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WipeOut 3 : Special Edition

At the weekend there I finally completed all the tracks at Phantom level. After I’d crossed the line, “curly” (the race starting character) appeared on a billboard and said something cheerleader style. But I missed it!

By the time I’d turned the tv volume up she’d disappeared. So, if you know what was said, I’d be grateful if you could drop me a mail and let me know – it beats doing it all over again!

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Having a quick go of TOCA World Touring Cars last night, I couldn’t help but notice the amazing quality of sound output in replay mode.

This was the first time I’d played it with the surround sound speakers connected to my TV and the engine sounds and squeeling tyres seemed to be coming from everywhere!

I decided to load up one of my saved replays to demonstrate this newly discovered audio excellence to my flat-mate.

The replay was one of a race at Monza in the dark, where I overtook the first placed car with an audacious move in the last chicane, as I remember it. Sadly, the memory is all I have because the replay was screwed! My car got caught up in an accident in the first chicane, which I didn’t remember happening, then spent the rest of the replay driving into the wall at the side of the track. Occasionally the wheels would twitch from side to side to indicate corners that the car thought it was driving around. Weird!

I remember this happening with a replay in WipeOut 3 when I first got the game, but hadn’t seen it since.

It’s a bit of a shame, really – as the bug takes the shine off of an otherwise cracking game.

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WipEout 3: Special Edition

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!

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