Review by Valgar

Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 11/01/99

Saturn's second best racer is superior to the Playstation version

Wipeout was one of the very first big games for the Sony Playstation, and really put the system on the map, and made Sony glad to have a powerhouse like Psygnosis in their corner. However, through a contract loophole, Psygnosis was able to release a Saturn version of Wipeout. Many thought, however, that the Saturn wouldn't be able to handle the game, due to its supposedly inferior hardware. However, this proved to be incorrect, and the Saturn version of Wipeout is actually superior to the PSX version. How, you say? I'll explain.

The Saturn version of Wipeout was developed by Tantalus (also responsible for Saturn Manx TT) instead of by Psygnosis in-house. Wipeout is a futuristic racing game, taking place over a variety of courses on different planets. The courses are extremely well designed, and they feel like roller coaster tracks due to the dizzying climbs, drops, and jumps. There are also arrows on the trackthat give you a speed boost, and weapons such as rockets, missiles, energy shields, and turbo boosts. The idea, of course, is to come in first after three laps, then move on to the next track. There are two classes: the Venom class for beginners, and the Rapier class for experts, which moves faster and has better AI and more competetive races.

The graphics are the only area of Wipeout that I find inferior to the Playstation version. The main difference is in the transparencies, which the Saturn version lacks. This is most easily seen in the missile trails and especially the energy shield. The impressive lighting of the Playstation version is faked, and actually works pretty well. The one advantage the Saturn version has is the lack of texture seams, which seemed to be a problem in the early generation of Playstation games.

The sound is almost identical to the Playstation version, just not as high quality. However, the music is exactly the same, a rocking group of techno songs that fit the action perfectly (and demand a listen outside of the game, as well.)

The control of this game will take a lot of getting used to, as the "floaty" feel is unlike any game that has come before it. The biggest problem in starting out is frequent collision with the walls, which saps your speed almost too quickly. You need to get used to the combination of using your air brakes and slowing to avoid repeatedly slamming the walls. Once you do, however, this game becomes incredibly addictive, and you'll replay the game over and over, shooting for that perfect time.

The massive advantage this game has over the Playstation version is in the control. It is much, much more responsive (that may have something to do with the superior controller, but I think it's the programming) and easier to avoid hitting the walls. The Saturn version is also notably faster, which makes the game that much more exciting.

The bottom line is, I've owned both versions of this game, and I prefer the Saturn version over the Playstation version because of the speed and control (however, both versions are great.) This game ranks right behind Sega Rally as my favorite Saturn racer. Pick it up.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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