It’s almost a year now since I picked up Wipeout 3 on a totally blind buy. There are only a few times in your life where you buy a product with no prior knowledge or preconceptions and it totally blows your mind. After hearing all the bull back then about how great the Pod Racing game would be on the N64 and how the tired PlayStation couldn’t possibly get anywhere near it.
Well, not only did it look better for my money, it looked faster and it had a soundtrack that rocked the rafters. Granted I was living in a loft at the time, but it was cool none the less!
So here I am, a year after buying the best PlayStation game I own, only now I have a new copy. It’s WipEout 3: Special Edition and it’s absolutely phenomenal!
In essence, tiny parts of the game have been tweaked alongside the obvious differences like the presence of five tracks from Wipeout 2097 and three from the original game. If Wipeout 3 was near perfection then this edition is so good, it manages to attain the status of perfect easily.
Even the subtle changes somehow bring more to the game. It’s not until you’re actually racing round one of the circuits you know inside out and you spot something that wasn’t there before, that you realize the attention to detail is even more focused this time around. I was racing at Rapier level (which now seems faster for some reason) and pointed out there were little lights on one of the overhangs that I didn’t remember being there before. Then it was pointed out to me that the sky hadn’t been red before either and that was a damn sight more obvious than the little lights I’d spotted!
The tracks from the older games fit seemlessly into the WO3 look and feel. Tracks like Teramax and Sagarmartha look fantastic in hi-res with all the new banners and logo’s around the track sides. The interface is now slicker too, with much needed auto-load when the game starts. Other minor enhancements include things like the Link facility now being in the menu instead of hidden and the option to enter the next race when you win the current event.
I read on one of the games sites that the reason the game wont be released in North America is because the Japanese didn’t really go for WO3 when it was released. Hence they aren’t going to bother with an NTSC version for release in the ‘states. Ironically, I believe if this version had been the initial release it would have done miles better than WO3’s modest success. Apparently the Jap’s like their games a little simpler than the Europeans, who like their action a little more hard core. I can imagine that games players in Northern America are no less hard core and it is a huge shame they’ll have to wait until next year’s release of WipeOut Fusion on the PS2 to get another fix of AG racing.
The only downside is that the cpu controlled craft don’t give enough of a challenge once you’re learned a circuit. But, with more than 20 to choose from, it could take a while before you learn them all. Including a career mode would have been the icing on the cake as far as I’mconcerned, so I only hope that this finds its way into Wipeout Fusion. (There’s an ad for this on the back of the SE inlay card, shown on the right.)
Other than that, this game has everything a Wipeout fan could ask for. And if you’ve never tried the game before, you’re in for one heck of a treat.
Drop me a mail if you’d like to see more screenshots!