WipeOut 2097

Title		WipeOut 2097
Game Type       Driving
Company         Digital Images
Players         1
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibillity  PPC, 3D Graphics Card, 32 Mb
Submission      Daithi O'Cuinn

Some thought that it would never happen, that Digital Images were
over-reaching themseleves with the license for WipeOut 2097, others that
the Amiga was just not cut out for this sort of game, 3D hardware or not.
Well, they were wrong!

When I received the game, I unwrapped it and was confronted by minimalist
packaging. A CD jewel case, a small colour sheet for the inlay (no printed
instructions), and the CD itself. Installation is the small matter of
entering the CD and clicking the install icon. You can choose to have the
whole game copied to your HD, or just part of it. A full install is
recommended, as then the game can play MPEG anims at the same time as it
plays the CD tracks. (This was all moot for me though, as my sad old 2X CD
drive barfs on CDDA). A word about the music - don't be getting all
excited about the prospect of hearing tracks from the Prodigy and Chemical
Brothers, the music is from the PC version and not the PSX.

I was rather apprehensive about the install process - I had Warp3D
installed before, but had failed utterly to get the only previous 3D
acclerated game (a port of Descent) to work at all. Similarly, the openGL
demos which were claimed to be hardware accelerated didn't exactly blow my
socks off. So, I clicked the icon, chose the screenmode and sound options,
held my breath... and the game crashed. Oh dear. A quick read of the docs
later warned that you need about 24Mb fast RAM free if you play with full
texture caches. A quick look at my WB title bar showed me I was sailing a
little close to this limit,  so I rebooted and retried after disabling all
my startup programs, and was greeted by the Digital Images logo, a jerky
mpeg Psygnosis splash and then the menu system which I knew so well from
the PSX version. And then into the game...

The graphics do not disappoint! Seeing such wonderfully defined hi-res 3D
graphics on my Amiga fairly took my breath away. Think of the best scene
demo you have ever seen and thought "if only they could make a game out of
that engine" and instantly forget about it again, because WO2097 kicks
it's scrawny ass out of town. OK, OK, this isn't a fair comparison
(68K+AGA vs PPC+3D) , but the sheer impact of seeing this baby is like
nothing you will have experienced on your miggy before.

Of course, you might say that if you can get the game on your Playstation
as well, why bother? Well, for starters, if you play in any resolution
above 320x200, the graphics are a lot better. That old PSX pop-up is
nowhere to be seen. The tracks stretch out into a proper vanishing point,
and the detail is gorgeous. What's more, your 3D hardware won't be a lot
slower in 800x600 than in 320x240.

Gameplay wise, the game is ace! The speed of your craft means that it's
real heart in the mouth stuff - take the guy in front on the inside of a
bend, over the speed up, pick up a missile, shoot the next guy, maneuver
in front of him... all at huge speeds, at tracks that dip wildly around
amazing tunnels and roads, surrounded by fantastic trackside scenery.
You'll want to play again and again to get that coveted gold medal, and
then again to get the best time.

Control is via keyboard (the one I used and quite adequate), mouse and
keyboard (hard to judge, my mouse is pants), or joystick. Joystick in this
case basically means CD32 pad, any other will mean you're fumbling around
the keyboard as well.

Still unconvinced? Perhaps you hate racing games? Well, I say to you that
if you have the hardware to play this (and so few will), buy it just to
experience top of the line graphics on your Amiga, just to use that
hardware you spent so much money on to it's fullest, to validate Digital
Images and Blittersoft's faith in our small Amiga market, and I think
you'll like what you see! You'll soon find yourself twitching with the
'just one more go' fever despite yourself! If you already have the PSX
version, well then it's maybe a bit of a harder sell. Suffice to say
though, the graphics are an order of magnitude better.

As to performance, I was running on a 175/603e (the slowest PPC board) and
BlizzardVision, and the game was more than fast enough to be playable. If
you're a speed freak, you can lower draw distance and details levels to
substantially improve the framerate. A CV3D might be a bit ropier, but I
am assured people are playing it with this card.

So in conclusion - if you have the hardware, buy this game!! 93%

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