Newest Review: ... is quite disconcerting when entering what appears to be a short tunnel, and finding out it is longer than you thought. However, the PlaySta... more
The future of racing is here
Wipeout 64 (N64)
Member Name: andithegoose
Wipeout 64 (N64)
Date: 09/07/02, updated on 09/07/02 (40 review reads)
Advantages: Nice graphics, A classic game
Disadvantages: Some bluriness
To be honest, I had doubts about buying WipEout 64. The PlayStation versions were renowned for their crisp, clear graphics, and fantastic sound tracks. On the Nintendo 64, however, how would these graphics fare after the texture blurring process? And surely those soundtracks will disappear?
Wrong. Graphically, WipEout 64 is superior to both the original WipEout and WipEout 2097, although it looks nowhere near as good as the recent WipEout 3. The textures are crisp, and the frame rate is smooth. However, there is certainly a low polygon count at play, as many of the cliff faces and stadia look quite rectangular. Possibly the biggest issue with the graphics, though, is the awful pop-up. In WipEout 64's case, you can often see the track drawing itself up ahead, which is quite disconcerting when entering what appears to be a short tunnel, and finding out it is longer than you thought. However, the PlayStation versions also suffered dreadful pop-up, and so I feel obliged to ignore it for this conversion.
So, what about the sound? Amazingly, the music HAS remained intact. The Propellorheads and Fluke have both provided "proper" music to the game, and compression experts PC Music have also provided some. The quality is superb, mainly due to the large amount of compression on the cartridge. The compromise: there is actually a loading time while the music decompresses, and the output is in mono. Although the loading time is only about 5 seconds, it is all the more noticeable due to the "Please Wait" screen that appears. Speech is also used to introduce you to the track, and a countdown is provided by computerised voice (apparently done on an Amiga). A number of people have claimed that this voice is tacky, but compared to the voice-over in the original, it is actually pretty good.
With the graphics and sounds covered, then, it is time to look at the game play. And it's a beaut. Control is the main aspect where WipEout
64 succeeds. Analogue control means the game is easy to control, and the steering is a lot sharper than in the other versions. The game is also structured differently, with a special "challenge mode", where the choice of class, ship and course is decided for you. There are also different types of challenges, including Race, Time Trial and Weapons. Although the first two modes are great, Weapons mode does not come off as well as it should. Similar to the Death Race in F-Zero X, the objective is to destroy all your fellow racers with the variety of power-ups employed on the track. And, just like Death Race, it is nowhere near as good as the racing aspect of the game.
WipEout is hard, so it will last some time. There is also a multiplayer mode. Two player is excellent, but too much detail and speed is lost in four player to make it a viable alternative to the Mario Kart's and GoldenEye's of this world. I actually prefer this game to Nintendo's more popular F-Zero X, and as it is available for only £10, I seriously suggest you buy it. As someone who owns all the WipEout games, I think this comes a close second behind WipEout SE. That's high praise indeed.