WipEout OT | All the E's you'll need to fly

Sure, you had the launch game Ridge Racer as an impressive arcade port to a home console on the PS1, probably one of Sony’s best cards to play against Sega’s Saturn and Daytona USA, but there’s another launch title for Europe that caught my eye back in the day: WipEout. Developed by Psygnosis in Liverpool, England, during the mid-nineties with heavy influence from F-Zero and the rave music scene. WipEout debuted on the PlayStation 29th of September in Europe, followed by it’s US market launch in November. Japan had to wait to March next year, thus the game is a late bloomer on the console over there. WipEout blew 32-bit gamers away with sharp and futuristic graphics, excellent electronic music score and super fast anti-gravity gameplay.

The concept of Wipeout was first discussed during a pub conversation, when one member of Psygnosis’ staff envisioned an idea of creating a futuristic racing game which featured anti-gravity ships. Some elements of the game were inspired by Matrix Marauders, an Amiga game released by the Liverpudlian studio in 1990. A beta version of Wipeout appeared in the cult film Hackers, in which the game was being played by the protagonists in a nightclub. The game’s appearance in the film led to Sony purchasing the studio in the following months after its release. The Wipeout franchise has been well received by critics, with Wipeout 2097 in particular being listed as among the PlayStation’s best games. Wipeout 2048 was the last game to be developed by Studio Liverpool prior to their closure in August 2012. The series was later revived, with Wipeout Omega Collection being released in 2017.

So without further delay, lets take a look at alle the WipEout games!

Formats: PlayStation (1995), PC (1995) & Sega Saturn (1996)

-2 speed classes, 4 ships with 2 liveries, 8 racing tracks + 1 hidden, unlockable.
-Music mainly by Cold Storage, but also features The Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Leftfield. Music varies for each format, check Wikipedia for info.
-Music CD score available seperatly; “Wipeout: The Music”
-PS1: 30fps NTSC & 25 fps PAL. Supports NegCon for analogue controls. Supports Link cable for LAN play.
-PC: Based on PS1 version, allows texture smoothing on certain 3D cards. 16-bit application, MS-DOS based.
-Saturn: 30fps NTSC & 25 fps PAL, drops often. New crash physics done by the company porting the game, that are slightly more forgiving than the PS1/PC’s “one touch stops your momentum”, but also a little “off” for purists.
-The Designers Republic art design.
-Sold enough to reach the PlayStation Platinum range.
-PS1 game available in a rare PS1 long-box for the US release.
-In the manual of the PS1 release there’s a mention of add-on CD planned. This was never released.

Best way to go retro: PS1, it’s smoothest of the console versions and the although the orginal crash physics are unforgiving, they feel right compared to the game. The WipEout games also look rather nice emualted with a resolution boosted imo thanks to the fairly simple and angled geometry. Preferably play the PS1 version with a NegCon! PC version is probably tricky to get running properly these as it’s a 16-bit based program.

WipEout 2097/XL
Formats: PlayStation (1996), PC (1997), Sega Saturn (1997), Amiga Warp OS (1999) MAC OS (?)

-New, more forgiving physics that allow the ship to scrape against the sides without being completely halted.
-Revamped game progression.
-4 speed classes, 8 racing tracks, 5 ships.
-Music is best and most diverse on PS1 featuring The Prodigy, Fluke, The Chemical Brothers, The Future Sound of London and Cold Storage. Saturn, PC and MAC feature only Cold Storage music.
-Music CD score available seperatly.
-PS1:30fps NTSC & 25 fps PAL. Supports NegCon for analogue controls.Supports Link cable for LAN play.
-Saturn: 30fps NTSC & 25 fps PAL, framedrops consistently and hovers at 20fps. Supports 3D analogue pad, new music tracks, longer draw distance, 2D effects replace 3D ones.
-PC: Longer draw distance like Saturn, retains 3D effects from PS1 (if memory serves me right). 16-bit application, MS-DOS based.
-The Designers Republic art design and Red Bull endorsement with in-game advertising.
-Sold enough to reach the PlayStation Platinum range.

Best way to go retro: Once again the PS1, original or emulated. Preferably play the PS1 version with a NegCon! PC version is again an old and difficult game to get running. Saturn version is just bad.

