilot: Naomi Turner (GBR), a long-time pilot prospect for AG Systems (which was later bought out by G-Tech) noted for her bitter hatred of reiging World Champion, Natasha Belmondo.
- Auricom Research Industries (North America)
Lead Pilot: Pascale Rouser (GER), Pascale Rouser rarely speaks, preferring to let her racing prowess speak for her. She has made an excellent lead pilot for Auricom over recent seasons, but she has begun to make frequent outbursts about the behaviour of Omarr Khumala from Tigron.
Second Pilot: Franco Gonzalez (ESP), Franco Gonzalez met his lead pilot, Pascale Rouser, while she was touring Barcelona in the early 2150's, and they have since become one of the closest pilot partnerships in the F9000 league. While they insist they are 'just good friends' a movie file circulating the college campuses of the USA, allegedly stolen from a recent 'training tour' aboard a private yacht, would suggest otherwise.
- EG.r Technologies (China)
Lead Pilot: Paul Cheung
Second Pilot: Alex Reece
- Tigron Enterprises (Russia)
- Xios International (Finland)
- Piranha Advancements (Brazil)
- Amethyst - "Blue Funk"
- Blades & Naughty G - "Beats Defective"
- Braniac - "Neuro"
- BT - "Smartbomb" (Plump DJs remix)
- Cut La Roc - "Bassheads"
- Elite Force - "Krushyn"
- Elite Force & Nick Ryan - "Switchback"
- Future Sound Of London - "Papua New Guinea" (Hybrid Mix)
- Humanoid - "Stakker Humanoid 2001" (Plump DJs 2001 retouch)
- JDS - "Punk Funk"
- Luke Slater - "Bolt Up"
- Plump DJs - "Big Groovy Funker"
- Timo Maas - "Old School Vibes"
- Utah Saints - "Sick"
- Nightmares on Wax - "Bleu My Mind (Wipe Mix)" (menu music)
- Official PlayStation 2 Magazine UK: 9 out of 10 (90%)
- IGN: 9.0 out of 10 (90%)
- GameSpot: 7.3 out of 10 (73%)
- Edge (magazine): 5 out of 10 (50%)