November 19, 2001
Wipeout Fusion - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players Price
16/12/2001SonyStudio Liverpool1-2$99.95

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Tracks are wider then past games.
Wipeout. Just the name sounds cool enough. But this was so more then just a name, it was quite possibly the most influential game to come out on the PSOne during the consoles early years. Newcomers to Sony's system are probably wondering what it is all about, but most hardcore gamers who owned a PSOne from the first year would have played, if not owned Wipeout. It was the coolest, the fastest, and one of the most adrenaline inducing racing games ever. In Europe stands were set up in night clubs to display the title while the racing was backed by some awesome techno/industrial music from bands such as Leftfield, Prodigy and Chemical Brothers. With two PSOne sequels in the bag, as well as a compilation of all three games, was it any wonder that Wipeout was heading to the PS2? Bring on Wipeout Fusion.

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Weapon effects are very impressive.
In case you have never a Wipeout game in action you are in for a major surprise. The racing ships are more like hovercraft which zoom along at well over a thousand km/hour. Each race will include 16 craft in Wipeout Fusion which should provide some frantic gameplay. Almost every other aspect of the game is being upgraded for it's first appearance on the Playstation 2.

So what is new in Wipeout Fusion then? Firstly, there is the obvious increase in graphical detail. The tracks are now much more detailed and the craft have also been boosted with a much higher polygon count. The tracks in this game are also a lot wider then in past version with up to 40% more width available to race on. Perhaps one of the best improvements is the tracks having multiple paths and shortcuts. The game apparently runs at 60fps (please include a 60Hz mode Sony) with 16 ships on the track at once. The developers are also hoping to include environment mapping (where the surroundings reflect off the craft) and weather effects. Visible damage to the ships may also occur, although this is still being decided upon.

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How is that for trackside detail?
The Wipeout Fusion team members have stated that they believe Wipeout 2097, or Wipeout XL as it is known in America, was the best game in the series. This is great news as Wip3out seemed to loose some of the spark of the originals. If the developers can retain that intense experience with improved graphics and equally impressive soundtrack there is no reason not to own Wipeout Fusion. It could quite easily become one of the best racing games in history.

Possibly the biggest change to the game will be the cash management system. Racers are awarded money according to the positions they complete the race in, the amount of damage to other ships and the quickest lap times. This money can then be used to upgrade your vehicle with extra speed, more thrust, stability breaks and of course weapons and shields.

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The dust effects are spectacular.

The short cuts in the game should be amazing. According to the developers it will now possible to set traps and environmental hazards (such as falling rocks) for craft following you. The craft aren't as "floaty" as in previous games and have a lot more grip on the track. This has allowed the developers to add in some gut wrenching 360° loops as well as corkscrews and sudden reverses. It is even possible to land the ship on the roof and go around the track upside down, much like Rollcage.

Fans of the PSOne games will no doubt know that Psygnosis, who were the developers before becoming SCEE Liverpool, used Designers Republic to do a lot of the artwork and logos. Unfortunately, that company has been dumped in favour of internet based Good Technology. Don't worry though as the style and artwork looks quite faithful to the original games. The PAL release is expected sometime in late 2001, slightly before the American and Japanese versions. Keep an eye out for this game as it should be amazing.