Title           Wipe-Out
Game Type       Sport
Company         Gonzo Games
Compatibility   A500
Players         2
HD Installable  No
Submission      Hungry Horace

So I finally come to review this strange game that has somehow made a real
impression on me of late. Although it is not one that I owned back in my
youth, I had a passing recollection of an Amiga Format coverdisk demo and
a copy that I was never able to make fully work.

Nonetheless, remaining were some vague memories of a few short, and
entertaining games; enough to root the game's name at the back of my mind
to fester over the years. Eventually, I set about investigating a little
deeper to find just what ‘the deal’ was with Wipe-Out. Why is it so rarely
mentioned? Why are the few fleeting references to it on modern websites so
scathing, yet the reviews of the time were so much more full of praise?
These were questions I had to answer. Judgement must be cast.

Such questions are easily answered when you do come to play Wipe-Out using
the normal methods for emulation. The game sadly has no HD installer, and
the ADF version is one of the worst I have ever seen. You will struggle to
get the game to run, or find yourself at the mercy of the most bizarre of
disk routines, with game lock-ups and a dual-colour flashing screen which
if featured on television would come with a warning for sufferers of
epilepsy. If you can make it past the title screen, one finds game menus
largely devoid of text, almost entirely icon based, and it’s easy to see
why many people who enjoy ‘trialling’ oft-missed Amiga games these days
still managed to pass this one by.

So, how to judge it fairly? Simple. E-bay. Game. Box. Disk. Manual….. and
my A500. A quick read of the manual is a fast learning experience, and the
problems of before quickly begin to fade.

It seems the game's poor ADF version stems from modification of the
somewhat unusual (read clunky) GonzoDOS save-disk system, which requires
the use of a special ‘custom league-disk’ in order to play. However I am
reliably informed by the manual that after formatting said league-disk,
all my disk-swapping needs are over and I can finally get into playing the

There are two modes of play, firstly the single-match practice mode. This
is more suitable for a quick two-player game, but does let you know how
the main gameplay works. What we have at the heart of the game is a
familiar format, more commonly known as“Worm or“that Light Cycles thing
from the movie‘Tron. However, the premise here is presented in glorious 3D
and featuring futuristic hover-boards! Okay, the concept is nothing but a
re-working of some tried and tested ideas, but I’ve still yet to see
anything else offer anything like it. Only a few games in and I am already
having fun with the core gameplay, although it's not exactly smooth on the
plain A500. The controls here are like a racer rather than the static
nature of your usual lightcycles game; left and right to direct, up and
down affect your speed and as a result your turning circle, and fire is
used to jump if you have a good enough hoverboard - and there's even a few
powerups to collect along the way which can remove you or your opponent's
trails, or allow you a free pass through one of the trails, these are
activated via the F-keys, though it would be of greater use to have access
to them from a joypad combination. On the game screen there is a somewhat
essential overhead display to help you out, along with a compass and
distance counter to gauge the position of your opponent. There is even the
possibility of changing the angle of view, in theory allowing even the
smallest of gaps to become negotiable, although finding the time to use
such an option during gameplay is highly unlikely!

Once you get to grips with the basic idea, its nice to be able to ignore
the very limited practice mode, and finally get into the main game.
Navigating the menu system without a manual can only be described as a
nightmare, yet once you do know your way around it falls into place very
nicely. Getting started its best to know that the triangle or‘play’
symbol usually takes you forward a page towards the next fixture, whilst
the‘A symbol stands for Abort’.

So I begin my league campaign with my own choice of alien character from
the array of creatures on offer: a rather apt amorphous blue blob creature
by the name of‘Horace and with a randomly selected solar system on the
edge of the galaxy from which to begin. It seems there are hundreds of
these, each with up to 8 planets. On each planet there is a league, which
features 2 arenas. Although the shapes are duplicated, there still appear
to be a great number of arenas, varying from some which simply place
differently angled walls around the edges, to those which seem to resemble
a Stonehenge-esque place of worship, with various (albeit simply drawn)
backdrops. Entering into the league system the game presents us with a
fantastic amount of game overhead with which to breathe hours and hours of
life into the game. I feel an interesting comparison can be drawn with
Sensible World of Soccer here, in that you have a good competitive game
engine, and then add an interesting fixture / league / career system on
top of that which adds the variables to keep the gameplay itself

In Wipe-Out you find yourself having to compete firstly to gain league
ranking, and to gain promotion to a higher league. Should you wish to be
able to afford to travel to other systems to compete, or even to just
upgrade your hover-board, you will also need to find the funds to do so!
You can speed this along by placing bets on not only your own matches, but
on those of other competitors within the league. Just as you think you are
finding it too easy to ace the league, and as you begin to fine-tune your
techniques, the next league up provides just the right amount of challenge
again to keep you aching to improve and get yourself winning again. The
game-play gets faster and tighter, and the controls get better and require
more advanced handling as your board improves, but in turn the opponents
improve just the right amount to begin to test you again, all without
becoming demoralisingly frustrating. It seems I will be playing a long
time if I ever want to reach the competitions at the centre of the galaxy!

Stepping back to look at what we have with Wipe-Out - even with its
obvious flaws I find it difficult not to like this game. We have a fun and
interesting game-engine, just not perfectly executed. Of course it would
be nice to be smoother, prefereably running on a more advanced Amiga. The
graphics could look less dated, (although most aren't hideous, some extra
shading would have gone a long way.) The music, unique enough in
composition, features a lot of over-used ST-01: (Sound Tracker)
sample-disk sounds, which are best silenced after a while with the game's
in-built volume control. But essentially, there is good gameplay here, and
a plethora of variety bought to it with the full league mode. More often
than not, you should find yourself grinning inanely at the immense
satisfaction of wiping out a difficult opponent, and the joy of pulling
off a particularly tight manoeuvre to do so will leave you glowing with
the sheer delight of your own brilliance. There is endless fun to be had
for anyone who has ever enjoyed any form of Worm game, or anyone who
enjoys an on-going competition format, with just enough variables to the
game-play varied.

This game might seem like hard work at times, simply through the
difficulty in loading a working version, or you might equally be scared by
the dated look and sound of it, but if you have the heart, scratch beyond
the surface and be rewarded. I genuinely feel you have one of the most
overlooked Amiga games in history right here.

Category list.

Alphabetical list.