WipEout 64
Formats: Nintendo 64 (1998)

-30fps NTSC & 25 fps PAL, drops quite a bit. Splitscreen is much lower.
-First WipEout with analogue stick steering and rumble, d-pad is sadly not supported.
-First splitscreen for WipEout and only local game with 4-player.
-Some racing tracks are alterations or mirrored versions of classic WO1 and WO2097 ones, new design and textures though.
-Music features shorter, looped midi versions of songs by bands like Propellerheads and Fluke. Does the work, but feel repetitive compared to the previous games full length CD based songs.

Best way to go retro: Original hardware, preferably a RGB or HDMI modded N64. I’ve seen a lot of nasty artifacts in emulation, though this may be better now.

WipEout 3
Formats: PlayStation (1999)

-30fps NTSC & 25 fps PAL.
-Runs in PS1 “hi-res” mode.
-Sony moneyhats the series to the PlayStation brand for good.
-Has splitscreen for the first time on PS1.
-Supports Link cable for LAN play, cheat code to open the option!
-Supports NegCon and DualShock for analogue controls.
-Music mainly made by DJ Sasha specifically for WO3. Also includes The Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Propellerheads.
-The Designers Republic art design.
-Japanese version is the most recent with bug fixes.

Best way to go retro: You have to go PS1 with this one, original or emulated. Preferably play the most recent updated Japanese version, with a lot of fixes later implemented into the SE version. Plays great with a NegCon! Scales lovely to higher resolution and texture smoothing in emulators thanks to the more subtle colour scheme.

WipEout 3: Special Edition
Formats: PlayStation (2000, PAL only)

-25 fps PAL.
-Runs in PS1 “hi-res” mode.
-Supports Link cable for LAN play, option is now default visible.
-Supports NegCon & DualShock for analogue controls.
-The Designers Republic art design.

Best way to go retro: PS1, original or emulated. Preferably play the PS1 version with a NegCon!

What is this SE business: WO3:SE is basically everything in vanilla WO3, with 8 classic racing tracks selected from WO1 and WO2097 added, enhanced into WO3 graphics. The classic tracks are the real seller her, although they miss some of their unique visual flair when converted to the WO3 engine. I’ve done a comparison of WO1’s Altima VII running on an emulator, check it out on YouTube here!

SE fixes compared to vanilla WipEout 3:

  • 8 extra “classic” racing tracks, 3 from WO1 (Altima VII, Terramax, Arridos IV) and 5 from WO2097/XL (Talons’ Reach, Sagarmatha, Phentia Park, Gare D’Europa, Odessa keys)
  • 2 tracks from the Japanese version of WO3
  • AI bugfixes & enhanced game physics
  • Assegai craft upgraded (speed +1) & Icaras craft upgraded (handling +1)
  • “Next race” option after gaining a gold
  • Auto-load of saved data on game boot-up
  • Brighter visibility in tunnels (this a preference thing, but I feel the darker tunnels in vanilla are more “correct” and WipEout-ish)
  • Certain “invisible walls” removed
  • Larger text size on the menu screens and numeric characters available for player name
  • Shadows under AI craft
  • Perfect lap indicators (a red “P” next to a lap time)
  • Console link-up feature now visible in menues, compared to vanilla’s hidden menu
  • NegCon replay bug fixed
  • Weapon pads grey-out for a second after use (in W3O you had to judge for yourself if they were active)
  • Different system for unlocking the tracks/craft.
  • SE asks you to confirm if you want to overwrite your saved game. W3O just goes ahead and overwrites your data
  • Slightly enhanced graphics on the four standard prototype tracks
    Best way to go retro: Once again the PS1, original or emulated. Preferably play the PS1 version with a NegCon! This is a tricky one for US or JP gamers though, it’s only available in 25fps locked PAL version, the reason I play the whole original trilogy on PS1 in PAL format, to get some continuity to the whole first part of the franchise.

WipEout Fusion
Formats: PlayStation 2 (2002)

-First 60fps (with drops galore) WipEout game.
-50Hz/60Hz toggle for PAL version.
-Splitscreen 2 player.
-Supports NegCon for analogue controls, although the support is badly implemented imo.

