Wipeout 64 is the third game in the Wipeout series and the only for the Nintendo 64. At the time of the game's release developers Psygnosis had been owned for 5 years by Sony Computer Entertainment, for whose hardware all subsequent Wipeout games have been released exclusively.
Set in 2098, just a year after Wipeout 2097, Wipeout 64 introduced several elements to the Wipeout series: analog control is embraced, thanks to the Nintendo 64's in-built analog stick, to the extent that digital control – familiar to players of the previous games – is disabled, even though the controller has a digital pad. Analog control left and right was only possible on previous games for owners of Namco's neGcon controller and owners of the PC versions which would make use of an analog stick if available.
Split-screen multiplayer makes an appearance for the first time, as does Challenge Mode – where the player has to complete sets of challenges in predefined classes and tracks by either getting the fastest time (Time Trial), the highest placing (Race), eliminating the most opponents (Weapon), or getting all these objectives altogether (Super Combo).
Wipeout 64 provides exactly the same weapons as Wipeout 2097 – down to the fact that craft fire three rockets at a time, and missiles can rear-lock using the same symbols to represent them. The exception being the Plasma Bolt which is incorporated into a new scheme of craft-specific Super Weapons (it becomes the Energy Sphere, exclusive to Auricom). These introduced devices such as cloaks and energy drains are later made fully available in Wipeout 3. Available in Wipeout 64 is an unlockable weapon power-up called the "Cyclone", obtained by completing all 6 Weapon Challenges. This power-up strengthens your weapons. There is also the inclusion of an elimination counter that gauges how many opponents were eliminated in a race by the player. This is what paved the way for the Eliminator mode introduced in Wipeout 3.
Most of the tracks in Wipeout 64 feature mirrored layouts of circuits from select tracks in Wipeout and Wipeout 2097, set in different locations. Some conversions are not perfectly accurate, as some corners were eased or cut entirely, elevations were changed, and there were no split track sections. The only truly original circuit is the hidden Velocitar track, obtained by completing all 6 Race Challenges.
Wipeout 64 is one of the few N64 titles to have noticeable load times, disguised by the request 'Please Wait'. Load times are approximately 3-4 seconds long, and as read in an IGN Review of the game: "In case you're wondering why there is load-time in between levels: according to Psygnosis, the short break is needed for sound decompression."
- Klies Bridge (Greenland)
- Qoron IV (Unknown ocean)
- Sokana (Unknown volcano)
- Dyroness (Unknown city)
- Machaon II (South America)
- Terafumos (Unknown construction site)
- Velocitar (Lunar Simulation Environment, Texas; secret track)
Despite the limited capacity of the game cartridge, Wipeout 64 managed to fit 9 music tracks, mostly by composers Rob Lord & Mark Bandola (credited as "PC MUSIC" in-game), with additional tracks by Fluke and Propellerheads.
- Fluke - "Absurd"
- Fluke - "Goodnight Lover" (Wipeout Edit)
- Propellerheads - "Bang On!" (Wipeout Edit)
- PC Music - "Chasing Radium"
- PC Music - "Feel At Home"
- PC Music - "Monolith Boy"
- PC Music - "Sonic Trip"
- PC Music - "Tomorrow Reborn"
- PC Music - "Miles Ahead" (Credits music)
Reviews were positive - averaged by Metacritic at 84% - with an accompanying sense of surprise that Nintendo's hardware could present such high quality graphics and sound. Nearly every review compares the game with F-Zero X which came out a month earlier, with the general feeling that while Nintendo's own futuristic racer offers more tracks and racing craft, Wipeout 64 has better track design and atmosphere. Despite being complimentary of Wipeout 64, both GameSpot and Gaming Age recommend purchasing F-Zero X instead.
Opinion is divided on whether Wipeout 64 simply merges the good points of the previous two games or is different enough to be considered a sequel in its own right. Praised elements include 'prettier' and 'grittier' graphics compared to F-Zero X, although the 'explosions are hideous'; and music that 'rocks' but, being short, can get repetitive. Popup and a slow frame-rate are repeatedly mentioned but only as becoming a problem when the screen is split to 3 or 4 in multiplayer.
|PS1: WipEout • 2097/XL • 64 • Wip3out|
|PS2/PSP: Fusion • Pure • Pulse|
|PS3/Vita: HD (Fury) • 2048|
|PS4: Omega Collection|