I know that Wipeout has one of those cult following things going for it, but I have never really understood why. I remember playing the demo on the disk that came with my PlayStation (has it really been almost 10 years?), but I did not think that much about the game at the time. Somehow I ended up with Wipeout and Wipeout XL, back in the day when I was addicted to “buying” games. Seriously.
At some I am sure I played the games, but they did not have a lasting impression. I even remember the carefully placed Red Bull advertisements before I had any idea what Red Bull was – some sort of drink, but what kind?
The point to this entry is that I have been going through my gaming library and selling things that I no longer “have” to own. I came across Wipeout and Wipeout XL last week and my oldest son asked about the games. I told him that we could play if he was got good marks for behavior at school and at home (no sassing mom!) this week. Today I made good on my promise.
Wipeout XL is a blast! I cannot believe that I missed out on this game. The graphics still hold up nicely; sure, they are not next generation quality or anything, but they are certainly not bad especially with the PS2 option to clean up PSX graphics. The level designs are superb, the overall atmosphere of the game (graphics, menus, stylistic approach, music, etc) is simply great. And now I understand the cult following thing – the gameplay is second to none for a futuristic racing game. I am impressed by the wide complement of ships, and the fact that each one actually behaves differently, which in turn requires different strategy.
It is always cool rediscovering an old classic, and it is even more rewarding to experience a new (or rather older) game for the first time. I have so many untapped games in my library that I have a feeling that there are plenty more hidden gems besides Wipeout XL.
Of course now I have to resist the temptation to just go and preorder the Wipeout game for the PSP, but if Wipeout XL (and hopefully the original Wipeout) hold a good deal of replay value then I think I may have to join that before mentioned cult.