Best way to go retro: (just skip this game, lol) PS2, although with some emulation expertise I guess you can get that framerate and resolution improved. Although Fusion supports the NegCon, I do not recommend it; horrible translation to the analogue twist.

WipEout Pure
Formats: PlayStation Portable (2005), PSVita (digital only)

-PSP firmware capped at 30fps, but 333Mhz PSP hack can make it 60fps.
-Music CD score avaialable seperately.
-DLC packs with racing tracks, new ships, music and liveries. These are no longer available for download, but can be found online and transferred to your Vita or to use in an emulator.

Best way to go retro: Emulation on PC gives you a resolution boost and framerate lock to 60fps. PSVita gives you a bilinear filtering and extended colours. DLC can be trabsferred from your PSP to PSVita, but can not be bought on the Vita.

WipEout Pulse
Formats: PlayStation Portable (2007), PlayStation 2 (2009, EU only), PSVita (digital only)

-PSP firmware capped at 30fps, runs 60fps in time trail, but 333Mhz PSP hack can make it 60fps.
-DLC packs with more racings tracks, these are still available for purchase on PSVita.

Best way to go retro: Emulation on PC gives you a resolution boost and framerate lock to 60fps. PSVita gives you a bilinear filtering and extended colours. DLC can be transferred from PSP to PSVita and bought on the PSVita PSN store. WARNING: Steer away from the buggy PS2 version, it has a nasty saving bug that can wipe your memory card. I couldn’t even get it to save most of the times I tried.

WipEout HD + Fury
Formats: PlayStation 3 (2008, Fury: 2009)

-60fps with dynamic resolution up to 1080p. 30fps with dynamic in splitscreen. 720p max in 3D mode.
-Supports 3D TVs.

Best way to go retro: Just buy the Omega Collection on PS4; locked 1080p@60fps.

WipEout 2048
Formats: PlayStation Vita (2012)

-30fps with drops.
-WipEout HD & Fury are available as DLC, these packs drop framerate more consistent.
-Touchscreen and touch backpanel functionality.

Best way to go retro: Just buy the Omega Collection on PS4; up from 30fps with drops to solid 60fps. Lots of texture upgrades and visual enhancements. Very good looking showcase for your Vita if you want to see that the system can do.

WipEout Omega Collection
Formats: PlayStation 4 + Pro (2017)

-60fps@1080p on PS4, 60fps@4K (dynamic, but doesn’t drop) for PS4 Pro.
-Includes remastered versions of WipEout HD, Fury and 2048 in one package.

Best way to go current: Turn off the horrendous motion blur and realise how razor sharp it is! PS4 Pro boosts you up to a solid 60fps@4K.


Sources: WipEout Zone forums, Wikipedia & my head.


My recommendations:

My favourite games of the series is without doubt the first trilogy of games. I have fond memories of playing them on my PS1 and they fit the techno/rave era they are made in. The first WipEout has this 90’s VR/Arcade styled graphics going on with the best track designs imo, while also sporting a grim and industrialised future, W2097 takes this even further and goes even darker. The design of the menus, colours and banners throughout the tracks has the excellent work of the Designers Republic written all over them. Check out their stuff online, they made album covers and advertisements in the 90s that are very cool.

WipEout 3 takes a more subdued approach to the colour scheme and is perhaps the most well balanced of the original trilogy. Great visual variety for each tracks, easier learning curve and more optimistic visual design, although still industrialised in style.

WipEout 64 is a nice attempt, and goes for the more 2097 design visually, but it’s not as well played as the 2097 game on PS1 imo. The framerate also dips and rather random designs of tracks doesn’t feel cohesive for the overall design.

WipEout Fusion is a disaster imo and best forgotten. Sure it boasts a new leap in series to more powerful hardware, but the game is buggy, framedrops occur often and feeling of anti-gravity ships feels dull. Wide open sections on the tracks has you slipping and sliding about. It doesn’t have the fantastic hover feel the original trilogy has. The design overall on tracks and menus etc. is also a step down, as is the music selection. The black sheep of the series that’s best avoided.

