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Wipeout 64 – N64

Wipeout 64 – N64

 

maxresdefault (1)Platform: Nintendo 64

Developer: Psygnosis

Publisher: Midway Games

Release Date (NA): November 13, 1998

Genre: Racing

Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10

 

The first time I ever played a Wipeout game was at Giant Metal Zorio’s house and we played Wipeout XL on the PlayStation.  Even in the mid-late ’90s that game took forever to load!  The sound was phenomenal and the graphics were AMAZING!  I STILL find the graphics to be quite superb compared to most other PlayStation games.  One truly great thing about Wipeout 64 is NO LOAD TIMES!  I am so happy about this!  I played Wipeout XL a few months back and thought I was going to die with all the loading scenes. During the first load scene, I started beating my chest like Mark Whalberg in FEAR and I tried to press charges against Psygnosis and Midway but didn’t really get anywhere at the police station.

wipeout 64 gameplay screenshot

Wipeout 64 is part of the Wipeout series which focuses on exceptionally fast futurist racing on difficult tracks with some power-ups and weaponry at hand.  This game pales in comparison to Wipeout 2048 on the Playstation Vita, which is amazing considering how small the Vita really is, but it also stands out on its own as a strong entry in the Wipeout franchise.

wipeout 64 splitscreenIn Wipeout 64 you navigate an anti-gravity race craft around some of the world’s most difficult race tracks, all while negotiating tight turns, enemies attempting to decimate you, and maintaining the lead to be the best (and still alive) racer among the group.  Set to an upbeat and very appropriate techno soundtrack, Wipeout 64 takes the original two Wipeout games to all new levels and provides the player with some of the most intense and realistic feelings of extreme speed of any game up to this point (yes, it holds its own very well against F-Zero X).

Wipeout 64 offers up all new levels, albeit in the same city streets and forest race tracks as the previous installments.  The basic menu options are still available and there is no update in the offerings here.

  • Challenge ModeA career mode in which the player will attempt to win every race in the circuit and hopefully unlock some new tracks or race crafts!  This one starts off a little difficult but once you get used to the controls, it can prove to be quite addicting!  – Within Challenge there are 3 modes: RACE, TIME TRIAL, and WEAPON.  Weapon provides the player with 6 different challenges, typically where the game puts a “bounty” on some enemies you need to destroy and it tells you which weapons you are allowed to use.  It’s actually pretty fun.  Kill the right amount and earn a gold, silver, or bronze trophy.
  • Single RaceThis one is just like it sounds.  You will race once and then it’s all over (unless you want to race again, and you can retry).
  • Time Trial In time trial you will race a track with no opponents and you will try to beat your lap scores and overall scores on whichever tracks you choose.
  • Multiplayer This is a chance for some trash talk and an opportunity to test your wit and strength against your BIGGEST opponent… that douchey friend sitting next to you!  It’s a very nice mode to play but still lacks the depth and challenge of the Challenge Mode.

These game modes are strikingly identical to Wipeout XL, and one would think that they would provide something new.  But if it’s not wipeout 64 rear lockbroken, then don’t fix it, right?  I would have to agree on this one, even if it DOES feel like the same old game.  The graphics in this game are slightly superior to those of Wipeout XL (some might disagree, but the frame-rate is undeniably exceptional), yet the sound and music is slightly inferior to Wipeout XL (gotta love that CD audio quality!).  Not to mention that not having a 20 minute load time will help you keep your sanity!

One of the wonderful things about Wipeout 64 is the WEAPONS CHALLENGE mode. It helps keep the game from tiring out as just a “racer”. It gives the player an opportunity to fine-tune their weapons accuracy and get to understand the weapons system better.  I enjoyed it quite a bit, even if it did get a little too difficult for me to get much further.  Of all the modes though, even over weapons challenge and multiplayer, I found myself really getting deep into the RACE CHALLENGE aspect of the game!

Wipeout 64 is truly still a fun game!  The graphics are somewhat outdated, and oftentimes 3D graphics from this era suffer miserably from the pure comparison to today’s current games!  Yes, while this game might fail to have better graphics than a game on your cell phone, these graphics were completely jaw-dropping in 1998!  When I play it now, my jaw still drops because I say “How can this be?! This game is 15 years old and it looks this good still?!”  It’s true.  But don’t just take my word for it… go find out for yourself. You’ll be pleased.

In race challenge, the difficulty level is evident from the start.  In order to be successful in this game, precision controls on those hairpin turns are a necessity as one little tap on the racetrack’s edge and your hovercraft will come to a near stop!  This is frustrating and can take you from 1st to 6th place in no time!  Fear not ye racer nerds!  With a simple tap, press, or hold of the Z button and your hovercraft will pitch and yaw, giving you some much needed control for those tight turns! Technically R and Z are right and left breaks respectively but they lend this sort of pitch and yaw effect.

I find the button layout to be exceptionally well placed and moderately ergonomic.  You can’t afford to let off of the accelerator, so I place the joint of my thumb on the A button and sort of “swivel” it onto the B button to fire my weapons!  It’s a near flawless button layout. I love it. it’s simple and easy to use!  (See pictures below!)

photo 1 (6)photo 2 (6)

Each hovercraft has a health meter, and you can turn your enemy to dust with a good enough beating!  Or watch out, they can turn you into dust too.  On all stages there is an area where you can recharge your craft.  It’s rarely easy to get to and can often set you back a few spots in the pecking order, but if you’re running low on health, what choice do you have?  Too many knocks into the wall can straight up destroy your craft!

Wipeout_64Overall, Wipeout 64 is a GREAT installment in the simple, yet complex, Wipeout universe.  I really enjoy the sense of speed and that perfect futuristic feel (which is further enhanced by the appropriate techno music).  The button layout isn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s what we had to work with back in 1998.  So we took it as it was.  The joystick functions marvelously and allows for slight or hard turns, depending on your current need.  Wipeout 64 is a great example of a somewhat unique racing franchise not trying too hard to be something that it’s not.  Wipeout 64 is exactly what one would expect. It’s fun. It’s enjoyable.  How is the replay value?  The replay value is moderate to moderately high for me.  I would definitely pick this one back up again.

Check out The Cubist’s take on Wipeout 2048 for the Playstation Vita!

Written by Nerdberry

Nerdberry

What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.

 
 

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4 Comments

  1. man this WAS a sweet game. I’d love to see a Wipeout game in VR!

     
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  4. Pingback: F-Zero X – Nintendo 64

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