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Ron Ridley Auto Care Mall

 
  Wipe Out XL
After seeing the ads for WipeOut XL in magazines and reading some reviews, my expectations for this game were quite high, and man, Psygnosis did not let me down. This anti gravity racing game is absolutely mind blowing and sets the standards for all other racing games to come.

Gameplay:

- The concept of the game is quite simple: anti gravity racing with assorted weapons to eliminate your competition. There are four different modes of play in WipeOut XL: Arcade mode, Time Trials, One on One, and a Link Up mode. The One on One and Link Up mode are both only usable if you have two PSX systems and a link cable. In the regular (arcade mode) game, you have four crafts to chose from, each varying in their thrust, top speed, turning ability, shield energy and aero dynamics, and six different tracks to race on, two from each of the racing classes (Vector, Venom and Rapier). Aggressiveness between competitors and their skill level increases as you move down through the three classes. Managing to place first in the Vector and Venom classes is pretty easy, but the Rapier class is a heck of a lot more challenging. And once you have placed first in all six circuits (or use the cheat codes), a new play mode becomes available called Challenge 1. This is basically a short season of racing in which you race all six tracks in Rapier class with only three continues. You are given a new race class, Phantom, with two new tracks when you place first on all six tracks in the Challenge 1. And placing first on those two new tracks will enable a Challenge 2 which is just like Challenge 1, but now you racing at Phantom class on all eight tracks. Simply insane! Placing first on the Challenge 2 will open up the a new Chinese experimental craft called Piranha that uses no weapons but has perfect speed and handling. Tearing down a straight stretch at top speed and then hitting a speed booster in the Piranha sled will make tears stream down the side of your face!

Your ship has a damage meter that displays your shields and when you run out of shields, your ship explodes...the race is over. Not only do you have to worry about losing shield strength from slamming into the wall or gliding gracelessly along it on a tight turn, but you must be wary of your computer controlled competitors who are just plain evil! They can pick up weapons just like you during the race and they will definitely use them. Whether they drop mines in front of you, or fire missiles, rockets, electric stuns from behind, they are there to take you out. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the announcer say “contender eliminated” after firing a Plasma Bolt at one of your competitors!

Graphics:

- At the high rate of speed that the game plays at it’s hard to believe that there is very little loss in the quality of the graphics. Winding your way through futuristic cities, industrial parks, snow capped mountains and lush green forests, some tracks even including such environmental effect as rain and snow, provide quite an immersive gaming experience. The many weapons at your disposal create some simply stunning special effects. My favorite was the Quake Disrupter which sends a ripple down the track in front of you...very cool! When you go through the pit stop, the energy waves that power up your ship pulsate like real electricity. They thought of everything to make anti gravity racing as real as possible and it truly draws you into the action. The only drawback to the game that I found was that there were only two perspectives from which to view your craft. It would have been nice to have a few more camera angles at your disposal other than the typical cockpit and behind the craft views.
Sound:
- Simply incredible! Unlike some other racing type games that have such whiny engine noises giving you a headache while you play, WOXL had the soft hum of an anti gravity hover engine. The futuristic/mechanical voice of the announcer was perfectly suited the game and the separate noises for when you bump or slam against the wall or another competitor were right on. The sound effects accompanied by the shower of sparks that were produced while scrape along the wall were very authentic and gave you the sensation you were actually flying along the track. Kudos to Psygnosis for getting some of the best European techno artists like The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Photek, Fluke, and F.S.O.L. to make the soundtrack for WOXL. The hardcore background music provides a perfect atmosphere for playing this fast paced game. I hope that other gaming companies will follow Psygnosis’ example and get actual bands to make their soundtracks.
Replay Value:

- I can’t say enough about the replay value of this game. Due to the increasing challenge of the different racing classes and all the new challenges that become available once you have mastered the initial six tracks make this game one that can be played over and over again. Even when you think you have mastered the Rapier class, all it takes is one bump against the wall to make you feel like a novice all over again.

Overall Comments:
- The control is smooth, the gameplay is fast, the music is awesome and the graphic are unbelievable. WipeOut XL is a must play for all Playstation owners.

Review ID Number: 509
  Product Details
Psygnosis
Review Date: 2001-04-19
Reviewer: Shawn Sardy
Rating: 10 out of 10
 
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