Pure and Pulse are a nice new take on the series, and a in a way refreshed the series alongside Ridge Racer doing the same for Sony’s first handheld. They have nice variety in tracks, and I actually visually prefer Pure, although Pulse is a more well rounded game overall. The only downside for me is that Pulse began the more high-tech and minimalist futuristic look

WipEout HD was a great addition to the series, with a strong focus on the importance of running such a fast game at smooth 60fps. It controls nicely, although it doesn’t quite have the feel the first trilogy has. It goes very much for the high-tech vibe and every track has these neon lit, almost glass like track surfaces. While it’s super pretty visually it’s a style that departs from what I loved about original games, but then again the learning curve here is easier and perhaps the best place for those wanting a modern WipEout game to start. Just go for the Omega collection as it’s even more polished.

WipEout 2048 tries to go back to the early days of the fictional racing leagues within WipEout 's lore. While it takes a more gritty and industrial look to some of it’s tracks, a nice welcome, the actual gameplay doesn’t live up to the HD game. There’s too much focus on wide open tracks and great difference in racing ships with either racing or fighting abilities.

My take: The original trilogy is a great selection of games if you want some of the best racers of the fifth gen of consoles and that dark and depressive 90’s future (lol). If you prefer modern stuff, then go for the WipEout HD game.

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Huh, didn’t know it had longer draw distance…

I always meant to try Wipeout 64. Ridge Racer 64 was a vastly underrated game, it didn’t get the big budget treatment of R4 but showed the N64 could do racing games that were much more solid than PS1 (no texture seaming and jumpy textures etc), and W64 seems a similar construct, remix type thing.

Yeah, it’s a strange decision considering the really bad performance. My guess is that it’s based off the PC version somehow, I mean the 2D effects replacing the 3D ones on explosions etc. seems like a smart move the Saturn, but the longer draw distance not so much.

RR64 is a overall better game than WipEout 64, being even more of it’s own thing. But with titles are really good N64 racers and keep themselves better than more of the other racers on the system. Players familiar with the 2097 physics will feel at home at once in W64.

The Roy Lichtenstein-style WipeOut painting in the OP is by a friend of mine Drew Northcott. He did a small print run of them on humongous vinyl banners.

The draw distance is an interesting point. The reason the tracks have so many turns and hills is to attempt to hide the short draw distance!

3SE is my favourite version.

I once had a WR in the HD version, for a brief moment in time. 10 years ago! Now I feel old.

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I beat Zico.

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Awesome thread @ResidentDante, paying tribute to a bona-fide classic series!

Incidentally, I tried WipEout Omega’s VR mode for the first time earlier this week and I was completely blown away. So far, it may be my favorite VR experience… Awesome job by the devs. :star_struck:

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Awesome breakdown!! The timing is perfect for this because I was just looking into Wipeout HD for the PS3. Sadly I don’t have a PS4, but I played 2048 and loved it.

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Gotta chime that 2048 on a hacked vita with overclock and the vitagrafix app is 60 FPS most of the time.

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You can’t bust out that sentence and not link us to what exactly it all means. Can you?

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Thanks for the info on the painter! I love that version of the painting!

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WipEout HD on PS3 is fine, it runs a fairly rock solid 60, although some drops occur. It’s a nice showcase title for the PS3 too imo, since it’s one of those few titles that can reach 1080p@60fps.

Well, vita with firmware < 3.69 (latest) can be hacked. Vita.hacks.guide for more info.

Homebrew, emulators, overclocking, account switching, video streaming, game development and fan translations are avaliable to hacked vita. https://vitadb.rinnegatamante.it/ for a list of current homebrews. Best of it all, after the initial hack, you can install (almost all) apps and plugins inside the vita.

One of the most useful plugins is vitagrafix, that edits game parameters and remove FPS caps and improves resolution on selected games ( wipeout is one of them). Coupled with overclocking, it can improve the graphics of vita games substantially.

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Thanks, that’s quite amazing. I really should pick up a Vita again. I’ve had two Vita and a PS TV and have got rid of them all over the years, before all this hacking stuff obviously!

Yeah, I returned to the vita island since I hacked. Improved graphics and performance makes the vita closer to the initial promise of a portable PS3.

Simple account switching makes life easier to juggle US to JP accounts, even things like using JP Digital games and DLC on my US account.

TLDR People are sleeping on vita.